January 21, 2022 5:45 pm

Santa Fe: the protected lagoon that became dry land

SANTA FE.- The historical downspout of the Paraná River impacts its tributaries. In less than a month, the Salado River, the one that when it overflowed on April 29, 2003 caused the worst flood in Greater Santa Fe, with about 150 thousand evacuees, dozens of deaths and damages and losses several times millionaires, fell more of a meter.

The visual impact can be seen from the same highway bridge, which connects the capital of Santa Fe with Santo Tomé. The laguna Juan de Garay, better known as Laguna Bedetti, one of the favorite spaces for many locals to enjoy free time and recreation, it was practically dry. Only small puddles remained from the large body of water that forms a unique landscape in the area.

It is that the Salado downspout, which one kilometer from its passage through the lagoon flows into the course of the South Derivation Channel, which begins at the access to the local port, giving rise to the formation of the Coronda River, another tributary of the Paraná, dropped 1.07 meters in 28 days.

According to the Meteorological Information Center, of the Faculty of Engineering and Water Sciences of the National University of the Litoral (UNL), on December 11 the Salado measured 1.30 meters at the height of Santo Tomé, against the 0.19 meters recorded this Saturday.

Juan Carlos Pérez Leiva, a reference for the Terra Foundation, commented that the issue of the drought of the Lagoon is mainly due to the downspout of the river and the lack of rainfall, in addition to the accumulation of sediments that have never been cleaned. “This is a cycle. There is the La Niña phenomenon, the burning of grasslands, there are a number of climate issues that accompany the deterioration of wetlands and lagoons ”, he explained.

The place, which offers shocking images, which include the cracking of the ground, is a Protected Natural Area, as established by the Santa Fe Legislature in 2016, through a law that protects the flora and fauna that live there.

According to the regulations (No. 13,585), the Lagoon (renamed Juan de Garay) covers about 507 hectares. The area would be comprised of the Miter railroad tracks -well north of Santo Tomé-, to the watersheds of the Salado River and everything that is the mouth of the Paraná and Coronda.

At the same time, this Santotomian water mirror is considered within the Provincial System of Natural Areas as “Natural hydric wetland”, one of the management categories established by Provincial Law No. 12,175.

The dry lagoon. Courtesy Elonce.

In various publications it is pointed out that the lagoon is the habitat of an infinity of species of flora and fauna; and it is a good transitory settlement for birds such as flamingos and other varieties of aquatic birds, which choose this ecosystem in search of resources that allow them to survive. As if that were not enough, the lagoon has to its credit nearby archaeological sites, where pre-Columbian fossil remains were discovered.

Not far from there, where the waters of the Paraná and the Salado converge, in the area of ​​the barracks of the Amphibious Engineers Battalion 121, dependent on the 1st Division of the Argentine Army, the Coronda River is born, one of the most important branches in the region of the mighty Paraná.

The downspout of the river also impacts the work of yacht clubs. The Náutico Santo Tomé, on the banks of the Coronda River, currently supports inconveniences and damages of the fluvial behavior.

The channel that communicates these facilities with the river is practically dry and makes it impossible for vessels to withdraw or enter.

Carlos Naput, president of the entity, said two months ago, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Hydraulics: “We completed a work that allowed us, when the river rose a little, to have an outlet. But now we are at -19cm, and it is sad for all that has been done and cannot be used. We are thinking of buying a tractor in installments that will allow us to travel these 250 meters to the river and thus make a direct descent. It is that the partners want to leave and we understand them, but for two years we have not had enough depth ”.

Before a query, Naput said that the club is going through a very bad economic time. “The same thing happens to all the private (boat) descents, which are even more committed than we are. 70% of the private descents are not working today, and there are no partners there ”, he concluded.


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