Lakes citizen monitoring

Empower the community as agents of change to protect their lakes through citizen science and thus achieve systemic changes in public policie

Photo of Victor Durán
0 0

Written by

Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.

Initiative's representative name

Victor Durán

Initiative's representative date of birth

16 abril 1965

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Chile

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?

Chile, Region Araucanía, Los Rios, Los Lagos. City Villarrica, Pucón, Panguipilli, Ranco, Puyehue, Puerto Varas, Frutillar and Lanquihue. Colombia, pasto, Nariño State

Website or social media url(s) @duranrivera

Date Started


Project Stage

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

The Villarrica lake where I was born began to lose transparency. I wondered why and contacted a scientist who handed me a study that indicated that the lake was deteriorating. I decided to do something and created the foundation and the project.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The lakes are being contaminated by the action of man. They are very fragile ecosystems, they are sources of drinking water for the population and they will be more so in the future in the face of climate change. They are also the basis of the local economy through tourism. The deterioration of the lake basin is due to aquaculture, urbanization and forestry agricultural activities.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Through citizen science, key data are provided for decision making. The community is trained through a low-cost limnological backpack to monitor the lakes and thus raise awareness in the community and authorities so that environmental quality standards are dictated and lake prevention or decontamination plans are drawn up. We also work so that the lake basin has basic regulations for the protection of lakes. In this way we generate systemic changes in public policies. All these actions are accompanied by awareness campaigns.Plans should consider measures related to aquaculture urbanization and agricultural and forestry sector

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

The innovation is that the community itself (neighbors and students) through citizen science provide information on the state of their lakes and in this way not only awareness is generated in the local community but also in the authorities. Likewise, a low-cost limnological backpack was developed that allows the community to be trained and provides instruments and bioindicators to know the lacustrine environmental state.The initiative allows to achieve systemic changes in public policies

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Agreements are signed with municipalities, regional and national government, as well as universities and companies. Through the municipalities it is possible to work with the community and schools.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

The project is based on the sale of limnological backpacks and monitoring and training services. It also works by 2021 to have a lacustrine scientific tourism project, in which tourists pay for being scientists for an hour and get to know a lake. We also manage funds with public organizations and companies. Last year we have executed 5 projects.Regarding the socio environmental impact, we are currently working with 11 lakes in Chile and one in Colombia. More than 1,500 people have been trained, delivered 25 backpacks and made 30 monitoring reports. This has allowed two lakes to have environmental quality standards and one in the process of developing a decontamination plan.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Increase dissemination of the initiative in social networks and social media. Improve fundraising system through lacustrine scientific tourism project. Sign cooperation agreements with new companies, improve content of a backpack and thus sell it to the Ministry of Education for lake schools. Co-operation with international lake protection organizations such as Livink Lakes, which has a high interest in bringing projects throughout Latin America. Achieving support from the United Nationsenvironment . Actively participate in the elaboration of decontamination standards and plans. working together with the committee that prepares decontamination plan Lake Villarrica

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

The lakes are highly prized by society, but unknown from the point of view of their biodiversity and fragility. For this reason they are not potentiated. We have seen throughout these years that when the community knows its lake it begins to protect it. In this way the State, community and company are very willing to collaborate and make decisions for their conservation, since they realize that they are central ecosystems for the future in the face of climate change. The shared value in this way translates into KNOWING TO PROTECT. To date, the project has won two awards. Camiseteados and Henri Nestlé Chile

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

The project is financed by the sale of limnological backpacks, donations from companies, state monies and monitoring services. There are two projects that are being incubated to obtain a greater amount of resources. The first is a scientific tourism project in which tourists pay for the experience of being scientists for an hour and thus provide data on a particular lake and also know it. The second project is a lake monitoring service through a limnology laboratory, which already has a large part of the equipment and instruments.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

The foundation is made up of 15 partners. The directive 3 people. The field team is 3 people. The volunteers are more than 100 people. The strategy has been that in each lake there is a team of volunteers to monitor the lake and take actions to protect it. Now it is in project to create a Network of Lake Rangers of Chile

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email
View more

Attachments (2)

Limnological backpack.jpg

The limnological backpack is one of the central tools for citizen monitoring of lakes. It is unique in Chile and Latin America

tour lake monitor.jpg

One of the ways of doing our job is to do citizen monitoring tour in lakes


Join the conversation: