Micos might be dam(n)ed - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-05-2006   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 80
Micos might be dam(n)ed

Word is Micos might be damed. Very very sad if this is happening. Happy on I am on my way shortly to get the last goods. Will try to get more beta while down there.

Doesn't get into the water diversion info to help evaluate impacts, but this just out from the NM whitewater club:

My name is Kelly Gossett, secretary of the Adobe Whitewater Club. You may know my good friend Dr. Jorge Alberto MÃ rquez Juarez from Ciudad Valles, S.L.P. Mexico (cc'd here). On a recent kayaking trip to Valles, we learned of plans to build a larger hydro-electric plant on the Micos. By this time next year, the Cascades on the Micos will be dry. It is important that we act promptly to discourage this action. Your contacts, both in the US and Mexico are critically important to this effort.

As you know, the Micos is only runable a few months out of the year. Because of this low-volume flow, an additional hydro-electric plant in this area does not make economic sense. The construction cost of this new plant is estimated to be $5m USD whereas the recreation to this area has increased from appx. $70k/yr (USD) in 1997 to over $7 million/yr in 2005 . In other words, they are spending $5m to lose $7m annually. While the construction of the plant may bring temporary jobs to the area, it will put many local restaurants, commercial rafting, rappeling, SCUBA diving and cliff-jumping companies out of business.

It is my goal to communicate this information with as many kayakers as I can and solicit trip reports and opinions from kayakers who have visited the area. This information will be used to help build our case to preserve the Micos. We have connections with several Corps of Engineers hydro-electric plant operators in the Texas hill country, who are also kayakers, who will present their professional opinion to S.L.P. politicians and plant managers. I also have contact with a rancher on the Micos who owns several thousand acres between the Cascades and Valles. This will likely impact his operation as well. The commercial outfitters in the area also have an interest in preserving the Micos as well.

The week between Christmas and New Year's generally draws hundreds of paddlers from across the nation and around the world. There will be 10-20 in our group during that time. I hope to get word out to Outside Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Paddler Magazine and other national publications to help draw attention to this paddling paradise and spread the word regarding this sensative environmental issue.

Again I ask for your help. There is strenght in numbers. Any contacts you have who have paddled this area would be helpful. Ideas regarding increased publicity and/or dealing with mexican politics would also be helpful. Any other comments or suggestions regarding this preservation initiative would also be greatly appreciated. This will be a huge, but valuable learning experience for all of us. I sincerely hope future generations of kayakers and outdoor enthousiast will be able to enjoy this incredible river.

Thanks for your help,
Kelly Gossett
[email protected]

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Old 12-05-2006   #2
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
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I just got back from there and would love to help. Let us know what we can do. Johnny
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Old 12-05-2006   #3
Father of illegitimate San Juan sasquatch children, Climax. CO
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I just got back from there and would love to help. Let us know what we can do. They were building a new walkway down to the existing hydro plant. Johnny
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Old 12-05-2006   #4
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
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I've been down there six times with groups from 4 to 17 people- we've spent a ton of money down there. I'll contact Kelly in NM for info.

If anyone has been down or are planning a trip anytime in the future, help out with this one- it's an amazing place.

Have a great trip, Moshe.
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Old 12-06-2006   #5
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Does anyone have any information for contacts down there - local guides and or guide companies? Anyone that could arrange a trip on very short notice? Is Amaral still in business?
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Old 12-06-2006   #6
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Put me down for the cause. That area is really the best water fall cherry breaker that I have ever seen.

I think Grant is doing very well, you can get him at the below email and/or number. From what I can tell they do a bit more down in Veracruz right now. Also, Ena would probably know how to get involved. She runs a competing business. Grant has the scoop and maybe we could get him to post some info on how to get in front of the right people.

Canoas Agua Azul
[email protected]
Grant Amaral

Expediciones Huaxteca.com
[email protected]
Ena Buenfil

We do have to remember that it is a rural farming community down there that needs electricity. I love my waterfalls and all but there may be a legitimate need for some power there.

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Old 12-06-2006   #7
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 19
It seems...

That if there's a growing demand for energy there, they should compare the *actual* cost of damming up the river - the lost tourist revenue, the irreplaceable beauty of the river, etc. - and then see how it compares to wind turbines. If they can get the energy through wind *and* keep the river and all it's tourist revenue, I'd think they would want to listen to that.
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Old 12-08-2006   #8
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Put your paddling tourist dollars towards a Mexican company if you really want to support the Micos in an undam(n)ed state.

We just got back from a fantastic trip - hitting the Micos, Saltos sections of the Valles, Tampaon Canyon, and beautiful little seldom run Ojo Frio. We were self-supported as far as gear and some shuttles, but we got terrific shuttle & riverside meal service, shuttle road beta, and river beta from the proprieter of Expediciones Huaxteca, an incredibly strong, fun, smart, and likeable entrepeneur named Enna. She speaks great English and can be of invaluable help setting up trips or just shuttles to any of the area rivers. Very reasonable cost as well.

Find her information at http://www.huaxteca.com/index02.htm
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Old 12-09-2006   #9
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2
micos hydor project

Yes put your tourist dollars in Mexican companies. Agua Azul is a 100 % Mexican company. We are the oldest outfitter in the Ciudad Valles area and one of the oldest in Mexico. Thanks.

The expansion of the power plants at Cascadas Micos is underway. The power plants have been expanded and the canals are about to be enlarged. The result will be lower water levels during the peak kayak season, November, December, January.

There is no dam. They are penstocks – diversions. The only company that will be affected is agua azul. The rest of the companies run only rafts on the tampaon and do rappels and zip lines. We are the only kayak company. We are the only company running trips on the micos. We have the most to lose.

When the word got out last year on the expansion of the hydro facilities at micos I went to the CFE (commission federal de electricidad)
offices of the engineer in charge and presented our concerns as an eco tourism company. In addition I went to the tourism department of the state of San Luis Potosi for the Valles region and expressed my concerns as well. Yesterday, I went to the CFE again on another matter and the engineer told me agua azul was the only company to question the project. The end result was nothing and the project is under way. More than under way it is near completion.

The need for hydro power in mex is questionable. Mexico is 11th in the world in oil reserves. But as we all know there is money in power. But Mexico is growing. The same people you will pay to be your shuttle drivers, guides and buy food from in the area are the same who are at this very moment working away on the expanded power plant. If you visit in a couple weeks they will be working on the canals. It will be difficult for you to find a shuttle driver in Micos this season. They are busy killing the river that gives them life.

We appreciate your concern. If you want to do something. Do a web search commision federal de electricidad mexico, micos, and el salto and the dept. of tourism for the state of san luis potosi valles region. Post the addresses here, contact Kelly and get after it.

Meanwhile if you want a guided kayak trip or camping check out our site http://aguaazul.com if you want beta you can glean about all you want off the site. If I have time I will answer your questions. But we are busy. We run a good trip and are full most of the season. We don’t set up shuttles or guide on our days off. When the dec. levels at micos are drained. That will probably drain agua azul as well and you will be tagging along chasing raft trips down the tampaon instead of surfing away and traveling at a kayakers speed.
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Old 12-09-2006   #10
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Hey, nice job with the site. A couple of us are heading down in a few days and are interested in hiring a couple shuttles and maybe a guide for a day. What's the best way to get ahold of someone for this? The phone number on the site? Thanks.

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