2008 Whitley Award winner and 2010 Continuation Funding recipient, Marleny Rosales-Meda, has seen the mitigation plan proposed by her and her NGO, Orcondeco, for the construction/asphalt process of the Franja Transversal del Norte highway (FTN) in the Ecoregion Lachua, approved by the Guatemalan government.

Marleny and her team elaborated this mitigation plan based on their experience and ecological monitoring results and discussed and validated it with local authorities and representatives of the main institutions/organizations of the regional governance board.

The initiative includes special considerations to protect and maintain landscape connectivity and wildlife movement in key ecological areas; protect and avoid contamination of the main water sources of the wetland; conservation of wildlife reproduction sites and sacred sites of local communities; ensure the safety of local people while using and crossing the highway in their communities, among others.

This is the first effort of this type to be approved in Guatemala. The 26 kilometer stretch of the FTN included in the Ecoregon Lachua will be the first highway in Guatemala to have special considerations for its construction and maintenance based on long-term scientific data and a locally locally-suited landscape approach to safeguard the region’s biodiversity and wetland resources.

Marleny said, “We feel very pleased with this positive outcome after such a long political negotiation process! All the effort done to convince and create awareness among different government entities has finally given fruit!  We hope the current government, as well as the new regional and local authorities will provide full respect, support and follow up to the legal resolution and mitigation plan.