Keysa Rosas-Rodriguez begins an internship with Protectores de Cuenca

Keysa is earning a PhD in Integrative Conservation at UGA and she just completed her Fulbright Fellowship in Mexico. As part of the ICON program, and in addition to their research, doctoral students complete an internship with governmental or non-governmental organizations as part of their studies.  Protectores de Cuenca is an NGO that focuses on the design and implementation of agricultural conservation practices. Given Puerto Rico’s short, steep watersheds, faulty erosion control practices in agricultural lands result in heavy sedimentation of the island’s rivers and coastal zones. It has been found that unpaved farm roads, such as those that dominate the coffee plantations found in Puerto Rico’s mountainous interior may account for over 90% of the sediment lost during erosion processes. However, existing federal guidelines on these kinds of roads were not designed with these conditions in mind. Keysa is completing an internship with the organization and her primary task is to develop a guide geared toward farm owners that delineates design, implementation, and maintenance of dirt roads in coffee plantations that have been tested as effective in these kinds of conditions. This project is being conducted in coordination with the National Resources Conservation Service in order to create a joint document that can complement existing dirt road stabilization and access road guidelines. See some of the images from Keysa’s research and outreach activities below!