Portuguese American Journal

Presentation: Azorean ecologists to address environmental preservation – New Bedford, MA

A team of ecologists from the Furnas Monitoring and Research Centre (CMIF), based on São Miguel island, Azores, will speak Tuesday, April 2, at 6:00, Buzzards Bay Center, 114 Front St., downtown New Bedford, about the challenges of protecting and restoring Lagoa das Furnas [Furnas Lake]. The event, hosted by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, is free and open to the public.

The Furnas Monitoring and Research Center has experienced similar environmental problems to those faced in the Buzzards Bay region, including invasive species and poor land-use planning, leading to nutrient pollution in the water.

Created in 2000, launched in 2007 and inaugurated in 2011, the Furnas Monitoring and Research Center is a long term project already in progress to restore the original ecosystem of the F urnas Lake.

Since 2007, the area has made great strides in creating vegetated buffers around the lake, which reduce pollution and protect the iconic landscape of Furnas village.

The scientists, by Miguel Caetano Ferreira, Raquel Caetano Ferreira and Malgorzata Pietrzak, are visiting Massachusetts  to establish relationships with similar restoration groups such as the Buzzards Bay Coalition, and to share ideas, methods and strategies.

The Furnas Monitoring and Research Center is a Watershed Management Plan project aimed to address the eutrophication of the Furnas Lake, a process by which a body of water acquires a high concentration of nutrients, causing its deterioration.

The Furnas Lake, the second largest lake on the archipelago, holds over one million cubic liters of water. Currently, its ecological status has been downgraded to “bad,” due to the growth of algae, a process which increases the drop in oxygen in the lake water.  As a result, the water becomes blurred and loses volume.

The main goal of the Furnas Monitoring and Research Center project is to clean the water basin, to restore the original habitat of the lake and to recover and preserve the ecosystem of the whole area, considered one of the major tourism attractions on the island.

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