10-03-2005 Coronel Dorrego

We were so full of the personal encounters in Chaves that we were afraid to go down hill from now on in this aspect. But we had not yet entered the town of Coronel Dorrego or a veteran on a bike who we met at the first traffic light, insisted to escort us to the town's hotel.

It was hard to find lakes with conductivity in our range. We spend a lot of time cruising dusty roads, crossing soy and sunflower fields chasing lakes that appeared on our 2000 Landsat images. Even though these roads are unpaved they are wider than the average highway. This seemed strange to me at first, until I saw the machines they use to harvest their crops. They are enormous and definitely need this kind of infrastructure.

We talked to dozens of farmers and lake owners. Gissell and I found ourselves compared to sunflowers but we baptized the next phrase 'quote of the week': (freely translated) "Very interesting this research that you guys are conducting. I am curious to know what the water quality of my lake is. But, by the way… do you not know a way to drain it?" This reaction exemplifies the general feeling of farmers with a water body in their fields. Although the lake is picturesque and they enjoy the wildlife in it, it mainly represents a problem. People enter without permission to fish, leave garbage, damage wires and when it rains productive fields are flooded. The government does not help in organizing the drainage in the region and people end up paying taxes for a part of their land that does not return any profits.

We started our work in Estancia Santa Barbara. A farm with countless lakes full of nutrias and waterfowl. In wet periods all lakes connect and the couple that manages the place get trapped. If even an exit on horse back becomes impossible they can only wait until things start drying up again.
Strangely we found huge differences in conductivity between the different lakes and only one suited us. It was extremely windy the day we wanted to start sampling and furthermore various wires turned the lake into a labyrinth. It was impossible to access. We gave up and decided to dedicate the rest of the day to teach ourselves to repair the fish nets.

We finished the lake two days later. We found an interesting fish community including bagre, pejerrey and dientudos and took additional samples for stable isotop analysis.

The couple that managed the estancia invited us over for a 'mate' after which we moved our gigs to family Oviedo. They have a small lake which we finished in record time. Next thay invited us to do some horse back riding. The family has a stock of great horses with which they participate in folkloric events. The family photo album showed beautiful scenes. I enjoyed the ride and suffered the consequent muscle ache for the next 2 days : -)


señor Oviedo

reinforcement Soledad

Mc Gyver Nestor

'mate' in the kitchen

guacho Sarian

fixing the nets

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