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The Hispaniola Lakes Project

September 12, 2013


On September 12th the research team involved in the Hispaniola Lakes project, including the Mobilities Center Director, Dr. Mimi Sheller, reported its findings at a major workshop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Lake Azuei

Lake Azuei

The island of Hispaniola holds the two largest landlocked bodies of water in the Caribbean, Lakes Enriquillo and Azuei (also known as Lake Saumatre), with surface areas (as of March 2013) of approximately 350 km2 and 140 km2, respectively. These lakes are located in each of the two countries that share Hispaniola: the Dominican Republic (Enriquillo lake) and Haiti (Azuei). Since 2004, the lakes have experienced a rapid expansion in surface area causing major flooding to the surrounding agricultural and cattle-raising lands, infrastructure, and communities.

The main goal of this project is to understand why the lakes are expanding at such a rapid rate, so that we can accurately forecast how they will behave in the future. This information is crucial for sustaining local livelihoods and for informing decision makers on the best policy options to address this pressing problem. Also, we would like to share the lessons learned with the international community so the project can contribute to and benefit from knowledge gathered from similar situations worldwide.

This project is an international collaboration between NOAA/CREST Center of The City College of New York, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) , Drexel University, Oficina Nacional de Meteorología de Republica Dominicana (ONAMET), and partially funded by the US National Science Foundation.

Learn more about the project:

Download the presentation on the Socioeconomic Impacts of the Growth of Lakes Azuei and Enriquillo [PDF]

In a related development, Dr. Sheller has been invited to participate in a workshop on October 4th at Harvard's Graduate School of Design on “A Sustainable Future for Exuma”. This is a multi-year ecological planning collaboration among the Government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) to facilitate the design and management of a more sustainable future for the Exuma archipelago, and The Bahamas more generally.