The Machadinho Hydroelectric Power Station is always concerned with preserving the environment in the area in which it operates and as such develops projects that guarantee an harmonious coexistence with the whole of the region’s eco-system.
Its Operating License, which was issued by the environmental body, was renewed in November 2007 and contains 42 demands. It was rectified in April 2011 and now covers a further 23 demands associated with monitoring initiatives.
One of the highlights in the sustainability and environment areas is the annual Environment and Sustainability Week that is held in the region, when the local public can participate in talks, courses, cultural events and training in the sustainability area.
Recovery of the waterside strip of vegetation
The ecology of the waterside strip started being restored in 2010, the target being to plant 100,000 saplings.
Planting native species forms part of a specific program developed by the Machadinho Consortium in partnership with the Ecology Department of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), the objective of which is to recover the vegetation of the 6% of the Permanent Preservation Area (APP) which still has no vegetation cover.
For the restoration to happen in a natural way, researchers from the UFRGS chose to plant saplings of species that have different characteristics, such as their tolerance to light and their flowering and fruit-bearing periods. By reintroducing species that flower and fruit at different times of the year, this methodology boosts the availability of food for native animals and this in turn facilitates restoration of the ecological processes. The diversity of sapling species planted is another objective of the project: in all some 80 species of trees are being planted in waterside strip areas.
In addition to planting locally, saplings are also donated to communities that surround the Machadinho power station in order to encourage environmental preservation.
Environmental Teacher Training Program (PFEA)
In focusing on training facilitators the Environmental Teacher Training Program (PFEA) was structured in such a way that teachers expand their knowledge of the environment, so that they can identify and analyze those teaching practices that contribute to issues relating to it being extensively disclosed. Developed in a partnership with government and the communities surrounding the Machadinho Power Station, the PFEA has already trained 60 teachers in the region, which has allowed them to adapt the knowledge they have of the environment to the local reality.
In March 2011, the Machadinho Consortium, in a partnership with the Biology and Freshwater Fish Breeding Laboratory of the Federal University of Santa Catarina (LAPAD-UFSC) released 1,500 fish of three species that are native to the Uruguay River – 1,000 piavas (Leporinus obtusidens), 200 golden dorado (Salminus brasiliensis) and 300 surubims [catfish].
Unlike the two other releases in 2004 and 2007, the fish were marked using a special technique that is located in the skeleton; it can only be identified by means of a laboratory analysis of the bones of the head.
The releases that have occurred since 2004 help increase the fish population in the power station lake, thus contributing to preservation of the species.