|The Delta del Orinoco is an evolving dynamic physical environment that is
affected by natural processes, such as annual floods and episodic storms, the potential
impacts of El Niņo conditions, and the action of waves and tides. It is also subtly
responding to the worldwide rise in sea level that, over time, may more profoundly alter
the environment than anthropogenic factors. These changing physical environments control
the distribution of plants, animals, and people, impact infrastructure development, and
may magnify or diffuse the impacts of development. The data on the surficial and
near-surface geology will provide insights to those who study the evolution of the
fluvial-deltaic complex over geologic time.
The Delta del Orinoco is the seventh largest delta complex in the world and is one of the most significant in terms of environmental and natural resources. Preservation of environmental quality in this sensitive region of tropical wetlands, indigenous people, and high biologic diversity in harmony with agriculture, industry, tourism, and hydrocarbon resource development is the mission of Coordination of the Harmonious Development of Eastern Venezuela (DAO). Oil exploration and related development in the Delta del Orinoco will impact both the people and the environment of the region. An in-depth natural resource evaluation will serve to monitor changes so that responsible development can occur with a minimum of adverse environmental impacts.
Although there have been a variety of studies of the region, there is currently no comprehensive regional data base that assesses the environment, land resources, and geology of the Delta del Orinoco. During the course of this project we developed a GIS of the Delta del Orinoco containing environmental baseline data from both our own studies and those of collaborators in Venezuela. This database will provide oil companies, developers, regulators, planners, and policy analysts with a common set of factual information to serve as a basis for informed discussion and formulation of responsible guidelines that will allow development and encourage protection of environmental resources.
In addition, this multidisciplinary program also contributes to basic geological science by describing how natural process are creating and maintaining this delta landform by moving sediments from the continental interior and creating land at the continental margin.
Please send comments,
questions, or suggestions to Edgar Guevara.
Copyright 1998 Bureau of Economic Geology