The Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) is proud to partner with
(Alianza Nacional Rios y Cuencas de Costa Rica)
Founded in 2015, the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica (ANRCCR) is the country’s leading volunteer citizens organization addressing challenges related to water management and protecting Costa Rica’s rivers and watersheds. Following the UN Sustainable Development Goals, they identify and develop projects aimed at solving issues such as lack of water, river restoration, protection of free-flowing rivers, and the contamination and pollution of water bodies.
RAFA works with the ANRCCR on a Committee for Scientific Investigation in the Pacuare Watershed, in their national program of Citizen Water Observatories, on reforestation efforts, and as members of international freshwater conservation networks.
The national network of Citizen Water Observatories is created and managed by the National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds of Costa Rica. OCAs unite citizen volunteers to protect, preserve, restore, and monitor their community's water resources.
Together with key tourism partners, RAFA formed the OCA Rio Pacuare Turrialba-Siquirres in June 2023 to care for the section of the Pacuare River between Tres Equis (Turrialba County, Cartago province) and Bajo Tigre (Siquirres County, Limon province).
The Barbilla-Destierro Biological Subcorridor – Paso del Jaguar was created in 2008 to protect the migration paths of jaguars by allowing them to move freely through communities committed to conservation. Citizen volunteers comprise the local Subcorridor committee, working to protect and preserve all wildlife and educate local communities on the importance of caring for all natural resources.
RAFA is a member of the Subcorridor committee and works closely with its members on numerous initiatives.
In 2018, the Macaw Recovery Network (MRN) was founded after nearly a decade of working in parrot conservation in Costa Rica. Their mission is to protect and recover endangered parrot populations in the Americas so that parrots and their ecosystems thrive and coexist with local communities. Their primary focus is on critically endangered Great Green Macaws and Scarlet Macaws.
RAFA works with MRN to plant tree species in the Pacuare watershed that restore the habitat for Great Green Macaws that migrate through the region. We are building on Rafael Gallo’s 30 years of successful reforestation in the Rios Tropicales Rainforest Reserve with Mountain Almond trees – macaws love to eat this fruit!
Amigos of Costa Rica is a U.S.-based charitable organization with over 20 years of experience connecting global resources to Costa Rican organizations. On behalf of more than 100 nonprofit organizations in Costa Rica, Amigos receives donations allowing donors in the U.S. to be eligible for a tax deduction. The funds (less any fees) are then transferred to Costa Rica.
The Global River Protection Coalition (GRPC) aims to advance the creation of a global free-flowing river conservation policy to protect and restore riverine connectivity, biodiversity, and other associated ecosystem services. The GRPC was founded in early 2020 by dedicated conservation advocates, practitioners, and researchers from around the world.
In her role as co-Executive Director of RAFA, Shannon Farley is an active member of the GRPC, also participating in the Latin American subcommittee.
The Red CAMCPA unites conservation actors and organizations to conserve and restore the rivers, lakes, and wetlands of the American Continents through participatory community-based water monitoring and a collaborative exchange of experiences and knowledge. From North America to the tip of South America, the network seeks to influence the educational and public policy spheres, helping people make sound, science-based decisions and actions that result in healthier ecosystems and the equitable and sustainable use of water resources.
As co-Executive Director of RAFA, Shannon Farley is an active member and co-director (2023) of the Red CAMPCA.
Thanks largely to Rafael “Rafa” Gallo and his whitewater adventure company, Rios Tropicales, the Pacuare River still flows free. Rafa helped stop two hydroelectric dam attempts in 1990 and 2005. Over 35 years, he advocated for the river's permanent protection, fiercely protected the land from illegal logging and hunting, and planted close to 31,000 native hardwood trees in reforestation campaigns that have regenerated the region's biodiversity.
The Pacuare River is currently protected through 2040 by a 25-year Presidential Decree, signed by former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis in 2015.
In 2020, after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Rafa focused on creating a conservation initiative to protect and regenerate his beloved Pacuare River Valley. His close friends gave the organization the name RAFA – Rivers and Forests Alliance – to represent his nickname. After his sudden passing in March 2021, Rafa’s family and friends united to honor his lifelong work and carry forward the Rivers and Forests Alliance mission. His loss is felt acutely by the river and conservation communities worldwide.