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Colombia's Magdalena River

Goodbye to be forgotten

Explore Colombia's Magdalena River

Join a team of Nature Conservancy staff and scientists as they navigate the Magdalena river and bring to life its rich communities & culture through a series of short stories.


Join a team of Nature Conservancy staff and scientists as they navigate the Magdalena river and bring to life its rich communities and culture through a series of short stories.

The Magdalena River, South America’s fifth basin, is born in the Andes mountain range at 3,685 meters above sea level and runs across a large part of Colombia (24% of the national territory),generating life and serving as an economic life-force for the more than 30 million Colombians that live throughout the basin.
This 1,500 kilometers long river is the principal artery of Colombia, connecting the Caribbean with the interior of the country. It was through here the Spaniards entered with the colonization at their backs
The Magdalena River has been a source of food and protein for the country, but really the river faces a series of threats like overfishing, deforestation, leaking of agriculture and urban toxics, soil erosion, the phenomena of “el niño” and “la niña” impacting tens of thousands of Colombians who were victims in 2010 of the worst flooding in the country’s history.
Today, this basin generates 85% of the country’s GDP. Around 55% of its 200 species are endemic, only found in the Magdalena. It also provides drinking water to 30 million Colombians even as it’s a residual for agricultural chemicals and toxic wastes.

In spite of its geographical benefits and strategic location, the Magdalena River basin has been a wasteland for years.

This is why TNC has embarked on a major project: saving the Magdalena river basin. Today, TNC is the only international conservation organization actually working in the Magdalena river basin. Priority conservation areas have been identified taking in to account economic and social variables.

TNC, alongside its partners in the Ministry of environment and the local environmental authority, Cormagdalena, have designed a portfolio including such areas aiming to implement conservation strategies throughout the basin.

The Magdalena River is the mother river of Colombia and deserves all our
attention and care. This water resource is worth gold and should be
sustainable in the long term.

“This has a solution, but we must act now!”, says Jose Vicente
Mogollon, ex-minister of environment.

Follow us then in these six video and blog series, and keep track of the river’s pulse.

1. Fishing in troubled waters
2. Illegal Mining
3. Zapatoza
4. Last Stop, Dique Canal

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