The tailings from the Fundão dam impacted water courses, soil, springs, the Doce River itself and its mouth, on the coast of Espírito Santo State. There are several technologies used in the solutions for these tailings, such as revegetation and reconformation of the margins to control erosion, and the restoration of riparian forest. These actions contribute to the environmental recovery of the entire basin – creating conditions for an environment with more biodiversity – and in the water quality data of the river, which is in conditions similar to those before the collapse.
More than 80 experts were gathered by Renova Foundation to develop Tailings’ Management Plans. The affected region covers 670 km of watercourses and was divided into 17 sections. Appropriate actions and techniques were defined to repair each one, based on the specific indicators, such as volume, thickness, and characteristics of the tailings, in addition to the environmental conditions. They involve shaping of banks, bioengineering, renaturation and forest restoration, erosion control and resumption of agricultural activities (impacted areas).
DATA OBTAINED FROM SURVEYS BY THE NATIONAL WATER AGENCY (ANA) AND THE GEOLOGICAL SERVICE OF BRAZIL (CPRM) DEMONSTRATE THERE WAS NOT DEPOSITION OF MATERIAL ARISING FROM THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE WITH POTENTIAL TO CHANGE FLOOD LEVELS IN DOCE RIVER, AS IN THE REGIONS NEXT TO GOVERNADOR VALADARES AND COLATINA. FLOOD EVENTS REQUIRE A CAREFUL AND INTEGRATED DATA ANALYSIS FROM THE ENTIRE CONTRIBUTION BASIN OF THE RIVER, AS WELL AS THE INTENSITY AND CONCENTRATION OF RAIN IN SPACE AND TIME.
THE RISOLETA NEVES HYDROELECTRIC PLANT (CANDONGA) HAD A FUNDAMENTAL ROLE IN THE RETENTION OF 10.5 M³ OF TAILINGS, PREVENTING THEM TO FOLLOW THE THE DOCE RIVER GUTTER. THREE METALLIC BARRINGS WERE BUILT INSIDE THE PLANT’S RESERVOIR AND 959 THOUSAND M³ OF MATERIAL WERE PUMPED. THE ACTIVITIES PREVIOUSLY CARRIED OUT BY RENOVA FOUNDATION WERE UNDERTAKEN BY SAMARCO UNDER A COOPERATION AGREEMENT. COMPENSATORY WORKS, REMOVING TAILINGS AND DREDGING, WASTE DISPOSAL, ENVIRONMENTAL RECOVERY OF RIO DOCE MARGINS AND SECTORS OF THE RISOLETA NEVES HYDROELECTRIC POWER PLANT WILL BE CARRIED OUT.
A study by Professor Carlos Tucci, specialist in Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation, analyzed the hydro-sedimentological characteristics of the stretch affected by the Fundão collapse in the Doce river basin. The goal was to understand the behavior of erosive processes related to the dynamics of water and sediments. Through mathematical modeling, the interaction of the environment with the tailings over the years was also analyzed. According to the study, by 2019 there was a reduction of 34% in the volume of tailings deposited in the riverbed after the collapse, which means a tendency to return to the patterns which were registered previous to the disaster.
Currently, the sediment transport values in the Doce River have already approached historical values in the stretch between the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Power Plant (Candonga) and the mouth, in Espírito Santo. These indices are measured by the National Water and Basic Sanitation Agency (ANA) in its hydrometeorological network with pre-collapse data. The comparison shows a clear recovery of the affected stretch, and the research also points out that, at the end of the ten simulated years, a large part of the tailings tends to consolidate over time, based on the Renova Foundation’s repair actions for the growth of local vegetation and stabilization of the affected rivers bottom, with the formation of the coarsest layer (sand, gravel, etc.) of natural sediments.
The Gualaxo do Norte and Carmo rivers, which suffered the first environmental impact of the Fundão collapse, are already responding to actions carried out by the Renova Foundation. The results of monitoring water quality show that turbidity is decreasing every year. These first 100 kilometers, between Mariana and Santa Cruz do Escalvado, in Minas Gerais, received actions in 2015. The riverbeds were cleaned, emergency vegetation planting and riverbanks stabilized. Afterwards, the restoration of the riparian forest was initiated, fundamental for the health of the water courses.
Renova Foundation supports rural producers who have been impacted by the passage of tailings through the implementation of a sustainable economic production model, which is appropriate to the local reality. Among the actions, the promotion and support for the environmental readjustment of these properties are highlighted, as recommended by the regulations of Brazilian legislation.
Located on a stretch of 100 kilometers between the Fundão dam and the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant, in the municipalities of Mariana, Barra Longa, Ponte Nova, Rio Doce and Santa Cruz do Escalvado.
OTHER 5 THOUSAND HOURS OF ATER WERE PERFORMED BY RENOVA FOUNDATION TEAMS BETWEEN JANUARY 2017 AND AUGUST 2019 IN AFFECTED RURAL PROPERTIES. THE GOAL IS TO PROMOTE THE CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION PRACTICES AND DIRECT SUPPORT TO FAMILIES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE PROPERTY AND COMMERCIALIZATION OF PRODUCTS, COMPLEMENTING THE INTEGRATED VIEW OF PASEAS.
IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2021, THE RENOVA FOUNDATION COMPLETED THE REPAIR OF ABOUT 550 HECTARES OF FOREST AND PERMANENT PRESERVATION AREAS IN MARIANA, BARRA LONGA, RIO DOCE, SANTA CRUZ DO ESCALVADO AND PONTE NOVA. THE WORK WAS CARRIED OUT ON OVER 200 RURAL PROPERTIES DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY TAILINGS, WHERE 350,000 SEEDLINGS OF 176 NATIVE SPECIES WERE PLANTED. THE AREAS WERE PROTECTED BY SURROUNDINGS OR BY THE OWN NATIVE VEGETATION EXISTING IN THE AREA. TODAY, R$356 MILLION HAS BEEN ALLOCATED TO THESE ENVIRONMENTAL REPAIR ACTIONS.
THE GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF THE CATTLE HERD FROM THE RURAL PROPERTIES AFFECTED BY THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE IS AMONG THE WORKS CARRIED OUT BY THE RENOVA FOUNDATION. KNOWN AS ‘RENOVA HERD’, THE INITIATIVE AIMS TO INCREASE MILK PRODUCTION, COMBINING THE TECHNOLOGY OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION WITH MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES.
Located on the stretch after the Risoleta Neves Hydroelectric Plant to Linhares (ES State), in the region of the mouth of the Doce River.
RURAL PRODUCERS FROM MUNICIPALITIES IN MIDDLE AND LOW DOCE RIVER WILL RECEIVE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND RURAL (ATER) COLLECTIVE SERVICES TO ASSIST IN THE PROCESS OF STRENGTHENING AND RESUMING AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES. ACTIONS WILL BE CARRIED OUT IN 4 MUNICIPALITIES FROM ESPÍRITO SANTO STATE AND 29 MUNICIPALITIES FROM MINAS GERAIS STATE.
Renova Foundation is recovering springs, other Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) and water recharges at the Doce River basin by developing actions which contribute in an integrated manner to water quality. The springs play a fundamental role on recovering a river: if they are preserved, they provide good quality water for the sources. Another contribution comes from water recharge areas, formed by native forest. With more trees and roots, the rainwater infiltrates the soil with lower runoff and sediment flowing directly into the rivers.
RENOVA FOUNDATION MOBILIZES RURAL PRODUCERS FROM 65 MUNICIPALITIES IN THE DOCE RIVER BASIN THROUGH THE NOTICE OF RURAL PRODUCERS ADHESION TO FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAMS, AIMED AT COMPENSATORY REFORESTATION ACTIONS. COVERING ALL THE REGIONS ESTABLISHED BY CBH-DOCE AND THE PRIORITIZATION STUDY DEVELOPED BY THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES OF VIÇOSA (UFV) AND MINAS GERAIS (UFMG), THE NOTICE IS OPEN PERMANENTLY UNTIL THE TOTAL GOAL OF RECOVERING 5 THOUSAND SPRINGS AND 40 THOUSAND HECTARES IN PERMANENT PRESERVATION AREAS (APPS) OR IN AREAS OF WATER RECHARGE IN THE RIVERS BASINS MANHUAÇU, SANTA MARIA DO DOCE, BANANAL, PANCAS, CORRENTE GRANDE, GUANDU AND PIRANGA.
TO CARRY OUT THE FOREST RESTORATION ACTIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THE ADMISSION PUBLIC NOTICE, RENOVA IS HIRING, ALSO VIA PUBLIC NOTICE, PRIVATE COMPANIES OR CONSORTIUMS WITH EXPERTISE TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC AND OPERATIONAL SERVICES. FOR THE GUANDU RIVER BASIN, FOR EXAMPLE, ABOUT R$ 100 MILLION WILL BE TARGETED IN THE RECOVERY OF 3,192.52 HECTARES. LEARN MORE.
Farmers who commit to recover their property areas – especially springs and water sources – are being financially rewarded. In the Payment for Environmental Services model, membership is voluntary. Renova Foundation is responsible for executing and supporting environmental restoration on properties, providing inputs and labor. The rural producer, who will be remunerated, is responsible for maintaining the areas for a period of five years.
The Forest Inventory carried out by the Renova Foundation is one of the largest in progress in the country and is creating a database on forest conditions in the Doce River basin, with information on the variety and conditions of vegetation and soil fertility. In the evaluated areas, the trees are marked with platelets and their information is made available by QR Code. The goal is to create an ecosystem reference to guide Renova Foundation’s forest restoration actions, measure and compare the progress of the environmental recovery process with the basin’s reference ecosystems.
The forest restoration of the Doce River basin moves a chain of seedling and seed production in partnership with family producers, rural settlements, and traditional communities. The Seeds and Seedlings Network, created in partnership with the Center for Environmental Research of the Northeast (Cepan), mobilizes and remunerates people and social organizations for the activities of seed collection and seedling production. Seedling nurseries in the region also supply providers and farmers.
The water from the Doce River can be consumed after undergoing conventional treatment in municipal supply systems. This is what the more than 1.5 million data generated annually by one of the largest watercourse monitoring systems in Brazil indicate. Since 2017, the Doce River basin has monitoring points and automatic stations which allow monitoring, over time, its recovery and generates subsidies for actions to repair the damage caused by the Fundão dam collapse.
SIX ORGANS PARTICIPATE IN THIS WORK THROUGH A TECHNICAL GROUP OF MONITORING: NATIONAL WATER AGENCY (ANA), BRAZILIAN INSTITUTE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES (IBAMA), CHICO MENDES INSTITUTE OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION (ICMBIO), MINAS GERAIS INSTITUTE OF WATER MANAGEMENT (IGAM), THE ESPÍRITO DO SANTO STATE AGENCY OF WATER RESOURCES (AGERH) AND THE STATE INSTITUTE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES OF ESPÍRITO SANTO (IEMA).
The results of the Rio Doce basin monitoring show a recovery trend through the entire impacted region, with the resumption of concentrations of water quality parameters at historical levels. Even before the collapse, the level of rivers turbidity is higher during the rainy season – from October to March – as indicated by the monitoring carried out by the water resources management bodies of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo States. The results of the rainy periods after the collapse showed an improvement of the condition of impacted rivers. For the dry season – from April to September – it is possible to observe, since 2016, similar conditions to those before the collapse of the Fundão dam.
In the Biodiversity programs, repair and compensation actions are developed in terrestrial and aquatic environments (fresh and marine) and in some Conservation Units (UCs). They are carried out in partnership with teaching and research institutions and environmental consulting companies, always focusing on monitoring impacts and executing plans for the biodiversity conservation in the Doce River basin.
At first, a Monitoring Program was implemented to assess the impacts on vertebrates, invertebrates, vegetation, and soil. Based on the Rapeld method, samples were taken in 19 modules distributed between Fundão and the mouth of the Doce River.
For the second phase of the Monitoring Program, a new methodology was developed by a group of experts. The goal is to provide the necessary answers to Renova’s repair work. Monitoring campaigns will track persistent impacts in the basin and how wildlife and floristic communities are responding to improvement actions.
The Action Plan for the Conservation of Terrestrial Biodiversity was also created. It includes:
The Aquatic Biodiversity Monitoring Program is carried out in the freshwater, marine and coastal areas.
IN NOVEMBER 2021, THE AQUATIC BIODIVERSITY BUILDING (BIOAQUA) WAS LAUNCHED IN THE NORTH UNIVERSITY CENTER OF ESPÍRITO SANTO (CEUNES), IN SÃO MATEUS. THE WORK IS THE RESULT OF THE TECHNICAL-SCIENTIFIC AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN THE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF ESPÍRITO SANTO (UFES), VIA TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION FROM ESPÍRITO SANTO STATE (FEST), AND RENOVA FOUNDATION.
Since 2017, Pro-Tamar Foundation has been monitoring sea turtles off the Espírito Santo and Bahia coast. 20 turtles of the Caretta caretta species received transmitters and are being monitored remotely.
PUBLISHED IN 2021, THE RED BOOK ON DOCE RIVER AQUATIC BIOTA ENDANGERED AFTER THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE, MARIANA | MINAS GERAIS IS THE RESULT OF A TECHNICAL COOPERATION AGREEMENT WITH BIODIVERSITAS FOUNDATION. THE PUBLICATION PRESENTS IN FULL A CONSERVATION STATUS ASSESSMENT OF THE AQUATIC BIOTA SPECIES IMPACTED BY THE FUNDÃO DAM COLLAPSE. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME A LIST OF ENDANGERED SPECIES USING THE IUCN METHODOLOGY IS GENERATED AT WATER BASIN SCALE.
In December 2021, the Action Plan for the Recovery and Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity was prepared, which provides for:
Environmental Impact Assessment Studies are being carried out in potentially impacted Conservation Units (UCs) and will provide subsidies for necessary repair and mitigation actions.
FROM R$ 93 MILLION IN COMPENSATORY RESOURCES WHICH WILL BE TRANSFERRED BY RENOVA FOUNDATION TO THE DOCE RIVER STATE PARK, CONSIDERED THE MAJOR TROPICAL FOREST IN MINAS GERAIS STATE, MORE THAN R$ 25,5 MILLION HAVE ALREADY BEEN DEPOSITED.
The Renova Foundation will also fund actions for the consolidation of the Santa Cruz (ES state) Wildlife Refuge, in addition to the headquarters construction, preparation and execution of the Management Plan for the new environmental protection area at the mouth of the Doce River (ES state), which still will be created by the government.