Conchos River

225 km

In-situ River Bioremediation

225 km

Conchos River

In-situ River Bioremediation

The river of the many faces: the Conchos River


Conchos River

225 km
1010 Solutions

Conchos River


The Conchos Riveroriginates in the mountains of the Sierra Madre in Mexico, it travels for more than 900 km throughout the state of Chihuahua. This river is very unique as it goes through the vast forest of the Sierra Madre, the wetlands, the agricultural valley, and finally the arid desert where it feeds the river Bravo. It is considered the most important river in Chihuahua, and it is the only one that has a constant flow of water during the whole year. Born in the mountains, the river represents an important affluent for the local community, as they rely solely on agricultural activities. Following its journey, it arrives to San Francisco de Conchos where it feeds a hydroelectrical power station. It then follows the Camargo region where it is the principal water source for the local farmers. Finally, it arrives at Julimes and enters the desert where it meets Bravo River, being considered its most important tributary.  

The Conchos River holds cultural and spiritual importance for the Tarahumara people, an indigenous group of the state of Chihuahua. It is considered a vital life source, providing water for drinking, irrigation, and sustenance for their agricultural activities. The river is also believed to possess spiritual power and is seen as a guardian and protector of their communities. Unfortunately, the water crisis and the pollution by agricultural residues are threatening the river.  

Local team

As an effort to increase the science development in Chihuahua, a local team was hired. Local professionals in life sciences participated during the evaluation of the project, who were highly interested in creating a positive impact in the Conchos River.

Conchos River flowing pacefully

The great mountains of La Sierra Madre where the Conchos River originates

Conchos River creating different ecosystems along its way

The community of Tarahumaras who live in the desert of Chihuahua


Liquid Trees rigorously evaluates every project listed on our marketplace to ensure that we're surfacing only the highest quality projects. Our Evaluation Criteria includes a series of checks that every project must pass as well as a number of informative insights on project quality. You can see a preview of these checks below.

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Feasibility study
The suitable river for microalgal bioremediation is selected after a feasibility study including several criteria such as water quality, environmental, hydrological, and geological conditions.
Selection of the inoculation point
Define the suitable river inoculation location for the construction of the microalgae facility for river bioremediation.
Environmental permits
Obtention of permits to perform the river bioremediation in accordance with environmental compliance.
Baseline assessment
Water quality evaluation along river monitoring stations and determination of the baseline carbon stock at the riverbed.
Native microalgae selection
Identification, selection, and isolation of native microalgae already adapted and acclimatized to local river ecosystem environmental conditions. Microalgae selection considers their carbon capture and sequestration potential.
Microalgae cultivation
Scaling-up of the isolated native microalgae in the algal facility maintaining the identical environmental conditions found in their natural habitat.
River bioremediation
Use of cultivated microalgae consortium as inoculum for bioaugmentation in the selected river
In-situ river phycoremediation
Inoculation of the river with the microalgae culture for the removal of excessive water nutrients as they are transported downstream.
Microalgae deposition and accumulation
When the inoculated microalgae die, they follow deposition and accumulation in the riverbed soil where biomass is stored, sequestering the carbon captured during growth. 
River bioremediation monitoring
The project delivers a long-lasting climate impact ensured by continuous and efficient monitoring
Monitoring river bioremediation performance
Spatial and temporal assessment of water quality along the river monitoring stations considering the evolution of biological and physicochemical parameters to evaluate water quality during and after the bioremediation.

Also, satellites images and RS tools are used to monitor microalgae blooms and nutrients evolution along the river.
Carbon sequestration verification and validation
A combination of MRV techniques are used to report the carbon storage in riverbed soils and GHG mitigation
Field measurements
In-situ field measurements to verify and validate microalgae-biomass deposition and accumulation and its contribution to carbon storage in the riverbed soil.
Modelling and simulation
Application of models to simulate microalgae behaviour in the river-estuary system and quantify biomass contribution to the carbon pool.

Every river project listed on the Liquid Trees Marketplace must align with our Evaluation Criteria to ensure project quality. To monitor a river bioremediation project, Liquid Trees uses remote sensing and geographic information systems along with field measurements to monitor and assess microalgae biomass and nutrient evolution along the target river.


This animation shows the microalgae biomass expanding some kilometers dowstream the inoculation point during the river bioremediation.


The river Conchos, a spiritual force that flows along Chihuahua

Conchos River has historical and geographical significance, playing a role in Chihuahua’s history and development. It flows through La Sierra Madre Occidental mountain and joins the Bravo River near the border between Mexico and the United States. It has provided water for agriculture, supported local ecosystems, and influenced human settlements along its course. It has also a crucial source providing water for irrigation.

Currently, some areas of the Conchos River are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and birdwatching. The river and its surrounding landscapes are known for their natural beauty and biodiversity. However, Conchos River faces pollution mainly from agricultural activities due the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides. When these chemicals are applied to crops, they can be washed into the river through runoff, leading to water contamination. As an effort to stop this detrimental situation, this project was started.

The Conchos River bioremediation project will have a positive impact on this region since native microalgae will contribute to improve water quality and restore local biodiversity.

Conchos River and its surrounding landscapes
Economic conditions

The state of Chihuahua is in the northwestern of Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, and the United States. According to the report of Chihuahua Global (2021), Chihuahua is one of the states with the highest economic activity in Mexico. It occupies the seventh national place in economic growth and the first national place in the least occupation in the informal sector. The most employed sector is manufacturing.

Fish population conditions

Another activity highly affected by water pollution is fishing. Aquaculture exploitation in the state is carried out on an area of 46.000 hectares, divided into over 2.000 units, from which a production of 557.5 tons is obtained with a value of $3.018.000 Mexican pesos (MXN). Most of the fishing along Conchos River develops in the dams of the region. A combination of factors between water crisis and pollution affects fishing activity. Sadly, the fish population has decreased, being one of the main reasons water pollution.

Trash and plastic pollution

Another problem that impacts the ecosystem of Conchos River is trash and waste. Most of them are plastics residues which are carried by the river along its way. The Conchos River goes through the city of Chihuahua, which is the second most important city in the state, where it received a load of waste. The problem has raised the awareness of the local community such that they started doing cleaning campaigns in some sections of the river. Along with the local effort, other long-term solutions should be applied.

Thus, after the evaluation of local problems, we’re planning to install nets and interceptors along the Conchos River to trap the trash, with the goal of take out from the river as much trash as possible.



In alignment with Liquid Trees' commitment to environmental stewardship, this river bioremediation project support the achievement of these SDGs

Zero Hunger
Microalgae cultivation does not require fertile land.

The water used for the cultivation is returned to the river, providing clean water for irrigation.
Microalgae mitigate eutrophication in water bodies through nutrient uptake, protecting biodiversity.

Microalgae cultivation in rivers can remove organic and inorganic chemicals, including heavy metals, microplastics, and emerging pollutants.

Microalgae promote water quality and enhance dissolved oxygen.
Clean Water and Sanitation
Decent Work and Economic Growth
The operation and maintenance of microalgal cultivation facilities and the river bioremediation project provide job opportunities for locals.
Microalgae effectively capture and fix atmospheric CO2 due to their high photosynthetic efficiency, mitigating GHGs emissions.

Microalgae biological carbon sequestration is a promising and sustainable technology to address global warming and climate change.
SDG 13
Climate Action
SDG 14
Life Below Water
Microalgae have a significant impact on the bioremediation of diffuse pollution and eutrophication mitigation, reducing excessive nutrients and increasing water oxygenation.

Microalgae increase the population of river flora and fauna due to water oxygenation.

Microalgae technology helps to improve and preserve aquatic habitats and promote ecosystem resilience.
The success of the in-situ application of microalgae technology is strongly linked to the collaboration and partnerships between multi-stakeholder groups, policy- and decision-makers.
SDG 17
Partnership for the goal

More than half of all mammals in Borneo live in this project area

This project expands the contiguous habitat of the neighboring national park eastward to the Seruyan River, which local communities rely heavily on for drinking, transportation, and fish stocks. This land preservation provides countless flora and fauna with a natural, undisturbed habitat where they can thrive. Central Kalimantan Peatlands protects the populations of five critically endangered, 12 endangered, and 37 vulnerable species (including 5% of the world’s total population of Orangutans). Other mammals in the area include the Asian Sun Bear, Sunda Pangolin, Clouded Leopard, Proboscis Monkey, Hairy-Nosed Otter and many species of bats.

a big rainforest and the river
Vulnerable species
Tree & plant species
Tree Spotlight


Among the largest near-surface reserves of terrestrial organic carbon, peatlands are made up of organic matter from partially decomposed remains of trees that accumulate to a thickness of 10m+. These forests are also home to a wide range of plant and animal life.


Regular daily patrols cover large expanses of this remote peat swamp on foot and by motorized canoe to prevent illegal activity and conduct a range of biological, resource and social surveys. Working together with project communities has strengthened local ties and support for the project.

Tree Spotlight

Bornean Orangutan

The only great ape outside of Africa, whose populations have declined 95% in the last century, is critically endangered due to human activities. Tanjung Puting National Park (adjacent to the project area) houses one of the largest protected populations.


Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) collaborates with the project on the implementation of forest monitoring, reporting and protection activities on the ground.

Verification Report 2015-2019


Verification Report 2015-2019


Verification Report 2015-2019


Verification Report 2015-2019


Verification Report 2015-2019