The Parana River is a finite and vulnerable resource located in South America. It flows through many countries and sustains the life of a massive variety of flora and fauna. The river has a large history, but despite the size of the river, it only has one legend. People use the river to sustain life and the environment. The Parana many issues that diversely effect people and the habitats the river contains. There is also a number of bridges across the Parana.

Location & Course
The Parana River is the second longest South American river to the Amazon and runs through three countries. The river is formed at the confluence of the Paranaiba River and the Grand River in Southern Brazil. From there the Parana flows southwest for about 619km. then it passes the city of Saltos del Guaira in Paraguay, which was once the location of the Sete Quedas waterfall, where the Parana fell over seven cascades. These waterfalls were flooded by the construction of Itaipu dam, which began in operating in 1984. It merges first with the Paraguay River, then with the Uruguay River further downstream, to form the Rio de la Plata. Further along the river it passes two Hydro-electric power stations – Itaipu dam and Yacireta dam.

Flora & Fauna
The Parana River flows through several ecological zones and supports many different species of flora and fauna. It runs through sub-tropical zones, grasslands and semi-arid forest. Some of the plants are Sauce Criollos, Ceibos, Ingas and Canelons. There are 223 species of fish including the Dorado, Pacu, Surubi and Sabalo. The Sabalo is essential as it forms the bottom of the food chain. There are also many birds, including the Para de Monte Cardenal Azul.

The Parana River was discovered in 1526 by Sebastian Cabot. In 1525, Cabot was on a Spanish ship which intended to develop trade with the Orient, but he diverted to South America due to reports of wealth in the Rio de la Plata region. Three years later he returned to Spain, where was judged responsible for the failure of the expedition, and was banished to Africa as a punishment.

Although the Parana River is huge, it only has one legend related to the river. Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

The Parana River has many uses for both the indigenous and the tourists. The main uses are fishing, irrigation, recreation, tourism, transport and drainage and waste. Fishing is a popular sport on the Parana and is also used by the indigenous for food, the surrounding farms use the river for irrigating their crops, and many boats also use the river for recreational purposes. Cruise boats with tourists on them travel the river, ferries use the water to take people to their destination, and the river receives storm-water with rubbish in it.

The Parana River suffers from three significant issues that diversely effects people, flora, and fauna. One of the three issues is deforestation in the Atlantic Forest. Deforestation has taken more than 90% of the original forest. Today only 7% of forest remains. this is a major threat to flora and fauna. Another issue is murky water, caused by sediment washed from upstream. Most of sediment is caused by deforestation. This makes drinking the water unsafe. The third issue is poor water quality. This can be caused by changes in land management, which can create new water flow patterns.

Links Across the Parana
There are many links across the Parana that link two towns, city’s or countries. There is the Friendship Bridge, which links Cuidad del Este in Paraguay, with Foz do Iguacu in Brazil. There’s the San Roque Gouzalez de Santa Cruz Bridge, that links Posadas, the capital of Misiones Province in Argentina with Encarnacion in Paraguay. There’s also the General Belgrano Bridge links Resistencia, capitol of Chaco with Corrientes, capital of Corrientes. There’s the Hernandarias Subfluvial tunnel that links Santa Fe, which is the capitol of Santa Fe, with Parana, capitol of Entre Rios, underwater. There’s the Rosario-Victoria Bridge that links Rosario in Santa Fe, with Victoria in Entre Rios. There’s finally the Zarate-Brazo Largo Bridge that links Zarate, in Buenos Aires, with the Province of Entre Rios.