top of page


In the summer of 2015, a diverse team of scientists, writers, environmental resource professionals, river guides and a videographer converged for The Maranon Project.  This 30-day river expedition on the headwater stem of the Amazon aimed to better understand the Rio Maranon river system by collecting a baseline data set to characterize the river’s hydrology, geomorphology and invertebrate biology.  The timing of the project is critical, with tens of dams being planned on the Maranon.  While many tributaries to the Amazon are already dammed, the currently free-flowing Maranon provides one of the last critical connections between the Andean highlands and the Amazonian lowlands -- a link that is essential for the environmental resources and communities of the Maranon as well as the larger Amazon basin.  Our science-adventure team ran 620 kilometers through the upper and inner gorges, through the lower lying plains and into the jungle pongos of the Rio Maranon.  Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Amazon,” the Maranon’s nearly continuous Class 2-5 whitewater lived up to its name.


The Maranon Project has a joint science and outreach mission with three principal goals: 

1) collect a baseline hydrologic, geomorphologic and biologic data set of this poorly understood remote region.  

2) Instigate a precedent for data collection on remote river systems subject to future development so that resource management decisions can use data-driven science as part of the decision making process.

3) Record our experience and the Maranon river corridor through a professional quality film which is aimed at raising international awareness and providing a voice to the voiceless river system currently at stake.  


National Geographic has generously supported the science exploration aspects of The Maranon Project.  

Please consider supporting our outreach efforts through donations that can be made by credit card here:





The currently free-flowing Marañón River is not only important for the cultural and ecological health of Peru but is also the mainstem source of the Amazon River.  Starting in the Andes Mountains, it cuts through a canyon twice the depth of the Colorado River’s Grand Canyon and nurtures the rain forests of the Amazon basin.  As the energy demands of Peru increase, the Marañón River faces over 20 proposed megadam projects, two of which have already been approved.  The energy created by the proposed dams has been slated to power Peruvian coal mines and in large be exported out of the country.  Any one of these dams would cause the first major break in connectivity between the Andean headwaters and the Amazonian flood plain. 




Our mission is to collect baseline data and document the natural and cultural resources that may be at risk from hydropower development on the Río Marañón.




We believe the best decisions are informed decisions. As proposed hydropower projects are discussed on the Maranon and other rivers around the world, the impacts to the natural environment and under-represented communities need to be better evaluated, so they can be considered as part of the decision making process.




We intend to collect a baseline pre-development data set regarding critical river health parameters potentially impacted by hydropower development, while video documenting our 30-day raft voyage on the currently free-flowing Marañón River.  






Alice Hill


Alice Hill is a water resource engineer and PhD student at the University of Colorado 

researching climate change induced water vulnerabilities in mountain areas.  She also brings extensive expedition experience having worked as a whitewater and mountaineering instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) from New Zealand and Patagonia to Norway and Alaska, as well as a commercial river guide in South and Central America, Tasmania and the western USA.

Jaime Goode

Fluvial Geomorphologist

Jaime Goode is a river guide, turned kayaker and fluvial geomorphologist with a Ph.D. from Colorado State University. In her current position — Assistant Professor of Geosciences at The College of Idaho — Jaime focuses on strong undergraduate teaching in Environmental Studies while maintaining a field-based research program framed by a central question: How does Earth’s surface, and the processes that shape it, respond to the external drivers of climate change and land use across different spatial and temporal scales and what are the implications for ecosystems and society? The Maranon Project is a perfect fit!  

Jorge Peralta


Jorge Peralta is a biologist of San Marcos National University from Lima, Peru.  He collaborates with the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum of San Marcos National University. During his career I have been interested in the ecology and taxonomy of aquatic insects of Peru, especially aquatic Heteroptera and Coleoptera, because there are few studies about them.

Christian Martin

Writer & Photographer

Christian has led many extended wilderness expeditions with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) where he is the current Assistant Director of the NOLS New Zealand branch. He is also an experienced environmental planner and a published freelance outdoor writer and photographer.

Jen-ai Stokesbary

Jen-ai is most at home exploring river canyons. She has led whitewater trips and expeditions in the US, Japan, and Belize and is interested in the human history surrounding river corridors. An impact-entrepreneur at heart, Jen-ai is looking forward to connecting with locals and exploring ways communities along the Maranon might be supported through business. Outside of enjoying the outdoors, Jen-ai spends time working with the amazing team at Boulder Organic Foods to bring easy organic eats to folks in the US and building a USA made paddle apparel brand.  

Ricardo Barera Bau

Ricardo is a Chilean doctor living in Futaleufú, Chile. He has been kayaking for 10 years with a strong connection to rivers. His relationship to Peru began in childhood and was strengthened during his year spent in the Amazon. He believes that maintaining healthy and balanced ecosystems is key to community health and human development

Chris "Sunshine" Edwards

Chris has spend the last 10 years guiding river trips on the Arkansas River in Colorado and the Gauley River in West Virginia. He has lead multiple trips down some of the classic rivers in the Western U.S such as the Grand Canyon, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Yampa, Gore Canyon and the Upper Animas River. In the winter he guides multi-day backcountry ski trips based out of yurts in the Wallowa Mountains of Oregon. Ski mountaineering trips in the spring in Alaska's Wrangell s St Elias, Valdez, Denali National Park to Chamonix, and La Grave. Late summer ski trips to Chile and Argentina. Chris has a degree in Outdoor Education from Colorado Mountain College and is currently pursuing his certification with the American Mountain Guides Association. 

Nancy Moore

Nancy is a lifelong student of the mountains.  Originally from Ohio, she has a background in education, community organizing, program management, environmental writing, and Spanish.  Nancy has an M.S. from the University of Montana and currently lives in Chilean Patagonia where she teaches yoga.

Dr. Florencia Trama


Dr. Florencia Trama is a biologist with a PhD in water resources, a master’s degree in Management and Conservation of Wildlife and a specialization in sustainable sanitation. She has spent the last 10 years dedicated to educating target groups about aspects of education, research, and conservation. She has worked with wetlands and specialized in monitoring water quality using aquatic invertebrates. She has published several papers about macroinvertebrates and water pollution in Argentina, Costa Rica and Peru. Together with Stefany Salcedo, has produced the first identification manual of macroinvertebrates for Peru.

Diana Silva

Curator of the Arachnida, Myriapoda and Onychophora collection kept at the Museo de Historia Natural of San Marcos National University

Diana Silva received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. After a few years doing postdoctoral work at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, she came back to Peru. Currently, she is the curator of the Arachnida, Myriapoda and Onychophora collection kept at the Museo de Historia Natural of San Marcos National University, Lima, Peru. Her work is focused on the taxonomy, phylogeny, diversity, biogeography and conservation of ctenoid spiders. In addition to that, she inventories Peruvian spiders hoping to elucidate biogeographic patterns in collaboration with my entomologist colleagues. On this regard, she was highly interested in the trip along the Marañon river which appears to form unique sets of ecosystems concentring highly endemic groups of plants and animals and this trip was a unique opportunity to  access difficult places and get some representatives of these groups.

Please reload

Natalie Kramer Anderson

Fluvial Geomorphologist

Natalie is a Fluvial Geomorphologist PhD Candidate at Colorado State University and professional whitewater kayaker.  Her research is primarily focused on biophysical interactions and processes along rivers and shorelines.   She is experienced researching high volume rivers at large spatial scales using oblique aerial images and field photographs. In addition to her science she is recognized as one of the top female whitewater kayakers in the world and grew up rafting, commercially rowing rafts down big water runs such as the Grand Canyon and Middle Fort Salmon. She absolutely loves science and big water. 


Stefany Gustavson Salcedo

Environmental Engineer

Stefany Gustavson Salcedo was born in Oxapampa province of Peru. She is na environmental engineer with studies in Daniel Alcides Carrion National University, and BA in Environmental Sciences. She has conducted research on benthic macroinvertebrates for water quality bioindication, and has published the "Manual identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates in the watershed San Alberto - Oxapampa ." She specializes in studies of management and analysis of the landscape and environmental impact assessments. Currently she is working on issues related to watershed management, ecosystem services, forest recovery systems and water quality monitoring.

Ben Griffin

Solar Energy Expert

Ben joins the Maranon trip from Colorado. After his Peace Corps service in Ecuador, Ben became a co-owner at Namaste Solar in Boulder where he works as a Commercial Project Developer. Ben believes in keeping rivers wild and hopes his international and solar experience helps contribute to a successful trip on the Maranon!

Henry Worobec

Producer & Videographer

Henry is an award-winning filmmaker and published writer out of Bozeman, MT with backgrounds in skiing, rafting, and backcountry medicine.  He focusses his creative energy on highlighting environmental issues with action sports.

Tomas Binimelis

River Guide

Originally from Chile, where the Futaleufu served as his “school," Tomas has travelled various continents in search of rivers and adventure. Inspired and proud of Patagonia he has decided to return there to set down roots in the place he considers home. These days Tomas manages an outdoor adventure company in Futaleufu, Chile where he is involved with the local community in its efforts to prevent future large-scale dams and mining in the area.

Nathaniel Mack

River Guide

Nathaniel spent his early years in the Appalachians and has explored, guided, and kayaked throughout the US and much of Central and South America. He presently lives in Patagonia where he splits his time between Argentina and Chile. Nathaniel built and runs a hostel in Futaleufu, Chile where he also teaches kayaking and has been an outdoor/cultural guide for the last ten years. In Argentina he is continuing to discover his roots and is looking forward to repurposing and giving life to his Argentine grandparent’s old dairy barn. One of his biggest accomplishments to date is having convinced love to follow him south.

James "Rocky" Contos

Trip Outfitter and Consultant

I am director of SierraRios and an avid kayaker, rafter, explorer, and activist. I have paddled nearly every river in Mexico (including >120 first descents of ~8000 km of river and >50,000 m of drop) and many others in Central America and Peru. In 2012 I discovered the true source of the Amazon, paddled all the headwaters of the Amazon and then completed the journey to the Atlantic, making the first complete descent of the Amazon River. I offer guiding services for the Upper Amazon. I've published one guidebook to rivers in Mexico and am working on two others to cover the rest of Mexico, as well as one for Peru. I've written many articles on various rivers. I realize what precious resources the free-flowing rivers are in Latin America, and have witnessed their destruction. I founded SierraRios with the goal of protecting the precious rivers in Latin America.

Jesse Burns

Jesse is a WV mountain kid obsessed with running new rivers, skiing powder, and truck camping across the continent. He has been a commercial raft guide for 10 years in Colorado and West Virginia and has moved all over the US to drop off waterfalls and smash giant hydraulics. Jesse loves world travel and has spent considerable time in Europe and West Africa. He spent 5 months in Senegal learning indigenous languages and using ethnographic methods to do social research. Jesse has a BA in French and just finished the MBA program at the University of Colorado in Boulder. 

Robyn Scher

Robyn is joining the Maranon Project team with nine years of whitewater experience.  She Splits her time between commercial raft guiding and a full time pediatric intensive care nurse at Denver's Childrens Hospital.  Traveling around the world and doing what you love is something Robyn tries to take full advantage of. Rafting in Costa Rica, climbing in Croatia, snowboarding in Switzerland and multiple medical volunteer trips to Africa has given the motivation to keep exploring new places in the world. 

Please reload

bottom of page