When the Panama Canal was built environmental impacts were obviously not even considered an issue. Rivers were diverted to create Lake Gatun and caused a lack of water in the east of Panama. Because eastern Panama relied most heavily on rivers for their water, farmland became arid forcing most of the locals to the west. Also, with the creation of Lake Gatun, many acres of pristine rainforest were flooded and destroyed. Because there was no data before the construction of the canal, it is impossible to determine how many species were displaced or may have even gone extinct as a result of its construction.
A lot of land was destroyed during the building of the Panama Canal as it cut the canal through the center of the country.
One interesting thing about the lochs in the Panama Canal…there is a seasnake found in the Pacific that is venomous and lives almost entirely in the water. It rarely bites, but is a snake. The people in the Atlantic, including many tourism locations on the islands in the Carribean, did not want the snake to enter the Atlantic and be found near their islands. The lochs have been left in the Panama Canal to help adjust the ship between the oceans, but has also helped to keep the snake out of the Atlantic for the most part. This is an example how it may have helped ecologically!
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