In December of 2008 a private company was granted a Concession Agreement by the Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable Dean Barrow, to investigate and construct a hydroelectric facility in one of the core conservation areas of the country, Central River of Bladen Nature Reserve. Belize Hydroelectric Development and Management Company Limited (BHD) began bulldozing roads, clearing helipads and camps, and conducting flow studies on the river in June of 2009. These activities were illegal as the Concession Agreement specifically stated the need to obtain proper permits to enter, let alone bulldoze and clear old growth forest within most restricted and prestine protected areas of the country. Thanks to information from concerned citizens of San Pedro Columbia, Ya'axche Conservation Trust - the organization that is responsible for co-management of Bladen, was able to alert the Forest Department and together pull the company out of the reserve. A damage assessment, conducted in August of 2009 by Ya'axche, the Forest Department, and the Department of Environment recommended a fine of US$62,500 to be imposed on BHD to account for the environmental damages. It was later discovered that a fine of US$16,000 was imposed, although payment has not yet been confirmed.

Despite these infractions, in October of 2009 the Forest Department granted BHD a "research permit", which is intended to allow ecological research, not development feasibility studies.  BHD restarted work in October and again violated the law by breaching terms of its permit specifically landing helicopters, spray painting trees and rocks, and clearing forest unnecessarily. This was discovered on a field trip conducted by concerned citizens from San Pedro Columbia, Ya'axche and Belize Defence Force. 
The area in which this dam is being proposed is recognized as having the highest priority status and is a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) within the Core Protection Area of the Maya Mountain Massif. This unique designation is in part due to several recently discovered amphibian species not previously known in Belize, and some potentially new to science. Significant negative impacts on the habitat of this most highly threatened terrestrial faunal group, as a result of the proposed hydro-electric facility, are therefore of significant national, regional, and even global concern. A more in depth ecological assessment is being conducted by Ya'axche in February of 2010.

Social concerns regarding the dam are as great, if not greater, than ecological. The village of San Pedro Columbia formed a committee to deal with the matter, and the community as a whole passed a resolution calling upon the Government of Belize to revoke the Concession Agreement. BHD has not only violated the law, but they also have a track record with another dam in nearby San Miguel, where lower electricity rates and jobs were promised but not delivered. In addition, San Miguel has experienced negative impacts to its drinking and washing water. The people of San Pedro Columbia are dependent on a healthy river, as well as healthy forests, and they are determined to sustainably protected these resources from irresponsible and ad-hoc development efforts.