Monday, November 29, 2010

Proposals received for the Condado Lagoon restoration; SJBEP at the EPA BOLD; Mangrove planting; Anti-littering campaign

Pictures: Our Citizen Advisory Committee's President, Gretchen Guzmán, offering a Red mangrove planting workshop near the Cucharillas Wetland at the Cataño Municipality; Volunteers planting at one of the selected sites; and a new cigarette butts anti-littering campaign that includes the SJBEP's logo as part of the initiative.

Our weekly update for November 21, 2010 to November 27, 2010 includes the following activities:

1) Another step closer towards the benthic restoration of the Condado Lagoon: A total of seven (7) proposals were submitted for the project “Water Quality Improvement and Seagrass Restoration at the Condado Lagoon”. The proposals were submitted by the following consultant firms: TetraTech, URS, UNIPRO, CMA Architect s & Engineers LLP, AG Environmental PSC, Pedro Panzardi & Associates, and Integrated Global Solutions. A proposal package including the proposal evaluation form was sent to the proposal evaluation committee. The proposal evaluation committee is composed by the following members: Ernesto Diaz, DRNA; Jorge Tous, USACE; Evelyn Huertas, USEPA; Craig Lyllistron, DRNA; and Jorge Bauzá, SJBEP. On December 13, 2010 the committee will meet in the SJBEP’s office to discuss the proposals and to select the contactor for the first phase of what will be one of the main seagrass restoration projects of the island.

2) The San Juan Municipality begins outreach campaign to control dog waste: The Municipality published a full color brochure geared to dog owners with recommendations to keep clean the stormwater system of San Juan from pet feces. The brochure is being distributed to pet owners through a network of veterinary offices, pet shops and related locations. The pollution generated by this kind of waste on the bodies of water is of great concern to the San Juan Bay Estuary Program and to all the organizations of the National Estuary Program.

One of the main outreach initiatives on this topic is the coordinated by the Tampa Bay National Estuary Program. For additional information please follow the link:

3) SJBEP at the Ocean Survey Vessel BOLD:
The San Juan Bay Estuary Program's Coordinator of Water Quality Monitoring, Ernesto M. Olivares, participated in a survey conducted by EPA using sediment bioassays, chemical analysis, SPI and side scan sonar survey technology to asses sediments at the boundary of the common outfall of the Bayamón Regional Waste water Treatment Plant (RWTP), Puerto Nuevo RWTP and the Bacardi Corporation Distillery. Doug Pabst was the chief scientist and team leader of the survey. More information on the BOLD can be accessed through the following site:

4) SJBEP’s first water quality monitoring event at the Isla del Diablo creeks completed: The first water monitoring collection activity at Capetillo's Isla del Diablo creeks was completed thanks to the participation of members of this key community effort. The Capetillo community in coordination with the University of Puerto Rico and CAUCE are cleaning and planting over 2 acres of what used to be a giant illegal dump/ drug trade and smuggling site (from there its name of Isla del Diablo or Devil’s Island). The first signs of a healthy urban forest are already visible. Our organization is collaborating in the restoration of two small creeks that run through the forest.

5) Water Quality Monitoring completed for November: Ernesto M. Olivares and Dr. Jorge Bauzá finished monitoring all stations assigned for November.

6) Communications contract interviews: Javier Laureano interviewed five (5) excellent potential candidates for the communications contract during November 23 and 24, 2010. A final decision must be made by the first weeks of December.

7) The Puerto Rico Water and Environment Association (PRWEA) pledged $2,000 for the PR Water Quality Monitoring Day: As part of an alliance between the PRWEA and the SJBEP, the President of the first entity, Mr. Jaime López, pledged $2,000 for this key annual event in a meeting with Javier Laureano. The PRWEA also offered a free membership to the SJBEP at the Water Environment Federation:

8) SJBEP’s logo at billboard as part of Cigarette Butts Anti-Littering Campaign- The SJBE is collaborating with the local chapter of Keep America Beautiful (Conserva el Encanto de Mi Isla Preciosa) and the PR Tourism Company in a campaign to educate consumers on the harm to the water environment that cigarette litter produces. This week a new billboard was placed at the Baldorioty de Castro Ave and permanent ashtrays were placed at he Escambrón Beach area. Next Saturday, December 4, 2010 volunteers from the San Juan Bay Estuary Program, Scuba Dogs and the Caribe Hilton Hotel will distribute educational materials and portable ashtrays at the Escambrón Beach.

9) SJBEP’s volunteers on mangrove planting event – Our Citizens Advisory Committee President, Gretchen Guzmán, from G Works Inc., and the Corredor del Yaguazo community group, with the support and help of the volunteers of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program planted 1,600 Red Mangrove seeds covering 0.9 lineal mile. For this activity the volunteers used Dr. Jorge Bauzá Technique as the areas impacted are considered low energy coastal zones. Residents were instructed on the whys and benefits of these planting activities since on past events some of the seedlings were torn apart. Water was sampled and analyzed for PH, Dissolved Oxygen and temperature. We thank our Estuary Guardians from the Congregación Mita School for their full support to the event.

10) Estuary’s Green Cinema: The movie "The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas" was screened at the Condado Lagoon Park on November 27, 2010 at the Condado Lagoon Jaime Benítez Park. The trailer can be found at the following site:

IMPORTANT WORKSHOP- Community Vegetable Garden Creation Workshop- The SJBEP and the Huerto, Vivero y Bosque Urbano de Capetillo community group will offer a community vegetable garden creation workshop to our volunteers, stakeholders and community leaders. The activity will take place on December 18, 2010 from 8:30am to 5:00pm To join this marvelous community-based experience, please contact Gladys Rivera at:

Save the Date-EPA’s 40th Anniversary!!-December 10th, 2010- The event will take place at the Inter American University on December 10, 2010 from 8am to 5:30pm. Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator, will highlight EPA’s priorities for the island. For reservations please call Mrs. Brenda Reyes at 787-977-5869

Save the Date-Mangrove Planting this Saturday-!! This Saturday, November 20, 2010 the SJBEP joins Corredor de Yaguazo community organization and Gworks in the continuation of an ongoing collaborative restoration effort to plant red, white and black mangroves at the La Esperanza barrier island in the San Juan Bay. The activity begins at 8:30am For additional information please contact Gladys Rivera at

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stormwater Sampling/ RAE/ TMDL/ Climate Change/ Jueves de Río Piedras/ Planting events

Pictures: Caroline White explains the components of the Harris County Flood Control District, TX; Solar-powered stormwater monitoring station at Harris County; and wetland planting nursery at Armand Bayou Nature Center, TX.

Our weekly update for November 14, 2010 to November 20, 2010 is as follow:

1) SJBEP visited an automatic stormwater sampling station: As part of the Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) 2010 Conference in Galveston, TX, Javier Laureano participated on a key technical field trip in the Harris County Flood Control District where environmental officials installed two Automatic Stormwater Sampling Stations through a contract with PBS&J. The stations are enclosed on a tailor-made structure, and use solar energy to activate it on pluvial events. The samplings include several parameters, including bacteria, and are part of a water quality enhancement wetland project. Attached please find two pictures of the stations. More info: Carolyn White, Project Manager, Stormwater Quality, Harris County Flood Control District:

2) New technique for wetland planting: Also as part of the Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) Conference, the organization representative visited the Armand Bayou Nature Reserve to study the marsh restoration techniques being implemented on the wetlands prairie by volunteers. Mark Kramer, one of the two employees in charge of the restoration and maintenance of the wetlands prairie, presented the Bulrush Baskets Restoration Technique. The technique consists of the planting of wetland vegetation on an enclosed fiber and metal basket, nurtured in a nursery, and then deployed and monitored by volunteers on strategic zones of the wetland associated to the Armand Bayou. For more information please follow the link: Attached please find a picture of the Bulrush Basket. For information on RAE’s Conference:

3) Creation of the “Puerto Rico Watershed Partnership” proposed at RAE: On a Tropical and Sub-Tropical Restoration conference at RAE, Javier Laureano proposed to several federal agencies and Puerto Rico representatives the creation of a new entity where the four federally-sponsored organizations working on watershed restoration on the island can discuss and share their achievements, challenges, and experiences. The main annual output of the Partnership will be the coordination of a workshop or seminar where the partners can offer a presentation and share their knowledge following their experiences on the implementation of their respective organization’s master plan. The four programs to be invited to the Partnership are: Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (JOBANERR): (NOAA); Sea Grant at Mayaguez Bay; San Juan Bay Estuary Program: (EPA) and the Río Loco Watershed Project that has as leading agency the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service: The creation of the initiative’s logo is already on its way. A conference call with the four organizations, NOAA, EPA, and NRCS is being coordinated for the second week of December. Suggestions of additional partners are more than welcomed!

4) SJBEP at TMDL Conference: Dr. Jorge Bauzá is participating this week on the “TMDL 2010: Watershed Management to Improve Water Quality” on Baltimore, Maryland. For more information please follow the link:

5) Pedro A. Gelabert on Climate Change Panel: President Pedro A. Gelabert offered the conference “The Geological Cycle of Climate Change” on November 16, 2010 as part of the “Climate Change and Biodiversity Symposium” organized by the DNER’s Coastal Zone Management Program and NOAA. The presentation will be available on our website’s Scientific Area as of tomorrow.

6) Status of bill PC 1676: Jorge Fernández Porto, Executive Director of the Senate’s Natural Resources Commission, informed Javier Laureano that the bill obtained a positive report with amendments on November 16, 2010. It was submitted to the PR House of Representatives for revision and final vote on the next legislative session that begins on January 2011. For a full tracking of the bill follow this link: and type "PC 1676" at Núm. Medida" field.

7) Estuary’s Green Cinema: The movie "Oceans" was screened at the Condado Lagoon Park on November 13, 2010 with the participation of over 200 attendees. Trailer at: Before the screening a short film produced by the Puerto Rico Waterkeeper was presented and several Girls Scouts groups enjoyed a guided pedal boat trip on the Lagoon as well as an educational workshop with Gladys Rivera, our Outreach Coordinator.

8) SJBEP will participate at EPA’s 40th Anniversary: Carl A. Soderberg invited Javier Laureano to offer a presentation about the importance of the Martín Peña Channel for our CCMP implementation and ecosystem improvement at EPA’s 40th Anniversary. This very special activity will take place at the Inter American University next December 10, 2010.

9) Planting at Finca Virgina Wetland Creation and Mangrove Restoration Project- Last Monday the PR Ports Authority celebrated a mangrove and native species planting event at Finca Virginia. The SBJEP coordinated the participation of a volunteer group of 60 students from the Puerto Rico Music Conservatory (Conservatorio de Música) that joined other groups. The target 1,000 trees planting target was achieved, this in addition to 4,000 mangroves planted last April 7, 2010. This is a 9-million dollars mitigation project being coordinated by PBS&J following our CCMP recommendations.

10) Community Vegetable Garden Creation Workshop- The SJBEP and Huerto, Vivero y Bosque Urbano de Capetillo community group are planning a community vegetable garden workshop at their facilities targeted to our volunteers, stakeholders and community leaders. We are coordinating the date and preparing a list of interested parties and already have 10 persons in it. To join us in this marvelous community-based experience, please contact Gladys Rivera at:

TODAY “JUEVES DE RIO PIEDRAS”: We are proud sponsors of the “Jueves de Río Piedras” community event. As part of this monthly activity, several cultural, environmental and business organizations open their doors at night at the Río Piedras inner city neighborhood with a substantial offering of all sort of activities, including book readings, theater, activities for children, culinary expos, environmental workshops, and many others. Our Estuary’s Green Cinema will present the cartoons short film “Guardianes del Estuario” as well as several short films from young local film producers and directors beginning at 7:00pm on Plaza Robles, just in front of the Río Piedras Metro Station. We congratulate our very appreciated partner Jessabet Vivas, Esq. for the community leadership demonstrated through the organization of the monthly event.

SAVE THE DATE!! EPA’s 40th Anniversary-
December 10th, 2010- The event will take place at the Inter American University on December 10, 2010 from 8am to 5:30pm. Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator, will highlight EPA’s priorities for the island. For reservations please call Mrs. Brenda Reyes at 787-977-5869

SAVE THE DATE-Mangrove Planting this Saturday-!! This Saturday, November 20, 2010 the SJBEP joins Corredor de Yaguazo community organization and Gworks in the continuation of an ongoing collaborative restoration effort to plant red, white and black mangroves at the La Esperanza barrier island in the San Juan Bay. The activity begins at 8:30am For additional information please contact Gladys Rivera at

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SJBEP at National Conference/ Gap analysis revision/ Seagrass restoration project

Pictures: 1) At ANEP 2010 Conference: Judy Kelly, Director, San Francisco Estuary Partnership; Dr. Shelly Luce, Executive Director, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission; and Dr. Bernice Smith, Branch Chief, Coastal Management Branch, EPA. 2) Several beautiful dolphins said hi to attendees at a field trip on the Charlotte Harbor Estuary at ANEP 2010 Conference.

Weekly update for November 7, 2010 to November 13, 2010 is as follow:

2) Red flag on raw sanitary discharge at the Suarez Canal: Captain Omar Orraca sent an email communication with photographs to local reporter Susan Soltero and several environmental leaders, including the SJBEP, to inform about a serious raw sewage discharge on the Suarez Canal, near the Baldorioty de Castro area. The Environmental Quality Board is investigating the claim.

3) CCMP Revision:
Brenda Torres, a member of the Board of Directors and past Executive Director of the SJBEP, expressed Javier Laureano her interest in joining the CCMP revision. We are very grateful since her expertise will be key to the revision of several new CCMP actions. To date Dr. Jorge Ortiz and Mayra Vega have been contracted to draft new actions that will be submitted to the Board of Directors. It is crucial that our stakeholders understand the extent of the CCMP revision. Please, follow the link where you will find the new CCMP actions proposed as an addendum to current document:

4) Looking South of the Watershed:
The SJBEP established several new water quality monitoring stations along the upper side of the SJBE’s watershed and included them to the SJBEP’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. Five (5) monitoring stations were identified with the participation of graduate students from the Inter American University and the Center for Education, Conservation and Environmental Interpretation (CECIA). These new monitoring stations will allow a more comprehensive study of our area through the new chemical, biological, and physical characterization of the fresh water sources. The students will visit the stations monthly in coordination and under the supervision of the SJBE monitoring coordinator, Mr. Ernesto Olivares.

5) New M.Sc. thesis evaluates the mangrove planting techniques implemented in the SJBE: The thesis was submitted to our scientific advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, for revision. Diana Ferro, a graduate student from the School of Environmental Affairs of the Metropolitan University, selected and performed as part of her master in sciences degree, an evaluation of the different planting techniques used for the restoration of mangrove in the SJBE. The thesis revision process done by Dr. Jorge Bauzá is part of the commitment and support provided by the SJBEP to the Academia on research projects regarding environmental issues of the SJBE system.

6) SJBEP at the Geography Information System seminar sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Dr. Jorge Bauzá attended the 9th Conference of GIS Users sponsored by MIT. The objective of the seminar was to demonstrate novel GIS technology and to discuss methods and approaches to GIS projects.

7) Collaboration with Dr. Manuel Cedeño, a seagrass restoration and planting expert: Dr. Manuel Cedeño has been offering expertise and training on seagrass restoration methods to the PR Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the US Fish and Fish Wildlife Services. Our Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, is planning a seagrass restoration pilot project in the Condado Lagoon in collaboration with Dr. Manuel Cedeño.

8) Revision of the draft document “Gap Analysis and Recommendations Report of the Caño Martín Peña (CMP)”. The ecological restoration of the Caño Martín Peña (CMP) is one of the key components of the San Juan Bay Estuary (SJBE) system. As the initial step in the Feasibility Report/EIS process, a Gap Analysis and Recommendations Report was completed with the purpose of identifying and addressing gaps in data, studies, and reports. Our Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, is a member of the technical committee in charge of revising and evaluating the Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement of the CMP.

9) Estuary’s Green Cinema: The movie "Oceans" will be screened at the Condado Lagoon Park on November 13, 2010. Trailer at: Before the screening several Girls Scouts groups will enjoy a guided pedal boat trip on the Lagoon as well as an educational workshop with Gladys Rivera, our Outreach Coordinator.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Small urban forest cut down/ week of alliances/ Caiman management plan

This week update (October 30, 2010 to November 5, 2010) is as follows:

1) Over 40 trees were cut down at the Baldorioty de Castro Avenue/ Parada 18- We are very sad to inform that a wonderful small urban forest that included fully grown native trees was cut down and removed from the Marginal Baldorioty de Castro at Santurce’s Parada 18 area, steps away from EPA’s and SJBEP’s offices.
These trees provided the estuarine ecosystem with vital services, including their function as bio-filters of the stormwater flushed into the Condado Lagoon, as well as key habitat for urban birds, control of motor vehicle-related noise contamination, and CO2 absorption. Javier Laureano contacted the San Juan Municipality and the DNER, but their personnel didn’t have the information on the reasons for the massive tree cut in that critical area of the city and the watershed.
2) Allied of the SJBEP met with Al Gore: During his visit to the Caribe Hilton Hotel Vice President Al Gore recognized Mr. Eddie Ramírez, Caribe Hilton's Procurement and Environmental Sustainability Manager. Mr. Ramírez has been an active collaborator of our Program and is working closely with Gladys Rivera in restoration initiatives involving the Hilton’s employees as well as tourists (as part of Ramírez’s “Voluntourism” project). The Caribe Hilton Hotel is the only hotel of its kind with an active environmental program in the Metropolitan Area. We are very proud to be one of their partners.

3) Meeting at the DNER regarding Caiman invasive species- Dr. Jorge Bauzá and Javier Laureano met with Dr. Miguel García, Dr. Rafael Joglar and Ángel Atienza to discuss the control methods and outreach outlets to be used with the Caiman invasive species presence at highly populated areas. The team also discussed the need to conduct further scientific investigations on these reptiles. Dr. Joglar will submit a proposal to the SJBEP regarding the studies. The group is coordinating a meeting with several community representatives on Wednesday, December 8, 2010.
4) MAPFRE Foundation Award submitted- Javier Laureano completed all forms and narrative requirements for the award and submitted it to Puerto Rico’s MAPFRE corporate offices at Hato Rey. We want to thank Ernesto Díaz from the DNER; Pedro Carrión, Corredor del Yaguazo Community Group; Ramón Lloveras San Miguel, Popular Insurance; Teresita Rodríguez from EPA and Carlos Fernández Lugo, McConnell Valdés for endorsing our nomination. People like you are VITAL to our organization!! For further information please access:

5) Alliance with CECIA- Dr. Bauzá offered a water quality monitoring seminar to CECIA (Centro de Educación, Conservación e Interpretación Ambiental) students at the Inter American University- Metro Campus on Tuesday, November 2, 2010. CECIA students will serve at our organization’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. We want to thank CECIA's Ernesto Otero for his support and collaboration with the SJBEP.

6) Key meeting with Polytechnic University’s President, Ernesto Vázquez Barquet- The Polytechnic University graduates over 400 engineers and technical professionals per year, and produces over 140 research and technical projects and papers annually. After presenting the projects of our organization to Vázquez Barquet, Ernesto Vázquez Martínez, Eng. and Dr. Carlos J. González, Dean of the College of Engineering and Geomatic Sciences, the University’s representatives were very enthusiastic of the proposal of signing a MOU with the SJBEP. Javier Laureano will be discussing the specifics of the MOU with all department directors in a meeting to take place on December 7, 2010. We thank our President, Andrés Salas Soler for facilitating the meeting.

7) Alliance with the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo-MAC- (Museum of Contemporary Art)- This was a week of important alliances, another meeting to promote an alliance was held between Javier Laureano and MAC’s Executive Director, Marianne Ramírez on Thursday, November 4, 2010. Among the projects discussed were Basurarte (TrashArt), estuarine murals at schools, Capetillo community’s tutoring center restoration, Taller Vivo and others.

8) Three high school students “shadowed” Javier Laureano for a day- As part of their Career Day, three students from the Colegio Puertorriqueño de Niñas accompanied Javier Laureano to all his meetings during Thursday, November 4, 2010. We were very glad to host these bright students at our office and answer all their questions during the day. Teresita Rodríguez from EPA facilitated this activity.

9) Girls Scouts at the Estuary: As part of an ongoing relation with San Juan Region’s Girl Scouts: a) One scout troop participated in a ecological day at Bosque de Piñones where they received information and performed several estuary-related activities. B) Several troops will be working in water monitoring and mangrove planting as part of the Ecological Fest Event to be held in March 2011. C) An estuarine merit batch will be created for the Girls Scouts troops. Carlos Fernández Lugo, Secretary of our Board of Directors, facilitated the initial contact with the Girl Scouts.

Estuary Guardians participants and leaders met with Project Coordinator: New participants of the Estuary Guardians Program from de Colegio San Antonio in Río Piedras and Academia Sagrado Corazón of Santurce met with Gladys Rivera at the Condado Lagoon Park for an educational talk and a guided visit to our mangrove restoration site. Students are very exited about the program and leaders are sharing information and experiences to enrich the process. Teachers are also on board and are sharing experiences and transferring technical information.

11) October=Education Fest! In October more that 50 students received orientation and educational materials to complete projects for their Science classes. The students visited our offices or were received in the Red Mangrove restoration site and permanent educational exhibition at the Condado Lagoon. One of the groups, from a nearby public school, Esc. Rafael Cordero, will receive an educational talk tomorrow, Saturday November 6, 2010, at the Jaime Benitez Park.
Save the Date!! EPA’s 40th Anniversary-December 10th, 2010- The Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with an all-day seminar comprised by themes related to Vieques, Recycling and the Martín Peña dredging. The event will take place at the Inter American University on December 10, 2010 from 8am to 5:30pm. Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator, will highlight EPA’s priorities for the island. For reservations please call Mrs. Brenda Reyes at 787-977-5869
Save the Date!! On Saturday, November 13, 2010 the Estuary’s Green Cinema at Jaime Benítez Park presents Disney’s fabulous documentary “Oceans”: As part of the screening, Girls Scouts troops will meet in the afternoon at the park to received an educational talk and to enjoy a pedal boat trip around the Lagoon with our Outreach Coordinator.