Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Poetry in the Estuary; Fish census; Workshop for volunteers; Climate change conference; CAC meeting; Newspaper article on oysters; License plate

Photos: Poetry in the Estuary; Estuary Guardians monitoring event; recruitment workshop for new volunteers.

Update: October 29 to November 18, 2011

Poetry in the Estuary Workshop, ample news coverage: On November 15, 2011, our organization, in alliance with the Salón Literario Libro América, began a series of workshops on the bodies of water of our ecosystem. This initiative is part of our ecological literacy campaign, and obtained ample media coverage, including TV, newspaper and radio interviews, as follow:

El Nuevo Día:


Estuario TV:


Atabey Magazine:


Prensa Comunitaria:


Junte Ambiental:


The SJBEP performs sub-aquatic cleanup and visual fish census in our Condado Lagoon artificial reef trail: On October 26, 2011, the SJBEP led an underwater cleanup and fish population census with members of the 4-H Club of Cataño. Twenty-eight 4-H volunteers participated in this activity. Different tasks were assigned according to the age and experiences of each participant. More than 50 pounds of aquatic debris were removed and 24 species of tropical fish identified, including the invasive lionfish.

New series of workshops to recruit volunteers; Univisión interviews staff: On November 2, 9, and 17, the SJBEP offered environmental restoration, education, and water quality monitoring workshops for new volunteers. We were able to recruit 30 new volunteers for our projects. We want to thank all our volunteers for their exceptional work in support of the restoration of our urban ecosystem.

Susan Soltero from Univision helped us to spread the word through TV interviews with Javier Laureano and Jorge Bauzá on November 15 and 17 for the morning (“Tu Mañana”) and noon versions of her environmental and weather segments.

Active participation of the SJBEP in the Climate Change Caribbean Conference: Members of the staff of the SJBEP attended the “Climate Change in the Caribbean 2011: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Conference” held November 15 and 16, 2011, at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Law. Dr. Jorge Bauzá participated as group discussion facilitator for the Marine and Coastal Ecology Concurrent Session “Impact to Wetlands.”

New scientific article published in El Nuevo Día about our oyster restoration project: On November 9, 2011, an article entitled: “Native oyster: more than a delicacy,”
written by our Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, was published in the El Nuevo Día newspaper. This major media outlet of Puerto Rico has a weekly circulation of more than 1.7 million readers.

The article describes our community-based native oyster restoration and water quality project in the Condado Lagoon. The objective of this project is to transplant mangrove oysters (Crassostrea rhizophorae) and flat tree oysters (Isognomon alatus) into the Condado Lagoon in order to improve the water quality of the system and foster educational/outreach activities.

To read the article please go to the following link:


CAC meeting, the first step in the design of our annual Work Plan: As agreed last year with the members of the committee, we are organizing our Citizens Advisory Committee meetings among the participants’ facilities. On November 16, 2011, we met at Enlace del Caño Martín Peña public corporation. We convened this key advisory group as the first step in the design of our annual Work Plan. Community leaders shared with us their concerns and needs, which we will convey to our Board of Directors, and which will take a central role in the discussions of our budget and work plan design.

Key presentation to the Island’s auto distributors: As part of our special license plate launching campaign, Javier Laureano made a presentation on November 18, 2011, to all the auto distributors of the Island. The business representatives were very enthusiastic about our new license plate and promised to buy it for their dealers across Puerto Rico. The presentation took place in the office of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works.

Another Estuary’s Cinema: On November 13, 2011, we presented another screening of our Estuary’s Cinema at the Condado Lagoon. We want to thank all the public that is attending the activity every second and fourth Saturday of the month, as well as EPA and the Twentieth Century Fox corporation for their support.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dunes; PC 1676; SJBEP Educational Exhibit; Sediment management; ANEP; Benthic restoration; Estuary Guardians

Pictures from the Piñones dunes restoration activity that took place in October 22, 2011.

Our highlights for October 16 to October 28, 2011, are as follows:

A new phase of the Piñones dunes restoration began this month – Banco Popular employees and Liga Atlética Policíaca serve as volunteers: The Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the SJBEP joined efforts once more to help save the Piñones dunes. The strategy consisted of planting more than 300 coconut trees to help the dunes resist the high wind events typical of the end of the year along the Northern coast of Puerto Rico. The activity took place in October 22, 2011.

Follow the link for our EstuarioTV's coverage of the event:


We thank the Corporate Communications Department employees of Banco Popular for their support in the planting. The 300 coconut trees were available thanks to the efforts of another group of volunteers from the Liga Atlética Policíaca (Athletic League of the Police). They recovered the trees from areas of the Piñones Forest where the possibilities for growing were lessened by several factors.

PR House of Representatives votes “no” to the Senate’s version of PC 1676: This is a bill to turn the SJBEP’s Implementation Committee into a group created by law. After unanimous bipartisan approval of the bill in the House of Representatives in 2010, the Senate performed amendments to its text that were unacceptable to the House. The Senate is currently in the process of negotiating with the House to modify the bill and re-send it for approval.

SJBEP included in the redesign and rehabilitation of the Acuaexpreso Port project announced by the Governor: In a press conference held October 27, 2011, by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Hon. Luis Fortuño Burset, the Executive Director of the Maritime Transportation Authority, Ferdinand Cedeño, announced the inclusion of an educational exhibit in the new Acuaexpreso facilities. Javier Laureano, Executive Director of the SJBEP, and Evelyn Huertas, EPA’s Program Manager of the SJBEP, participated in the press conference.

Sediment management options discussed for the dredging of the Martín Peña Channel: As part of the ongoing commitment of our organization to the rehabilitation of the Martín Peña Channel and its communities, on Friday, October 14, Dr. Jorge Bauza participated in a meeting to discuss this difficult issue. It was agreed that, due to the volume of sediments, more than one disposition alternative will have to be evaluated, including a permanent upland placement site.

Thousands of readers mark “like” in response to one of our scientific educational articles: The article “The Condado Lagoon: the restoration of an aquatic urban ecosystem,” written by Jorge Bauza, was published in the Atabaey Magazine http://www.revistaatabey.com in the October-December issue. Since its release on October 17, over 2500 people have clicked the “like” icon for the article.

SJBEP present at the Association of the National Estuary Program’s Annual National Conference 2011: Cathy Ortiz and Javier Laureano participated in the conference. We congratulate Shelley Luce and the team from the Santa Monica Bay NEP for a remarkable event, which took place from October 16-20, 2011, in Los Angeles, CA.

Brown bag presentation to the University of Puerto Rico’s IGERT associates: Our Scientific Advisor offered the talk “Enhancing and monitoring the San Juan Bay Estuary: Lessons learned from an urban estuary” at the UPR on October 19, 2011. The thirty attendees consisted mostly of graduate students and faculty members related to the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT). This is part of a National Science Foundation proposal endorsed by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program and granted to the UPR.

Another important step towards the benthic (bottom) restoration of the Condado Lagoon: Representatives from the SJBEP, USACE, and the PR Ports Authority met on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, in order to discuss a cooperative agreement between the represented parties for the benthic restoration of the Condado Lagoon. The SJBEP and the USACE agreed to develop a Project Management Plan which will contain the scope of the project, project implementation description, responsible parties, and their duties. The project is scheduled for the next San Juan Harbor maintenance dredging, in 2015.

NSF awards $5 million to SJBEP-endorsed grant proposal: On September 9, 2011, the National Science Foundation awarded a five-year grant of $5,000,000 to the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus for the creation of the Puerto Rico Center for Environmental Neuroscience.

As part of the granting process, the SJBEP provided a letter of support for the project, and met several times with its proponents. The SJBEP will provide field support and technical assistance to the graduate students funded by the grant. Dr. Jorge Bauza and Ernesto Olivares met with Dr. Loretta Robertson, PI of the project, to coordinate a first field visit to collect blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus).

Estuary Guardians of Barrio Obrero understand their relationship with the Martín Peña Channel: In an interactive educational talk to twelve students, a special moment occurred when we showed them an aerial photo of the Martin Peña Channel, which the students did not recognize. For the first time they were able to understand their relationship with this water body. At the end of the talk, 100% of the students demonstrated that they had learned what an estuary is, versus only 1 person who demonstrated this knowledge at the beginning of the talk. Gladys Rivera from the SJBE and Roberto Morales from Enlace Corporation were the resources for this talk.


Trainings to become volunteers for the San Juan Bay Estuary Program:

November 2 – For persons interested in habitat restoration.

November 9 – For those interested in education and workshops.

November 17 – For people interested in water quality monitoring.

Two sections will be available each day, at 10 am and 5 pm. All training will be offered at our office. For more information please send an email to grivera@estuario.org

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Martín Peña Recicla, La Esperanza cleanup and planting, New plant nursery at Piñones Forest, Estuario TV, Vegetable gardens, Harmful blooming

Pictures: Cleanup and planting event with MillerCoors employees; SJBEP receives a donation of $5,000 from the corporation; Old Navy employees working in the Piñones Forest; Eutrophication event in the San José Lagoon.

Our highlights for October 1 to October 15, 2011 are as follow:

1) Martín Peña Recicla strengthens its recycling capacity thanks to SJBEP’s support: In December of 2010, the SJBEP contracted a carrier to help the community-based organization “Martín Peña Recicla” to pick up recyclables from homes and transport them to recycling businesses.

This week we are proud to say that we received a report from the organization detailing the amount of material recycled each month of its fiscal year, from October, 2010, to September, 2011. We can gladly announce that our support helped the organization strengthen its carrying capacity, almost doubling it.

2) Successful cleanup, planting, and monitoring activity in la Esperanza islet: For the last six years, the SJBEP has conducted its annual cleanup of the islet of la Esperanza. On Saturday, October 1st, 2011, we managed to clean up most of the garbage accumulated on the islet over the previous year, with the help of Corredor del Yaguazo and MillerCoors employees. Volunteers monitored water quality parameters and planted various species of coastal trees, such as sea grapes and white mangrove. The event was covered by local newspaper Primera Hora and served as the headlining story for our very first edition of Estuario TV.

Special thanks to MillerCoors for helping us fund this enterprise and to all the volunteers who donated their time and energy to help make this activity a great success.


3) Meeting with the Office of the Governor to present the Condado Lagoon seagrass restoration project: Last Wednesday, October 5th, the SJBEP’s Executive Director, Javier Laureano, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, and contractor Fernando Pagés Rangel from TetraTech met with the Governor’s Environment, Energy, and Infrastructure Advisor in La Fortaleza. The purpose of the meeting was to present the results of the studies and design of the project to fill the artificial depressions and restore the seagrass bed of the Condado Lagoon.

4) New plant nursery at Piñones Natural Reserve thanks to the work of Old Navy Stores Employees: In October 5, 2011, fifty-three employees of Old Navy stores of Puerto Rico participated in this event in which a new plant nursery was created. This plant nursery will serve as a working area for the community, students, and volunteers of the SJBE to plant seeds from Cobana Negra and mangrove trees. Cobana Negra is a native endangered tree found only in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, and one adult tree is found in this forest. Volunteers also planted Cobana Negra and Emajaguilla trees in the area. We want to thank Herminio Díaz, Biologist from the DRNA, who is responsible for the Piñones Reserve, for his collaboration with Gladys Rivera for the event.

5) 4H Group Ready for a sub-aquatic cleanup at artificial reef restoration site: An enthusiastic group of participants from 4H Clubs in Cataño received an educational talk by Gladys Rivera and Jorge Bauzá in preparation for the 1st sub-aquatic cleanup activity by this group with the SJBE. Given the importance of this event for the conservation of the artificial reefs of the Condado Lagoon, special emphasis was given by Dr. Bauzá to the understanding of coral reefs restoration.

6) Corporación Enlace and Barrio Obrero area school to join Guardianes del Estuario School Water Quality Monitoring Project: As part of SJBEP’s collaborative efforts with Corporación Enlace, they identify a school in the Caño Martín Peña area that will join Guardianes del Estuario. The Ernesto Ramos Antonini School is a public school located in Barrio Obrero. On October 11th, Gladys Rivera met with teacher Ricardo Herrera and Roberto Morales from Enlace to introduce the project and coordinate an educational talk for the students that will be held on October 18. We thank Enlace for their interest in adopting this initiative as part of their environmental educational effort in their communities.

7) Harmful algae blooming in the San José Lagoon: Last week, our Water Quality Program Coordinator, Ernesto Olivares, registered a harmful algae blooming on the San José Lagoon. An episode such as this is known as eutrophication and it is indicative of a high content of nutrients, such as nitrites and phosphates, most likely due to a non-point source of pollution.

8) SJBEP serves as point of contact between schools for the development of vegetable gardens: On Monday, October 4th, 2011, Javier Laureano held a meeting in Central High School’s Vegetable Garden as a first step for the development of a garden at Saint John’s School. Héctor Rivera, horticultural expert from the USDA, was present at the meeting and offered his insight on the project’s feasibility. The initiative forms part of SJBEP’s effort to develop an efficient cooperative of school and urban gardens.

9) SJBEP launches Estuary Television: We are proud to announce that the SJBEP has officially launched its very own T.V. channel on Youtube.com. Through it we will broadcast videos reporting on the SJBEP’s latest endeavors and undertakings, as well as other educational material. Click on the following link to access Estuario TV’s homepage: http://www.youtube.com/user/Estuarinos?feature=mhee

10) Estuary’s Cinema presented “Cocoon”: Last Saturday, October 8th, 2011, Estuary’s Cinema screened yet another edition of its open air cinema by the Condado Lagoon. This time we presented Ron Howard’s sci-fi classic “Cocoon.” The film was preceded by the official launching of Estuario TV.

Save the date:

In Puerto Rico we have lost 90% of our sand dunes, a key resource that helps protects the island from coastal erosion, storm surges, and even tsunamis. Next Saturday, October 22, at 9:00 am, at Piñones State Park, help us preserve the ones we have left. Please volunteer.

Click on the following link to view the SJBEP’s calendar of activities for the month of October: http://estuario.org/calendario.php

Friday, September 30, 2011

Capetillo Urban Forest reborn; SRF; Guachinanga dredging; STAC meeting; Indicators; New weather station; Martín Peña sanitary sewer

Prof. Vicenty from the Central High School of Visual Arts in her Vegetable Garden; Students from the San Ignacio School removing pvc tubes from our Red mangrove restoration site; Capetillo Urban Forest reborn!

Our update for September 7 to September 30, 2011, is as follows:

1) Very hard work pays off: Capetillo’s Urban Forest reborn: Thanks to our contractor from Ambienta, Inc., and the efforts of the community and Dr. Germán Ramos, in only one week, from September 23 to September 30, 2011, most of the trees torn down by hurricane Irene were cut and piled aside, and others were used to create new interpretative trails. Several berms were created to improve the water quality of the two creeks of the forest, and over 200 new plants were planted along the edges of the creeks and over the berms. We want to thank Dr. Germán Ramos for his leadership and example of hands-on work with his students, and our contractor from Ambienta, Walter Soler, for all his hard work in the cleanup and enhancement of this community project.

2) State Revolving Funds: Making the case to promote the San Juan Bay Estuary as a priority zone: In a public hearing conducted at the facilities of the Environmental Quality Board on September 21, 2011, at 9:30 am, Javier Laureano discussed the importance of our ecosystem and its links to public health and the economy of the island. The Program is presenting an SRF proposal to study the specific sites in the watershed where sewage water discharges are occurring. The study will work as a blueprint for identifying the infrastructure needed to improve the water quality of the Metropolitan Area of Puerto Rico.

3) Guachinanga island dredging: The Program has been working on the agreements needed to begin the bidding process, in October, 2011, for dredging a small segment of this small island that is currently attached to the Cantera Peninsula by sediments and debris. The activity will improve water quality and circulation in this axis of the San José Lagoon. On September 20, 2011, Javier Laureano met with Joshua Galarza, Esq., Director of DNER’s Legal Office, in order to discuss the main contributions to the project from the DNER. All requests from the SJBEP were met.

4) Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee meeting, October 14, 2011: Eng. Fernando Pagés from TetraTech presented the major findings regarding the Condado Lagoon benthic and seagrasses restoration project. Several implementation and restoration ideas were discussed by the STAC. As a part of the meeting, we welcomed Mr. José Rivera, from NOAA, as a new STAC member.

5) New weather station to be installed in Río Piedras by Dr. Pablo Méndez from the University of Puerto Rico: On September 23, 2011, the Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, met with Dr. Méndez and identified Las Curias, on the upper side of the SJBE’s watershed, as the best place to operate the weather station. The meteorological data collected by this instrument will be crucial for the analysis, interpretation, and modeling of water quality data.

6) New phase of the Red Mangrove restoration site in the Condado Lagoon: On September 28, 2011, the outreach coordinator, Gladys Rivera, the scientific advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, and high school students from Colegio San Ignacio removed old pvc tubes from the Condado Lagoon’s Red Mangrove restoration site. One-hundred-thirteen empty, worn, pvc tubes used for the implementation of the Reily Encapsulated mangrove planting technique were removed from the site. However, approximately 350 red mangroves trees, from 3 to 4 feet tall, are still growing well as part of this planting effort.

7) Update from our Estuarine indicators: The report entitled Estuarine Environmental Indicators for the San Juan Bay Estuary: Assessment of Sediments and Fish Tissue Contaminants was submitted by Dr. Ernesto Otero, from the UPR Mayagüez campus, on September 29. This report contains the results and conclusions of the fish tissue and sediment contaminants study performed at 18 stations in the San Juan Bay Estuary.

8) The Estuary: a new experience for middle school students: On September 9, thirty students from the Hossana Academy in Carolina experienced for the first time a school field trip focused on the environment and science. Our Outreach Coordinator, Gladys Rivera, offered the group an educational talk and a guided tour through the Black Mangrove forest of the Piñones Nature Reserve. Water quality monitoring was performed as well.

9) International Coastal Cleanup: SJBE joined the Scuba Dogs Society’s efforts during this event. Fifty SJBE volunteers participated in the cleanup activities on September 17, 2011, at Bayview in Cataño. Students, 4H members, parents, and a community leader from the area joined Gladys Rivera to collect more than 1,000 pounds of sub-aquatic debris. We thank 4H Club of Cataño leader Patricia Rosa; Congregación Mita teacher Dana Pérez, and Bay View community leader Don Vicente for their collaboration.

Other communities of the SJBE participated in the cleanup, including Parque la Esperanza in Cataño, two sites on the Río Piedras river, the Chiclana creek, Ocean Park, the Condado Lagoon, the Escambrón beach, Isla Verde, and several other areas in the Piñones community.

10) Interagency team created for sewer cleanup in the Martin Peña Communities: Community groups organized by G-8, Inc., and the Enlace Corporation invited representatives from EPA, SJBEP, Environmental Quality Board, San Juan Municipality, PRASA, NR&ED, and PR Community office to join efforts to clean sewers in the communities affected by flooding. A field technical visit held September 16 and a meeting September 23 were sufficient to make a plan and begin the field work.

The week of September 26, the San Juan Municipality and PRASA began the cleanup activities that will continue until all identified areas are covered. Gladys Rivera and Jorge Bauzá represented the SJBEP and offered support in the Outreach and Scientific areas. Congratulations to community leaders of G8, Inc., and Enlace Corporation for this initiative.

11) Welcome new Estuary Guardians school groups: We welcome Adolfina Irizarry de Puig School in Toa Baja and the Central High School of Visual Arts School in San Juan as our new Estuary Guardian members. Toa Baja’s school will be monitoring the West side of the San Juan Bay, and Central High will monitor the East side. We thank the collaboration of the Department of Education Regional Science Coordinator, Ruth Rosa, in adopting this project for the Toa Baja’s school, and the science teachers who will be working with the Guardians in both schools.

12) Another crowded Estuary’s Cinema screening: The September 24, 2011, screening of the blockbuster “Australia” was a hit in our Estuary’s Cinema project in the Condado Lagoon Park. More than 300 people attended the show, where we also presented educational material about the SJBE.

13) Alliance with the Central High School’s Vegetable Garden- Thanks to the activities of current Work Plan, the SJBEP was able to support the Central High’s Vegetable Garden with the purchasing of planting tools for the students, wood, seeds, and other materials needed for their garden. Teacher Vicenty is the leader of the initiative in the school, where already 100 students are working with great enthusiasm. The School is now part of our Estuary Guardians.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Update for August 16, 2011 to September 6, 2011

Sanitary overflow corrected after SJBEP's filed complaint; Capetillo Urban Forest devastated by Hurricane Irene; Trash overflow in the Condado Lagoon cleaned after SJBEP's asked for help; Beach impacted by sanitary overflow.

1) 1,500 Melaleuca seedlings removed from wetland restoration site before Hurricane Irene’s landfall in PR: In 2009 the SJBEP removed over 10,000 invasive species of Melaleuca quinquenervia trees from a wetland known as La Marina. Since the beginning of 2011 we have been in charge of the maintenance of the wetland and, as part of this process, our contractors from Ambiental, Inc., removed 1,500 seedlings from the site. The hurricane would have had the effect of scattering the seeds of the species into the wetland and repopulating it with Melaleuca, affecting its hydrological process.

2) Capetillo Community Urban Forest devastated by Hurricane Irene, SJBEP to contribute in restoration efforts: Jorge Bauzá, Javier Laureano, and Walter Soler visited the forest on August 30, 2011, and found that most of the trees and vegetation were down. The same day, the SJBEP met with the community representatives and communicated with the Department of Natural Resources to draft a plan to restore the forest.

Walter Soler, our contractor, began pruning and planting new species on September 7, 2011.

3) SJBEP conducts chemical water analysis after Irene to monitor impacts on water quality: From August 22 - 27, 2011, the SJBEP conducted a physical, biological, and chemical monitoring of the ecosystem to assess the impact of the storm on the SJBE. Some of the suspected affected parameters include fecal coliform, enterococus, turbidity, and chlorophyll-a.

4) Popular, Inc. to sponsor SJBEP’s educational exhibit and vegetable gardens: Our Board’s Bank and Finance Chair – Ramón Lloveras San Miguel – and Javier Laureano, met with representatives from the Banco Popular to propose an alliance for the launching of SJBEP’s educational exhibit “Unknown Species that Inhabit Our City.” As part of the proposal, both organizations will create two vegetable gardens.

Since 2003 the organization and Popular, Inc. have been in dialogue to organize an exhibit of the Estuary, and we are thankful to Carmen Lidin and Teruca Rullán for their support of this idea through the years and this rewarding conclusion for all parties.

5) Condado Lagoon Park affected by trash overflows, cleaned after SJBEP call for help: Due to its proximity to one of the best-kept estuarine bodies of water, this is a very ecologically sensitive park. In the Condado Lagoon there are frequent sightings of manatees, starfish, stingrays, and even seahorses. Since this park is in the middle of an administrative transition from the Puerto Rico Park Company to the hands of the San Juan Municipality, trash is rarely picked up and security guards have abandoned the park. Javier Laureano contacted María Batista, Sports and Recreation Director of the San Juan Municipality, and the trash was removed.

6) SJBEP files complaint for sanitary overflow affecting the Condado/Ocean Park beach: On September 6, 2011, our organization filed complaint number 41714497 to inform and request corrective action from the Puerto Rico Sewer and Aqueduct Authority on a sanitary overflow that is directly affecting the Condado/Ocean Park beach. Javier Laureano took photos of the citizens walking over the sanitary overflow in the sand.

We thank our collaborators from PRASA for eliminating the overflow within two hours from our notice to the agency.

7) Contribution from Miller/Coors Brewing Co.: The company will donate $5,000 to the SJBEP for the organization’s habitat restoration program. Executives from the corporation will deliver the check to the organization in a cleanup event to take place next October 1, 2011.

8) Key meetings with Claudia Gutiérrez, Senior Advisor to Judith Enck, EPA’s Region 2 Administrator: On September 2, 2011, Claudia Gutiérrez met with the SJBEP’s Executive Director and Evelyn Huertas to explore several projects that may benefit from EPA’s expertise and contribution. Topics included recycling in federal facilities, glassphalt, environmental education, and brownfields, among others. Camilla Fibleman from the Sierra Club and Lyvia Rodríguez from the Proyecto Enlace participated in the meetings.

9) Inauguration of the Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Language School of Carolina Municipality: Our Outreach Coordinator participated in the inauguration ceremony of the second phase of this important education center in Carolina previously known as Escuela Pa’ los Duros. This specialized school has been part of our Estuary Guardians since the beginning of the project, being one of the more active groups. We are proud to mention that scientific project posters related to water monitoring created by Estuary Guardians students, as well as portraits of water monitoring events, were included among the educational material in the classrooms. We congratulate the Carolina Municipality for this excellent initiative. http://www.primerahora.com/amplianescuelaencarolina-541695.html

10) CAC meeting: The Citizens Advisory Committee’s meeting took place on Thursday, September 1, 2011, at the Corredor del Yaguazo’s community initiative facilities, from 5pm to 8pm.

The next day, September 2, 2011, Javier Laureano met with representatives from the Residentes Unidos de Barrio Obrero Marina (RUBOMI) to discuss financial support alternatives for their community-based recycling project.

11) Kayak Fridays at the Laguna de Condado: Last Friday, September 2, 2011, the Kayak and Canoe Federation offered our citizens another great opportunity to enjoy this estuarine lagoon at night. During the event, educational flyers from the SJBE were distributed. For more information go to Facebook group "Federacion Canoa y Kayak de Puerto Rico."


September 10, 2011: The SJBEP presents the movie “Moulin Rouge” as part of Cine del Estuario. The movie will be screened at 7:00pm in the Condado Lagoon Park: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDw1_yV6ufM [CANCELED DUE TO TROPICAL STORM]

September 17: International Coastal Cleanup

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Martín Peña Channel; Volunteers Survey; Berms in the Capetillo creeks; Oral History Project; Scuba Dogs Society; Partnership with CPA's Society

Our update from August 1 to August 15, 2011, is as follows:

1) SJBEP’s Executive Director interviewed as part of an investigative media report about the Martín Peña Channel: Javier Laureano had the opportunity to once more emphasize the SJBEP’s view on the importance to the Metropolitan Area and to Puerto Rico of the dredging and rehabilitation of the Martín Peña Channel. The report was published in August 12, 2011, to read it please follow the link:


2) Results of the Second SJBEP Volunteers Survey: Our Outreach Coordinator, Gladys Rivera, conducted a survey among the SJBEP’s volunteers to measure several public participation indicators. The following are the most important results:

Female volunteers: 69.6%

Age: 45-60 years (34%); 35-44 years (25%)

Employers: Private sector (44%); public sector (23%); students (24%)

Preferred volunteer activities: Planting (62%); Water Quality Monitoring (49%)

How the volunteers first learned about the SJBEP: Internet (30%), Friends or family (27%); Newspaper (26%); TV (15%)

Preferred hobbies: Visiting beaches, coves, and parks (72%); Other local tourism and attractions (65%); Movies (52%)

Preferred time to devote to volunteer activities: Saturday morning (62%)

Transportation used to attend SJBEP activities: Auto (90%)

3) SJBEP to contract three persons from the community to construct berms in the Capetillo’s creeks: A berm “is a man-made mound of earth.” The organization will contract several persons from the Capetillo community to construct berms that will redirect the flow of two small creeks in order to improve water quality. Javier Laureano met with representatives from Capetillo on August 12, 2011, to discuss the activity. The project will be finished by September 30, 2011.

4) Oral History Interview of Eloísa Salvá: As part of the SJBEP’s ongoing Estuarine Oral History Project, Javier Laureano interviewed Mrs. Eloísa Salvá, who is a descendant of the original owners of several pieces of land in the Miramar neighborhood. One of the streets of the community was named in her family’s honor. Mrs. Salvá has a vivid memory of the tides of the Condado Lagoon and all the living organisms of the body of water, including its seagrass beds. The interview took place on August 2, 2011, at 2:00 pm in Mrs. Salvá’s home. We want to thank her and her family for the opportunity.

5) Important meeting with the Puerto Rico Society of Certified Public Accountants: We began our annual campaign to promote contributions through tax returns to the SJBE’s Special Fund. One of our top target groups is the membership of the CPA’s Society. Javier Laureano met with the Society’s Executive Director, CPA Edna I. Jiménez, and their President, CPA Rubén Rodríguez, to present the mission and main achievements of the SJBEP. We are glad to announce that the Society will help us promote the tax return contributions through their membership. The meeting took place August 4, 2011, at 12:00 pm.

6) SJBEP at Agenda Ciudadana (Citizen’s Agenda) Press Conference: The SJBEP attended the press conference on August 11, 2011 to announce the new cycle of Agenda Ciudadana. This is an interdisciplinary initiative through which civil society, the private sector, and the government discuss current issues together and present ideas and proposals for solving problems in areas such as Health, Education, and the Environment. The initiative, coordinated by the nonprofit educational organization CAPEDCOM, is hosted by El Nuevo Día newspaper. Our organization has been participating in the Agenda Ciudadana meetings for the last year.


7) Data collected by the SJBEP to be used by US Congress: Last week the PR Environmental Quality Board requested the water quality data collected by the SJBE Water Quality Volunteer Monitoring Program as part of their 303 (d)/305 (b) Integrated Report. The document consists of a water quality inventory and a list of impaired waters. All states and regional jurisdictions of the United States must comply with this requirement. This valuable information is used by EPA to inform Congress about the progress made at the national level toward the achievement of the statutory water quality goals established by the Federal Clean Water Act.

8) Dr. Jorge Bauzá selected as a member of the Scuba Dog Society’s Board of Directors: The Scuba Dog Society leads the local efforts of the International Coastal Clean Up. Puerto Rico is one of the leading participants in the event thanks to the participation of over 14,000 volunteers. Furthermore, the Society organized an underwater cleanup of aquatic debris. The SJBEP has been a partner and sponsor of the Scuba Society since its foundation. Dr. Bauzá was officially presented as a new member during the Board of Directors ordinary meeting held on July 21, 2011.

9) SJBEP participates in the “Celebration of Oceans” event: Our Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, offered a presentation entitled: “Enhancing and monitoring the San Juan Bay Estuary and its submerged spaces: Lessons learned from an urban estuary. The symposium was hosted August 5, 2011, by the PR Department of Environmental and Natural Resources as part of the Celebration of the Oceans week of activities.

10) Estuary’s Cinema: Last Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm at the Condado Lagoon Park, the SJBEP presented the movie “The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer”


Save the Date:

8/18 – Scientific and Technical Committee Meeting: To take place August 18, 2011, in the Library of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.

8/24 – Citizen Advisory Committee’s Meeting: CAC’s meeting will take place August 24, 2011, at 5:30 pm in the Juana Matos Community, Corredor del Yaguazo’s facilities. Be part of the decision making of our organization!

8/27 – Fish Census: To take place at the SJBEP’s Coral Reef Trail of the Condado Lagoon, in front of the Condado Plaza Hotel.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Scientific illustrations for the SJBEP; Over $500k in media leverage; Raw sewage overflow; 16k cigarette butts picked up at Ocean Park

Our update for July 15 to July 31, 2011, is as follows:

30 original scientific illustrations created for the SJBEP: Last Thursday, July 21st, 2011, Puerto Rico’s only certified scientific illustrator, Adriana Ocaña, delivered to Javier Laureano 30 full-color, hand-drawn illustrations commissioned by the SJBEP for our ecological alphabetization campaign. The illustrations of different species of fauna and flora representative of the SJBE’s ecosystem will be placed along the 1.5 miles of Martí Coll Lineal Park, in Hato Rey, as part of our new educational exhibit. Also, her designs will illustrate our upcoming coloring book on the importance of the Estuary.

The SJBEP surpasses half-a-million dollars in leverage for the first part of 2011: The numbers are in, and we are proud to announce that for the first part of the year 2011 the SJBEP has managed to obtain $509,225.36 in leverage. Our strong presence in the media is the result of a combined effort including several public service campaigns, the publication of various articles written by members of our staff, radio and television interviews, and media coverage of the SJBEP’s initiatives.

Raw sewage overflow in the Condado Lagoon: On July 29th, 2011, our Water Quality Program Coordinator, Ernesto Olivares, reported raw sewage overflow on the northern fringe of the Condado Lagoon. People from the community contacted local authorities due to the strong presence of raw sewage odors.

16,000 cigarette butts picked up in the Student Chapter of the Marine Environment Society’s Ocean Park cleanup: On July 23rd, 2011, the Student Chapter of the Marine Environment Society (CESAM, for its Spanish acronym) carried out a coastal cleanup in Ocean Park Beach. They targeted cigarette butts buried in the sand and were able to pick up 16,000 of them. A total of 104 volunteer took part in the cleanup.

SJBEP’s license plate sent to 78 municipalities, and federal agencies: In the first week of July, the Governor of Puerto Rico evaluated and approved the new design of the SJBEP’s license plate. The design, showcasing a manatee, was sent to the Island’s 78 municipalities and their police agencies, including the FBI, for registration. The job has already been placed with the Department of Correction, and is on its way to its final stage of fabrication.

Guided tour for the winners of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl: Last Wednesday, July 20th, 2011, our Water Quality Program coordinator, Ernesto Olivares, offered a guided tour to winners of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl from Marshfield High School. The trip took place in the Corozos, San José, and Torecillas lagoons. The students received a comprehensive explanation of the basic tools utilized in standard water quality inspections, and later they were able to assess water quality for themselves in three different stations of the SJBE.

EPA’s conference on citizen involvement: From the 18th to the 22nd of July, our outreach coordinator, Gladys Rivera, attended a seminar hosted by the EPA on special topics regarding citizen participation. Some of the key issues dealt with the workings of communicating ecological vulnerability and/or an environmental crisis to members of a given community.

Proposals for the upcoming SJBEP library catalogue: During the month of July we received several proposals for the elaboration of a digital catalogue for the SJBEP’s scientific library. The catalogue will be a useful tool that will help to make our bibliographic resources more accessible to the public. Some of the specialized books in the SJBEP’s library cannot be found anywhere else in Puerto Rico.

“Cool Cities Manual” climate change publication: On July 29th we received the Cool Cities Manual. The manual will be printed as part of our collaboration with the Cool Cities Coalition’s climate change campaign.