1) Condado Lagoon Seagrass and Water Quality Restoration Studies Update: The following constitutes the current status of this key activity: a) The Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) was completed and submitted to EPA for final signatures on February 24th, 2011; b) The Sediment Sampling and Analysis Plan was completed and submitted for review and comments February 25th, 2011; c) The MultiBeam SideScan Sonar Survey was completed March 3rd, 2011. The sediment volume calculations needed to fill the depression are being calculated; d) The Benthic Survey was completed March 5th, 2011. The Benthic Survey Report is currently being prepared, and a draft document is scheduled to be completed by March 25th, 2011; e) Sediment Sampling and Analysis Plan implementation was completed March 7th, 2011. Samples were sent to the lab, and results are expected by March 25th, 2011; f) Many underwater photographs and videos were obtained during fieldwork. This information is available on the project’s FTP site; g) As expected, shallow areas near bridges on the western end of lagoon exhibited the healthiest benthic communities. The dredged areas are very clearly defined by the MBSS surveys. Areas deeper than 17 ft mean lower low water (mllw) level did not reveal benthic diversity. Sediments in deeper depressions appeared to be very fine, dark grey, organic, and anoxic. Fine sediment thickness was estimated to be at least 24 inches; h) Sediments at La Esperanza peninsula appear to be medium grain-size yellow sand, typical of high-energy environments.
2) QAPP Approved by EPA for Another Set of Estuarine Environmental Indicators: More than a goal, having a set of environmental indicators is a milestone for our organization. These indicators will measure the health of our estuary’s ecosystem. Last week, EPA Region 2 approved our logistics, scientific methods, and procedures to use fish tissue and sediment contaminants as environmental indicators for the San Juan Bay Estuary. We thank contractor Dr. Ernesto Otero for his extraordinary job during the process for obtaining this Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
3) Martín Peña Channel Dredging Feasibility Study: On March 10, 2011, STAC President Ernesto Díaz, Scientific Advisor Jorge Bauzá, and Javier Laureano met with the ENLACE personnel and contractor to discuss the results of the study “Current Conditions and Potential Responses to Restoration of Historic Circulation.” This is part of the process required to access federal funding to complete the much-needed dredging of the Channel. Currently over 27,000 people are living in poverty and dire conditions, including flooding with raw sanitary sewage discharges. Disposal alternatives for the dredged material are being considered.
4) February 2011 Hits Record High in Media Leverage; Stormwater, Coral, and Climate Change Campaigns Highlighted: We recently received our monthly media report and are glad to announce that sums from February 2011 totaled $99,569.94. That amount includes TV interviews, placement of public service ads, and newspaper reports about our activities.
5) Estuary Cinema in Vieques: The San Juan Bay Estuary Program participated in a special activity on the municipal island of Vieques through its Estuary Cinema project. Isla Film representatives offered a talk on the Estuary and presented the organization’s documentaries as part of a larger activity on the island, which doesn’t have any traditional movie theaters.
6) 54% knowledge acquisition registered at Estuarine Bicycle Guided Tour: Javier E. Laureano offered a guided bicycle tour to members of the community. The route departed from the Condado Lagoon Park and went to Old San Juan, and took place last Saturday, March 12, 2011, from 9:00am to 11:30am. As part of the activity, Laureano offered a diagnostic test to evaluate knowledge acquisition. 46% of participants registered a perfect score, and 54% registered knowledge acquisition on the estuary and its ecosystems.
7) Full Attendance at Estuary Cinema Screening: An average of 300 people attended last Saturday’s screening at the Condado Lagoon Park. We presented the SJBEP’s educational documentaries as well as the movie “500 Days of Summer.”
8) Dr. Jorge Bauzá Maintains his Collaboration with the Science Section of El Nuevo Día Newspaper: As part of his collaboration with this key newspaper on the island, Dr. Bauzá published a full page, full color article entitled “The Puerto Rico Trench: The Deepest Point in the Atlantic Ocean.” The article was published on Friday, March 11, 2011. Please follow the link to view the full article:
SAVE THE DATE
Brownbag Lunch Workshop: “Unknown Species that Inhabit our City” will be offered by Dr. Jorge Bauzá in the SJBEP’s office at 1225 Ponce de León Avenue, Office 902, from 12:00pm to 12:40pm on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
Dune Stabilization Planting with Drug Court’s “Addicts in Rehabilitation Program”: The planting will take place in Piñones on Friday, March 25, 2011, from 8:00am to 11:30am.