Tuesday, March 8, 2011

EPA National Meeting/ Volunteer Participation Goal Reached/Mangrove planting/ Marsh planting

Pictures: Volunteers planting at the Cucharillas Marsh restoration site, and Girl Scouts' annual fair booth devoted to the San Juan Bay Estuary.

Our weekly update for February 26, 2011 to March 5, 2011 is as follows:

1) Meeting at EPA - Arlington, VA / Congressman Pierluisi: Javier Laureano and Dr. Jorge Bauzá represented the San Juan Bay Estuary Program at the annual meeting of the National Estuary Program in Arlington, VA, from March 1 - March 3, 2011. As part of the event they participated in the annual Coastal Celebration, where representatives from NOAA, EPA, and other coastal-related agencies and programs gathered at DC’s Botanical Garden. Another important highlight was our meeting with Jed Bullock, Senior Advisor to Congressman Pedro Pierluisi, and Chief of Staff Carmen Feliciano, to discuss their support for the National Estuary Program and the restoration of the Condado Lagoon.

2) Board of Directors meeting of the Association of the National Estuary Program (ANEP): The Board of Directors meeting took place on March 2, 2011. Among the items discussed were ANEP’s annual budget and activities, as well as the next meetings which will take place in Santa Monica Bay the week of October 17th, where the Fall NEP Directors meeting will take place in conjunction with the Restore America’s Estuaries conference; Oct 20-24, 2012, in Tampa Bay; and, in 2013, our Fall NEP Tech Transfer meeting will take place in Mobile Bay, Alabama.

3) We reached over 1,500 volunteers for Puerto Rico Water Monitoring Day!: This week we confirmed over 1,500 participants for the celebration of Puerto Rico Water Monitoring Day, to take place on April 30th this year. The event began in 2009 with less than 30 volunteers. In 2010 it reached over 500 volunteers. Our goal for 2011 was to obtain 1,000 signers-on, and we surpassed it easily. We thank our Outreach Coordinator and local sponsors for their work.

4) Condado Lagoon’s volunteer-based Red mangrove restoration continues: Students from San Ignacio School and members of the Estuary Guardians project will continue the mangrove restoration process on the North side of the Condado Lagoon. This is part of a collaborative agreement with the San Ignacio School, an institution known for providing opportunities to its students in environmental and community-related activities. The students received an orientation and visited the site with Gladys Rivera and Jorge Bauzá from our Program. As part of their responsibilities for the project, the students will support planting events at the site.

5) Environmental Fair 2011, Girls Scouts: Last Saturday our organization sponsored the statewide fair at which two groups of Girls Scouts showcased their work. Our short movie "Guardianes del Estuario" was presented in one of the booths, complemented with an estuarine game created by the troop. Estuary educational materials and orientation were handed out to the leaders and general public during the event, that took place on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the Pedrín Zorilla Coliseum. We thank board member Carlos Fernández Lugo for serving as liaison with the Girl Scouts and Outreach Coordinator Gladys Rivera for offering talks on the Estuary during the day.

6) Our Estuary Guardians are participating in the restoration of a mangrove forest in the San Juan Bay: Last Saturday, Estuary Guardians from the Congregación MITA visited the Red mangrove restoration site at la Esperanza Peninsula to measure and evaluate the planting they performed last November. Mangroves have grown healthily and very fast. Students will prepare a presentation on the results of the project to share the data with our Program. This event, coordinated by G-Works, Corredor del Yaguazo, and the SJBEP, is part of other planting and environment-related activities of the Estuary Guardians students.

7) Planting at the Cucharillas Marsh: Over 40 Emajaguilla, White mangrove, and Pterocarpus Officinalis trees, among others, were planted by SJBE volunteers as part of the organization’s support for the restoration of the Cucharillas Marsh. We thank the students of the Caribbean University for their support of the activity.

8) Caribbean University joins the Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day events: Caribbean University’s four campuses around the island will join the Water Monitoring Day activities, as well as other SJBE activities including this Saturday’s planting event. Each campus will adopt four schools in their area to perform water quality monitoring. Dr. Pedro Robles, Dean at the Caribbean University, met with Gladys Rivera and Javier Laureano and expressed interest in a collaborative agreement with the SJBE.

9) Visit to the Capetillo riparian restoration site: The students of the university course offered by Javier Laureano visited the Capetillo Urban Forest and Vegetable Garden to experience and contribute to the project on March 2, 2011. We thank Dr. Germán Ramos for offering a guided tour to the students, as well as José Enrique Rodríguez for assisting Laureano on the activity.


Estuarine Bicycle Tour: The Estuarine Bicycle Tour will depart from Jaime Benítez Park at the Condado Lagoon this Saturday, March 12, 2011, at 9:00am, for the ride to Old San Juan. Please, bring water in a reusable container, as well as all the protection needed for a safe urban bicycle ride, including sun block.

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