Monday, April 4, 2011

The San José Lagoon is not dead!; March 2011 monitoring completed; Comic Books Workshop; PR Water Monitoring Day Hits Volunteer's Recruitment Record

Pictures: Estuarine Comic Books Workshop on Stormwater Pollution Prevention and Volunteers participating in our March 2011 monitoring events.

Our weekly update for March 26 to April 3, 2011, is as follows:

1) The San José Lagoon is not dead!: Due to the misinterpretation of a water flushing and circulation study needed as part of the feasibility study for the dredging of the Martín Peña Channel, the press announced the death of the San José Lagoon. Quotes such as “the San José Lagoon is worse than a desert” and “the only living organisms in it are bacteria” ran all over social media, blogs, and even printed newspapers. On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, our organization began a media effort to announce that, indeed, the lagoon is not dead, and that we need to protect it and take part in its restoration. Javier Laureano was interviewed for a program aired on WKAQ radio on Sunday, April 3, 2011. Follow these links for some of the articles:

2) Crowley Maritime Corporation sponsors Puerto Rico Water Monitoring Day: We are very glad to announce that Crowley approved a $2,500 donation to our organization to sponsor Puerto Rico Water Monitoring Day 2011. Thanks to Lynette Taissioner for her support.

3) Over the top volunteer recruiting for PR Water Monitoring Day: From a 1,000 volunteer goal, we reached over 2,300 inscriptions for the April 30, 2011 activity. Kudos to Gladys Rivera and all the coordinators and captains helping all over the island with the activity.

4) Key newspaper article on the importance of the San Juan Bay Estuary ecosystem: Dr. Jorge Bauzá, as part of his collaboration with the Science column of the El Nuevo Día newspaper, published a 2-page, full-color article on the importance of the estuary to the city and to the island, on Sunday, April 3, 2011.

5) Littering poll on the way: University students taking the City and Ecology course will soon conduct a poll in the SJBE’s watershed. The poll will measure behavior and attitudes towards littering in our estuarine and urban context. The poll is already designed and students will begin polling this week. This will be one of a very few littering polls conducted to date on the island.

6) Full attendance at the Estuary’s Cinema: As we approach the second anniversary of this special project, we screened another movie at the Condado Lagoon Park on Saturday, April 4, 2011. On this occasion we presented our educational documentaries and the feature movie for children “Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.”

7) Condado Lagoon Benthic Restoration Update: a) The biological / benthic survey report has been completed and we are going through internal QA/QC. We expect to have a draft ready for circulation next week. b) The results for the sediment samples have been received and the findings are being documented in the report. c) The data has also undergone thorough QA/QC and there have been no surprises. Our qualitative preliminary report is that we are finding what we expected, where we expected it. Quantitative reports will be published by next week. d) We are working on a draft of the Public Involvement Report. e) We are preparing an incremental volume/area table for the lagoon to assess each pit and potentially assess ROM costs.

8) Red mangrove planting on the Condado Lagoon: On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Dr. Jorge Bauzá planted mangrove seedlings with Saint John’s School students in an educational activity at the Condado Lagoon Park. This is part of our ongoing Red mangrove restoration initiative in the estuarine ecosystem.

9) This month our Water Quality Monitoring Program took place as follows: Wednesday, March 23, 2011: La Malaria Canal, La Esperanza, Juan Méndez Creek, and the Piñones Lagoon; Thursday, March 24, 2011: San José Lagoon Stations; Friday, March 25, 2011: San Juan Bay Stations; Tuesday, March 29, 2011: all stations of the Río Piedras (river).

We thank the following volunteers for their collaboration during the March 2011 monitoring events: Yanitza Hernández from the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Public Health; Berliz Morales from Seagrant-UPR; José Pagán from the Inter American University; Terry Hernández from the Caribbean University; and our Program Manager from EPA, Evelyn Huertas.

10) Estuarine Comic Books Workshops on Stormwater Pollution Prevention: We have a very enthusiastic group of junior high and high school students participating in our workshop. On Saturday, March 26, 2011, the students took a guided boat tour with Gladys Rivera and Ernesto Olivares to take photos and experience the ecosystem in order to begin developing a draft plot for the comic. Last Saturday, April 2, 2011, participants began the workshop in the beautiful facilities of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico. A total of 13 students (6 and 7 from each level) are taking the workshop, and most of them are active members of the Estuary Guardians School Water Monitoring Project. The facilitator and guide of the creative process is graphic artist José Luis Vargas.

11) Key meeting with one of Capetillo’s community leaders; New riparian community garden planned: Javier Laureano met with Damaris Estrada, from the Victoria Housing Project in Capetillo, to coordinate the first phase of the creation of a riparian community garden on one of the fringes of the Juan Méndez creek. Laureano facilitated the pick-up of bulky waste in the area thanks to the collaboration of the San Juan Municipality. Other topics covered were the illegal disposition of oil and grease in the creek, as well as paint from an adjacent body shop, among other contaminants currently dumped in the water that flows into the San José Lagoon. The meeting took place in Friday, April 1, 2011.


April 9, 2011- Estuary's Cinema at the Condado Lagoon Park, 7:00pm, we will be presenting a documentary on the stray dogs situation in Puerto Rico named "Los 100,000".

April 30, 2011: Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day

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