Friday, May 13, 2011

PR Water Monitoring Day; Key meeting with USACE; $464,683.64 in media leverage; Closing of academic year for Estuary Guardians

Pictures: Puerto Rico Water Monitoring Day; SJBEP's Environmental First Short Film Festival and Saint John's School students creating awareness on plastic bottles.

Our update from April 29 to May 12, 2011, is as follows:

1) Success story: Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day, April 30, 2011, 9am to 11am: We are very glad to announce that the event was a complete success, with over 2,000 volunteers at more than a hundred monitoring stations all over the island. This is the third year the activity has been organized by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program and sponsored by the Environmental Quality Board, EPA, Puerto Rico Water and Environment Association, Crowley Maritime Corporation, Caribbean University, CH Caribe, and the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program receives all the collected data and reports it to the World Water Monitoring Day, contributing to a global mapping of the condition of the planet's water. Through the events, citizens are rediscovering the creeks, rivers, lagoons, and bays of the island, which constitutes the first step towards their restoration and conservation.

2) Key meeting with the US Army Corp of Engineers, Jacksonville District, for the restoration of the Condado Lagoon; Date set for 2016: Jorge Bauzá and our contractor Fernando Pagés Rangel discussed with the USACE the proposal of using the dredged sediments from the maintenance of the San Juan harbor and navigational channels to fill the Condado Lagoon depressions. The Corps set 2016 as the year to perform the restoration project in the Condado Lagoon. Also, the team discussed (a) the possibility of using sediments from La Peninsula Esperanza as capping material; (b) the San Juan Harbor dredging schedule; (c) the San Juan Harbor Mitigation Project status and alternatives; (d) the San Juan Bay Estuary Program/Condado Lagoon Restoration Project; (e) available Documentation/Studies; (f) required Documentation/Authorizations; (g) funding; and (h) future efforts. The meeting took place through a conference call on April 27, 2011, at 10:00am.

3) $464,683.64 leveraged in publicity and media placement for first quarter of 2011: Our communications assistant, José Enrique Rodríguez, recently submitted his publicity and media placement report with very good news for our organization. From January to April, 2011, the San Juan Bay Estuary leveraged near half a million dollars thanks to a team effort on media collaboration. As an example follow the link for our Outreach Coordinator’s article published in El Nuevo Día newspaper:

4) Estuary Guardians academic year’s closing activity; donation from Crowley to the SJBEP, May 7, 2011, 10am – 12pm: From a student population with very high drop-out rates, this year we have several students who have been accepted at universities and will follow careers in Science. The younger ones are using Estuary Guardians for their science fair projects, and one of our students won regional awards and traveled to Vermont to present her research in April, 2011. She received a full-page interview in a local newspaper.

The closing activity took place at the Jaime Benítez Park thanks to the sponsorship of EPA and Crowley Maritime Corporation. Students presented their achievements during the 2010-2011 academic year and received a certificate acknowledging their hard work. We want to thank Crowley for their $2,500 contribution.

5) New educational product: Isla Verde Island’s coral reef species coloring book: We are very enthusiastic about the new coloring book designed by Paco López and sponsored by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program and Arrecifes Pro Ciudad as part of this year’s EPA Grant. It has 32 beautiful pages showcasing dozens of species and natural wonders that inhabit the coral reefs of our city. Congratulations to our dear friend Paco and the wonderful job Arrecifes Pro Ciudad is doing to protect our urban coral reefs.

6) Talk to Saint John’s students at our Coral Reef Restoration Project; student-crafted plastic-bottle boats, May 2, 2011, 1pm: As part of an educational activity to create awareness among students about the amount of plastic bottles we are producing as consumers and the impact of these bottles on the marine environment, Saint John’s School invited Javier Laureano to offer a talk on the San Juan Bay Estuary. Students crafted small vessels with plastic bottles and recycled them after the event.

According to a rapid assessment before and after the talk, an average of 75% of the students were able to define the term estuary after the educational activity, from less than 15% before the talk.

7) Coors Brewing Company will join efforts with the SJBEP and make a donation to the SJBEP: For the second consecutive year, Coors Brewing Company will perform their annual environmental event with their employees and executives in coordination with the San Juan Bay Estuary Program. María Bermúdez and Vivian Dávila met with Javier Laureano on May 5, 2011, to coordinate the event, which will take place on September 10, 2011.

8) Another student begins her internship at the SJBEP: We want to welcome Janice Santiago from the University of Puerto Rico to our organization. Santiago will be developing several ecotourism materials and scripts as part of a 210-hour internship, which she began on May 12, 2011.

9) Technical meeting on the Caño Martín Peña’s Feasibility Study: A meeting with the corporation ENLACE Caño Martín Peña was conducted to address technical issues regarding the feasibility study for the Caño Martín Peña ecosystem restoration project. Some items discussed included the bathymetry of the San Jose Lagoon bottom depression, sediments disposal and deployment alternatives, water circulation models, and channel dimensions dredging alternatives. The meeting took place at ENLACE on April 28, 2011, at 10:00am.


May 14, 2011 at 7:00pm- Estuary's Cinema at the Condado Lagoon Park

"Midnight Summer Dream"

May 19, 2011 at 6:00pm-9:00pm "Noche de cucubanos" at the Parque Monagas

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