Our update for June 14 to June 30, 2011, is as follows:
SJBEP promotes oil recycling and planting conservation at 4th of July event: The Government of Puerto Rico celebrated the 4th of July on the fringes of the Condado Lagoon with several events, including concerts and the selling local food in kiosks that will be located on the southern axis of this estuarine body of water.
Javier Laureano contacted our partners in the Office of the Governor to promote an oil recycling campaign and received their immediate response. As a result, the Solid Waste Management Authority established oil-recycling centers as part of the event. The collected oil will be recycled as part of an initiative in the Jayuya Municipality, where used oil is transformed into biodiesel fuel for the agriculture industries of the island.
The Office of the Governor also authorized the SJBEP to design and place educational signs to protect the red mangrove (Rizophora mangle) planting sites of the organization located on the northern and eastern axis of the Condado Lagoon.
For more information about the biodiesel initiative follow this link:
Educational exhibit about the SJBE’s ecosystems to be placed on the Dos Hermanos Bridge: The newly constructed Dos Hermanos Bridge, located over one of the three saltwater inlets into the SJBE, will serve as an environmental interpretation site. We will be placing educational signs to inform the public about the importance of the area and the species that live in the zone. The initiative is being coordinated between the SJBEP and the Office of the Governor.
Success for our First Estuarine Short Film Festival: On Saturday, June 25, 2011, the SJBEP presented this event, which included the screening of seven environmental short films. Four of the films received an original work of art by Jorge Zeno as an award. Click here for detailed information:
The Melaleuca invasive species removal site under control: From June 20 - 23, 2011, wetland’s specialists contracted by the SJBE Program and our Scientific Advisor, Dr. Jorge Bauzá, performed maintenance activities at the Melaleuca invasive species removal site. We observed limited growth of Melaleuca seedlings and heavy growth of native herbaceous plants that will protect and enhance (as planned) the wetland associated with the Suárez Canal.
SJBEP participates in hearing session of the National Ocean Policy: Last Thursday, June 30, 2011, Dr. Jorge Bauzá participated in a virtual meeting in which top government officials from Washington, DC, explained President Obama’s plans to promote America’s stewardship of the oceans to representatives from the National Estuary Program. For more information please follow this White House link:
New actions for the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan of the San Juan Bay Estuary (CCMP): This week Javier Laureano revised 10 new actions submitted by contractors and sent them to the Program’s staff for further comments. The new CCMP actions will be discussed in public hearings and, after that, submitted to the Board of Directors for final approval. The original CCMP was published on August 4, 2000, and new urgent issues have emerged since then such as climate change, new invasive species, and the need to control pollution in the upper zone of the watershed and fresh water tributaries, among others.
Conservation and restoration project endorsements: On June 24, 2011, the SJBEP endorsed the designation of the Isla Verde Coral Reef Island as a marine sanctuary. This is an initiative proposed by the Isla Verde community. To date their nonprofit grassroots organization – Arrecifes Pro Ciudad – has gathered thousands of signatures in a petition letter to government representatives asking for this protective designation. The coral reefs of the Isla Verde Island are at risk due to Jet Ski and vessel impacts, as well as sedimentation and nonpoint source pollution. On June 26, 2011, the organization also endorsed the “Condado beach nourishment and artificial reefs infrastructure.” This is an initiative driven by community and business leaders of the area concerned about the serious erosion problem of this estuarine sandy beach.
New scientific newspaper article authored by our Scientific Advisor published in Puerto Rico and Argentina: A two-page article entitled “Biodiversity of the Oceans” was published by Dr. Jorge Bauzá on June 19, 2011, at El Nuevo Día newspaper. The article was also published by the Nuestromar Foundation, an ocean conservation and educational NGO from Argentina. The article can be read at:
Benthic restoration of the Condado Lagoon: The Quality Assurance Project Plan for the Condado Lagoon Water Quality Improvement and Seagrass Restoration Project was approved and signed on June 29, 2011, by Donal Ringel, QAPP evaluator and EPA Region 2 Quality Assurance Coordinator. We want to thank Evelyn Huertas for her support during the process.
Estuary educational talk at Isla de Cabras: On the sunny morning of June 14, 2011, in Isla de Cabras, Toa Baja, thirty-six people participated in an educational talk by SJBEP's Outreach Coordinator, Gladys Rivera. As part of the event, environmental games and water monitoring demonstrations were used to show the importance of protecting our estuary. At the end of the activity, kids were asked about the new word they learned that day — “estuary” — and its meaning, and almost all were able to answer correctly. A 75% of knowledge acquisition was measured among the adults through a pre- and post- test.
Joining efforts with our National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) sister organization: On June 29, 2011, twenty-six participants joined our Outreach Coordinator, Gladys Rivera, at the Jobos Bay’s Learning Center in Salinas. Nilda Peña and Angel Dieppa from the Education and Scientific areas of the Reserve offered an educational talk, which highlighted the differences between the SJBE and the Jobos Bay ecosystems, with special emphasis on fresh water sources. During the educational guided tour through the reserve, the group visited a salt and mud flat, a mangrove channel, and enjoyed a spectacular view of the bay and its mangrove islets. 100% acquisition of knowledge was measured by a pre- and post-test. For more information click here:
Arts and ecology in the Piñones Forest and Nature Reserve: On June 28, 2011, a visit to this beautiful estuarine area provided an inspirational scenario for a group of kids and adolescents from the Arts Summer Camp of the Puerto Rico Contemporary Museum of Art. Gladys Rivera guided them through the mangrove forest in an educational tour, during which they learned about the mangroves and other species. A community member, Oscar Carrazco, offered a Piñones’ history talk. The activity ended with an environmental game, and participants returned to the Museum for a painting and drawing session using their estuarine tour as motivation and inspiration.