Pictures: Guachinanga island is a unique karstic island surrounded by water in the San José Lagoon currently in peril due to sedimentation and aquatic debris.
Our weekly update for February 19 to February 25, 2011, is as follows:
1) Donation of $110,000 for water quality improvement project at the Guachinanga island in the San José Lagoon: The Executive Director of the Company for the Integral Development of the Cantera Peninsula, Dr. María Lourdes Rivera Grajales, yesterday pledged a donation to our organization of $110,000 for the removal of sediment and debris from the Guachinanga island. This is a very special project promoted by Cantera. Less than 2 acres in area, the Guachinanga Island – a beautiful karstic formation surrounded by water in the San José Lagoon – is habitat to some flora species which are unique in the world, known only to some parts of Puerto Rico. This will comprise part of our 2011-2012 matching funds for EPA’s annual grant.
2) Special fund hits new high: We are very pleased to inform you that the San Juan Bay Estuary’s Special Fund now has $83,356.00. We are in the final design phase of the billboard provided as public service in the Condado area to promote contributions from tax returns. The expected funding to be raised during this past first year was $50,000. We thank all donors for supporting the restoration of the San Juan Bay Estuary.
3) Plaza International Mall to adopt stormwater rain gardens and educational initiatives with the San Juan Bay Estuary Program: President Andrés Salas Soler and Executive Director Javier Laureano met with one of the main local investors of Plaza International Mall, Frank J. Trogolo, to discuss several projects that will be implemented as part of the design of the Mall. One key project is the creation of stormwater rain gardens in the parking lots of the commercial center (located just in front of the San José Lagoon), as well as educational exhibits on the San Juan Bay ecosystem.
4) Tracking system update: Our mission is to coordinate and further the implementation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan of the San Juan Bay Estuary. As part of our work to fulfill our mission, Javier Laureano and José Enrique Rodríguez met with Erison Burgos, Acting Director of the Carolina Municipality’s Environmental Branch, to receive information on several actions the Carolina Municipality is taking to implement our CCMP. The information collected from this and other meetings will be published in our online Tracking System and the documents will be filed in our CCMP implementation archive. At the end of 2011 we plan to publish our first CCMP Implementation Report.
5) Heading next week to Washington, DC: Javier Laureano and Jorge Bauzá will attend EPA’s annual National Estuary Program Conference next week. This is the time for representatives from the 28 NEPs to share their goals and achievements with EPA representatives and establish their working objectives for the next Fiscal Year. One key meeting is set with the office of the Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner.
6) Update on the Condado Lagoon water quality improvement and seagrass restoration: Our contractors from TetraTech have been working in full force on the study and design of this key restoration project directed by the San Juan Bay Estuary Program. Drafts of the “Sediment Sampling and Analysis Plan,” as well as the “Health and Safety Plan,” “Health, Safety, and Dive Plan,” and the “Quality Assurance Project Plan” were submitted to our office. Fieldwork to start the bathymetric survey, benthic survey, and sediment sampling will be performed from Feb 25th to March 7th. A meeting with Dr. Jorge Bauzá and key personnel working on the contract from TetraTech took place on February 25, 2011, at the SJBEP’s offices.
7) Another bill to amend San Juan Ecological Corridor’s Law: Community representatives informed our organization about another Senate bill that could affect the physical integrity of the 1,000 acres preserved under the San Juan Ecological Corridor’s Law 206 of August 28, 2003. Senate bill 1788 (PC 1788) intends to re-define the term “river margin” for the bodies of water of the Corridor. This is one of the largest green areas of the San Juan Bay Estuary’s watershed.
8) Water Quality Monitoring: Ernesto Olivares completed this month’s monitoring with the stations at the Eastern axis of the mixing zone, including the San José/Corozos Lagoon, Torrecillas Lagoon, Blasina Canal, and Suárez Canal, as well as the Juan Méndez and San Antón creeks.
9) New graduate intern will be working on a Socio-Economic Profile of the San Juan Bay Estuary’s fishermen: We welcome graduate student Yanitza V. Hernández Santiago to our team. Hernández is currently completing a Masters degree in Environmental Health at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus. She will be working a total of 210 hours in our Water Quality Monitoring Program and on a Socio-Economic Profile of the San Juan Bay Estuary’s fishermen as part of a required internship to complete her degree.
10) Successful “Plants and Trees To Touch Workshop”: On February 24, 2011, we had full attendance in our first workshop. Since 20 people are on a waiting list to take the workshop, we will offer it again. One special attendee was Jorge Carlos Trejo Torres, Project Director at SELVAKARST, the Research Company for the Karstic Forests, based in Yucatán, Mexico. We will be continuing our conversation and communication with Trejo Torres.
SAVE THE DATE:
February 26, 2011 at 9:00a m - Planting at the Cucharillas Marsh with our partner Corredor del Yaguazo.
February 26, 2011 at 7:00pm - Estuary's Cinema at the Jaime Benítez Park
“The Truth About Cats and Dogs”