Friday, April 29, 2011

Governor approves license plate/ Thousands in PR Water Monitoring Day/ Caimito community concerned/ Estuarine Short Film Festival

Our update from April 12 to April 28, 2011, is as follows:

1) Governor Approves Estuary Program’s License Plate: Hon. Governor Luis Fortuño Burset has approved the final design of our organization’s license plate. We will meet with executives from the Department of Transportation and Public Works to coordinate the final phase of the production and communication campaign of the initiative. Of the $30.00 cost of each license plate purchased by citizens to replace their current plate or to use for a new car, our organization will receive $20.00. A total of 5,000 new license plates will be issued.

2) Thousands to Participate in our Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day (PRWQMD): The San Juan Bay Estuary Program and the Environmental Quality Board announced on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, the activities that will take place this Saturday as part of PRWQMD. Beginning with 30 participants in 2009 we have had more volunteers and sponsors each year, and to date we are proud to announce that we have over 2,000 volunteers signed up for this year’s event, and 120 monitoring stations covering the island. We take this opportunity to thank Crowley Maritime Corporation, Caribbean University, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Puerto Rico Water and Environment Association, CH Caribe, and the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for their sponsorship. Javier Laureano has participated in several radio, newspaper, and TV interviews to promote the activity.

3) Caimito Community Concerned with Sediment and Debris Dumped by Contractor: Community leaders from Caimito met with Javier Laureano to express their concern regarding a considerable amount of sediment and debris being dumped literally near their backyards. A large amount of this sediment reaches the Chiclana Creek and is then deployed into the San Juan Bay. The US Corps of Engineers invests over 10 million dollars every 3-5 years in dredging this kind of sediment from the navigational channels of the Bay. The contractor responsible for this action has been issued a court order to stop the sediment dumping. However, according to our community representatives, the activity persists.

4) First Environmental Short Film Festival of the SJBEP: Our organization has an open call for environmental short films that will be presented as part of the Estuary’s Cinema on May 25, 2011. We welcome films from 5 to 20 minutes in length. We have a very distinguished jury including José Artemio Torres – President of the Puerto Rico International Film Festival – and Dr. Abruñas – from the US Green Building Council.

5) Alliance with Plaza Internacional Mall: Javier Laureano and President Salas Soler have met with Frank Trogolo from Plaza Internacional several times to discuss an alliance with the mall that will be developed near the San José Lagoon. On April 19, 2011, the Program sent a proposal to Trogolo. If approved, it will be of great benefit to our education and outreach program.

6) SJBEP at the San Jorge Children’s Hospital: During the celebration of its first Ecological Fair, the Hospital screened our animated short film “Guardianes del Estuario” on the lobby monitors and on all the rooms’ television units. Our Outreach Coordinator provided educational talks to visitors and patients, including young cancer patients who enjoyed the movie and the information.

7) Environmental Fairs at Ft. Buchannan and the Río Piedras Square: A group of high school students from the Antilles Schools at Ft. Buchannan performed water quality monitoring colorimetric tests at a creek near their school. The activity is part of the PR Water Monitoring Day celebration. The visitors to the environmental fair received educational information on the San Juan Bay Estuary thanks to our intern Yanitza Hernández. Also, Gladys Rivera participated with an information booth at the Environmental Quality Board’s fair at the Río Piedras square, where she offered talks about the ecosystem and presented information to citizens.

8) First Comic Book Workshop Finished: Our last comic book workshop on stormwater pollution took place on Saturday, April 16, 2011, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. As part of this closing workshop, Javier Laureano and Gladys Rivera participated in a very interesting group session conducted by José Luis Vargas with the students, during which they discussed potential topics for future comic book projects in their communities. One of the main concerns of the students is school bullying, and some bullying victims shared their experiences in a very emotional moment with the group.

9) Closing Newspaper Series Article by Dr. Jorge Bauzá: Dr. Bauzá finished a three-week series of articles on the San Juan Bay Estuary ecosystems for the El Nuevo Día newspaper Sunday edition. On this occasion Bauzá explained the importance of mangrove ecosystems. The newspaper published a letter to the editor from a citizen praising the article and the estuarine ecological publications by our Scientific Advisor.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ecological Literacy Campaign, La Concha dims their lights, First sale of Capetillo Vegetable Garden at local mall, EPA award to Enlace

Photos: Screening of the documentary ‘100,000’ at the Estuary’s Cinema and students taking our Estuarine Comic Book Workshop at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Our weekly update for April 4, 2011 to April 11, 2011, is as follows:

1) Urban ecological literacy campaign keeps moving: Last Saturday, April 9, 2011 we continue our Estuarine Comic Book Workshop on the impact of stormwater pollution to the flora and fauna of the San Juan Bay Estuary at the Museum of Contemporary Arts. This is part of a larger ecological literacy campaign that includes five educational exhibits located in high transit areas that impact more than 500,000 persons per year; two forthcoming coloring books on the flora and fauna of our ecosystem; two movies for children; two documentaries (on mangroves and coral reefs); seven TV spots; over 12 newspaper ads; brown-bag lunch talks; and guided tours, among others.

2) La Concha Hotel dims their ocean lights: We thank José M. Suárez, President of La Concha Hotel, for his rapid response to our light contamination concern. They turned off one of the luminaries, change the direction and dimmed the other two.

3) New scientific article of Jorge Bauzá at El Nuevo Día- We are proud of the most recent contribution of Jorge Bauzá to the Science section of El Nuevo Día newspaper, follow the link to the article:

4) ‘100,000’ Puerto Rican documentary at Estuary’s Cinema: Local writer and director Juan Agustín Márquez participated in the screen of his “100,000” documentary on stray dogs in the island. The activity took place on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at the Jaime Benítez Condado Lagoon Park as part of our Estuary’s Cinema and we had a good participation of dog owners with their pets. We had the opportunity to talk to several of them about the importance of scooping dog waste to prevent stormwater pollution. The activity was announced at El Nuevo Día and El Vocero newspapers on April 8 and 9, 2011 as well as in Univisión:“100mil”

5) SJBEP’s stormwater educational markers initiative to be replicated in others parts of the island - After a meeting with our Outreach Coordinator, Gladys Rivera, Tetratech Corporation included the SJBEP’s stormwater marker project "No contamines, llega a tu playa" as an educational tool in their municipal contracts. To date Utuado, Aguada, Rincón, Aibonito, and Barranquitas approved the use of the stromwater educational markers, and Morovis and San Germán could follow. Tetratech has collaborated with the SJBEP in hiring groups for the World Water Monitoring Day celebration in the above mentioned areas.

6) Environmental Fair at Colegio San Antonio - 75% knowledge acquisition identified - During the fair, more than 150 students visited the San Juan Bay Estuary exhibit at the auditorium where it took place. They received educational talks about the Estuary by Gladys Rivera. More than 75% of participants learned for the first time that stormwater drains go directly to a water body without any treatment. The activity took place on March 31, 2011.

7) Educational booths as part of the Earth Month- On Friday, April 8, 2011 we had an educational table about the San Juan Bay Estuary at the Condado Renace (residents and business association) annual fundraising event at Casa Ashford. Then, on Sunday, April 10, 2011 we had an exhibit at the Puerto Rico Art Museum’s Garden, celebrating Earth’s Month.

8) First sale of Capetillo Community’s Vegetable Garden products in Kiehl’s store: As part of our ongoing support of Capetillo Community’s Vegetable Garden, last Saturday, April 9, 2011 our partner L’Oreal Paris and their brand Kiehl’s began to sell the agricultural products of the community (including compost) in their store located in Plaza las Américas mall. According to Germán Ramos, coordinator of the initiative, this first sale reached their goals.

9) Lisa García, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice visited the Cucharillas Wetland communities- During this week Javier Laureano coordinated the visit of Lisa García to the Juana Matos inner city community, located in the Cucharillas Wetland. She met with one of the most active community leaders of our watershed, Pedro Carrión.

10) Front-page news and glowing editorial for Enlace’s EPA Environmental Justice Award- Last Thursday, April 7, 2011 the President of our nonprofit Board Pedro Gelabert and Javier Laureano represented the San Juan Bay Estuary Program at the Enlace’s partners meeting and the Enviromental Justice Award ceremony in the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. The activity received the front page of El Nuevo Día newspaper as well as its editorial. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck as well as Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice Lisa García handed the award to the community leaders and Enlace recipients. We congratulate our partner for this great achievement.


April 16, 2011- Estuarine Comic Books workshop (no space available) at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

April 23, 2011- Estuary’s Cinema presents “Ice Age: Dawn of Dinosaurs” at the Condado Lagoon Park:

April 30, 2011- Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day

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