Friday, November 9, 2012

Deforestation; Isla Verde Marine Reserve; Educational exhibit; New hires; Short-film festival; Wetland filling; Pubic service campaign; La Esperanza cleanup and planting

The new generation of environmentalists in action!

Community leader Pedro Carrión (white t-shirt) was in charge of the planting component of the event.

We use flora species to help prevent and mitigate coastal erosion. 

Volunteers crossing a small channel to get to the Esperanza Island.

Father and daughter performing water quality monitoring tests.

Refurbished educational exhibit at the Enrique Martí Park, part of the Martín Peña Channel.

Alexis Milinares offering an interpretative tour using our educational exhibit.

Children participated on the educational exhibit inauguration.

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program’s highlights for September 17th to November 1st, 2012, are as follow:

1) SJBEP draws attention to multiple deforestation incidents: Our Executive Director raised concerns through the local media about several deforestation incidents that are taking place along the watershed’s very limited green areas. In an article written by journalist Gerardo Alvarado León, the organization called attention to the more than 150 trees that have been cut down from the shores of the Condado Lagoon, as well as other urban deforestation incidents such as those along the Margarita Canal, the mangrove forests along Kennedy Avenue, Baldorioty Avenue near the airport, and Stop 18 in Santurce.

Dr. Laureano highlighted the fact that some of these trees were between 60 and 70 years old, served to mitigate floods, and acted as natural biofilters that help keep our waters clean. Below is a link to the article:

2)  Isla Verde Reef Island Becomes a Marine Reserve!: After years of hard work by community leader Paco López, the Isla Verde Reef Island has become a Marine Reserve. López collected thousands of signatures, visited elected officials, made presentations, and founded a nonprofit organization to make his community’s dream a reality. Click on the links below for more information:

3)  Permanent environmental exhibit inaugurated at the Enrique Martí Coll Linear Park: On October 27, 2012, as part of the reopening of the 1.5-mile Enrique Martí Coll Linear Park, the SJBEP unveiled its newest educational exhibit. The display consists of six educational modules and three wooden platforms showcasing the Estuary’s hydrological basin, estuarine fauna and flora, and ways in which the public can help protect the ecosystems. An interpretative trail containing 30 illustrations designed by Adriana Ocaña is yet to be installed along the 1.5 miles of the Lineal Park.

We thank the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the PR Parks Company for their support of this educational initiative.

4)  Habitat restoration activity at La Esperanza Islet: 850 pounds of debris recovered: As part of Banco Popular’s Make the Difference Day, on October 27, 2012, a group of 53 volunteers gathered at La Esperanza Islet, located in the San Juan Bay-Cataño Municipality, to perform a series of habitat restoration activities.

The group retrieved 850 pounds of trash from the ecosystem. Other volunteers planted 50 icaco plants on the Islet to help minimize the effects of coastal erosion. Another group performed water quality monitoring tests with our Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator, Ernesto Olivares.

We thank Ramón Lloveras San Miguel, Board- and Founding Member of the SJBEP, and the Department of Natural Resources, the Environmental Protection Agency, Crowley Maritime Corporation, and the Corredor del Yaguazo community organization, for their support of this ongoing initiative.

5) Javier Laureano delivers a presentation at the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative Conference: On Thursday, November 1st, Dr. Javier Laureano, SJBEP’s Executive Director, offered a conference to a group of 150 environmental professionals and students, centering on our organization’s ecological conservation projects. The activity was organized by the US Department of Agriculture, as well as several other federal agencies.

6)  SJBEP’s new public service campaign begins with strong newspaper support; SJBEP thanks GFR Media Group: In October of 2012, the organization’s new environmental literacy public service campaign went public via two of Puerto Rico’s leading newspapers, El Nuevo Día and Primera Hora. Designed by Marina Rivón, the new campaign features Adriana Ocaña’s scientific illustrations of some the Estuary’s most recognized species such as the fiddler crab, the leatherback turtle, and the fishing bat. We thank the GFR Media Group for their support of our organization and of environmental education in Puerto Rico.

7)  Water Quality Monitoring Training: On October 31st, 2012, the SJBEP offered an introductory workshop to a group of 17 volunteers interested in participating in our Water Quality Monitoring Program. After completing a total of 48 hours of fieldwork the volunteers will receive certification from our Estuary’s Program. Gladys Rivera and Ernesto Olivares coordinated the activity.

8) The SJBEP participates in the Association of National Estuaries Program (ANEP) and Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) meetings: From October 19th to the 25th, Gladys Rivera and Jorge Bauzá attended the RAE biennial conference, and Javier Laureano the NEP annual meeting. Both events were held in Tampa, Florida, and they shed light on different restoration initiatives that are being implemented in estuary systems across the United States.

As part of the RAE meeting Dr. Jorge Bauzá presented a poster about the restoration initiatives of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program.

9) SJBEP’s new hires: During the month of October, 2012, our organization contracted several new persons who will support the implementation of our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.  We want to welcome:

Javier CardonaEducation Manager: We are pleased to announce that Cardona has joined the San Juan Bay Estuary Program after spending seven years in New York City, where he worked for the rehabilitation of maximum-security prisoners, and as an Education professor at New York University. Javier Cardona is also a known performer, dancer, and artist. He has integrated environmental issues, such as the importance of Red mangroves, into his artistic endeavors.  Cardona is a member of the Board of Directors of the environmental group I-Land.

Eliván MartínezCommunications and public relations: One of the leading investigative reporters on the Island, Martínez will support our communications efforts to convey the urgent need of restoring water quality and our urban ecosystems. Martínez recently won a grant from the Center for Investigative Journalism to do research on Puerto Rico’s “green taxes.” As part of his complex and extensive career, Eliván Martínez has covered a wide range of environmental issues, from front-page news to travel and ecotourism.

Isabel RosaGrant writer: Rosa is a lawyer and economist with lots of enthusiasm for grant writing – work wich she has been successfully performing for nearly ten years. Her grant writing experience includes a working relationship with several federal agencies, including the Housing and Urban Development.

Ángel GuevaresCapetillo Urban Forest and Vegetable Garden Coordinator: Guevares is a young community and environmental leader. He organized his environmental justice community, Capetillo, to clean up a massive illegal dump atop two creeks.  What began as only a cleanup turned into a true environmental success in his community.  Guevares went to the University of Puerto Rico and established an alliance that helped the community to transform the 2-acre illegal dump known as Isla del Diablo (Devil’s Island) into an urban forest and vegetable garden. He will work with us to keep transforming Isla del Diablo into an urban forest and improve the water quality of the two creeks. We are proud to have Ángel Guevares (“Gelo”) as part of our team!

10) Successful Second Estuarine Short-Film Festival: As part of The Estuary’s Cinema initiative, this September the SJBEP held its Second Estuarine Short-Film Festival. The festival promotes local productions concerned with environmental issues. This year’s first prize went to David Moscoso, who documented a public art installation and performance directed by artist Dhara Rivera. Other prizes were awarded to “Piedras: Memorias de un río urbano” and “Tierra de la buena.” The first is an oral history account of the transformation of the Río Piedras, and the second a piece based on a compost workshop prepared by university students for a group of elementary school children.

11) The SJBEP raises concern regarding wetland filling and destruction plans near the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport: Javier Laureano presented the SJBEP’s concerns regarding the elimination of 24.5 acres of wetland and other green areas at La Marina zone to develop an industrial park. In a letter submitted to Rubén Flores Marzán, head of Puerto Rico’s Planning Board, the organization commented on consult 2012-20-0076-JGT-MA. As the letter points out, these wetlands, located minutes from the Airport, are necessary to help mitigate floods by absorbing vast quantities of rainfall.

These plans go against strategies HW-5, HW-16, WS-9, and WS-12, concerning water quality and habitat restoration, contained in our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

After Tropical Storm Sandy’s flooding of John F. Kennedy Airport, we hope that local authorities in the United States and Puerto Rico begin to understand the importance of wetlands to our cities.

Friday, October 19, 2012

EPA evaluation; Climate change grants; CCMP Revision; Cleanups and planting; Community-based activities; Environmental Neuroscience; Fishing Bat Project



Our update for June 11, 2012, to September 14, 2012, is as follows:

San Juan Bay Estuary Program passes quadrennial evaluation performed by the EPA: Every four years the Environmental Protection Agency evaluates all organizations affiliated to the National Estuary Program. This assessment determines whether the entities will continue to receive federal funds from Section 320 of the Clean Water Act to implement environmental restoration actions.

We are pleased to inform that our Program revalidated the 2008-2011 evaluation with the highest remarks from EPA Headquarters. This ensures an average of $2,000,000 in federal investment for the rehabilitation of the ecosystem in the next four years.

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program wins over $100,000 in grant proposals to study Climate Change effects on the ecosystem: During the Summer we received the good news that our Estuary Program was awarded a proposal of $90,000 to create a model of climate change for the San Juan Bay Estuary. This model is based on satellite information and "remote sensing." This tool will be created between the University of South Florida, the University of Puerto Rico, and the SJBEP.

Furthermore, EPA headquarters in Washington, DC, selected our Program to implement a new protocol that examines the vulnerability of the Metropolitan Area to the consequences of climate change. For this, the agency awarded a $17,000 proposal to implement the new protocols to assess climate change vulnerability in estuaries.

SJBEP Coordinates Successful Multisectoral Dialogue to Update its Management Plan: On September 7, 2012, a broad representation of professional organizations, community leaders, and environmentalists met at Sacred Heart University to discuss the new actions proposed for the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan of the San Juan Bay Estuary.

Over 80 people attended the activity. Some of the most pressing concerns were the flooding of communities where stormwater is combined with sewage water, invasive and potentially dangerous species like the caiman crocodile, the importance of dredging the Martín Peña Channel, and the inclusion of freshwater tributaries in the scope of work of the Management Plan.

One ton of trash recovered from our waterways through SJBEP’s volunteering activities: Recently we carried out ​​several important cleanup and planting activities in some of our ecosystem, including:

Planting and cleanup activity in the San Juan Bay area, with MillerCoors and Corredor del Yaguazo: With the sponsorship of V. Suarez, MillerCoors and the community-based organization of Corredor del Yaguazo, our organization recovered over 900 pounds of debris from the shores of La Esperanza Island in Cataño.  Close to a dozen car tires were recovered from the ecosystem, a notable rise compared with past years. Our volunteers received training on water quality monitoring and planted a total of 30 trees along the coast of the Islet.

Cleanup with Citigroup employees: On June 16, 2012, a total of 128 Citigroup employees supported the efforts of our organization in the cleanup of the western axis of the San Juan Bay. During the activity we recovered about 1,400 pounds of solid waste from the area, including 1,456 plastic bottles and 796 caps. We also planted 30 “emajagüilla” trees and other coastal vegetation.

International Coastal Cleanup Activity: On September 15, 2012, a total of 29 volunteers from the Program worked, in collaboration with the Arboretum of Cupey, on a mile-long cleanup of Las Curías Lagoon. The group removed 1,000 pounds of trash from the area. The event was part of a broader cleanup initiative along the Río Piedras’ river where a total of 156 volunteers worked all morning to benefit the ecosystem.

$25,000 in donations to the Estuary Program: During the month of September, MillerCoors, The Mall of San Juan, and Citigroup offered donations for a total of $ 25,000 to support our environmental work. We thank our collaborators and their employees for their support.

"Summer in the Estuary": Activities for our Communities: This summer we offered several low-impact recreational activities for our citizens and stakeholders. On the morning of June 28, a group of Estuary Volunteers led by community leader Paco Lopez visited the Isla Verde Coral Reef Island. On July 10 we offered an interpretative tour on the Santa Ana Forest where we showed the interconnection between the forest and Las Cucharillas Wetland. Finally, on July 13 we hosted a guided paddleboat tour on the Condado Lagoon.

With the children of our communities:  Activity with 150 children from Piñones and Museum of Contemporary Art devotes Summer Camp to the Estuary: This summer the Museum of Contemporary Art combined the environment with the arts in their "Summer Art" camp. The participants went on a guided educational boat tour through the Estuary’s water bodies and designed several paintings and drawings with the ecological theme of our ecosystem.

As part of the Summer Festival of the Children of Fishermen Peninsula, in Piñones, we conveyed our message and conducted several water quality samplings with 150 children from the community. Moreover, we offered interpretative tours for the staff of the Natural Sciences Library at UPR-Rio Piedras, the San Antonio Academy in Carolina, and the Methodist School of Río Piedras. Finally, the San Juan Bay Estuary Program coordinated an educational tour by boat for the children of Capetillo along the Estuary’s water channels.

Fishing Bat (Noctilio leporinus) Project: Since February 18, the Estuary Program has been part of the Noctilio Project along with Santa Ana’s Environmental Center and Forest and the Inter-American University.  As of July 11, 2012, the project’s volunteers have managed to identify 25 bats, as part of a study of the species. For more information please see the following article:

Collaboration with the Center for Environmental Neuroscience of Puerto Rico (CENPR): Our organization endorsed the establishment of the CENPR, which exists in part because of a proposal of the National Science Foundation. As part of our collaboration with the institution, on July 11, 2012, we organized a workshop for them under the name "From Forest to the Estuary: a Natural Connection." We also took part in the monitoring of sediment, water quality, and blue crab tissue.

Campaign for the Protection of the Leatherback sea turtle: During the Summer of 2012, the organization – in alliance with the Puerto Rico Leatherback Association (ATIPUR), the Student Chapter of the Society of Marine Environment (CESAM) and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) – designed a campaign to protect the nests of the Leatherback sea turtle along the Estuary’s sandy beaches. The campaign, which was sponsored with funds from our Estuary Program, included a sign with information about the species and the phone numbers to call in case of spawning, and cleanup activities focusing on cigarette butts in the beaches of Condado and Ocean Park.

Estuary Cinema – successful Summer 2012 edition: Thousands of people attended the six functions of this Summer-Season of Estuary’s Cinema. The Estuary’s neighbors are increasingly attending our outdoor cinema at the Jaime Benitez Park. On September 8, 2012 alone, about 700 people came to see the film “Rio.”

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program convenes climate change experts at EPA’s office in Guaynabo: Over 30 scientists from Puerto Rico gathered on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at the office of the Caribbean Environmental Protection Division to discuss various issues related to climate change and its impact to the Metropolitan Area and the estuarine zone. Our organization coordinated the workshop as part of the alliance we have with the Climate Ready Estuaries Project.

Our Executive Director featured in the Sunday edition of El Nuevo Día newspaper: As part of the series "The Grand Sunday Interview," Javier Laureano had the opportunity to present the Estuary Program’s project and its relevance to Puerto Rico. The interview was posted on the 8th of July, 2012, in the key newspaper of the island, El Nuevo Día, which has a circulation of over 200,000 issues every Sunday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Photos:  Volunteers from the Capetillo community participate in the PR Water Monitoring Day; the San Juan Municipality and the DNER cleanup 1,200 tons of debris from the Martín Peña Channel; and volunteers performing beach profiles.

Our highlights for the months of April and May 2012 are as follow:

Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day:  Island-wide Citizen Science in practice – On April 21 more than 1,200 volunteers joined ranks with the SJBEP to complete the 4th Puerto Rico Water Quality Monitoring Day.  Thanks to our volunteers we were able to monitor approximately 120 water bodies along 30 municipalities. The collected data will be submitted to the World Water Quality Monitoring Challenge database.

Through this event we offer water-monitoring kits to persons from all ages, which they use as a tool to interact with water bodies and produce knowledge and information about their immediate ecosystem.  This year the person in charge of the coordination of the event was Gladys Rivera.

We want to thank our sponsors and collaborators: the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Quality Board, the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Puerto Rico Water and Environment Association.  

Related news:

Staggering 1,200 tons of debris removed from the Martín Peña Channel-  The San Juan Municipality and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (part of our Management Conference), performed this massive mechanized cleanup that began in February 29 to March 2, 2012, and continued during May 25, 2012.  The effort took ninety (90) trips to the Humacao landfill and the use of three trucks: one (1) unit of 52 feet, one (1) unit of 25 feet, and one (1) unit of 16 feet. 

After the cleanup the Municipality of San Juan installed signs with a telephone number where citizens can denounce illegal dumping in the area.  This event is certainly a step further in the implementation of our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) and the restoration of the Martín Peña Channel.

EPA’s Evaluation Committee:  The Program at its highest point in eleven years – Every four years the San Juan Bay Estuary Program - as well as all organizations affiliated to the National Estuary Program- undergoes a rigorous evaluation from the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters.  On this occasion the entity’s Executive Director, Dr. Javier Laureano, welcomed the Evaluation Committee in San Juan from April 29 to May 1st.  On May 1st the Board of Directors convened and EPA officials announced the preliminary results of the evaluation, agreeing to pass the SJBEP for another four years.  The Evaluation Committee spokesperson, Noemí Mercado, expressed that at this moment the San Juan Bay Estuary Program is at its highest point of development of the last eleven years.

The PR Daily Sun covered this key evaluation visit:


Two tons of debris removed from the Ausubo Creek Riparian Restoration, planting begins– The San Juan Bay Estuary Program is part of an alliance to study and restore the Río Piedras river, the main freshwater source of the San Juan Bay.   The National Science Foundation sponsors the Río Piedras initiative through the San Juan Urban Long Term Research Alliance (ULTRA). 

Thanks to the Special Fund of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program, the organization was able to further the restoration of two acres of a riparian ecosystem related to one of the tributaries of the Río Piedras river, the Ausubo creek.

The organization removed two (2) tons of debris from the area and one (1) acre of invasive vegetation, rearranged the land banks near the creek to improve its drainage, and distributed seven trucks of wood shavings to improve the survival rate of new trees being planted in the two acres.

On May 26, 2012 several volunteers planted endemic species in that area donated by the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust, and during the summer volunteers will be watering the trees.  Other partners contributing to the Ausubo Creek Riparian Restoration include the Arboretum de Cupey, Scuba Dogs Society, Grupos Ambientales Interdisciplinarios (GAIA), and Boricuá.        

Climate change:  Beach profiles begins- As part of the SJBEP’s initiatives to study the effects of Climate Change on the coast, Ernesto Olivares, who is our Monitoring Coordinator, conducted the first beach profiles in the Piñones area.  The event took place on April 5 and 16, 2012.  Through these measurements the organization is analyzing coastal erosion and sea level rise. 

We thank the students of Dr. Elvia Meléndez from the University of Puerto Rico for including the activity as part of her classes, and her students for volunteering.  The organization also thanks Dr. Delmis Alicea (UPR/ UMESCO) and Ruperto Chaparro from Sea Grant for donating the instruments needed to complete the profiles.      

Scientific and Technical Committee (STAC) meeting to discuss the Martín Peña Channel’s dredging– On May 18, 2012 the SJBEP held a special STAC meeting with the purpose of discussing the latest version of the Feasibility Study for the Martín Peña Channel Dredging.  All major state and federal agencies participated.  The meeting was organized in alliance with the Enlace Project of the Martín Peña Channel, the government organization who is sponsoring the Feasibility Study.    

Environmental Challenges and Restoration Projects in Los Angeles: a lecture by Dr. Shelley Luce – On May 1st, 2012 the SJBEP hosted a presentation held by the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, Dr. Shelley Luce.  The lecture focused on coastal restoration projects and sustainable initiatives aimed at correcting the problems of urban runoff and water supplies, as well as the rehabilitation of streams and wetlands in densely populated areas of Los Angeles, California and the Santa Mónica Bay. The activity took place at 9:00 am in the conference room of the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

Estuary Guardians’ academic year closing event - On May 19th, we celebrated the conclusion of our Estuary Guardians’ academic year. A total of 60 students took part of the celebration, which consisted of a guided tour through various regions of the ecosystem, including Vacía Talega and Piñones’ State Forest, a marine turtle workshop, and a cultural activity in COPI. In the event students were able to exchange technical knowledge and data to further improve their monitoring skills.   

SJBE showcased in the TV program “En ruta por” - On Friday, May 11, our scientific advisor and outreach coordinator, Dr. Jorge Bauzá and Gladys Rivera, respectively, were interviewed as part of the television show “En ruta por”. The segment focused on different low-impact recreational activities within the San Juan Bay Estuary, showcasing some of the SJBEP’s restoration initiatives such as our mangrove reforestation program in the Condado Lagoon and our water quality-monitoring program.

“Aguas dulces/ Aguas saladas” environmental justice communities site-specific performance workshops -  Artist Fiona Templeton, from New York and London, conducted community workshops in the following sites:  Cucharillas Wetland (Juana Matos community), Capetillo community’s Urban Forest, Barrio Obrero and Israel communities (part of the Martín Peña Channel study area).

Approximately 40 persons from the community attended the workshops from  May 31, 2011 to April 20, 2012.  As part of the project members of the communities were able to share their dreams with the artist and a group of local performers.  

The performers, trained by Templeton for a month, represented the dreams of the communities in a presentation at the Luis Muñoz Rivera Park on May 20, 2012.   

The event received ample media coverage, including two full-pages, full-color at El Nuevo Día newspaper on Sunday, April 8, 2012, named “Stories of the Bay”.

We thank the Puerto Rico’s Artistic Council and the National Performance Network for choosing the San Juan Bay Estuary for the development of this unique experience.

Visit from Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Deputy Administrator for the Office of Water-  Nancy Stoner is the person from EPA in charge of the Office of Water. Thanks to an invitation from Judith Enck, Stoner visited several environmental justice communities of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program.  The visit took place on April 13, 2012

Stoner wrote the following excellent article about her visit to the Program:

On May 15, 2012 Bernice Smith, the National Estuary Program’s Director in DC, sent a communication to all NEP directors and EPA regions to inform about this relevant visit and congratulate the SJBEP for its fine work.

SJBEP speaks to the New York Federal Reserve - On the second of May, Dr. Javier Laureano presented to the executive staff of the New York Federal Reserve the economic relevance of the SJBE's ecosystems.

Among the attendees to the presentation were Christine Cumming, First Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank; Richard Peach, Senior Vice President; and Rae Rosen, Assistant Vice President. After the meeting, the members of the NYFR visited our mangrove planting and artificial reef restoration projects in the Condado Lagoon.

Alliance with Cantera presented in a press conference– On April 19th, Dr. Javier Laureano, and STAC President Ernesto Díaz participated in a press conference organized by the Company for the Integral Development of the Cantera Peninsula to announce the alliance of the Company with the SJBEP and the DNER.

One of the projects discussed during the event was the Guachinanga channel’s dredging.  The SJBEP and Cantera have destined an investment of $400,000 for this initiative.

Related news:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This Tuesday, May 1, 2012 the San Juan Bay Estuary Program presents "The City of Los Angeles and the Santa Monica Bay Estuary:  Environmental Challenges and Restoration Projects" by Dr. Shelley Luce, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.  The conference will take place at 9:00am in the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources' conference room,  Environmental Agencies Building, 9th Floor.  You can reserve by calling 787 725 8165 or writing an email to

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cucharillas cleanup; EPA evaluation; Beach profiles; Cruise Passengers Donation Program; Students from PR join NJ; Guachinanga restoration

Pictures: designs for the Cruise Passengers Donation Program and photos from the Guachinanga cleanup event.

Update from February 18 to March 28, 2012

1) Our volunteers remove 500 lbs of debris from the Cucharillas Wetland: On March 10, 2012, our organization, in coordination with the community-based initiative The Yaguazo Corridor, organized a cleanup and monitoring of the Cobana Negra endangered tree in the Cucharillas Wetland. Please follow some of the extensive media coverage of this important event:

2) Evaluation from EPA; Resident Commissioner to join Board meeting to discuss the evaluation: The SJBEP is undergoing a 4-year evaluation conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Headquarters in Washington, DC. On February 28, 2012, we submitted over 200 documents and attachments to EPA, and between April 20 - May 1, 2012, we will receive a site visit from the agency. Our Resident Commissioner in DC, Hon. Pedro Pierluisi, will join the meeting with the DC personnel to discuss the results of the evaluation with our Board of Directors.

3) SJBEP to support more community-based restoration initiatives: As part of the design of our next year’s budget, we have included ten wonderful community-based restoration projects. Some of the initiatives consist of invasive species removal, restoration of riparian flora, cleanups, vegetable gardens, stormwater pollution prevention, and wetland enhancement and restoration, among others. These activities were discussed in our Citizen Advisory Committee’s meeting of March 15, 2012.

4) New volunteers for water quality monitoring, including the Río Piedras river: On March 23, 2012, our Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator recruited new volunteers from the Inter American University, which is helping us by developing a special monitoring project on the Río Piedras river. On March 12, 2012, our Coordinator also offered a monitoring workshop for the AmeriCorps volunteers of the Cantera Peninsula and to the students of the University of Puerto Rico’s Dr. Elvia Meléndez, who will also join our monitoring initiative.

5) Sea Grant and UNESCO donate equipment to perform beach profiles: Beach profiling is an important tool for measuring the changes of shape in the beach and the risks posed by factors like Climate Change to coastal communities. We want to thank Mr. Ruperto Chaparro from Sea Grant and Dr. Delmis Alicea from the UNESCO for providing our organization with the equipment necessary to perform these beach profiles in the Metropolitan Area. Ernesto Olivares coordinated this donation and, on March 16, 2012, offered a workshop to Dr. Elvia Meléndez’ students, who will perform profiles during the current semester.

6) QAPP submitted for Water Level Sensors: On March 27, 2012, the SJBEP submitted to EPA the Quality Assurance Project Plan for our innovative study regarding water levels in the Metropolitan Area’s water bodies.

7) New steps towards the Guachinanga Island’s restoration: On March 28, 2012, Dr. Jorge Bauzá and our partners from the Company for the Comprehensive Development of the Cantera Peninsula performed a site visit with several bidders on our Request for Proposal for the restoration of the Guachinanga Island. We will begin receiving the proposals within the next three weeks. The first phase of this project is estimated at $200,000.

8) Cruise Passengers Donation Program set to begin next week: Thanks to the collaboration of Blanca Sáez and Milagros Rodríguez from the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, next week we will begin this promising donation program. We have produced t-shirts, postcards, tote bags, and waterproof pouches as gifts for the donations from the passengers.

9) Nancy Stoner, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, and Judith Enck, Region 2 Administrator, will visit the SJBEP: As part of their engagement with Environmental Justice communities, Stoner and Enck will visit the San Juan Bay Estuary Program on April 13, 2012. Information about Stoner and Enck in the following links:

10) Estuary’s Cinema included in local press as an example of citizen’s re-capturing of public spaces in the city:

11) San Juan Bay Estuary Guardians joined students from New Jersey to discuss water conservation proposals: On March 22, 2012, participants from our Estuary Guardians monitoring project visited local EPA offices and joined, through teleconference, a group of student volunteers from the New Jersey Clean Communities organization. Evelyn Hiertas offered a guided tour for our students, who were able to discuss proposals and exchange ideas with their peers from New Jersey. We want to thank Gladys Rivera for her great support in this event.