Friday, August 23, 2013

Governor names Prats Palerm; Paint spill in the Condado Lagoon; NOAA approves grant; Guardians Program receives award; Stormwater education; National Night Out

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program’s update from August 4th to August 17th, 2013 is as follows:

Stormwater educational campaign-Calle Loíza-August 2013

One of the signs created as part of our stormwater workshops

Participatory community mapping at the Calle Loíza Festival-August 2013

Participatory community mapping-Calle Loíza Festival 2013

Children creating educational stormwater signs for the Calle Loíza event

A paint spill reached the SJBEP's oyster experiment in the Condado Lagoon through the stormwater system.

Direct paint discharge to the Condado Lagoon trough the stormwater system.

Our Outreach Coordinator,  Gladys Rivera, received an award in Boston. MA, for her poster about the Estuary Guardians School Water Monitoring Project.

The Governor of Puerto Rico names Roberto Prats Palerm and Pedro Gelabert to the Management Conference of the SJBE: We are glad to announce that Governor Alejandro García Padilla has named lawyer and former PR Senator Roberto Prats Palerm as the President of the Management Conference.  During his tenure as Senator, Prats Palerm promoted legislation to help low-income people and improve environmental statues and transportation policies.

Geologist Pedro Gelabert is a founding member of the SJBEP, and since the 1950’s has been one of the main architects of Puerto Rico’s environmental public policy.  Gelabert worked as the President of the Environmental Quality Board, Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, and Director of EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division.  The Governor named Gelabert as the representative of the not-for-profit sector.

Newspaper editorial devoted to the Olive Hotel paint spill activates PR’s media and government agencies to protect the SJBEP’s oyster experiment at the Condado Lagoon: On August 6, 2013, the Olive Hotel, located on the fringes of the Condado Lagoon, accidentally spilled an unknown quantity of white paint.

Through stormwater runoff, the paint reached the area where the SJBEP is conducting an experiment to measure how oysters can function as filters of pollutants.  The community members of the area immediately contacted our office, and the personnel of the Program mobilized to the location.

We want to thank the media, chiefs of government agencies, and the owners of the hotel for their immediate reaction to help save our oyster experiment.  Last Sunday, August 12, 2013, one of the main newspapers of the Island, El Nuevo Día, devoted its Sunday editorial column to the accident, as did writer Mayra Montero.
The main lesson learned from this accident is the immediate connection between pollutants and the stormwater system.  Follow the links for some of the media coverage:

El Nuevo Día editorial and Mayra Montero’s columns:

Other coverage:

NOAA Marine Debris Program approves grant to the SJBEP to clean and prevent further littering in the Condado Lagoon, in coordination with the San Juan Municipality: Even thought the Condado Lagoon looks clean and its water clear in some areas, the bottom of the waterbody is polluted with tons of bottles, cans, and a myriad of packaging and other waste, including car debris.

The SJBEP hired Waste Management Specialist Cristina Ramírez to work on the implementation of the work plan to clean the Lagoon.  The San Juan Municipality is currently identifying a working space in the Lagoon area in order to implement this environmental program.  We will keep you informed about the new developments of this great initiative.

The Estuary Guardians Program wins EPA national award in Boston, MA: Our Outreach Coordinator, Gladys Rivera, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 EPA Community Involvement Training Conference which took place in Boston, MA, from July 30 to August 1, 2013.  The project that received the recognition is entitled “Estuary Guardian: Monitoring as a Social Tool to Reestablish Community’s Bond with Urban Water.”  Gladys presented the project through a poster that was accepted as part of the conference.

President of the Senate and the community participate in stormwater education and creative mapping session of the SJBE as part of the Calle Loíza Festival: This August 4, 2013, our Education Manager, Javier Cardona, and the Special Assistant to the Executive Director, Geographer Roberto Morales, coordinated a successful special environmental education initiative that was part of the 2013 Calle Loíza Festival.

Over 50 children and their parents participated in the creation of stormwater educational signs made with recyclable materials to identify the stormwater system of the Loíza Street and its connection with the nearby beaches and coastline.  Morales developed a social research project on the links between emotions and geography.  The preliminary results of the investigation demonstrate that raw sewage discharges, abandoned buildings, and pollution constitute some of the main concerns of the community within the North East Santurce neighborhoods.  One special guest that attended the workshop was the President of the Senate, Hon. Eduardo Bhatia. 

SJBEP and the G-8 celebrate National Night Out at the Martín Peña Channel: The National Night Out is a community awareness event to recover public spaces, especially those identified with crime and social tensions.  On August 6, 2013, the SJBEP and the G-8 screened a special function of the Estuary’s Cinema, and presented the documentary “Agua Mala” as well as other environmental short films.



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