Friday, August 22, 2014

Highlights for May-June 2014

The new vertical garden of the Art Deco building on the Ponce de León avenue.
A volunteer prepares one of the PVC pipe planters used in the vertical gardens.
A group of volunteers proudly show their vertical garden installed at the old Rainbow building in the Ponce de León avenue.
Education Manager, Javier Cardona, shows a paper mask of a Spotted Eagle Ray (Aetobatus narinari), one of the wild residents of the estuary, during a school workshop.
Special thanks to María de Lourdes Panet, Marixa Maldonado, Neysha Jiménez, Edwin Arana and Dinorah Lozano, now certified volunteers under the program "Educadores del Estuario".

Cristina Ramírez and her group of volunteers showing all the trash they picked up near sewer openings.

If left unchecked, pluvial sewers openings can become obstructed with sediments and debris, a situation that is detrimental to both the health of the Condado Lagoon and the flooding frecuency of the community.

Among the affected species there were mojarras, snooks, blue crabs and sardines.

A restored wetland in Malibu, California. A couple of years ago this used to be barren land, showing the great potential of wetland restoration projects.
Gardens and murals of the estuary continues. One of our most popular projects, Gardens and Murals of the Estuary continues its course with several new interventions in Santurce. Thanks to the arrival of the Summer, many students have been able to join the work as volunteers. The recently intervened buildings include the old Art Deco and Rainbow buildings in the Ponce de León avenue. Changing the appearance of abandoned buildings with vertical gardens brings life and a sense of well-being to urban dwellers, and increases the biodiversity of the city.

 Don't miss this and other great urban restoration projects on the link below!

Javier Cardona, our Education Program coordinator, brings the Estuary to different classrooms and communities.  With a variety of workshops and hands-on activities on the field, many students have increased their knowledge of the estuary through a combination of art and science! Mr. Cardona recently certified a group of trained volunteers that will expand the capacity of the Education Program to reach different school and audiences by providing workshops and leading field activities. See the pictures above! 

For the full story click here:

Cleaning of runoff sewers in Alto del Cabro. The Alto del Cabro community in Santurce has several pluvial sewers that discharge directly to the Condado Lagoon. As part of the project "The Condado Lagoon is my home", Cristina Ramírez, the project coordinator, led a team of volunteers that cleaned the debris accumulated around the sewer entrances. The debris cleaned included cigarette butts, plastic and glass bottles, as well as plastic wraps and other trash. All of these would have ended up as marine debris in the Condado Lagoon if they weren't picked up before the next rainfall. Thanks to all the volunteers that participated on this initiative!

Recent fish mortality event at San José Lagoon. At the beginning of June, residents and tour guides that work in the San José lagoon noticed a great number of dead fishes and crabs. Water quality monitoring for the weeks prior to this event showed low oxygen levels as well as an elevated pH, all common measurements of an eutrophication event. Also during this week the water had been unusually green, yet another indication of an algae bloom that is the precursor of fish mortality events. When the algae dies it drops to the bottom of the lagoon where it is decomposed by bacteria, which consume all available oxygen while digesting the algae. This results is a sharp drop in oxygen levels in the water, hence the marine life asphyxiates. 

Although there are many drivers that contribute to the euthrophication-algae bloom-fish mortality cycle, poor water circulation is a big factor. For this reason we stress, once again, on the vital importance of dredging the Martín Peña Channel. In the past, the Martín Peña Channel connected the San Juan Bay with the San José Lagoon. Since the channel is obstructed, there is no tidal flushing that could help reduce the amount of contaminants that accumulates in the lagoon. 

Trip to Santa Monica Bay Estuary. During the month of June, our executive director Javier Laureano, traveled to California to become part of the evaluation committee of the Santa Monica Bay Estuary Program. Santa Monica Bay is part of the National Estuary Program (NEP), just like the San Juan Bay Estuary, and as part of  the NEP is subject to regular evaluations. The Santa Monica Bay Estuary Program staff shared their experiences on interesting programs like the creation of wetlands and sewer identification art works. See the pictures above!

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