Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highlights for the week ending June 25th

Supporting water quality improvement at Las Curías:
In the morning of June 14th, our Outreach Manager, Gladys Rivera, with the technical support of our Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator Harold Manrique, participated in a public hearing in the community of Las Curías in Cupey Alto. During this hearing led by the Energy Affairs and Water Resources Commission of Puerto Rico's Senate, the participants discussed the situation of the invasive aquatic plant that is covering the Las Curias' lake and the bacteriological contamination that is affecting the waters.  Our organization was invited to the hearing since we have been documenting and sharing the information about the problems with the lake and supporting initiatives with the community.  That day, after an afternoon meeting with the community and the San Juan Municipality, our organization committed to promote among our volunteers the salvina plant removal effort and participate in the initiative. From June 19th to June 24th, the SJBE’s volunteers and the SJBE group dedicated more than 80 hours of service to removing hundred of pounds of salvinia molesta from the lake. The organization also donated rakes to the community for the removal of the plant with a value of over $200.

Educational video about the situation in Las Curías lake produced by our AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Joselín E. Ramírez [CC available]:

Dunes restoration project:
On Sunday, June 19th, one of the most important newspapers in the island published a special report about our Dunes Restoration Project. This article was relative to the remarkable activity that we held June 18th, in Piñones, as part of our efforts in playa Aviones. The enterprise was sponsored by Banana Boat, with more than 50 volunteers from all around the island who participated in different activities. They had the opportunity to place new bamboo fences to increase the amount of sand in the second phase of our dunes restoration project. They also participated in the monthly beach profile in the restoration area, and in a planting event.  The volunteers performed water quality monitoring, bird observation, and aquatic trash removal including the classification of micro-plastics. The event was coordinated by Dr. Jorge Bauzá, our Scientific Director, and Gladys Rivera, our Volunteer and Outreach Manager, and is part of the efforts of our organization to provide citizen science opportunities to our volunteers.  AmeriCorps VISTA members and other staff of the San Juan Bay Estuary also supported the activities of the day.

Link to the article:

Breeding bird census and workshop:
Laura Fidalgo led our AmeriCorps VISTA and additional volunteers in a bird census on June 24th, as part of their work identifying ecological resources in the communities, at the Las Curias community in Cupey Alto, with more than 25 species identified. They found a great abundance of scaly-naped pigeon (paloma turca), and a nesting area of Swallows species (golondrinas) that live there.  As part of the capacity building activities of the VISTA group, on June 25th, Ms. Fidalgo led a workshop about bird observation at the Luis Muñoz Rivera Park in San Juan with the participation of 8 volunteers, who performed the basics on bird identification.

Lionfish population control pilot project:
The lionfish removal at the Condado Lagoon is bearing fruit. Our AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Ivangs Rivera, who led the identification and capture activity with other volunteers, on June 25th, confirmed that no specimens were found in the area.

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