The four-page Policy Brief for the 3rd National Environment Symposium (NES) has been driving an ongoing effort by the Conservation Consortium to continue the dialogue on identified issues and their corresponding solutions to the public and leaders. Last Thursday, September 24th, a “Tea and Tama” Policy Brief presentation to the election candidateswas held with a total of 19 in attendance. In addition to one presidential candidate, SurangelWhipps, Jr., there were 18 other candidates for The Senate and House of Delegates.
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) research team has completed a report titled, “2019 Assessment of Ngermedellim Marine Sanctuary: Results indicate intervention is needed to boost reef recovery”, on the conservation area in Melekeok state.
The main objective of this survey was to understand the status and trends of ecological indicators within the Ngermedellim Marine Sanctuary, in comparison to nearby reference areas through time. This is the third assessment, after the assessments in 2017 and 2019, as well as the baseline assessment in 2014. The study consisted of underwater surveys on the reef flat habitat where data on fish, macro-invertebrates, juvenile coral density, and benthic coverage were collected. Results of the study show that the reef flat – seagrass habitat has a healthy seagrass cover that has remained consistent over time, in both the Sanctuary and the reference sites. Likewise, fish density has remained the same over time. Within the Sanctuary, however, a higher abundance of macro-invertebrates was observed, as well as an increase in macroalgae and turf algae cover, since 2014. Overall, the study shows that resources in the Ngermedellim Marine Sanctuary are slow to recover, which may be due to natural factors, such as lack of larval supply connectivity, macro algal overgrowth and low presence of herbivorous fish.
A new report released by Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) titled, “Human well-being and the perceptions of stakeholders of 13 states in the Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN)” is now available to the public. This is the first nation-wide socioeconomic study in the 13 registered states under Palau’s PAN sites. The main objective of this study was to gather important and relevant information from the community and present it to stakeholders and managers in conservation, for more effective and efficient management of resources. A structured household questionnaire was administered across these 13 states, with a total of 1,234 households surveyed since 2015.
Last month, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) Outreach team joined a meeting of the Association of State PAN Coordinators (ASPC), held at Ngatpang dock. Outreach officers offered updates on ongoing collaborative projects between PICRC and the Protected Areas Network (PAN), in several of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around Palau. PICRC officers were also able to provide news on the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS), which PICRC assumed responsibility for this past year.
The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) is getting ready to launch its newly developed School Program. Expected to open towards the end of this year, the Program was created with the objective to promote marine conservation by using Palau’s ecosystems and local research as means to teach key scientific concepts.
Designed to cater to elementary and high school students, the Program is aligned with the Palau Ministry of Education Science Curriculum Standards, allowing students to build upon concepts that are already being learned in the classroom. Pre-elementary students are also welcome to be part of the program. Through a series of lectures, hands-on activities, and experimentation, students will be able to reinforce content, build scientific reasoning, and take action into conserving Palau’s marine ecosystems. This Program aims to bring science to life by offering students an opportunity to learn, wonder, and explore the environment that surrounds them.