Watershed Research Project

By the end of 2015, the effectiveness of priority recommended “Best Land Use Practices” for reducing sedimentation will be understood.

Activities such as road construction, farming, and land grading are causing significant sedimentation, particularly in the watersheds of Babeldaob, which, in turn, is seriously degrading coral reefs. To help understand the best ways to reduce sedimentation and therefore, lessen the impact on coral reefs, the Center will continue to undertake targeted research into the effectiveness the most often recommended “Best Practices” in terms of land use and sediment control (for example, running watercourses through taro ponds and settlement basins).

While the main goal of this research is to strengthen local management, the research projects will also have regional and international significance by providing data that are relevant to other tropical watersheds.

Approaches:

The center will continue with the research program that has already begun and is funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in collaboration with the University of Hawaii.

This project is studying the effectiveness of two primary “Best Practices” (taro fields and settlement basins) to assess how effective they are in reducing sediment loading, and whether the results of any such reduction in sediment loading would lead to observable improvements in near shore coral reef environments. The Center will also assess if there are other “Best Practice” approaches or variations on the current approaches that may offer benefits and therefore should also be further studied. The Center will report its research findings to management agencies and encourage application of the most successful approaches to reduce sediment loading.