The Pacific Islands Regional Office congratulates our partners at The Nature Conservancy, Micronesia Program for their recent award of $145,883 from the NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation for their project entitled "Building Community Capacity for the Habitat Restoration and Conservation in the Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area."
One of 10 NOAA Habitat Blueprint sites, the Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area is located at the southern tip of Guam and includes the Manell-Geus watershed, Cocos Lagoon, and the Achang Reef Flat Marine Preserve. Eleven rivers connect to a rich and diverse coastal area that includes fringing, barrier, and patch reefs, extensive seagrass beds, and mangrove forests. These areas support cultural and subsistence harvests, as well as a number of tour operations. Unfortunately, coral reefs in the area have been affected by coral bleaching; crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), which prey on corals; and water quality impairments from fire, erosion, and invasive bamboo in the watershed.
PIRO is working with local partners and the community to address these issues through the Habitat Blueprint effort. TNC has been a key partner in this effort and this funding will allow TNC to extend their Community Coordinator position in Guam, obtain restoration materials, facilitate training in watershed and reef restoration techniques, coordinate Local Early Action Planning efforts, and continue to build opportunities for the community to get engaged in habitat conservation and management. We look forward to continuing this partnership.