Back in November 2012 the Micronesia Challenge posted a short article about the Humåtak Project. This project is a community effort working to revive Guam’s watersheds, coral reefs, and fisheries using watershed restoration activities. The project began in 2002 after local fisherman noticed a decline in fish catch, which they attributed to excessive sedimentation on the reef. The goals of the project are to: 1) build awareness of environmental issues through educational and community outreach, 2) treat sources of sedimentation by implementing erosion control practices, and 3) improve the science of mitigating for impacts to coral reefs and other aquatic resources by monitoring changes in sedimentation rates and coral reef health.
Over the past couple years this project has become quite visible with the help of Austin Shelton, the project coordinator, and the community of Humåtak. With presentations at the 2012 and 2013 Guam Island Sustainability Conference and educational hikes focused on the watershed restoration projects currently underway within the La Sa Fu’a Watershed, the project is gaining momentum and support. Since this project addresses resource issues in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, Austin has teamed up with a variety of local and federal natural resource agencies, educational institutions, community groups, and local environmental educational organizations to help the project reach its goals. Through tree plantings, sediment sock installations, public outreach, community meetings, and follow-up tree fertilization, watershed restoration has begun.
The monitoring program team will be monitoring ecosystem health through regular assessments of coral habitat and associated biological communities. The specific parameters to be monitored are benthic cover, coral colony size, coral health, fish diversity and biomass, and the abundance of commercially and ecologically important macroinvertebrates. Once all the data has been collected it will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the Humåtak Project. Our hope is to see a revived watershed with a healthy coral reef ecosystem which supports the communities within the La Sa Fu’a watershed.
As this project is still underway, you can keep updated with its progress by checking out the Humåtak Project website at http://humatakproject.org/, check their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/humatakproject, or by emailing the project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you are looking for a way to get involved in this great project, consider joining the Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program in their surveys of Fouha Bay. Check them out here: http://guamreefmonitoring.wordpress.com/.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Location: Hagatna, Guam