The Nature Conservancy
Garapan Conservation Action Plan Workshop Proceedings
The Nature Conservancy
"The Garapan Conservation Action Plan workshop was held from September 10-13, 2012 at the Hafa Adai Hotel in Garapan. Participants included over 70 individuals representing over 20 groups, including local and federal government agencies, private businesses and contractors, non-profits and NMC faculty and students. The workshop was facilitated by The Nature Conservancy and CNMI Division of Environmental Quality staff under the conservation action plan framework used by The Nature Conservancy for watershed-based planning. The proceedings summarized in this document represent discussions had and decisions made from the four days regarding conservation priorities, environmental health and strategic actions to be undertaken within the Garapan Watershed. Comments may be submitted with regards to these proceedings until October 31, 2012. After this date, all comments and notes will be formulated into a comprehensive Conservation Action Plan which will be drafted by April 2013. All participating agencies will be asked to review the plan and sign on to the priorities described. An annual workplan will be created by participating groups and meetings will be scheduled each year to follow up on implementation of the workplan. Participation and input from all groups is necessary to move these interdisciplinary community issues forward and improve the environmental, cultural and economic health of the CNMIs most heavily populated watershed area. The watershed? is defined as all the land area where rainfall drains to common points in the lagoon. It includes everything from Takpochau Road west out into the lagoon, from Smiling Cove to the north down to Fishing Base and beyond in the south. Ten focal conservation targets were identified within the watershed as follows: fish, invertebrates, turtles, benthic habitats, beaches, water quality, historic sites, urban greenspace, upland forests, and mangroves/wetlands. Participants identified bacteria from human and animal waste, nutrients from upland farming, chemicals that get poured into storm drains, and sediments from unpaved roads or improper land clearing as some of the most important pollutants coming from land. Marine threats included poor water quality, directed hunting of turtles and the effects of fishing on the Garapan reefs. The group also voiced concerns about trash, invasive species and climate change effects, which will have impacts on both marine and land habitats. The workshop also tasked participants with coming up with strategies to reduce threats and enhance or restore the health of the conservation targets. The six strategies that were brainstormed included conducting education and awareness programs, improving regulations and enforcement, improving engineering and infrastructure, implementing best management practices, continuing research and monitoring, and improving community stewardship and incentive programs. A variety of specific activities and action steps were listed under each of these strategies. By the end of the workshop, all participants had an understanding of the scope of the Garapan watershed and the many focal habitats and species that were important to conserve, as well as the threats to their survival. All stakeholders agreed that the opportunity to network and collaborate on projects was one of the most valuable outcomes of the workshop. Over the next several years, participants will be working with community groups, businesses and others to make Garapan a more healthy, thriving and resilient place for both the community and the environment."
FY2009 CRCP Project 20411; Project Title: Partnership Agreement with The Nature Conservancy; Principal Investigator: Jenny Waddell ~ FY09 CRCP grant NA09NOS4190173
NOS/Office for Coastal Management (OCM)