Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chuuk Conservation Society

The Chuuk Conservation Society (CCS) was registered as an environmental NGO in September of 2005. The establishment of the organization was made possible through the active support of concerned citizens who represented areas in academics, religion, conservation, traditions and culture, communities, and others.
The first major gathering of these concerned citizens took place in September 2004 at the Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC) retreat. Following, the Chuuk Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP), it stated that one of its objectives was ‘by the year 2006 an operational environmental NGO will be established’, and that the lead agency for this particular objective be the Chuuk Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The mission of CCS is to ‘preserve and protect Chuuk’s natural resources to sustain community livelihoods by working with community partners’. The organization aims to achieve this through the following objectives:
1. Protect the cultural and natural resources of our communities by establishing an initial framework for a state-wide protected/managed area network.
2. Build the effectiveness and accountability of CCS by providing the necessary tools and resources to carry out its mission.

CCS May be a new organization but it has already established good working relationships with numerous key partners who share the same vision for effective environmental conservation/protection. Its Board includes members from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Chuuk Women Council (CWC), College of Micronesia-FSM (COM-FSM), and other community-based organizations.

Through its membership in the Micronesia in Island Conservation (MIC) Network and Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC), CCS completed its first 2 year integrated strategic and financial plan; had its Board Training; and participated in the training on development of management plans. CCS is also furthering its conservation efforts with the PEW Fellowship.
There are a number of communities in Chuuk that have already started efforts to protect their marine areas. Two of these areas are the Parem Marine Areas and the Epinup Mangrove andMarine Areas, both of which are Areas of Biological Significance (ABS).

The Department of Marine Resources with the PPO community has made initial conservations efforts regarding the Polle Piannu Pass, which is a major grouper spawning area located on the vast Chuuk barrier reef. Another community-led marine area is situated at the Fefan UFO reefs, which is maintained as a conservation area although it is not listed as an ABS.
These are but a few examples of on-going community-led marine protected areas projects that are in affect here in Chuuk. These efforts are likewise complimented by traditional methods of conservation that our forefathers used and are still quite prevalent and very effective today. Such traditional practices of “pwau” and “mechen” are local methods that go hand in hand with the global environmental conservation movement and exemplify a vision for the old ways and the new to intertwine in unified, joint efforts to preserve, protect and maintain the pristine splendor of our islands and her natural beauty.
CCS is currently staffed by Curtis Graham, who is the Program Manager tasked with implementing and assisting with projects that the CCS organization is involved with. Curtis went to school at Xavier High School in Chuuk and later on Punahou High School in Hawaii. He graduated with a BA degree in 2005 from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts and has since returned to Chuuk to live.
The Chuuk Conservation Society is a relatively young organization with high hopes for a future of service for the people of Chuuk. CCS hopes to do what it can to help preserve Chuuk’s natural island beauty through collaboration with the people as well as the numerous outside organizations that share a common desire to keep Chuuk a paradise haven of natural beauty and splendor.
Please feel free to contact them regarding any assistance or inquiries that you may have. They can be reached via phone at (691) 330-7227, email (curt_ccs@mail.fm) or simply stop by the office which is located across the Bank of FSM.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Majuro, RMI, Hosts 9th MIC Retreat





On June 5th, 2007, the Micronesians in Island Conservation held their 9th MIC Retreat, inMajuro. The Retreat was from the 5th to the 8th of June.



The members of MIC were given a great opportunity to hear the stories of conservation work within the Marshall Islands. The MIC welcoming dinner was opened by a speech given by the Vice President of the Marhsall Island – Minister Whitten Phillipo.

Afterwards, members of MIC were given the opportunity to hear about 9 different conservation projects within the Marshall Islands. These stories were real testimonials of the resilience and perseverance of the people of the Marshall Island.



Members of MIC were given the opportunity to hear about conservation work taking place in the Honduras and Nicaragua and the Caribbean. Julio Carcamo, the Director TNC Honduras and Nicaragua program and Stacey Moultrie, the Senior Policy Advisor, Northern Caribbean Program, both attend the retreat.

Julio shared his experiences with conservation in countries with extreme poverty. Although Julio’s area of work was oceans away, the members of MIC could relate.

Stacey gave the group an update on the Caribbean Challenge and gave members of MIC some ideas that the MIC could not only apply to their areas of work, but also towards the Micronesia Challenge.



MIC also gained 4 new members, Angelo Villagomez, Executive Director of the Marianna Islands Nature Alliance (MINA), Saipan; Joseph Aitaro, Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN) Coordinator, Palau; Fabian Iyar, Executive Director, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), Palau and Romina King, NOAA Fellow, Guam. These four new members bring to the MIC a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a passion and commitment to work with others to find ways to sustain our natural heritage.

Collaborating for Strategic Action Planning

People from a range of different sectors are affected by the damage caused by invasive species such as ants, rats and weeds, and multi-disciplinary coordination and collaboration is key to effective action to tackle them at the national or state level. “Effective action” also requires a plan, defining what the future will look like and giving a “road map” to show how to get there. Opportunities for collaboration and coordination of activities can be easily spotted in a multi-sector plan, allowing for better use of resources, both human and financial.

In November 2006 the Pohnpei invasive species team produced simple, realistic multi-agency action plans for priority invasive species that were seen as a model by other invasive species groups in the region. The activity was facilitated by Lucille Apis- Overhoff of the TNC, Pohnpei office, who offered to assist other countries in the sub-region to carry out the same activity. The offer was taken up by Kosrae State and the Marshall Islands, and recognizing the value of coordination, the MIC and Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) coordinators came together with Lucille Apis Overhoff of the TNC to facilitate the workshops.

An invasive species strategic action planning workshop was held from 25 – 26 April 2007 in Kosrae state, hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Tofol. For Kosrae this is the first multi-agency workshop focused on invasive species to be held, and the formation of a Kosrae invasive species taskforce (KIST) along the model of the Pohnpei one seen as one of the most useful outputs of the workshop.

The newly established KIST identified 6 thematic areas of concern for invasive species management in Kosrae State: Funding, Public awareness, Commitment, Capacity building, Coordination, and Policy and Legislation. Longer-term strategic goals and objectives have been established for each thematic area. KIST identified three species of terrestrial plant for immediate priority action in the current and next financial years, Mikania micrantha mile-a-minute vine (Mah Tepat), Luceana sp. tree (Tangantangan) and Ischaemum sp. grass (Mah Sacnsrihk). Marine invasive species are recognised as important and flagged for future action.

The KIST Strategic Action Plan establishes goals, objectives, activities, collaborators, timeframe, funding sources and estimated costs for control of these three species. Work plans have been developed to address these terrestrial plants, linked to the KIST mission, and carry through to the end of 2008.

Following this, an invasive species strategic action planning workshop was held from 3 – 4 May 2007 in the Marshall Islands. As with Kosrae, the formation of a Marshall Islands invasive species taskforce (MIIST) was seen as one of the most useful outputs of the workshop.

The newly established MIIST identified four thematic areas of concern for invasive species management in the Republic of the Marshall Islands: Education, Public Awareness and Research, Funding and Resources, Prioritisation, Planning and Collaboration, and Legislation. Longer-term strategic goals and objectives have been established for each thematic area. MIIST identified three areas for immediate priority action in the current and next financial years: ants, a package of 10 terrestrial weeds, and marine threats, including ballast water. Insect pests and diseases to breadfruit, urban rats and feral pigeons are recognised as important and flagged for future action.

The MIIST Strategic Action Plan establishes goals, objectives, activities, collaborators, timeframe, funding sources and estimated costs for control of these three areas. Work plans have been developed to address these terrestrial plants, linked to the MIIST mission, and carry through to the end of 2008.


“If you fail to plan you plan to fail”
“If you are prepared you have already won half the battle”