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Guam Students Learn About Coastal Resilience and Conservation

Over a decade ago, fishermen in the village of Umatac (Humåtak) off the southwest coast of Guam found they were not catching the same size and quality of fish. Researchers identified one of the primary reasons to be an accelerated rate of erosion caused by the introduction of feral ungulates (pigs, goats, and deer) and fires set intentionally by deer poachers. The fishermen’s concern gave rise to the Humåtak Project, a community project dedicated to the restoration of Guam’s watersheds.

On March 15–16, 2014, over 60 students from Simon Sanchez High School and the University of Guam embarked on a Humåtak Watershed “Adventure” to learn about ongoing efforts to revive Guam’s watersheds, coral reefs, and fisheries. The event was conducted as part of an ongoing initiative to connect the community to their natural resources, which has resulted in volunteers putting in over 1,600 hours planting trees and installing erosion control sediment filters in an effort to stop sediment from running on to coral reefs.

Funding for the Humåtak Watershed Adventure was provided by the NCCOS-sponsored science to management project in Micronesia and Western Pacific Coral Reef Institute, and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency.

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