Building Relationships and Assessing Marine Debris in CNMI and Guam
During the week of August 5, the Marine Debris Program’s Pacific Islands Regional Coordinator, Mark Manuel, and Communications & Outreach Coordinator, Shanelle Naone, traveled to Saipan and Guam to learn more about how the west Pacific island communities are impacted by marine debris. They met with Program partners, hosted a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) marine debris scoping meeting, and visited an abandoned tire reef within the Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area in Guam.
Mark and Shanelle worked closely with the CNMI’s Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality to bring together key stakeholders to participate in the CNMI marine debris scoping meeting. Participants utilized the in-person time to discuss local marine debris initiatives and the community’s priorities and challenges related to marine debris, and to identify potential opportunities for future collaboration.
The team met with the Guam Nature Alliance, a partnership of local government and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and educators, at the University of Guam. During this meeting, Mark presented on the NOAA Marine Debris Program and discussed potential funding opportunities.
The Guam Environmental Protection Agency coordinated a site visit for the team to a 1970’s abandoned tire reef in the Cocos Lagoon, which is part of the larger Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area. The Guam Environmental Protection Agency plans to remove 15-20 tons of tires from this significantly important cultural, ecological, and economic area.