PICRC News Update

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Hello my name is Dawnette Olsudong and I am a research assistant at PICRC. This update is gonna be about sedimentation here in Palau.

We all live in a watershed. Watersheds are the places we call home, cure where we work and play. Everyone relies on water and other natural resources to exist. What you and others do on land impacts the quality and quantity of water and other natural resources. Healthy watersheds are important for a healthy environment and healthy economy. Our watersheds provides water for drinking and for business in our community. In Palau, cheap there is over 150 inches of rainfall per year, and all of this rain falls into watersheds. In Babeldaob, this rainfall is stored in healthy vegetated watersheds and discharged slowly. In Palau, there are five watersheds with major bays or outflows of water, namely, Diongradid-Ngardmau, Ngermeduu Bay-Ngaremlengui, Ngerdorch-Melekeok, Ngemai-Ngiwal, and Ngerikiil River-Airai. It is so important to manage the local water and natural resources to effectively sustain the local economy, human health and environmental health. Activities being conducted in Babeldaob such as road and building construction, farming, and burning of vegetation either produce large amount of loose soil or expose large amount of soils that during a big rain event, are carried into the major watersheds and washed out onto the nearby coastal areas and out onto the coral reefs.Research being conducted by the Palau International Coral Reef Center shows that an alarming amount of sediments ar going from the land to reefs around Babeldaob. Once the sediments get on the reefs, it smothers and suffocates the corals, which lead to the death of corals. The research shows a close and significant relationship with the amount of sediments reaching the reef from land and the condition of the coral reefs. Reefs with lots of sediments have lower juvenile density. Because fish depend on corals as habitat, the decrease in coral cover and diversity will also affect fish populations around Babeldaob. The results of this research by PICRC have important implications for reefs in Palau, and similar small islands in Micronesia, where development on lands leads to increases in river runoffs, suspended solids, and sedimentation. The increases in terrestrial discharge need to be controlled and mitigation procedures put in place, to ensure that these nearshore reefs continue to support diverse and productive systems as they have for the past millions of years. Thank you for watching PICRC News Update 03/02/12.

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