The plans include strengthening water quality monitoring, reforestation, and community support. In addition, a donations fund was created.
San Juan, Puerto Rico – With the aim of redoubling efforts, restoring the health of the San Juan Bay Estuary ecosystem and restoring its economic services and under the slogan #EstuarioRevive, the San Juan Bay Estuary Program (Estuario) reinforced its three-month work plan that includes monitoring water quality, reforestation, and supporting the surrounding communities that were impacted by this extreme atmospheric system. This was announced today by the Executive Director of the Program, Brenda Torres Barreto. The announcement was made in the Condado Lagoon, together with the brigade of volunteers for the removal and cleaning of the lagoon’s coastline.
“Following a preliminary assessment of the impact hurricane Maria had on the estuary system; specifically, areas frequented by the public and areas with high ecological value, we have defined an aggressive action plan focused on three areas: weekly monitoring of water quality, removal of debris that is clogging sewers and community support in an innovative way. We invite the public to join these efforts, since they require many hands and financial support to pay for these services of great importance to revive the estuary in a sustainable way, “said the Director. “The San Juan Bay Estuary system – through its mangroves, swamps and canals – was the first line of defense in the metropolitan area against this terrible hurricane. It managed to mitigate the impact on the communities surrounding the bodies of water that make up the estuary. However, its struggle came at a cost, and we have to return it to pristine condition,” she added.
Faced with the collapse of sanitary infrastructure and sewers, rivers, lagoons, and the bay were negatively impacted. The health of the estuary’s water bodies will be restored by increasing and extending water quality monitoring efforts. This monitoring not only reports on the progress of efforts, but the availability of water bodies for recreational public use.
Estuario will be planting trees and plants that stop erosion in rivers and streams to protect from sedimentation. In addition, work is being done to restore the affected mangrove forests and to plant mangroves in areas devoid of and therefore exposed to floods and extreme winds.
Finally, volunteer brigades will be organized to support community revitalization efforts through the search for innovative solutions to environmental health problems that affect inhabitants. Among the activities to be carried out are the delivery of water filters and the establishment of desalination plants in areas in need of drinking water. Regarding debris management, Estuario announced that the next cleaning areas will be: Caño District in Barrio Obrero in San Juan; Barrio Caimito in San Juan; Community of Juana Matos in Cataño; Loíza Aldea in Loíza.
In addition, as part of this effort, Cine del Estuario will be reactivated in collaboration with the Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico. The dates and places will be announced on both entities’ social media pages.
“To carry out this work we have created a special fund so that everyone can contribute and be part of the solution. In these regions, we will be mobilizing heavy machinery and the impact will be approximately $100,000. For this reason, we need the support of companies, private entities and citizens,” Torres added.
To donate, you can do so through the Banco Popular account #030-69770 or write a check in the name of the Corporation for the Conservation of the San Juan Bay Estuary and send it to POBOX 9509, San Juan, PR 00908-9509.
To join as a volunteer, contact us through Facebook: Estuario de San Juan or write to us at [email protected].