Sunday, August 22, 2010

First congressional earmark award – $220,000 - reaches DLNR

The $220,000 earmark for marine education and outreach in the Northern Mariana Islands, which Kilili had placed in the fiscal year 2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriation (see House Committee Report 111-149, accompanying H.R. 2847), was awarded to the CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources this week. Fiscal budget 2011 will also provide $500,000 to be used for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Visitors Center in the Northern Marianas. Kilili directed these funds to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be certain they are used in a manner that is consistent with national standards for visitors centers. (Kilili's Friday E-Newsletter, 08/20/10)

Here is the breakdown approved by NOAA for the first $220,000:

Statement of Work for CNMI Grant Request
Total Funds Requested: $219,780

Items 1-2 will be completed by the CNMI Coral Reef Initiative Program.

The Department of Lands and Natural Resources (DLNR), which is the sole recipient of this grant, will transfer the amount of $13,000 to complete these tasks.

1. Coral Bleaching and Resiliency Response: Global climate change and coral bleaching were nominated top issues of concern for the CNMI during the CRI scoping meetings lead by the Lighthouse Consulting group during the summer of 2009. Coral bleaching was also declared a priority issue by the Directors of DEQ, CRM and DFW in September of 2009 in response to the mild bleaching event that was observed along some reefs in Saipan. Despite being a priority, all three agencies admitted that capacity and funding issues currently made generating a formal and direct response to bleaching events impossible. Funding for this project will be used to:

Contract researchers to respond to bleaching events and/or set baselines in key habitats around Saipan, Tinian and Rota Develop outreach protocols and resources for release during bleaching events and to educate the public

Contract for field/data/report support 10 days field/data
development 6 days analysis/report writing                       $5,500
Boat rental (10 days at $200/day)                                      2,500
Supplies: dive survey supplies, in-water GPS units
for broad-scale surveys, gas reimbursement for
personal vehicle use and other meeting supplies.                  750
Outreach supplies (airtime and
ad space)                                                                        1,250
                                                                      TOTAL $10,000

2. Printing for A-Z Coral Reef Activity Book : This booklet (for grades 2-6) is ongoing but needs additional funds (for an artist and for printing) to get finished up.

Artist                                                                              $   600
Printing for Guide                                                              2,400
                                                                        TOTAL $ 3,000

DLNR PROJECTS: Items 3 and 4 will be completed by DLNR.

3. Marine Protected Area Workshops: The CNMI government has several local marine protected areas with varying levels of restricted activities: Managaha Marine Conservation Area Forbidden Island Marine Sanctuary Bird Island Marine Sanctuary Sasanhaya Fish Reserve Tinian Marine Reserve (from Southwest Carolinas Point to Puntan Diablo)

The workshops will include outreach and education presentations on the existing locally marine protected areas, as well as discussion of how the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can work with the government and the people of the CNMI on a possible role/partnership to assist with the management (education, research, enforcement, etc.) with these areas. Workshops would be held on Rota, Tinian and Saipan. There will be a final summary report of meetings with conclusions and findings. Suggested timeframe: Fall 2010 or Winter 2011.

Travel to Rota and Tinian from Saipan
for 3 DLNR staff
(airfare: 6 RT @ $213/RT, 6 days
@ per diem $120/day)                                                    $  2,000
Workshop Costs (facilitator, room rental,
set up, printing)                                                                 13,000
                                                                          TOTAL $15,000

4. Engineering Assessment of the CNMI Garapan (Navy Hill) Lighthouse facility: DLNR will conduct an engineering survey and cost analysis of the Garapan (Navy Hill) Lighthouse (Lighthouse), to determine its potential as a future Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Visitor Center, or a visitor/education center for another type of marine or environmental program. The work will include analysis of structural integrity, electrical, plumbing, safety, security of site etc, as well as cost estimates of how much is needed to enable lighthouse to functional to receive visitors. Outstanding issues such as property ownership, parking, neighborhood concerns should also be examined. A final report on the safety and viability of the Lighthouse, estimated renovation needs (including a detailed cost estimate, and an assessment of needed work) will be due to NOAA/ONMS by May 31, 2011.

History of site: Built in 1934. Inactive since 1941(?). The structure is an approximately 15 m (50 ft) concrete tower rising from a 1-story concrete keeper's quarters. The Lighthouse, now abandoned and open to the elements, is one of several built by Japan to guide its ships to its bases in the central Pacific prior to World War II. The building was renovated and expanded in the early 1990s as a restaurant, but it has been abandoned since 1995 and is in increasingly poor condition. Island residents have formed the Saipan Lighthouse Historical Society to work for its restoration. Nothing substantial has happened yet, but volunteers meet regularly to clean up the lighthouse and fix what they can. The Lighthouse was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The Lighthouse is located on the highest point of Navy Hill behind the town of Garapan, the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, on the western side of Saipan. Site and tower open.

Contractual services to conduct engineering
assessment and product detailed report                                                    TOTAL $191,780

[Note: Original link and budget/scope of work document can be found by clicking here.]

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