Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coming Next Week: Carnival of the Blue!

carnival of the blue 40In seven short days, the Saipan Blog will play host to the 40th rendition of Carnival of the Blue. Carnival of the Blue is a rotating monthly compilation of the world's "best of" ocean blogging, bringing together ocean bloggers and readers and (hopefully) using new media to build a virtual community of ocean lovers. The theme for Carnival of the Blue 40 is Top of the Food Chain.

Click HERE to submit your post for next week's carnival. While you wait (hopefully not with bated breath), dig through the Carnival of the Blue archives:

Carnival of the Blue 1 - Blogfish
Carnival of the Blue 2 - Blogfish
Carnival of the Blue 3 - Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets
Carnival of the Blue 4 - The Saipan Blog
Carnival of the Blue 5 - Shifting Baselines
Carnival of the Blue 6 - Cephalopodcast
Carnival of the Blue 7 - The Natural Patriot
Carnival of the Blue 8 - [ I'm a chordata, urochordata! ]
Carnival of the Blue 9 - The Other 95%
Carnival of the Blue 10 - Kate Wing's Blog
Carnival of the Blue 11 - Zooillogix
Carnival of the Blue 12 - The Island of Doubt
Carnival of the Blue 13 - Blogfish
Carnival of the Blue 14 - Deep Sea News
Carnival of the Blue 15 - Sea Notes
Carnival of the Blue 16 - The Saipan Blog
Carnival of the Blue 17 - 10,000 Birds
Carnival of the Blue 18 - Deep Sea News
Carnival of the Blue 19 - Water Notes
Carnival of the Blue 20 - The Biomes Blog
Carnival of the Blue 21 - The Oyster's Garter
Carnival of the Blue 22 - Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets
Carnival of the Blue 23 - Deep Sea News
Carnival of the Blue 24 - Sea Notes
Carnival of the Blue 25 - Blogfish
Carnival of the Blue 26 - Southern Fried Science
Carnival of the Blue 27 - Oh, For the Love of Science!
Carnival of the Blue 28 - The Saipan Blog
Carnival of the Blue 29 - Cephalopodcast
Carnival of the Blue 30 - Oh, for the Love of Science!
Carnival of the Blue 31 - Observations of a Nerd
Carnival of the Blue 32 - Sea Notes
Carnival of the Blue 33 - Deep Sea News
Carnival of the Blue 34 - Southern Fried Science
Carnival of the Blue 35 - Oh, for the Love of Science!
Carnival of the Blue 36 - The Thoughtful Animal
Carnival of the Blue 37 - Blogfish
Carnival of the Blue 38 - Water Words That Work
Carnival of the Blue 39 - Arthropoda

Coming next week: Carnival of the Blue 40!

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

Budget:
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.

Budget:
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.

Budget:
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.

Budget:
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.]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Our Northern Islands

our northern islandsThe release date for Our Northern Islands, Dennis Chan's book about the first expedition to the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, is September 14, 2010. Advance copies will be made available at a discounted price to fans of Our Northern Islands' Facebook page.

Our Northern Islands | Promote Your Page Too

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Contribute to Carnival of the Blue XL: Top of the Food Chain

carnival of the blue 40Next month the Saipan Blog will be the host of Carnival of the Blue 40, or as I prefer to call it, Carnival of the Blue XL. COTB XL promises to be the biggest, baddest COTB EVER. Why? Well, not only is COTB turning 40, but the theme of next month's carnival is going to be Top of the Food Chain.

COTB XL is going to be all about predators, baby.

Please use this online article submission form to submit your contribution to COTB XL. Please try to make your post about predation (¿cómo se dice de tiburón en Inglés?), but if the predation bug doesn't hit you this month, COTB XL will still publish your ocean blog. If you have any questions you can email me at angelovillagomez at gmail dot com.

By the way, this will be the fourth consecutive September the Saipan Blog has hosted Carnival of the Blue. The Saipan Blog has previously hosted Carnival of the Blue IV, Carnival of the Blue XVI and Carnival of the Blue XXVIII.

*A big thanks to underwater photographer and dive instructor Harry Blalock for letting me use his photo. If you ever find yourself on Saipan in need of a dive guide: http://www.axemurderertours.com/