SAMOA, Falealupo Village, Savai'i Island - January 2006
Funds to restore the historic white sand beach ecosystem that was damaged by a hurricane in exchange for 50-year conservation of a crucial wetland and wildfowl habitat
Falealupo is home to Seacology’s first project, the Falealupo Rainforest School. The village’s white sand beach was destroyed in the tsunami waves generated by Hurricanes Ofa and Val. Once touted as the most beautiful village in Samoa, the white sand areas were covered with organic material during the hurricane, and as a result a scrubby, coastal assemblage of weed-like trees now covers the area. In return for funds to restore the former village area and beach and build a small trail and observation platform, the village will preserve for 50 years the unique Falealupo wetland which is home to threatened wild fowl species. *
UPDATE January 2007 - Members of the Seacology Samoa expedition with Japanese fellows and board members visited the village in July 2006. Village work to restore the beach, including using heavy machinery to clear invasive plants from the area and replant native species, had already begun when the delegation arrived. The first payment of the grant was presented to the village by board member Paul Cox during their visit and the village provided a ceremony in recognition of Seacology’s support. The village had planned to complete the removal of invasive plants, landscape the beach area, and prepare the site for construction of the walkway and observation platform by the end of 2006.
UPDATE December 2007 - Village leader, Solia Va'ai provided a brief verbal update on December 5, 2007. He noted that the observation platform is now scheduled to be completed by mid-December 2007 and that restoration efforts are continuing.
UPDATE January 2009 - Villagers removed invasive plants on the beach and landscaped the beach area between mid-2006 and late 2007. As of December 2008 a walking trail and observation platform were constructed in the wetlands conservation area, and beach restoration efforts continue.