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Palau

Ngermasech Conservation Area

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Conservation benefit: Assistance in establishing the Ngermasech Marine and Mangrove Conservation Area

Community benefit: Demarcation, training, floating ranger station, and educational materials

Date Approved: 11.2003

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

The state of Ngardmau, on the west coast of Palau’s largest island, Babeldaob, created the 618-acre Ngermasech Marine Conservation Area years ago. But under Palauan law, an area does not officially become a conservation area until it is demarcated.

Seacology will help the Palau Conservation Society, a local NGO, officially establish this marine reserve. The Seacology grant will fund equipment for demarcation buoys and educational materials about the reserve for the local community.

Project Updates

May 2010

Due to its exposure to the elements, the outpost has required regular maintenance and upkeep. The locals have twice repaired and rebuilt the outpost, at their own expense. In 2009 Seacology supplied a maintenance grant to replace the structure underneath the outpost with more durable materials. Seacology Field Representative Simon Ellis reports that the repairs on the outpost are complete.

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July 2007

After her site visits in Micronesia, Seacology Senior Program Officer Karen Peterson reports that the area is well-demarcated with buoys and is along a beautiful stretch of mangrove coastline. The “floating ranger station,” which was originally built with local materials has recently been rebuilt with more robust materials. There is a small solar panel on the roof of the station, which will be hooked up to a light in the near future. The station offers a good vantage point of the entire reserve as well as the mangrove area, where most poaching takes place (at night).

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July 2005

Current legislation has recently passed to extend the Ngermasech Conservation Area until 2010. Community interest in conservation has increased as demarcation within the conservation area has become more visible, educational materials have been provided and the presence of conservation officers within the area has increased. Surrounding communities have begun to discuss the possibility of creating a new conservation area to the north to protect a critical mangrove area. There remains full support for the Ngermasech Conservation Area from the Governor of Ngardmau, legislators, and local chiefs and community members.

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January 2005

The Ngermasech Conservation Area is still strongly supported by State of Ngardmau and the whole community. The government has provided a boat that will be used solely for monitoring and surveillance of Ngermasech. This is a positive commitment from the state, as this was one of the issues in regard to surveillance of the area. Two months ago, Palau Conservation Society’s Marine Team met with the state’s director of public works and two other state employees, all of whom have been involved with the initial demarcation of Ngermasech. During this meeting PCS representatives were informed that local species of fish are thriving within the area, including a species of sea cucumber that is highly valued locally.

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July 2004

The Ngermasech Conservation Area at Ngardmau has been demarcated. A new governor was elected in November 2003 who has given his support to the area’s conservation. Currently the state is drafting new legislation to recognize the Ngermasech area as a state recognized conservation area. As with the Ebiil Channel project, work has begun to create a community organization to support conservation.

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