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Palau

Ngardmau Waterfall

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Conservation benefit: Support of conserving the 1,512-acre Taki Conservation Area in perpetuity

Community benefit: Construction of a 280-foot boardwalk

Date Approved: 03.2010

Forest

This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Ngardmau Waterfall, on Palau’s main island of Babeldaob, is Palau’s tallest waterfall. It’s also one of the country’s most visited tourist sites, receiving busloads of tourists every day. The waterfall was designated the “Taki” Conservation Area in 2005 and expanded in area in 2010. The conservation area includes a variety of terrestrial habitats, with upland old-growth forest, savanna, river, swamp forest, and secondary forest. The conservation area is part of the Middle Ridge Important Bird Area. The endangered Micronesian megapode has been observed there, in addition to other endemic birds.

There is increasing local concern about the safety and stability of the trail to the waterfall. Visitors must walk down a series of steep stairs cut into the hillside, follow a low-lying, muddy path through the forest, and ford a stream before they reach the waterfall. The constant foot traffic on the dirt trail has substantially increased erosion and sedimentation into the river. This threatens the community water source, river fauna, and marine flora and fauna at the river mouth.

In collaboration with the Palau Conservation Society, Seacology will fund one of the most urgent restoration  tasks: the design and construction of a 280-foot boardwalk through low-lying forest.

Project Updates

July 2015

Micronesia Field Representative Simon Ellis and Program Manager Mary Randolph visited the waterfall in July, and found the boardwalk, which goes along the river up to the falls, in very good shape. The forest area also looks to be well preserved.

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June 2011

The plastic lumber arrived in Palau in mid February. Palau Conservation Society (PCS) successfully had the lumber released from the dock and it has been transported to the top of the Taki trail. There is an ongoing project at the Taki trail to complete a monorail from the top of the Taki trail to the bottom. As soon as the rail is finished, it will be used to transport the lumber down the hill. A member of the Reserve Board at Lake Ngardok has been assisting Ngardmau State Personnel is deciding where the lumber will go and where the portion of the boardwalk will be placed. When all parts are in place, assembly of the boardwalk will begin.
Simultaneously, PCS worked with its partner at PICRC to do sediment monitoring of the Diongradid River. Data were collected for a month in February to March, including during some high rain events. After the boardwalk is installed, the monitors will be replaced in the river and another month of data will be collected to judge the impacts of management. PCS has also been working on a management plan for Ngardmau with a community-based planning team, and this is nearly complete. The management plan includes activities to ensure that all of Ngardmau’s protected areas have enhanced surveillance and enforcement and that activities to reduce sedimentation occur.

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