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Cook Islands

Lake Tiriara


Conservation benefit: Protection of Lake Tiriara

Community benefit: Boardwalk and public restrooms

Date Approved: 11.2001


This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.


This project protects freshwater habitat around a river or lake.

The Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over 1.2 million square miles in the Polynesian triangle of the South Pacific. Mangaia is the second largest island in the Cooks. At an estimated age of 18 million years, it is thought to be one of the oldest islands in the Pacific.

Lake Tiriara, in the southern part of the island, opens into a cave in the makatea, a raised terrace of coral limestone. Poor agricultural practices and lack of proper management have put the biological diversity of the lake and the surrounding environment at risk.

The village has promised to protect the lake by barring pesticides, dumping, tethering of livestock, and construction within 50 meters of the shoreline. Seacology will provide funds for a boardwalk around the lake, a public restroom, and some signage.

Project Updates

January 2005

The viewing platforms were completed and are being maintained by government workers and local residents.

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July 2004

Construction of the boardwalk was delayed due to the migration of many able-bodied villagers to other areas. To remedy the delay, the Island Secretary asked government workers to assist in constructing the boardwalk. Progress was made this past spring in spite of bad weather, with the first viewing platform and accompanying landscape completed. The second platform is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer.

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