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Conservation benefit: Permanent protection of 108 acres of land and marine area as nature preserve

Community benefit: New visitors center/ranger station

Date Approved: 02.2023


This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.


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


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

Pisiwi is an uninhabited island close to Chuuk State’s main island of Weno, and a popular spot for locals and visitors to picnic and swim. Unfortunately, people have overfished, used destructive fishing methods (bleach and dynamite), and dredged for sand and coral. Recently, increasingly severe typhoons and droughts have exacerbated the human-caused problems.

The loss is great, because Chuuk Lagoon is one of the largest lagoon systems in the world and a site of tremendous biodiversity. Mantas, sharks (gray, blacktip, and whitetip reef shark), and green and hawksbill sea turtles are common. In 2008, a rapid ecological assessment found 564 species of fish and 330 species of corals. The report also pinpointed inner lagoon islands such as Pisiwi as particularly threatened by human activity.

The traditional land and reef owners of Pisiwi, working with a women- and youth-led NGO called Island PRIDE (Promoting Resilience through Involvement, Development & Education) want to make Pisiwi a nature reserve. People can still swim, snorkel, and picnic, but all forms of extraction, including mining and fishing, are banned. They are placing a mechen, or closure, on the land and reef, a practice that is still honored in Chuuk. Because the Chuuk Department of Marine Resources already patrols nearby marine protected areas, it can incorporate the Pisiwi reserve into its patrols.

This project funds a new building on the island that doubles as a visitors center and ranger station. At the new center, posters inform visitors about Pisiwi’s status as a nature reserve, the penalties for poaching or other violations, and most important, the ecological importance of protecting the area. Volunteers will staff the ranger station.

Project Updates

February 2024

Our project partner has been working with the traditional owners and the Department of Marine Resources to draft a management plan, which is necessary to place the land and marine areas under the protection of the Chuuk State Department of Marine Resources. The community  has found a contractor and expects construction of the ranger station to begin in February.

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June 2023

The village received the first installment of this grant, and project leaders have been organizing materials and supplies. The area remains under protection.

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