07.02.2016: Volume 54 of Official Micronesia Challenge Newsletter

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06.28.2016 JOB OPENING

The USFWS Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office is advertising for a Biologist (GS 11/12 Term) who will be stationed on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to work on Brown Tree Snake related issues.   The posting closes on July 12th at midnight 11:59 PM EST.  Selected information from the USAJOBS posting below.   The following is a link to the full posting:

GUAM: 05.24.2016 Divers' willingness to pay for improved coral reef conditions in Guam: An untapped source of funding for management and conservation?

Coral reefs are increasingly threatened despite being essential to coastal and island economies, particularly in the Pacific. The diving industry relies on healthy reefs and can be positively and/or negatively impacted by ecological change. Quantifying divers' ecological preferences that influence economic outcomes can help inform managers and justify conservation. Utilizing non-market valuation, we assess SCUBA divers' preferences for ecological attributes of coral reef ecosystems in Guam, estimate WTP for coastal and watershed management, and investigate drivers influencing preferences. A discrete choice experiment grounded in ecosystem modeling reveals divers prefer reefs with greater ecological health (higher fish biomass, diversity, and charismatic species). Individuals with stronger environmental values expressed stronger ecological preferences. Fish biomass improvement from low (< 25 g/m2) to high (> 60 g/m2) was worth >$2 million/year. The presence of sharks and turtles together was the preeminent attribute, worth $15–20 million/year. Divers are willing to voluntarily contribute ($900thousand) towards watershed sediment-reduction projects that could benefit divers by improving reef conditions. Few policies are in place worldwide collecting fees from divers for coral reef management, and none in Guam. Our results suggest that understanding divers' preferences and the drivers behind them may assist managers in designing policies that capture divers WTP and create partners in conservation.

by Kirsten L.L. Oleson, PhD
Assistant Professor - Ecological Economics
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
University of Hawaii Manoa

April 20, 2016 Newsletter

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PALAU: February 8, 2016

15th Annual Anniversary Event by PICRC
story Berna Gorong, Partnership and Communications Director, TNC

This year’s Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) annual anniversary event was a bit different than previous events. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Palau Conservation Society (PCS) joined PICRC on their 15th Anniversary celebration for a sold out gala event in Palau on January 21st2016 under the theme, Transforming Conservation Together.

Mr. Noah Idechong, Chairman of PICRC Board of Directors, gives opening remarks at the joint gala event 

    In previous years, PICRC’s anniversary events were held on the facilities’ grounds; however this year due to ongoing construction at the PICRC facilities, a clear sign of growth, the Gala event was held at the Palau Royal Resort. The event was intended to kick-start PICRC’s 2016 fundraising campaign and kick it did. During the evening’s event, PICRC’s CEO Yimnang Golbuu announced that the fundraising target goal of $150,000 was surpassed.
    The Palau Conservation Society recognized Francis Toribiong with a Conservation Award at the gala event, as well. His great enthusiasm for Palau’s natural wonders had helped put the island on world maps as a top tourist dive destination and it has contributed to the value of conserving and managing Palau’s natural resources.
    The theme of the gala, Transforming Conservation Together, showcased the partnership factor honoring the collaborative approach to advancing conservation in all of Micronesia through partnerships with governments, NGOs, local partners and communities.
    The Palau International Coral Reef Center is a globally recognized leader in marine research and conservation with a mission to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world. Visit www.picrc.org.
    The Palau Conservation Society (PCS) was incorporated in 1994 with the vision: Healthy Ecosystems for a Healthy Palau. With the clear mission: to work with the community to preserve the nation’s unique natural environment and perpetuate its conservation ethics for the economic and social benefit of present and future generations of Palauans and for the enjoyment and education of all. Visit www.palauconservation.org.
    The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working in 35 countries to conserve lands and waters upon which all life depends. The Nature Conservancy and its more than one million members have conserved nearly120 million acres worldwide.  Visit www.nature.org.