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EPA awards $102,063 to American Samoa Coastal Management Program

Release Date: 10/15/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

Funds to be used for sustainable management of mangrove wetlands

HONOLULU The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $102,063 grant to the American Samoa Coastal Management Program to conserve and protect mangrove wetlands on Tutulia and Aunu'u Islands.

The project will create locally managed monitoring of mangrove wetlands and an education program and interpretive boardwalk area to teach the local community the importance of conserving mangrove wetland areas.

"The sustainable management techniques demonstrated in this project will provide an example of ways to protect and conserve mangrove wetlands," said John McCarroll, manager for the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Pacific Islands Office. "It will also protect coral reefs because healthy mangroves prevent sedimentation and pollution from harming corals."

The project will work on:

-Conserving the quality and quantity of American Samoa's mangroves;

-Improving the management of mangrove areas that provide educational resources to local communities;

-Providing a sustainable model of mangrove wetlands management that can be used for the conservation of other Pacific Islands mangrove areas;

-Producing monitoring information on mangrove management and conservation.

A majority of mangrove areas in American Samoa have been filled in since the early 1900's and only five significant mangrove stands remain. Mangrove wetlands were once prominent features at the mouths of most American Samoa freshwater streams, but population growth and development have been the major threats to the remaining mangrove wetlands.

Mangrove wetlands provide protection to American Samoa village areas from flooding and storm wave damage and habitat for local wildlife. They also protect coral reefs from sedimentation.

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