Local Partnership Agreement Manages Resource Concerns in Jobos Bay Watershed
Local Partnership Agreement Manages Resource Concerns in the Jobos Bay
Agreement will Conserve Coastal Waters, Habitats and Coral Reefs
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, May 30, 2008 - The United
States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS), Caribbean Area, celebrated the signing of a local
partnership agreement to manage resource concerns in the Jobos Bay
Watershed on May 22, 2008. Arlen Lancaster, Chief, USDA-NRCS witnessed
"Resource solutions are found at the local level,"
said Lancaster. "This agreement reflects the strength and commitment of
many organizations that came together with the common purpose of
conserving the natural resources of the Jobos Bay Watershed."
The Jobos Bay Watershed is the second largest
estuarine area in Southeastern Puerto Rico. It encompasses a chain of
15 tear shaped mangrove inlets and is home to the endangered brown
pelican, peregrine falcon, hawksbill sea turtle, and West Indian
manatee. It is also important for marine recreation, commercial and
recreational fishing and ecotourism.
Signing the Jobos Bay Watershed partnership
agreement were Juan Martinez, Director, USDA-NRCS Caribbean Area; the
Hon. Gabriel Figueroa, Secretary, Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture;
the Hon. Javier Velez-Arocho, Secretary, Puerto Rico Department of
Natural Resources and Environment; and Dr. John Fernandez, Director,
University of Puerto Rico (UPR) College of Agricultural Sciences. Also
signing the agreement were representatives from the USDA - Agricultural
Research Service (ARS); U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA);
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS);
Sea Grant – UPR; Salinas Forage Farm, Inc.; National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Estuarine Reserve Division; and the
Sudeste Soil Conservation District.
The Jobos Bay Watershed partnership agreement
emphasizes federal and state agencies, local groups, and academia,
working together in partnership to determine the environmental effects
agricultural conservation practices implemented by farmers on the
uplands may have on coastal waters and associated habitats, tropical
marine ecosystems, and ultimately on coral reef conservation. To
facilitate these objectives the partners also signed an agreement to
work on the Jobos Bay Special Emphasis Watershed Conservation Effects
Assessment Project (CEAP). The NRCS, which helps America's private
landowners and managers to conserve their natural resources by providing
planning, technical and financial assistance, serves as the lead
coordinating agency for the CEAP project.
Also on hand to witness the agreement signing and
celebration were: Richard Coombe, Regional Assistant Chief - East, NRCS;
Krysta Harden, CEO, National Association of Conservation Districts; and
Gary Mast, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment,
At present, the $1.3 million CEAP project is
projected to span 3 years and is partially funded by USDA and NOAA. The
partnership seeks to establish a long-term research and monitoring
program for Jobos Bay with the results used to manage agricultural
landscapes for environmental quality.
"We are extremely proud of this agreement," said
Juan Martinez, NRCS Caribbean Director. "We hope this will be the
beginning of a long term partnership to achieve NRCS' mission to 'help
people help the land'."
For more information about the Jobos Bay Conservation Effects
Assessment Project, contact Edwin Mas, CEAP Coordinator, at 787-766-5206 or download