Partnership to help Guam coral reefs signed

Guam Reef Restoration and Intervention Partnership
Four Guam agencies and UnderWater World Inc. signed an agreement on Feb. 19 formalizing a working alliance in coral reef restoration, rehabilitation, and damage mitigation. (From left) Sara Hamilton, curator, UnderWater World; Nic Rupley, public information officer, Guam Environmental Protection Agency; Chelsa Muna-Brecht, director, Guam Department of Agriculture; Rafael Calderon, senior aquarist, UnderWater World; Thomas W. Krise, president, University of Guam; Tyrone Taitano, director, Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans; Laurie J. Raymundo, interim director of the UOG Marine Laboratory and co-chair of the Guam Reef Restoration & Intervention Partnership; and Anita Borja Enriquez, senior vice president of Academic and Student Affairs, University of Guam. (Photo courtesy of the University of Guam)

Several local organizations have vowed to work together through signing an agreement on Wed, Feb 19 to help restore and maintain the health of our coral reefs.

The Guam Reef Restoration and Intervention Partnership (GRRIP) allows different agencies to have their personnel rehabilitate the island’s threatened coral reefs in a time of rapid climate change.

Dr. Laurie Raymundo, the co-chair of GRIPP, says that the partnership is focusing on outplanting staghorn coral that has been reared in nurseries in Piti and Merizo. She says that these corals are important fish habitats and can break up wave energy during storms.

As for this agreement, she says she is looking forward to seeing this partnership progress.

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“Working relationships have been happening for quite a while between these agencies just getting together and helping each other out. Formalizing this MOU gives these agencies the weight and whatever else is needed to allow their personnel to get involved in these kinds of activities,” Dr. Raymundo said.

Although they are not formally aligned with this partnership, Raymundo adds that she has been meeting with military officials to discuss how to do more coral conservation work on their occupied coastlines.

An $856,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant was recently awarded to the UOG Marine Lab, which will help GRRIP restore reefs that were decimated during several coral bleaching episodes from 2013 to 2017.