Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Does this story sound familiar?

Dominican Town Explores Ecotourism

In the Dominican Republic, a small town long troubled by poverty is fighting to hold onto its beaches and transform them into a low-key, environmentally sustainable tourist destination.

The goal is a tourism economy, but not typically Caribbean all-inclusive “high volume, low cost, keep churning the people through” tourism, said Donald J. Melnick, a conservation biologist who is co-director of the Columbia center.

Dr. Melnick said participants envisioned small-scale, low-impact ecotourism that would sustain the environment rather than degrade it. And, as much as possible, the environment will stay in local hands.

Read the story and check out the video from the New York Times

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Miniature Robots to Swarm the Oceans

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 10 November 2009 01:08 pm ET

Swarms of soup-can-sized robots will soon plunge into the ocean seeking data on poorly understood phenomena from currents to biology.

With $2.5 million in new funding from the National Science Foundation, researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will create and deploy fleets of autonomous underwater explorers (AUEs) to explore the depths. Tens or hundreds of pint-sized robots would be deployed along with one the size of a soccer ball, in setups repeated wherever they are needed.

"AUEs will give us information to figure out how small organisms survive, how they move in the ocean, and the physical dynamics they experience as they get around," said Scripps researcher Peter Franks. "AUEs should improve ocean models and allow us to do a better job of following 'the weather and climate of the ocean,' as well as help us understand things like carbon fluxes."

Researchers have some pretty good data on the ocean as a whole, but many localized phenomena are not well understood.

By defining localized currents, temperature, salinity, pressure and biological properties, AUEs will offer new and valuable information about a range of ocean phenomena, according to an NSF statement released today. The 'bot swarms will aid in obtaining information needed for developing marine protected areas, determining critical nursery habitats for fish and other animals, tracking harmful algae blooms, and monitoring oil spills.

For marine protected areas, AUEs will help inform debates about the best areas for habitat protection. With harmful algal blooms and oil spills, the instruments can be deployed directly into outbreak patches to gauge how they develop and change over time. In the case of an airplane crash over the ocean, AUEs should be able to track currents to determine where among the wreckage a black box may be located.

"AUEs will fill in gaps between existing marine technologies," said Scripps researcher Jules Jaffe. "They will provide a whole new kind of information."

Franks, who conducts research on marine phytoplankton, says that "plankton are somewhat like the balloons of the ocean floating around out there. With AUEs, we're trying to figure out how the ocean works at scales that matter to plankton.

"If we place 100 AUEs in the ocean and let them go, we'll be able to look at how they move to get a sense of the physics driving current flows."

During the pilot phase of the project, Jaffe and colleagues will build five to six of the soccer-ball-sized explorers and 20 of the smaller versions. An outreach component of the project will enlist school children in building and ultimately deploying AUEs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Part 2; Coastal Restoration between Marias and Indicators

This past weekend 10 volunteers helped plant 20 trees that included 4 mahoganies, 12 coconut palms, and 8 washingtonia palms, along with 60 'sea lettuce' plants in an area between Playa Marias and Indicators. This work is a part of our 'Sea to Summit' campaign working towards watershed protection. Check out the slideshow of the event below.

Special thanks go out to HC Wooden Pallets Inc. for lettings us use your truck and countless bags of mulch to help in our coastal restoration project as well as the dedicated volunteers for working hard in the hot sun.

Marias Parking Lot Gets a Face Lift

Recently, the chapter of the Surfrider Foundation in Rincon noticed a break between swells and rainfall evetns and took advantage of this opportunity to pay to have tosque delivered to marias to fix the parking lot. Watch the slideshow below to see the before, during and after images of this work. A special thanks to the Municipality of Rincon for helping to properly set the tosque in the parking lot.

During the next break in the string of swells we have lined up for ourselves we will finish what we started. For questions, comments, or suggestions please contact the chapter at salvatrespalmas@yahoo.com, or salvatrespalmas@surfrider.org.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Help Protect the Northeast Corridor

¡TinglArte en Defensa del Corredor Ecológico del Noreste!

Trae a tu familia y amigos,

aprende sobre el Corredor y los tinglares,

prepara tu petición al gobernador…

para luego caminar a Fortaleza

Sábado, 7 de noviembre, 1:00pm

Plaza de Armas, Viejo San Juan

(frente a la Alcaldía de San Juan)

Coalicion Pro Corredor Ecológico del Noreste

PO Box 21552 SJ, PR 00931-1552



Sierra Club Puerto Rico