Teaching Watershed Stewardship By Using a Topographical Model of Island of Guam-A Community Education Program About Protecting the Coral Reef From Upland Sedimentation Caused By Human Activities.
Mohammad H. Golabi, Soil Labs, University of Guam, Mangilao, GU and Sydonia Manibusan, Soil Labs, University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam
Accelerated soil erosion and sedimentation from the disturbed watershed in southern Guam and other islands in Micronesia (e.g., Rota) is a growing economic and environmental concern for these islands. When soil is disturbed sediments are moved by water into rivers that empty into the ocean. The reefs located near the mouths of these rivers are smothered by the settling sediments, killing microbial organisms, and making the reefs uninhabitable. Human activity such as the use of off road vehicles, frequent hiking from unprotect upland areas, clear cutting, etc., often have strong impact on watershed dynamics in one form or another. Changes to human activity via public education about the natural resources and the environment are the objectives of this project. For this purpose, we have developed a topographical model of the island of Guam in which watershed features are presented in a small scale model at the UOG campus. The model is surrounded by a moat representing the ocean and it is also equipped with rainfall simulators for creating local, as well as island-wide rainfall patterns. Also, a number of toy size off-road vehicles are being introduced to certain areas where unprotected soil is disturbed and made susceptible to soil erosion and sedimentation. In this educational model, runoff is being directed to streams and rivers which carry the sediments to the ocean presenting murky water at the shorelines of southern Gaum. The model as well as the immediate impact of the human activities(i.e. off-roading) on ocean water will be presented in this paper.
Key words: off road vehicles, Watershed, Sedimentation, Guam, Coral reef