DENR prepares rehab of oil spill affected areas

October 7, 2006

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 6 has finished its Work and Financial Plan for the assessment and rehabilitation of mangroves and other marine ecosystems affected by the Solar 1 oil spill.

DENR Regional Executive Director Julian D. Amador said while the clean up of Guimaras shorelines of the oil spill is about to end, the big job for the department is just about to begin.

The plan includes the assessment of affected mangrove areas in the Taklong-Tandog Island Landscape and Seascape and ecosystems outside of the reserve area

After the assessment, the rehabilitation of damaged areas will be conducted and will be complemented by continuous monitoring of the mangroves and other marine habitat such as corals and seagrasses and research studies on blue and brown environment.

The research, entitled “Identification of livelihood options for Community-Based Forest Management residents in Guimaras affected by oil spill,” will identify alternative livelihood options to Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM), particularly the families, adjacent to the mangrove areas.

Amador said the focus of the DENR livelihood projects will be on the communities organized by the DENR who took care and protected the mangroves within the marine reserve and other areas of concern.

“The other affected communities in Guimaras are being taken care of by the local government in terms of livelihood projects. What we need here is the survival of the beneficiaries of CBFM as they cannot make their normal economic activities in the seas because of the oil spill,” Amador added.

Amador also stressed that a continuous monitoring and evaluation of the mangrove is needed “so that we will know the extent of the damage on periodic schedules.” Rehabilitation will only be done on damaged areas but those areas where mangroves had naturally survived will be monitored in terms of soil and water quality.

Amador also said organized communities can avail of contracts from the DENR such as mangrove nursery establishment, mangrove tree planting and assist in the assessment and monitoring of the area.

For transportation, the DENR will use paddled banca for terrestrial areas where motorized bancas are not allowed. Motorized banca will only be used to ferry evaluators from one island to the other.

These bancas can later be used by the CBFM for protection and conservation activities within and outside of the Marine Reserve.

Aside from this, it is also proposed that the DENR will also establish its own bunkhouse near the Marine Reserve so that evaluating teams can stay there for a longer period for monitoring purposes. (RAC, The Guardian Iloilo, Oct. 7, 2006)

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