Supporting the Micronesia Challenge: Kosrae Marine Protected Areas
Funding provided by: Micronesia Conservation Trust
This partnership between the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Office (KCSO) and the Pacific Marine Resources Institute (PMRI) improved the technical foundation needed to best design and evaluate Kosrae’s marine protected areas (MPA’s) and the Micronesian Challenge (MC) on Kosrae to further support the FSM’s 2002 National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). In addition, our efforts served to identify and prioritize the key stressors impacting Kosrae’s reefs, improve the local capacity to evaluate their change over time in response to management, and translate pertinent information to communities and decision makers. To accomplish these goals we: 1) first collaboratively generated scientifically-sound ecological data using a standardized approach with proven statistical power that builds upon exiting monitoring programs, 2) created databases for local access and application of the collected data, 3) improved local capacity for using these data through a hands-on training workshop that answered user-defined questions, and 4) collaboratively used all datasets to identify desirable MPA designs for MC and NBSAP priorities and generate effective ecological targets to evaluate the MC over time.
Recent MCT funded collaborations between PMRI and all FSM coral monitoring programs to provide an assessment of existing data collection programs with respect to their ability to answer pertinent questions and their statistical power. The existing monitoring program and datasets in Kosrae were found to have high temporal resolution, yet the limited taxonomic insight provide mainly for the detection of change in “coral cover” over time (Houk 2009; www.pacmares.com/resources/PMRI_MCT2009.pdf), with statistical confidence. Here, our project builds upon existing local expertise and data collection needs that were highlighted by Houk (2009); most notably to improve taxonomic resolution of data collection and ensure that data entry, management, and use are appropriate to evaluate targeted management, in this case biodiversity conservation of the FSM NBSAP and effective conservation targets of the MC.