The University of Guam Marine Laboratory led a multi-agency volunteer effort on July 7 to successfully remove blue green algae at the USO Beach in Piti.
That day, volunteer divers and snorkelers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Services (NPS) joined the team from the Marine Lab in manually removing the algal blooms from the coral colonies in the area.
Meanwhile, Guam Green Growth Conservation Corps and UOG Sea Grant and Center for Island Sustainability interns provided onshore assistance by sorting and sifting through the material collected from the ocean.
Laurie Raymundo, director of the UOG Marine Laboratory and biology professor, said environmental conditions encourage the excessive growth of these long, hair-like algal blooms, “We’ve noticed years ago that seasonally, we got these blooms of blue-green algae of the genus Lyngbya and it tends to come into the water as soon as it gets warmer. Most blue green algae respond to high nutrient waters, which is most of Guam.” She added that the algae blooms smother the corals and cause tissue loss.
The G3 Conservation Corps and CIS/SG interns separated fish and other marine creatures from the piles and squeezed seawater from the algae. The team collected the piles in buckets and then taken back to UOG to be used as plant and tree mulch. In total, the cleanup team collected and processed three 27-gallon buckets of algae.
While hard at work, G3 Conservation Corps member Dulce Imbo described the task assigned to the onshore volunteers, “We are trying to remove the algae from channel under the water so that we can have the corals breathe a little easier because these algae are the ones that suffocate the corals. For the Guam Green Growth Conservation Corps, there’s about nine of us here today, accompanied by our interns in our work.”
G3, is a public-private partnership created to achieve a sustainable future. Aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, G3’s efforts are designed to cultivate an ecosystem for transformative action to achieve a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future for Guam.