WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina approved $1.5 million in grant assistance for fiscal year 2016 to the Government of Guam and non-profit organizations from the Office of Insular Affairs’ (OIA) Technical Assistance Program and the Maintenance Assistance Program.
“This year’s funding reflects the priorities and issues of importance to the people of Guam including self-determination, public safety, climate change, natural and cultural resources, and capacity building for non-governmental organizations,” said Assistant Secretary Kia’aina. “I am especially pleased with the leadership and collaborative working relationships among Governor Eddie Calvo, Guam Legislature Speaker Judith Won Pat, and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo on the advancement of a community educational outreach plan in preparation for a 2018 plebiscite on self-determination.”
The various Technical Assistance Program grants, including one Maintenance Assistance Program grant awarded for 2016 are as follow:
• Guam Self-Determination Community Education Outreach Program—$300,000 to the Commission on Decolonization to implement a comprehensive community educational outreach program in preparation for a planned 2018 plebiscite.
• Climate Change Action Plan Projects—$450,000 for various projects that support multi-sector collaboration and long-term planning developed by the Guam Climate Change Task Force established by Guam Executive Order 2015-08:
* Vulnerability Analysis of Built Environments at Coastal Bays ($190,000)—The University of Guam will produce a comprehensive report of long-term climate change impacts on infrastructure and other assets to educate the community at large, promote responsible policies regarding resilient infrastructure, sustainable land use and economic models.
* Pilot Climate Geographic Information System (GIS) Project ($83,500)—The Guam Office of Technology (OTECH) will develop a visual demonstration of existing conditions and different climate scenarios, within a predefined area, to understand the geography of climate and predict change. OTECH will use this pilot as a template for a Government of Guam GIS system, which would allow the Government of Guam to better understand climate change’s effects on the surrounding geography, such as temperature changes, rainfall, stream flow, etc.
*All-Planners Climate Training Workshops ($48,000)—Sustainability planning workshops will be conducted, aiming at educating municipal planners in various sectors, including building professionals, cultural and natural resources entities, insurance and finance.
*Multi-Sector Resiliency Workshops ($48,500)—The University of Guam will conduct workshops in order to provide climate change risk guidance and solutions for smaller community entities, such as village mayors and businesses, in order to build resiliency and strengthen climate change adaptation measures.
*Update & Plan Storm Water Program and Implementation ($80,000)—The Department of Public Works will update both the Storm Water Management Plan and existing Storm Water Manual to account for climate change effects including sea level rise, storm surge, and rainfall and which will aid in planning of mitigating efforts.
– Boat Ramp Feasibility Study—$260,000 for the Guam Economic Development Authority to conduct a feasibility study that will look at possible boat ramp locations to better provide emergency response on the eastern shore of Guam, to assure the quality of life and enhance public safety throughout the island. Such access would also create economic development opportunities by allowing easier public access that would ultimately benefit Guam’s tourism and recreation industry.
– Guam Preservation Trust for the Pacific Preservation Project—$ 126,473 to develop and conduct a series of natural and cultural resource preservation trainings throughout the Pacific, to give communities and stakeholders the tools necessary to preserve these resources, historic sites, and cultural heritage from the threatening effects of climate change.
– Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam for the Leadership Collaborative Project—$66,321 for the second year of this successful initiative that focuses on capacity building of nonprofit organizations to better serve the constituents of Guam. With trainings, curriculum and program enhancements and volunteer developments, especially in regards to domestic violence, poverty, and disenfranchisement, the staff and volunteers of these organizations will be better equipped to aid both the indigenous and Micronesian populations on island.
– Guam Humanities Council “Taking Root-Growing Youth Empowerment for Island Sustainability”—$48,523 to support the development of an outdoor youth initiative that will provide an educational program that focuses on natural and cultural resources, climate change, capacity building, life skills development and cross-cultural exchange through a three-week summer program, a yearlong series of events and activities centered on a youth-led climate change action plan and Guam’s first Youth Sustainability Conference.
– Maintenance Assistance Program awarded to Guam Department of Corrections for an Assessment and Master Plan Project—$250,000 for a comprehensive facilities assessment and plan. Currently operating at 274 percent above its rated capacity, the Department of Corrections will conduct an assessment of its facilities and prepare a master plan to accommodate improvement and future growth.
The Department of the Interior is responsible for coordinating federal policy with respect to the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and administering and overseeing U.S. federal assistance provided to the Freely Associated States of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau under the Compacts of Free Association. The Office of Insular Affairs mission is to foster economic opportunities, promote government efficiency, and improve the quality of life for the people of the insular areas.