The Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance has been awarded a grant amounting to $222,320 from the U.S. Department of the Interior to support its campaign against the spread of invasive vines in the CNMI.
MINA, a community-based, non-profit organization, will use the funds to recruit and train five additional Tasi-Watch rangers to help control the spread of invasive vines in priority watershed areas.
Invasive vines on Saipan are smothering native plants and trees, leading to erosion and increased sedimentation in streams and in the ocean. Among the invasive vines identified on Saipan are Operculina, Ipomoea spp, Cryptostegia grandiflora, Coccinia grandis, Epipremnum aureum, Antigonon leptopus, Passiflora spp, and Mikania scandens.
Funds will also support the MINA Schools for Environmental Conservation program where they recruit one teacher and five students from each school to participate in hands-on and in-the-field conservation experiences in the community.
MINA has managed coastal and ocean cleanup for the past 10 years through a Tasi-Watch program, which was founded in 2010. The program has been successful in recruiting recent high school graduates and training them to become community conservation rangers who work to protect the natural environment and share conservation messages in the community with their peers, families, villages, and the wider island population. The word Tasi in Chamorro means ocean.
The award is part of the $942,206 in fiscal year 2020 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative grants to eradicate and control the spread of invasive species in the U.S. territories of Guam and the CNMI, as well as in the Republic of Palau, and Yap, in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Funding will be used to introduce biological control of coconut rhinoceros beetles, control and eradicate feral cats and monitor lizards, and destroy wild vines, all of which are disruptive to ecological systems and impacting communities and livelihoods in the islands.
Aside from MINA, the other beneficiaries are:
• $239,994 is awarded to the University of Guam to establish biological control of the coconut rhinoceros beetle population in Guam;
• $239,922 is awarded to Island Conservation to eradicate feral cats in the Ulong Island area of the Rock Islands in Palau;
• $239,970 is awarded to Island Conservation to eradicate invasive monitor lizards and manage an outbreak of Montipora corals in Ulithi Atoll, Yap in FSM.
For more on Office of Insular Affairs funding to eradicate invasive species in the insular areas, visit the OIA website at https://www.doi.gov/oia/press-releases. (PR)