9 Dec 2015

Biological monitoring on Kayangel Atoll handed over to the local people

Local Kayangel Atoll people take over biological monitoring
By Palau Conservation Society

Developing the skills of local people to manage and protect their own natural environments and species is a key objective of BirdLife and its partners.  Palau BirdLife partner, the Palau Conservation Society,(PCS), has just achieved such a mile stone on Kayangel Atoll, where the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Services of Kayangel took over responsibility for the Kayangel Biological Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.

It has been a four year programme of working together and on-the-ground training teaching the necessary skills.  During the monitoring survey carried out at the end of October, Jennifer Ngwal, (Conservation Coordinator), with local staff, led a successful survey, the second survey for the year. The Kayangel Biological ME Plan monitors mainly terrestrial resources at this time with a focus on the population of Palau's only endangered bird, the Micronesian megapode.

The Micronesian megapode is also a globally endangered bird in the IUCN Red List and the US Endangered Species List. The plan calls for biannual survey for the first two years followed by annual surveys thereafter. The monitoring protocol allow PCS and the State to track changes to the health of the environment. If there are stresses, the protocol will help identify and prioritize management efforts to best protect the atoll ecosystem.

Throughout this effort, PCS also brought in the Koror Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement and the Ngardok Nature Reserve to provide extra hands on the ground.  More importantly, providing on-the-ground training in the protocol, leads to the hope that this approach can also be replicated in Koror's Southern Lagoon and in Melekeok.

Palau Conservation Society believes the Department’s staff have achieved a significant milestone in efforts to self-manage their natural resources. The people of Kayangel, the Governor and State Government, and the traditional leadership deserve congratulations for their relentless support in building home grown capacity. This is the key to sustainable protection.   PCS, along with the Kayangel officials, are also very appreciative of the Koror Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement and Melekeok's Ngardok Nature Reserve for their support and assistance.

PCS will continue to provide monitoring support where needed to Kayangel Department, only from here on, the local staff will be leading, planning, and providing necessary field supplies.