Koror, Palau – The Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) and Palau Conservation Society (PCS), along with technical support provided by Paul Lake from the USDA-NRCS, held an Erosion and Sedimentation & Stormwater Management Training for Public Works and PAN Officers on 13 November 2018.

Participants of the training comprised of public works officials and PAN Officers from eight of the ten States in Babeldaob, namely Aimeliik, Airai, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngaremlengui, Ngatpang and Ngchesar.

The aim of this Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) Training was to increase the capacity of the State employees to address issues of erosion and/or sedimentation by applying stormwater management methods. The training focused on practical, daily activities that are low-cost and low-tech and therefore easily applicable.

Erosion, sedimentation, and stormwater runoff is an ever present issue in Babeldaob because of the slopes and hills as well as the old and weathered soil.  These issues are also results of uncapped roads and development activities that are mostly unregulated.  These same issues are further exacerbated by the impacts of climate change to Palau that include severe weather patterns, resulting in heavier and longer rainy periods and droughts.  The consequence of these issues leads to the degradation of the surrounding ecosystem including taro patches, rivers, estuaries, and the reefs.

This training not only reiterated these impacts of unmanaged erosion, sedimentation, and stormwater runoff, it also expanded on solutions to these problems by focusing on topics found in a Standard Operating Procedure manual to better manage stormwater that is geared towards State Public Works Officers. This manual focuses on low to minimal cost options for States when maintaining their roads. Traditional practices that have been proved through projects like the USAID-PACAM project, are also listed in the manual and were emphasized during the training.

At minimal, the trainees walked away with the knowledge that a flat road is susceptible to pot holes because the water can gather on the surface.  A more sustainable practice is to grade the road at a tilt of 4% degree.  This will enable water to flow into ditches which prevents the formation of pot holes.

This training was conducted as part of the MNRET led GEF Ridge-to-Reef Project, which is focused on improving the PAN and effectively implement Palau’s Sustainable Land Management Policy through integrated coordination and mainstreaming of environmentally sound management practices. (PR)