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Press Release

PICRC and partners promote water conservation through various awareness and outreach activities

 On Thursday morning, March 8, 2018, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) CEO, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, along with Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) Water Quality Lab Supervisor, Kimi Ngirchechol, and Ms. Persis Omelau, started off PICRC’s water conservation awareness campaign by giving a short talk show on Palau Wave Radio with Mr. Salvador Tellames.

Starting off, Dr. Golbuu emphasized the importance of freshwater to our daily lives and the need for everyday conservation in the face of climate change and the threat of more severe droughts in the near future. Dr. Golbuu expressed, “water is not only important to us, for our daily survival, but it is also very important for the environment, starting from the tops of the hills down to the ocean.”

Back in 2016, Palau experienced one of the most severe droughts to occur in the region. Since then, it has become a pressing issue to conserve and protect our water sources. So, in collaboration with Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industry and Commerce (MPIIC) and Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), PICRC and other relevant partner agencies are embarking on a project to address the issues of water conservation. With a grant from the Government of Italy, this project is divided into two parts. MPIIC and PPUC are tasked with identifying new or alternate sources of water in Palau, such as wells or springs.

On the other hand, PICRC, is tasked with outreach and awareness activities to promote better conservation of freshwater to students and the greater Palauan community through a unified theme “Melekau ra ralm el uchul a klengar”.  With that task, PICRC’s annual Arts & Tides Calendar contest is themed “Water Connects Ridge to Reef”, emphasizing the importance of water and how it connects all aspects of the environment.

On March 22, 2018, PICRC will be hosting a “World Water Day Fair” at the Center’s grounds, with booths from various agencies, including EQPB, Belau Watershed Alliance, Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF), Palau Conservation Society (PCS), and PPUC. These activities are meant to stress one message, as delivered quite eloquently by Ms. Ngirchechol during the talk show, “people should start changing their behavior to minimize water use and that change in behavior should not be done in time of drought, it should start now.”


  From left to right: Mr. Salvador Tellames, Ms. Persis Omelau, Ms. Kimi Ngirchechol, and CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu

NgaraMaiberel is the first to donate to PICRC’s 2019 Arts & Tides Calendar

NgaraMaiberel, the women’s group of Koror State, continues to show their support for Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and its education program by generously donating $350 to the 2019 Arts & Tide Calendar, “Water Connects Palau from Ridge to Reef.”

NgaraMaiberel is an active women’s association, consisting of women who represent the hamlets of Koror State. The group has been donating to the Center’s education program since 2016, after learning about the calendar contest from a presentation by PICRC Outreach Assistant, Ines Kintoki. Since then, the NgaraMaiberel group frequently visit the Center to learn more about its work in research and education programs. NgaraMaiberel is an active supporter of other events and organizations such as the annual Women’s Conference and youth activities in Koror.

This year, the NgaraMaiberel is the first sponsor to donate to the 2019 Arts & Tide Calendar. Ms. Terry Ngiraingas and Ms. Ida Ngirmang presented their donation to PICRC CEO, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Research Department Director Ms. Geraldine Rengiil and Aquarium Director Ms. Ilebrang Olkeriil, and other PICRC staff.  In presenting their donation, they shared the term, “Oidel a Chas” which means “to pass on what we are doing from one generation to the next.” This notion of passing knowledge and wisdom through generations is one of the reasons NgaraMaibel supports PICRC, as it strives to achieve its vision – to empower Palauan people through science and knowledge.

PICRC is very honored and is always grateful for these donations from NgaraMaiberel and will continue to engage with them as well as all the donors. For more information about the Arts & Tides Calendar, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Ines Kintoki at 488-6950.

NgaraMaiberel presents its donation of $350.00 to Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) to support the 2019 Arts and Tides Calendar, Water Connects Palau from Ridge to Reef. Left to right: PICRC Research Director, Geraldine Rengiil, PICRC Aquarists, Harlen Herman and Asap Bukurrou, Ms. Terry Ngiraingas with her grandson, Ngirngesang, PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Ms. Ida Ngirmang with her grandson, Meteu, PICRC Development Officer, Andrea Uchel, Palau Aquarium Director Ilebrang Olkeriil and PICRC Accounting Clerk Jenna Mersai.

PICRC study emphasizes the importance of coral reefs in mitigating climate change impacts

As a small island nation, Palau is vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, as well as more frequent and more intense typhoons. Globally, many countries are building sea walls to help in reducing wave height and water levels as a result of intensifying storms. Fortunately, in Palau, the reefs surrounding the island are still in good condition, thus providing the needed protection against strong storms. However, as seen in 2012 and 2013, with Typhoons Bopha and Haiyan, typhoons are getting stronger and our current reef system will not be enough to protect the lowest lying coasts.

In a recently published paper in the scientific journal, Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, scientists from Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and University of the Ryukyus, investigated the effects of climate change on Melekeok State. Authors of the paper “Projecting of wave height and water level on reef-lined coasts due to intensified tropical cyclones and sea level rise in Palau to 2100” include Dr. Chuki Hongo and Dr. Haruko Kurihara from the University of the Ryukyus, and Dr. Yimnang Golbuu from PICRC.

This study focused on the reef off of Melekeok and its potential in reducing wave action to the low-elevation coast of Melekeok. The study had two objectives: (1) provide quantitative projections of wave height and water level in the present reef compared to future reef projections (degraded and healthy); and (2) to estimate the potential of the reef to grow, as well as the needed production rate in order to effectively reduce the current risks to the low-lying coastline.

The study looked at the reef in Melekeok and predicted the risk of coastal damages in the case of more frequent and intense typhoons that are likely to occur by the end of the 21st century (Year 2100). The study concluded that if the reef continues to grow and remain healthy, it will act as a natural barrier and will aid in the reduction of wave impacts to the shore by reducing wave height and strength. On the other hand, if the reef is degraded, with continued sea level rise and intensifying typhoons, wave motion and water levels will negatively impact the coastline, flooding the roads and eroding the coastline.

The take home messages from this study are as follows: (1) it is necessary to continue monitoring coral cover, coral larval recruitment, as well as the occurrences of stressors, such as typhoons and bleaching events; (2) maintain and improve the health of the reef by enhancing the protected areas with appropriate management strategies; (3) consider alternatives such as restoration efforts i.e. coral transplanting projects; (4) establish evacuation protocols in case of typhoon-related emergencies; and (5) set up technology to accurately predict typhoon intensities and subsequent impacts such as flooding.

For a copy of the paper, please contact Ines Kintoki at e-mail, ikintoki@picrc.org or visit the PICRC library.


Photographed from left to right: Assistant Professor at University of Ryukyus, Dr. Haruko Kurihara, Postdoctoral Researcher from University of Ryukyus, Dr. Chuki Hongo, and PICRC CEO, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu

FREE WIFI & USA Silver Medalist Olympian Draws Hundreds to the Night Market

The March 2nd Night Market at Ernguul Central Park began with vendor booths selling handicrafts, seafood and other dishes and snacks, from fresh mangrove crab to fried and smoked fish to squid balls, and other tasty snacks such as shakes, gelato ice cream, fried lumpia, Barbequed chicken and satay sticks. Fresh local flavors included kedols betel nut, farm-grown vegetables, and taro root to compliment the seafood.

Silver, whose career began in the 1980’s, proved once again that she could sing and entertain better than many new performers today. She was accompanied by the Bayside Band and Winheart.

The Night Market was fortunate to introduce special guest Olympian Brian Hansen, who claimed the silver medal in speedskating during the recent 2018 Winter Olympics. Lucky youth Tem joined Hansen on stage to practice some skating moves. Children also had the opportunity to meet Hansen and receive autographed photos. Enjoying the evening local-style, Hansen joined Rondy Ronny’s cha-cha lessons and then tried coconut husking with non-profit organization Ngara Ubeng, who were on-hand to demonstration this skill to curious tourists. Hansen and other visitors also had the chance to observe the weaving demonstration by Yosko Delekuu.

During the entrance of their traditional dance performance, the Medal Ngediull Dancers presented wonder Omengesols and Rebetii with two of their youngest members. Night Market favorites, the Ohana Dancers and new dance foursome the Gucci Dancers, also showcased contemporary Palauan dance. Over 1,000 locals and 500 tourists enjoyed these performances and the market.

FREE WIFI to post and share the evening’s entertainment was provided by the Palau Visitors Authority. Once again, PVA would like to thank Eco-paradise 87.9FM for their live coverage, the PCC Tourism & Hospitality Club for assisting PVA, Kambes Kesolei for his stunning photographs and video clips, and the SeeBees for serving FREE popcorn.

The March 16th Night Market will feature Ngirchoureng’s Jim Geselbracht, a former Peace Corps Volunteer to Palau who will lead us to reminisce by performing Palau’s old-school classic songs. For more information about the Night Markets, please contact PVA at 488-1930/2793 or email Katarina Mad at  kate@pristineparadisepalau.com.




Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Email: ikintoki@picrc.org
Date: 2/08/18

Last month, an 850 pounds buoy was installed in Ngederrak Conservation Area by Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), in collaboration with Koror State Government and Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST).  The buoy is a non-invasive system that takes eight measurements a day of carbon dioxide (CO2), pH, temperature, and salinity. This monitoring system will help increase our understanding of Ocean Acidification (OA), the factors affecting OA, and determine proactive and responsive actions to reduce and minimize its impacts.

In the past two centuries, the acidity level in the ocean has increased by 25%.  No marine environment has experienced a change this great in the past thirty-million years.  Increased acidity in the ocean removes carbonate ions in the oceans, which many marine organisms need to build their shells and skeletons.   As such, the higher acidity is expected to impact ocean life in varying degrees and could have profound impacts on some of the most fundamental processes of the sea in coming decades.   It is likely, however, that the most drastic impact will be felt by coastal communities of small tropical islands because of their dependence on marine resources for food and ecological services such as wave protection.

The government of Korea, through the Korea Overseas Development Aid and the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries, provided funding that allow for the deployment of the buoy.  KIOST scientists will work with PICRC researchers on the maintenance and servicing of the buoy.  PICRC research staff, Victor Nestor and Dawnette Olsudong are the main researchers collaborating with KIOST scientists.

Palau, as an independent country, joined over 190 United Nations members in selecting Ocean Acidification, as one of the important global indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The installation of this OA buoy and the other OA related research that PICRC is conducting, will help Palau understand how its marine resources are impacted and help develop ways to deal with the increase in ocean acidification.  Data from the OA buoy and OA research conducted by PICRC will contribute to Palau’s ability to report on its local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Anna Parker
Communications and Outreach Officer
Palau International Coral Reef Center
P.O. Box 7086 1 M-Dock Road
(680) 488-6950 www.picrc.org

Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
For Immediate Release
Date: 01/20/18




Palau government leaders and private businesses join together to set a new fundraising record of over $166,000 for PICRC

 On the night of January 18th, 2018, at the PICRC 17th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner Gala, a new record in fundraising effort in Palau was achieved, when over $166,000 was raised by evening’s end.  This record was made possible because government officials (both national and state level), private companies, as well as many individual supporters came together to make their contribution towards ensuring that marine research and conservation in Palau get as much support as possible.  Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Chief Executive Officer for PICRC expressed, “We are humbled by this overflowing support by so many people!  We certainly appreciate the extra mile our supporters took to subsidize our marine work and we will continue to do our best to ensure that support to PICRC continues to be a good investment for Palau and Palauans.”

This is one for the record books, where over 300 people came together in a stunning event unlike any other at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center, to enjoy an exemplary dinner, prepared and served by Elilai Restaurant with entertainment provided by performers Mr. Kendall Titiml and Ms. Kelau Remeliik.

The highlight of the evening was to witness another first in Palau’s history – the awarding of the newly established Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. Environmental Award to Dirrangerkiu Carol Emaurois, for her achievements and contribution to conservation.  She is a ‘trailblazer’, among the first Palauans involved in many significant conservation milestones in science, education and research in Palau.

While advancing science and protecting biodiversity are also important, PICRC’s main reason behind conservation is to benefit the people of Palau.  This year’s theme, “People First through Conservation” is to remind us that we protect our natural resources first and foremost for our own benefit. This theme was embraced with the presence of the whole Palau leadership, including President Tommy E. Remengesau and his ministers; Speaker of the House Sabino Anastacio and members of the House of Delegates; Senate President Hokkons Baules and other senators, and Vice Chair of the Governors’ Association, Peleliu State Governor Temmy Shmull, and other governors.  The traditional leaders were also present, including Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons and other members of Rubekul Belau and Bilung Gloria Salii, Ngarachamayong and Maibrel.

This year, PICRC Anniversary fundraising dinner was graciously co-hosted by the House of Delegates of the Tenth Olbiil Era Kelulau and Ngarachamayong.   The evening was a night to remember as people truly came together in support of the Center’s efforts to put people first through conservation.