ASCC-ACNR Forestry Program completes Landscape Scale Restoration Projects in Leone and Laulii

By Daniel Helsham, ASCC-ACNR

Published by July 29, 2019

In June and July, the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) - Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) Division’s Forestry Program completed its watershed restoration activities in the villages of Leone and Laulii as part of the Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Watershed Restoration project.

“Management and restoration activities implemented in both the Leone and Laulii watersheds were a complete success,” said Forestry Program Manager Denis Sene Jr. “It was an awesome experience seeing the youth groups come together to protect our environment. Whether money is involved or not, it is our duty to keep our islands’ environment clean and healthy.”

The LSR grant program, under the U.S. Forest Service of the USDA, provides financial and technical assistance to areas in need of restoration, protection, and conservation. Stream cleanups were scheduled for the watershed restoration project in Leone on June 15 and in Laulii on July 20. The restoration activities took place in the Leafu and Fuafua streams in Leone and the Vaitele stream in Laulii.

In Leone, the Forestry Program collaborated with the six village Fuaialas and four churches to complete the watershed restoration activity. The six village Fuaialas that participated in the project were the Fuaiala Sa Tuitele, Fuaiala Auma, Fuaiala Tuiteleleapaga, Fuaiala Sa Ilaoa, Fuaiala Sa Leoso, and the Fuaiala Sa Fai’ivae. The four participating churches were the Leone Catholic Church, Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa, Assembly of God and the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. An ava ceremony was held to initiate the activities for the day. During the cleanup, over 150 volunteers from the village Fuaialas and churches along with representatives from the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) removed a total of 1.05 tons of solid waste from the village’s main stream. Three native trees were also planted on the watersheds stream corridors for soil stabilization.

In Laulii, the Forestry Program collaborated with the Office of Samoan Affairs in connecting with the Laulii Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Christian Congregation Church of American Samoa, Assembly of God, Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and St. Johns Anglican churches. A total of 109 volunteers from the churches, along with 11 representatives from partner agencies such as the Coral Reef Advisory Group and AS-EPA, participated to remove total of 1.49 tons of solid waste from the main stream.

ASCC-ACNR acknowledges the continued support of ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi-Pato, AS-EPA Director Fa‘amao Asalele, Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga Tasi Asuega, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources Director Va‘amua Henry Sesepasara, and National Park of American Samoa Superintendent Scott Burch for their assistance with the LSR project, and extends its appreciation to all those who participated in the Leone and Laulii Watershed Restoration events.

The ASCC-ACNR Forestry Program consists of three divisions: Forest Health Protection - Invasive Plants, for forest health activities, monitoring, and reporting on the health of all forest lands; Forest Stewardship, for assisting landowners with forest and wetlands management; and Urban and Community Forestry, for management of trees and forests within small or large populated areas, community outreach and tree planting. Each program is dedicated to the protection, conservation and restoration of forests in American Samoa.

For more information on the LSR project or the ASCC-ACNR Forestry Program, call 699-1575 and ask for ext. 249.