Coral reefs are the foundations of our islands.


Coral Provides

Coral reefs provide us with protection from waves, food for our tables, and pump $27million into Guam's economy each year!

Coral reefs are part of watershed ecosystems.  A coastal watershed is a catchment area between the divides of mountains where rain water collects, flows through streams and wetlands, and discharges onto the coral reefs in the ocean below.  Land-use activities such as construction and farming can impact on the quality of that discharge (i.e. pesticides, fertilizers, sediment).  

Just a few needs

Corals need clear water and sunlight to thrive.  Corals get up to 90% of their energy through photosynthesis from the single-celled plants that live within them.   

Threats

Unfortunately, poor land-use practices such improper development methods and arson fires ignited by deer poachers, accelerate erosion.  When heavy rains come, exposed soil in the watershed is flushed into the ocean where it harms and kills corals by directly smothering them or blocking out sunlight in the water column.    

Wildfire in the upper La Sa Fu'a Watershed. Photo by R. Gavenda- USDA NRCS PIA

Poor land-use practice- construction without any barriers to trap sediment.  Sediment is freely running into nearby river during rain events.

Sediment flowing into Fouha Bay, Guam after a heavy rain event. Photo by J. Lawrence- USDA NRCS PIA

Sediment flowing into Fouha Bay, Guam after a heavy rain event. Photo by J. Lawrence- USDA NRCS PIA

Sediment is layered on coral reefs in Fouha Bay. 

Sediment is layered on coral reefs in Fouha Bay. 

Loss

When coral reefs die, we lose essential fish habitat.  In Guam, we gather around fish at our dinner tables and village fiestas.  After realizing they weren't catching the same size and quality of fish they used to, the people of Humåtak decided to take action to revive their island.  

There is HOPE

The Humåtak Project is dedicated to reviving the once fruitful watersheds, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant nearshore fisheries of Guam.  Find out What We Do.