The Kosrae Village Ecolodge Reef Protection Projects

Kosrae Village was founded with conservation and environmental issues in mind. The 1994 – 95 construction of Kosrae Village was completed without the use of heavy equipment and without land filling.

This approach strengthened the traditional construction skills on the island, protected the fragile coastal ecosystem and prevented run off that would smother the pristine hard coral reef.

Septic systems with complex leach fields ensure that sewage will not spill on the reef, low suds detergents, biodegradable cleaners and avoidance of noxious chemicals are just a few of the many examples of environmental protection and sustainable operation built into the development and daily activities of Kosrae Village.

Kosrae Village opened for business in September 1995 and began the formal Reef Protection Project program in 1996.

That fall the first of the annual groups of volunteer sport divers joined Kosrae Village owners (Bruce Brandt, Madison Nena, Katrina Adams) and Kosrae Village staff in the very first coral monitoring session on Kosrae’s pristine reef utilizing sport divers.

Participating in coral monitoring surveys is a win – win situation for the divers, Kosrae Island and the global community. Divers are trained to collect and analyze data using a scientific protocol, gain a deeper appreciation for the reef ecosystem and strengthen their diving skills.

The resource managers on Kosrae Island receive additional scientific data for use in their management plans.

The global community receives data about the state of the reef systems that would be otherwise unavailable.

Mooring Buoys

Mooring Buoy Replacement

Kosrae Village was instrumental in the 1997 mooring buoy system installation (56 buoys on 43 miles of reef). This community project brought together fishermen, Kosrae State staff and dive operators to plan the installation, raise funds, acquire the equipment and install the buoys.

In addition to the buoy installation, an island wide awareness campaign, including school presentations, radio programs, community meetings, flyers and billboards, on the value of coral reefs and the importance of the buoy system was conducted.

The mooring system continues to grow with continued community and international support.

The Kosrae Reef Protection Community Action Committee (a coalition of diver operators, Kosrae State agencies and KCSO our local conservation NGO) raising funds and provides labor to expand and maintain the system.

Kosrae Reef Protection Community Action Committee

Feeling the need to more directly involve the community in reef protection activities Kosrae Village organized the “Kosrae Reef Protection Community Action Committee” in 2005.

There was an overwhelming response to the open invitation to all Kosraean residents interested in joining the discussion on the issues facing the reef resource.

In addition to the expected environmentalists, dive operators and resource managers, State legislators, community leaders and fishermen actively participated.

A number of methods of addressing threats to the continued health of the reef resource were selected during the meetings held in the legislative chambers. These include the establishment of marine protected areas as well as other corrective measures.

The details of the protected areas are being worked out by KCSO, KIRMA (the state Kosrae Island Resource Management Agency) and the communities involved. This community based outcome is a clear indication of the change that is occurring on this small and remote island.

The primary catalyst for this change has been Kosrae Village Ecolodge and the Reef Protection Projects.