KIRMA releases proposed amendments to the POPs Regulations

KIRMA is proposing to amend the Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) Regulations 2013.  POPs are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological and photolytic processes.  They:
- persist in the environment for long periods
- are capable of long-range transport
- bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue
- biomagnify in food chains
- have potentially significant impacts on human health and the environment.
 
The Regulation will add 10 POPs substances to Kosrae’s Priority List of Hazardous Substances, the sale of which will be banned from January 1 2015, and the use etc of which will be banned from January 1 2016.
read more

Forest Management Regulations released for public comment

KIRMA has today released proposed Protected Area (Forest Management) Regulations for public comment.
 
The Regulations are enacted under Kosrae’s Protected Areas Act of 2010 and aim to regulate and control the harvest and collection of trees and other forest resources in or from any State-owned forests, including mangrove, watershed, wetland and upland forests. Recognising the importance of community involvement in planning processes, the Regulations propose the creation of community forestry management plans. These plans, developed in conjunction with the local community, will involve identifying the important uses of a particular area of forest, both in terms of the important ecological functions they serve and the resources they provide to the local community, and then developing a plan to ensure that there is sustainable management of that forest area, as well as on-going monitoring of the health of the forest.
 
The Regulation aims to incorporate sound principles of forest management, including requiring KIRMA to adopt codes of practice for sustainable forestry and the commercial harvest of trees.
 
KIRMA will be holding a series of consultations throughout April and written comments can be submitted until May 2. The proposed Regulations can be found on the “Laws and Regulations” page, and copies can be obtained from KIRMA’s office.

Conservation and Enforcement Taskforce created

Five of Kosrae’s State government agencies and non-government organisations have joined together to form the Kosrae Conservation and Enforcement Taskforce. The task force aims to increase cooperation and coordination between the agencies to ensure compliance with Kosrae’s environmental laws and to sustainably manage and utilise the unique environment and natural resources with which the State has been bestowed.
 
The taskforce was formed after the parties recognised that an effective cooperative partnership and fair and reasonable enforcement of the laws of Kosrae State are necessary to ensure the conservation and preservation of the State’s environment and to achieve the State’s commitment to the Micronesia Challenge. The Challenge aims to effectively conserve at least 30 percent of the near-shore marine environment and 20 percent of the terrestrial environment across Micronesia by 2020. A key component of the Challenge is the creation of community identified and enforced marine and terrestrial protected areas.
read more

Conservation Easement a first for Kosrae and Micronesia

Landmark land deal in Micronesia paves way for innovative conservation throughout the Pacific
 
A unique land protection deal will safeguard 78 acres of forested wetland in the Yela Valley on Kosrae, Micronesia. This is what is hoped to be the first deal of what may be a few aimed to preserve the 1,400 acre valley encompassing the largest stand of Terminalia carolinensis (“Ka”) trees in the world, several other endemic plant species and the endangered Micronesian pigeon.
 
While conservation easements are relatively common in the United States, this is the first conservation easement outside of the Americas. By bringing a new model of conservation to the Federated States of Micronesia, a local family on Kosrae teamed up with government and conservation groups to protect this biologically rich part of the world. This revolutionary land deal is also preserving their culture and traditions – the forest provides local with freshwater, fish from the rivers and traditional medicine. The trunk and immense buttresses of the Ka tree were traditionally used to make canoes, and the nuts are an edible treat for children.
 

Photos courtesy: The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service and Mike Conner

Photos courtesy: The Nature Conservancy, USDA Forest Service and Mike Conner


read more

Conservation officers deputized

The first of 25 conservation officers were deputized to enforce Kosrae’s environmental laws and regulations in a ceremony conducted by the Lieutenant Governor of Kosrae, Hon. Carson Sigrah, Chief Justice Aliksa Aliksa and Kosrae’s Attorney General, Ms Lorrie Johnson-Asher on March 26, 2014.
 

Some of the new Kosrae conservation deputies

Some of the new Kosrae conservation deputies


The officers from KIRMA, Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization and Yela Environment Landowners Authority will be joined by officers from the Department of Resources and Economic Affairs’s Division of Fisheries and Marine Resources and the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Program.
read more

Tofol Valley archaeological sites added to Kosrae State Registry of Historic Properties

In July 2013 KIRMA’s Board of Commissioners added eight sites in the Tofol valley to the Kosrae State Registry of Historic Properties, on the recommendation of the Historic Preservation office.
 
The eight sites, located within walking distance of the Kosrae State Museum, provide an excellent and easily accessible series of prehistoric sites that radiocarbon dating has indicated were inhabited between 650AD and 1650AD.
 

Double-roomed enclosure in the Upper Tofol complex

Double-roomed enclosure in the Upper Tofol complex


  read more

New glass pulveriser for Kosrae’s Recycling Program

The Kosrae Recycling Program recently acquired a new glass pulveriser that will be used to crush glass bottles and jars collected by the Island’s recycling program. The machine pulverises the glass into two grades of particles that can then be used instead of beach sand when making concrete or for home landscaping projects.
 
Glass pulveriser copy
 
Kosraean’s have traditionally mined sacks of beach sand to use in construction projects and to landscape their yards, however, collecting sand and cobbles from the beach and reef flat changes the flow of water around the coastline and increases the effects of waves on the shoreline. This causes erosion of the fragile beach berm that surrounds much of Kosrae and then threatens buildings and other infrastructure that have been constructed there.
 
The pulverised glass will be available free of charge from the Recycling Program.
 
The pulveriser was purchased with a grant received from the Australian Embassy – Small Grants Scheme and was acquired with the assistance of Atsushi Noba Sakane, JICA Senior Volunteer, and Kosrae’s Overseas Development Assistance Office.

Mainstreaming climate change into Kosrae’s EIA process

KIRMA has promulgated amendments to the Regulations for Development Projects. The amendments give effect to the aims of the “Climate Change Act” which was passed by the Kosrae State Legislature in 2011 and gave KIRMA specific powers and duties with respect to mainstreaming climate change considerations. The Regulations now require that explicit consideration is given to the potential impacts of climate change upon a development or activity proposed to be undertaken in Kosrae State, with the project proponent required to provide details of adaptation or mitigation measures in their development application and environmental impact statement (if one is required).

The requirements direct increased attention to the potential impacts of climate change and increased extreme weather events, specifically by identifying a “coastal development risk area”. Any development proposals or activities in this area – essentially anywhere around the coast that is within 4 meters of mean sea level – which is vulnerable to inundation during high tide and large swell events and where there is an increased risk of erosion will now require a permit. KIRMA is able to provide advice and assistance to project proponents on identifying and implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

The amendments also introduce differential fees for private and commercial development review permit applications.

EIA Guideline released for public comment

KIRMA has released a draft of the “Guidelines for Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment and Mainstreaming Climate Change and Sustainable Land Management Practices in the State of Kosrae, FSM”.  The Guideline provides an explanation of Kosrae’s Regulations for Development Projects and the Environmental Impact Assessment process, and sets out the policies, regulations, plans and best practice measures that are in place to prevent, mitigate or compensate the impact of development activities or projects on each of the sustainable land management themes:

  • Soils, geology and geomorphology
  • Biodiversity and ecological resources
  • Water resources
  • Coastal and marine resources
  • Land ownership use

The Guideline also provides an outline of the key short and long term climate change issues, and sets out the policies, regulations, plans and best practice measures that are in place to prevent and mitigate the impact of climate change on development and activities, and to build community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The final section of the Guideline provides an evaluation of the EIA process and provides recommendations of activities to strengthen its operation and effectiveness.

Preparation of the Guideline was supported by SPREP.  Comments can be submitted to KIRMA until January 24, 2014.

New Environmental Regulations

Three new regulations have been introduced to help protect Kosrae’s environment and the health of the community.

 

The Pesticides Regulations create a framework for the management of pesticides in Kosrae, requiring people using restricted use pesticides to first demonstrate their understanding of the characteristics, methods of use and hazards of pesticides.  People intending to use restricted use pesticides have 12 months to become certified.  People importing pesticides will have to notify KIRMA before the import occurs, so that the pesticides can be inspected to make sure they are permitted and are appropriately labelled with descriptive and hazard information.  The Regulations enable KIRMA to establish a list of restricted use pesticides and to ban certain pesticides altogether.  This will help ensure that there is greater understanding of the use and dangers of pesticides and minimise the risk of inappropriate use.

read more