Tracking System

PI-3 - In Progress

Action ID PI-3

Action Establish a program to provide citizens with effective and organized volunteer opportunities to support the SJBEP restoration projects

Schedule Short-Term

Status In Progress


Update July, 2017: As of July 2017, we have a volunteer database of 2,300. Our biggest volunteer activity each year is the Water Quality Monitoring Day celebration. This past April 2017, we had our 9th one. We always register over 1,000 volunteers. We also have volunteers assist with our Trash Free Waters Program, and in direct service with water monitoring, restoration projects, etc. Our projects usually involve a high amount of volunteers such as these occasions:

    - October 27, 2012: A group of 53 volunteers of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico gathered at La Esperanza Islet, the group cleaned 850         pounds of trash from the ecosystem. Other volunteers planted 50 icaco plants on the Islet to help minimize the effects of coastal             erosion. Another group performed water quality monitoring tests.

    -April 27, 2013: 150 volunteers from the company United Parcel Services (UPS) planted 150 Buttonwood mangroves

    -December 13, 2014: Estuary 360 event, a total of 88 volunteers worked in 12 locations across the estuary watershed. For the March      2014 event, a total of 135 volunteers worked in 13 locations. During the September 2014 the number of volunteers was 128 on 8          locations. This adds up to 351 volunteers.

We take pride in our volunteer and in our processes so we had our AmeriCorps VISTAS 2015-2016 revise the SJBEP’s Volunteer Manuals.

Update March, 2012: We have a database of over 1,200 volunteers who participate in all of our activities around the SJBE’s watershed. 

Through community meetings and citizen requests, the SJBEP has managed to identify the following areas ideal for our monitoring and restoration projects: the Cucharillas marsh, La Esperanza Park, La Esperanza Islet, Bay View Waterfront in Cataño, Isla de Cabras, the Condado Lagoon, Capetillo, Piñones, the San José Lagoon, among others.

Currently the SJBEP has an ongoing Water Quality Monitoring Program, coordinated by Ernesto Olivares, which runs, partly, on voluntary effort. Also we have identified a series of initiatives that depend mainly on voluntary effort such as:

  • The SJBEP’s annual cleanup activity in La Esperanza Islet
  • Our dune restoration project in the Piñones area
  • Our Water Quality Monitoring Program all along the SJBE watershed
  • Mangrove restoration project
  • The SJBEP’s reforestation campaign targeting native species such as Cobana Negra
  • Rainwater systems’ targeting campaign
  • World’s Water Quality Monitoring Day

Our Water Quality Monitoring Program is a top priority for the SJBEP, since almost no other entity in Puerto Rico monitors water quality parameters as thoroughly as we do.  It is worth noting that ours is the only program within the National Estuary Programs that provides official data to the Government. 

Since 2008 up to date, the SJBEP has carried out 4 or 5 cleanup activities every year, including our annual clean-up activity in La Esperanza Islet. Over the past 4 years more than 6,000 citizens have collaborated in our clean-up, planting, and water monitoring activities. The SJBEP has continued carrying out planting events in places such as Las Cucharillas Marsh, Islet and Park of La Esperanza, the Caimito Chiclana riparian area, Piñone’s State Forest and dune area. In 2009 we carried out a reforestation campaign targeting Cobana Negra, one of the Island’s endemic species. The SJBEP carried out a public service campaign that consisted of labeling rainwater systems. Also we took part in the World’s Water Quality Monitoring Day. In addition the SJBEP collaborated in the International Coastal Clean-Up. We provided volunteers with trash bags, gloves and other materials for the clean up.

In each of the SJBEP’s public service campaigns we promote our volunteering program. Furthermore, every one of our educational exhibits refers to the SJBEP’s web page, where visitors can inscribe themselves in our volunteer database.

It is worth noting that during the couple last years we have witnessed an increase in volunteers due to the reinforcing of our presence in educational fairs, environmental initiatives and school conferences, offered by different members of our staff.

Also, we have strengthened our volunteer database through a series of monitoring and restoration activities such as the World’s Water Monitoring Day, the implementation of the Estuary Guardian’s (over 600 students have participated in its program since its inception in 2008), our collaborative agreements and internships with local Universities like the University of Puerto Rico and Sagrado Corazón, among others.   

In 2008, and later in 2011, the SJBEP conducted a profile of our volunteers.

Training: Volunteers participating in our restoration initiatives continue to receive hands-on training on appropriate planting procedures, not only for mangrove but also for the native trees restoration initiatives. The protocols of the International Cleanup Organization are applied in all of our cleanup activities. Specialized training for monitoring is provided to the leaders and teachers of the Estuary’s Guardian program and to volunteers of our monthly water quality monitoring activities, including the World’s Water Monitoring Day, and internships in the area of water monitoring and environmental education. Our program has exchanged its knowledge of restoration with communities such as Corredor del Yaguazo in Juana Matos, and Capetillo’s Urban Forest and Orchard (Huerto, vivero, y bosque urbano de Capetillo). Also, our bird census training is performed every year for volunteers.

In 2006, the SJBEP created the Corps of Volunteers; an Ad hoc committee that allows interested individuals to participate as volunteers in specific environmental activities in an organized manner.  Up to this point, the SJBEP counts on more than 500 volunteers.

PS-3.1 Identify potential restoration and monitoring projects within the sjbe where volunteer participation would be effective
PS-3.2 Coordinate volunteer activities with sponsoring agencies or communities.
PS-3.3 Promote volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers at schools, universities, environmental groups, clubs, associations, and communities.
PS-3.4 Train and match volunteers with hands-on activities around the SJBE.

Date Created 02 Mar 2006

Last Update 31 July 2017