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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

American Samoa

Story Separation Bar

Nu'uuli Pala Lagoon Restoration Project:
Efforts Spread to Other Island Villages

Carl Goldstein
EPA Region 9 (CMD-5)
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Edna Buchan
American Samoa EPA
Executive Office Building
Pago Pago, AS 96799

Primary Sources of Pollution:
  • storm water runoff
Primary NPS Pollutants:
  • litter
Project Activities:
  • refuse collection
  • public education programs
  • absence of trash from coastlines

American Samoa's Governor proclaimed "Paradise 2000," with the goal of American Samoa being the cleanest island in the South Pacific by the year 2000. In support of this goal, American Samoa initiated the restoration of the Pala Lagoon wetland area, a lagoon with an important nursery and spawning ground for fish and invertebrates. Restoration activities included identifying and developing best management practices to control nonpoint source pollution and supporting public education programs on wetlands and nonpoint source pollution.

A major effort in this project involved establishing trash stands in public areas surrounding the wetlands and hiring a contractor to collect and properly dispose of the refuse. As a result, refuse is nearly absent from all of the coastline. Public education about the lagoon and its resources was also considered integral to this project's success. A number of signs and posters were produced, and a wetlands fair was held in the lagoon area, emphasizing the functions and values of wetlands. Work continues to clean up and restore two major streams that discharge into the lagoon. Through the combined efforts of the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), American Samoa Coastal Management Program (ASCMP), Americorps volunteers, American Samoa Community College, Department of Public Works, and village volunteers, solid waste is being cleared from the streams and streambank habitat is being restored over an estimated few hundred feet (out of a thousand).

Restoration efforts have spread to other island villages, and ASEPA now plans to work with area businesses to continue the momentum. A contractor has completed a hydrologic assessment of the areas, and ASEPA has completed an initial assessment of storm water control problems. ASEPA, in cooperation with the ASCMP wetlands program and the village mayor, will continue to monitor the Nu'uuli village wetland areas to assess whether improper solid waste disposal remains a problem. American Samoa is committed to rectifying any problems identified through enforcement under American Samoa's new water quality standards.

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