Garden and Shoreline Projects Combat Coral-Harming Pollution

The Takeaway: Coral Reef program co-leads volunteer efforts to plant native vegetation that helps absorb runoff and fortify vulnerable shorelines.

Runoff from deforestation and agricultural pollution courses down Tutuila’s Faga’alu watershed into the ocean, harming delicate coral reefs. But thanks to NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program plus rain garden experts and volunteers, new greenery now filters and absorbs much of this runoff before it reaches the shore.

The trainees dug slight land depressions, planted native vegetation to absorb runoff, and added sod and rocks to stabilize the structures. The installments are both scenic and effective. NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and local partners led the clinics.

In the years since this initial project, the Coral Program, in partnership with the Coral Reef Advisory Group and others, has installed a shoreline revegetation and stabilization project in the same watershed. The location, near the grounds of Matafao Elementary School, provided an ideal opportunity to show students how such techniques help protect the shoreline and manage stormwater flows. These projects and other actions—such as reducing soil erosion at a nearby quarry—have led to a demonstrable decrease in sediment pollution and improved reef health. (2017/Updated 2020)

More Information: Protecting Coral Reefs One Rain Garden at a Time

Partners: American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group, American Samoa Community College-Land Grant Extension, Faga’alu Village, Fletcher Construction Company, Horsley Witten Group, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Samoa Maritime Companyy