The ocean provides valuable ecological, economic, community, and food services directly affecting coastal communities. As global climate change accelerates, much of the ocean’s ecosystems are becoming increasingly under threat. Disturbances can be indirect, direct, local, and global; examples are global climate change, sea surface temperature rise, storms, pollution, exploitation, and habitat loss. American Samoa is particularly vulnerable because of its growing population, increasing development, and resource use.
Projects and actions CRAG is doing to combat climate change
Increasing the knowledge and awareness of climate change
Improving planning and management of natural resources
Prioritizing actions and collaboration to better adapt to climate change
Our Projects under the Territorial Integrated Geospatial Framework to enable coordinated planning and response to the emerging threats from climate change impacts, led by the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Commerce
Developing a Territorial Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
This project will create a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which is essential for identifying and prioritizing immediate actions American Samoa needs to take to best adapt to climate change impacts. The strategy is intended to identify and prioritize management actions to improve adaptive capacity and reduce vulnerability. This project includes a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and the creation of a climate change portal and database.
Outlook Reporting to Inform Resilience-based Management of Coral Reef Ecosystems to Reduce Climate Vulnerability in American Samoa
This proposed project involves scientist-manager collaboration to achieve these two outcomes for American Samoa's Coral reefs: 1) increase the extent to which resilience and vulnerability are included in management planning and decision-making, and 2) raise awareness among reef stakeholders of vulnerability to climate change and support for resilience-based management actions.
Focus Group Guiding Questions
A research project with fisheries biologists to better understand climate change's potential effects on fisheries in American Samoa. The fisheries biologists will be looking at what fish species are most vulnerable to climate change (from coral bleaching and warmer water temperatures), and we will be looking at how local villages rely on local coral reef fisheries. The purpose of this meeting is to help us learn from fishermen about what species they rely on the most in [Faga’alu / Vatia] village, as well as how flexible local fishermen are to switch to other types of fish or other livelihoods if the fish and other species that they generally target become more or less abundant in the future.
American Samoa Climate Resilience Summit 2019
The American Samoa Climate Resilience Summit occurred February 5-7, 2019. It was a collaborative effort from Territorial, Federal, and International organizations - funded by the Department of Interior and organized by the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources.
The theme of the Summit was; Enhancing Climate Resilience through Community Awareness. The summit was open to the public and was well attended by students from every local high school, community college, village mayors, legislative representatives, local government agencies, and faith-based groups. The total number of participants reached nearly 200. Participants learned the importance of preparing their communities for a changing climate during the three-day summit. Each day participants attended workshops focused on topics related to building climate resilience. The four main topics for the workshops were Food Security, Disaster Preparedness, Health, and Energy/Infrastructure. Experts on each topic gave presentations and demonstrations to the participants.
Participants were surveyed after the summit regarding their level of satisfaction with the summit, and their understanding of Climate Resiliency - all reacted with positive feedback and satisfaction.
Participants of the American Samoa Climate Resilience Summit (not all participants are pictured here)
Director of AS-EPA - Fa’amao Asalele, Director General of SPREP - Kosi Latu, Miss American Samoa -Magalita Johnson, Director of DMWR - Va’amua Henry Sesepasara, Director of Land Grant –ACNR - Aufa'i Apulu Ropeti Areta, Director Climate Change Resilience of SPREP -Tagaloa Cooper- Halo
Village Mayors attending workshops focused on building climate resiliency.
Students from various high schools engage in discussion regarding climate and weather.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
The Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) was tasked with finding ways to increase American Samoa's Climate Change resilience. With Climate Change comes an increased likelihood of cyclones and other natural disasters. We must prepare our island with a reliable source of clean water when faced with difficult circumstances. Whenever there is a cyclone, electricity is usually lost. American Samoa's current clean water system depends on electricity to pump water from the wells. DMWR partnered with the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) to find a possible solution to the challenge. Upon learning about the success of Rainwater Harvesting Systems in other Pacific islands, DMWR and ASPA, we turned to the expertise of the company Tank Guy Pago Pago to design and install Rain Water Harvesting Systems in 25 schools across American Samoa. With the Rain Water Harvesting System tanks, electricity is not required to pump the water out for people from the community to use. These tanks filter and store clean rainwater if water from ASPA wells is not accessible due to loss of electricity. This project was made possible through Climate Resilience funding from the Department of Interior.
Village-Based Shoreline Protection
Partnerships formed by the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) with mayors from the Office of Samoan Affairs continue to support the protection of shorelines by planting trees and maintaining the cleanliness of integral freshwater streams that lead to the ocean. The co-management of natural resources around the Territory is vital for survival and sustainability.