(August 12, 2021) - The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) has long supported the protection and management of coral reefs in the insular areas. Every year, OIA provides discretionary funding under the Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative to this end. OIA has also supported the Coral Reef Management Fellowship program since 2015 which makes participation in the program possible for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Valentine Vaeoso conducts classroom lesson on coral reef protection.
Interior also serves as a co-chair of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force which meets annually to protect coral reef and natural resources and works closely with the Office of Insular Affairs and the Ocean program at Interior.
Vaeoso sisters: Motusaga and Valentine
Motusaga and Valentine Vaeoso, sisters who work with the Coral Reef Advisory Group in American Samoa, are former and current Coral Reef Fellows respectively. Motusaga works as a Project Lead and is currently leading research efforts related to the Valonia bubble algae that is smothering reefs in the territory. Valentine, as a current Coral Fellow, is focused on coral reef restoration pilot studies and is involved in important collaboration efforts with leadership and communities in the local villages.
Monitoring Coral Reefs in American Samoa
The Vaeoso sisters support each other in their work as they bring their skills, energy, and creativity to work for the Coral Reef Advisory Group and for the local community. They share their efforts in this OIA Conversation available both on the OIA YouTube Channel and on podcasts everywhere under There’s More to Islands...
Artwork by Valentine Vaeoso
For more information about Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs visit https://www.doi.gov/oia. You can also find OIA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Conducting coral reef surveys in American Samoa
All pictures are shared courtesy of Motusaga and Valentine Vaeoso and/or the Coral Reef Advisory Group of American Samoa.
By: Tanya Harris Joshua, Deputy Policy Director and Communications Lead, Office of Insular Affairs.