Efforts to preserve the rare Danajon bank double barrier reef take shape with the launching of its marine assessment and monitoring committee.

The Danajon Bank Double Barrier Reef Management Council (DBDBRMC) formed the Bohol Danajon Research and Monitoring Team (DREAM) or known as the “Bohol Dream Team”, designed to conduct resource management under the famed reef.

The team is in-charge of conducting biophysical and coastal habitat assessments for 10 Boholano municipalities that form part of the Danajon double barrier reef stretch.

Through this committee, DBDBRMC will conduct a series of monitoring mangroves, seagrass, corals, and other aquatic resources, assessing their condition.

The DREAM Team will also conduct research and capacity building, mapping and data, community engagement, and strengthening of Marine Protected Area (MPA) Networks located on the reef.

“This has been one of the great accomplishments of the council, as this is the first time in the province that we created a monitoring team that focuses on marine protection,” said Villa Inguito-Pelindingue, the Coastal Resources Management Division head of the Bohol Provincial Environment Management Office (BPEMO).

The division head added that creating the monitoring team is one of the priorities of the council in preparations for the upcoming Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA) to be conducted for the reef this year.

It will monitor the reef’s condition and evaluate its suitability for its inclusion in one of the categories under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

Due to the reef’s geological, anthropological and economic significance, the council says they are aiming for the declaration of Danajon Double Barrier Reef as a protected seascape.

As a known geosite under the Bohol Island Global Geopark, the Danajon Double Barrier Reef is one of only six in the world.

It covers 214,000 hectares along the coastlines of the province, Cebu, and Leyte.

According to the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF), the double barrier reef faces imminent challenges from ecological degradation caused by illegal human activity, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and environmental changes brought about by the impending climate crisis.

Through the Project Protect Danajon, CCEF partnered with the provincial government of Bohol, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Gerry Roxas Foundation, USAID, and local government units in organizing a team that monitors marine activity, promoting seascape governance, community engagement, and ecosystem-based approach to resource management to protect the double barrier reef.

A five-day habitat assessment and monitoring seminar was held from Sept. 18-22 at the Mario Dive Resort in Panglao participated by 24 people.

This activity, hosted by BPEMO, CCEF, and DENR, aims to capacitate local government on the tasks conducted by the Dream Team and familiarize them on their duties and responsibilities in ensuring the goals for the Protect Danajon are met.

Aligned with the current administration’s Strategic Change Agenda on environmental sustainability, Project Protect Danajon hopes to preserve what is left of the reef and regenerate its resources for future generations. (PIMO/GMC)