LUQ Status Report
November 28, 2017
"It is now two months since Hurricane Maria struck our site. The challenges have been enourmous on many fronts, particularly for communications. Now that things have “normalized” somewhat, I thought I would update you on the status of things to get the flow of information going again.
We will be finding new offices for the LTER administrative and information management staff as well as professors affected by the damage to Anexo Facundo Bueso in Plaza Universitaria, the new buildings across the street from campus. They have identified an area that we should be able to move into beginning in two weeks.
2. Field Station
We have generator power at the field station and internet from a local company. Both of these are supported by donations via GoFundMe campaign. These have issues at times but work most of the time. We are operating out of the new lab building. We are not working in the old lab building until we receive and informed opinion on the status of the asbestos wall panels. Forest Service is sending down an “industrial hygienist” who should be able to provide this opinion.
3. Research Effort
For now, we are focusing all of our efforts on monitoring the impacts of Hurricane Maria. We have suspended planned measurements along the elevation gradient and in the Chronosequence plots (among other things) for the time being. The CTE folks and stream team have been very active and supported by a keen team of volunteers. These efforts will be revisited at the January meeting, particularly in the context of RAPID proposals that are being funded.
4. January Meeting
This will be happening as planned January 10-11. This will take place at the IITF Conference Room. This will give us access to internet so that people can attend at distance. We will devote one day to discussing our post-Maria response and the second to the renewal proposal due March 2.
5. Proposal writing
Bob, Whendee and I have been working on the renewal proposal and intend to have a draft of our efforts to you in early December. Our efforts are aided by the fact that we only recently had a renewal proposal reviewed and a successful mid-term review. By our thinking, we will stick to the basic plan while giving emphasis towards studying hurricane effects early on. So, for example, the three major questions will re-ordered to put hurricanes first, drought second, and large scale drivers third. In terms of timing, we will suggest returning to the LTEP plots in the first year of funding to record hurricane effects and then resume our studies of drought thereafter. We will be picking up censuses of the LFDP and a recensus of the LTEP as originally scheduled, finishing with trims of the CTE and Stream-FRE at the end of the 6-year cycle in 2024. These details will make more sense once you see a draft of the proposal, but this is our basic plan.
Grizelle Gonzalez reports for IITF:
The FS have completed the following tasks:
1. Open access roads or trails for research needs in EYNF/LEF
· Road 998 from Sabana Field Research Station to Catalina Headquarters Building
· Access to Warming Experiment Area
· Road 191 to East Peak and El Yunque (EY) Peak
· Access to Research Sites along Rd 191, EY, East, and West Peaks
2. Open access/trails to research sites along the elevation gradient in:
· Humacao, Ceiba, Carolina, Río Piedras, Sabana Seca, Fajardo and Canóvanas
3. Bisley Watersheds:
· Construction and Installation of litterfall baskets (80)
· Construction and Installation of throughfall collectors (30)
· Construction and Installation of litterflow equipment on streams
· Assessment and collection of sediments on streams
4. Sabana Field Research Station:
· Chainsaw operations inside and around the outside perimeter of the Station
5. El Verde Field Station:
· Assessment of climatological equipment in Canopy Trimming Experiment
6. Guayama Research Area:
· Repairs to prescribed fire experiment
· Assessment and procurement of instrumentation / materials in the prescribed fire experiment
7. Other research projects plots and towers:
· Along Road 191 corridor, East and Yunque Peak - litterfall baskets replaced
8. Río Piedras headquarters:
· Replacement of Río Piedras’s weather station
· Repairs to Río Piedras's hydroponic system in the UPR greenhouse
We have started (10-75%):
Sabana Field Research Station:
· Replace/repair fencing around the Station
· Weather Station (tower and instrumentation) repairs/replacement
· Repair/maintain electric generator
· Assessment, procurement and installation of hydrological and climatological equipment Bisley 1-3
TRACE Warming Experiment
· Restore and repair fencing
· Replace/repair metal infrastructure
· Complete inspection of electrical infrastructure and repairs"