Only Umatac yet to reach impervious surface level - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Only Umatac yet to reach impervious surface level

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - Impervious surfaces, or artificial structures covered by impenetrable materials like asphalt and concrete, are sealing the soil surface and eliminating rainwater infiltration. According to Natural Resources Conservation Service assistant director Bart Lawrence, Guam residents should be concerned because factors including the military buildup are urbanizing Guam's villages.

What were once green or open spaces are being converted to concrete. He explained, "There's development occurring in my village of Kanada, Barrigada, for example - houses are being built up so I've noticed over the six years I've been there, the increase in the flooding that occurs down the center of my driveway as development occurs upstream of my house."

"So you get more concentrated rainwater rushing off instead of getting soaked into the ground," he continued.

According to a NRCS Trigger Report, Umatac is the only village that has yet to reach its benchmark for impervious surfaces. Measuring impervious surfaces is a telling parameter to quantify and track terrestrial ecosystem impact. NCRS is looking to work with the public to address these storm water issues.

Said Lawrence, "Our goal is to partner and provide technical assistance for our local partners and private landowners, we're a non-regulatory agency - we work with private landowners to deliver USDA programs."

Private landowners can do their part by using lawnmowers instead of bushcutters. "The more grass you have there, the more rainwater it can soak up before it hits the bare dirt, and so no soil will wash away. The more cover you keep on the ground, the better the water will be," he said.

For more information, call Lawrence at 300-8576 or visit WWW.NRCS.USDA.GOV

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