Arrecifes Pro Cuidad was organized in 2009 as a non-profit organization with the purpose of protecting and restoring urban reefs by initiating voluntary work in the Arrecife de la Isla Verde Marine Reserve.
The Reef is located around Isla Verde key, in the Municipality of Carolina, in front of Punta del Medio, a place that divides the two beaches of Isla Verde. Near the shore, is a very rich marine life that includes endangered species such as manatees, sea turtles, coral protected by state and federal laws such as elkhorn, fish hatchery, various species of hard and soft coral, anemones, rays, lobsters, crabs, snails, algae and seagrasses.
Perhaps this place is the only one in the metropolitan area with these characteristics, with a great diversity of species. Corals by their structure break the wave, serving as a natural barrier that prevents erosion, protects the beach, residents who live on the coasts and public and private properties.
The Marine Reserves offers great opportunities for the economic development of the neighboring communities and the concessionaires that offer services in this touristic area and it’s a new opportunity for the businesses of Isla Verde.
At present, several university studies are being carried out in the reef and it is extremely convenient for educational centers to have a protected area in the Metropolitan Area.
Being so close to shore, this reef is a breeding ground for species, and as they grow, they move into deeper waters with a larger size for the benefit of fishermen.
Arrecifes Pro Ciudad considers that community conservation initiatives are fundamental and that a cooperative relationship must be created between the Community, the Academy and the Government.
The main service we offer is the monitoring of water quality on our Isla Verde beaches. We carry out this activity weekly and it is published on our page every Thursday afternoon.
1- We portray the species and organize the photos in order to create a graphic inventory.
2- Established contacts with other community groups, with scientists and government entities.
3- Attended workshops and conferences on coral reefs and learned about the work of other groups that have been working on these tasks for some time.
4- Mounted a presentation to show what we have in the Isla Verde Reef and it was surprising to see the reaction of disbelief because they did not imagine that in this place there was still something alive that moved.
5- In 2009 we set up a Committee of scientific professors, merchants and residents and government employees to achieve the designation of the Marine Reserve, we knew it was complicated and difficult but we had to insist.
6- The idea of the Marine Reserve was presented at a meeting that we held at the Hotel la Playa for the users and residents of the Isla Verde beaches.
7- Began collecting endorsement signatures and participated in different ecological fairs, activities of the Municipality of Carolina and presented where we were given the opportunity.
8- Established cooperation ties with the students and professors of the UPR Rio Piedras and the UMET to carry out research work.
9- Made the first formal presentation to the scientific community at the second conference of the Coastal Zone Management Plan in the DRNA and that placed us in the field of government and academia.
10- Obtained the endorsement of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program, the Inter-agency Board of Beaches, DRNA and the Tourism Company.
11- We understood that to raise awareness in the community about this resource, we had to organize workshops and work on graphic material to facilitate these workshops. In 2011 we prepared a coloring book, "The Residents of the Isla Verde Reef", with the dual purpose of educating children about the inhabitants of this Urban Coral Reef and serving as a source of income to help in the jobs we have to do. We already have the book in Spanish and English versions. In exchange for a donation of $ 4.00 we gave a coloring book as a thank you. This is how we educate and raise funds.
12- In 2012 we achieved the designation of the Marine Reserve with Law 274 of September 26, 2012 and from that moment on, the work of the Management Plan began, we signed the Collaboration Agreements and began the protection of the reef.
13- Two graphic manuals have been worked on, one is on sewers and oil recycling "Pluvial and Sanitary with clean waters" and the second manual begins with an environmental cartoon on "Tina Tinglar and Light Pollution" and that serves as a manual for the management of sea turtles that come to spawn on our beaches.
14- In 2014 an Information Kiosk owned by the DRNA was built to celebrate educational and scientific activities in the marine reserve.
We continue working with water quality by establishing a Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Marine Reserve. We are currently working on the protection of the Isla Verde Reef under a Collaborative Agreement signed in 2016 with a validity of fifteen years.