MEMBERS of the team who have been planting mangroves in East Grand Bahama as part of a project to plant 100,000 seedlings in a multi-year effort. Efforts at the weekend saw mangroves being planted in the Maclean’s Town area.
THE Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT), alongside flats fishing guides, school children, and local and international partners, undertook the next step last weekend in a major mangrove restoration project in East Grand Bahama.
The community planting day was part of BTT’s multi-year effort focused on Grand Bahama and Abaco to help mangrove forests recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian. Mangroves are a vital natural resource which build island resilience in the face of future climate-driven storms, coastal flooding, and sea level rise.
Post-Dorian observations conducted by BTT and other local science partners, such as the Perry Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) and Bahamas National Trust (BNT), showed that huge areas of native mangrove forests in Grand Bahama and Abaco were decimated by the storm and are now in dire need of restoration. In response, BTT launched the Northern Bahamas Mangrove Restoration Project, a growing collaborative effort between non-profits, government agencies and the community with the objective of planting 100,000 – if not far more – new mangroves by the end of 2024.
About Saturday’s planting event in the East End, Grand Bahama native and BTT Bahamas coordinator Nina Sanchez said: “This mangrove restoration project has been an incredible opportunity to get local Bahamians, community groups, and students out onto the flats and into the mangroves to learn about the importance of this environment. This project is in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, but a lot of positive moments for outreach and education have come out of it. One of the things that we try to drive home, that restoration is kind of a last resort. We really want to preserve, protect, and conserve the environments that we have by getting students out onto these flats, getting their hands dirty and realizing that these are incredibly productive habitats. In addition to the flats fishing industry, they support a lot of commercially important fish species – conch, grouper, snapper. ”
BTT’s current Grand Bahama and Abaco restoration project includes partners such as BNT, Friends of the Environment in Abaco, international businesses, such as the apparel brand MANG, and fly fishing guides, and will involve many schoolchildren over the next two years. The project began by growing mangroves in nurseries in Grand Bahama and Abaco for the purpose of planting seedlings in the most impacted areas around these two islands.
Future mangrove planting days will be announced by BTT and other conservation partners throughout 2023. To get involved, email BTT at email@example.com.