Mangrove nursery to be established at HLSCC
Government and Unite BVI has signed a grant agreement with H Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) which will see a mangrove nursery being established on their Paraquita Bay campus.
Minister for Natural Resources Vincent Wheatley said the agreement was important particularly because as mangroves are essential to the territory’s ecosystem.
“Apart from being able to replace the damaged mangroves that were damaged in the hurricanes of 2017, should we have another occurrence of a hurricane, we will replace those mangroves at a faster rate in the future,” Wheatley said.
Minister Wheatley added that while mangroves are known to protect the territory’s shores, they also provide a nursery for fish and other marine life.
Initiative will help the BVI become more resilient
Sharing similar sentiments to Minister Wheatley was Research Consultant, Dr Lianna Jarecki who said the initiative can help to transition the British Virgin Islands into being more resilient to the effects of climate change.
She said: “The damage to mangroves has been apparent since the hurricanes, but we have experienced a lot of wetland replacement long before that and because of that, we have flooding and erosion issues that we know mangroves are good at mitigating against.”
“I see the advantage of this mangrove nursery at the college as a platform for education in our community and also for our students as climate change continues to affect us,” Dr Jarecki added.
Nursery in alignment with HLSCC’s mandate
Meanwhile, Acting President of the HLSCC, Dr Richard Georges said the initiative is in alignment with the college’s mandate to contribute to the development of the territory.
Plans for the Mangrove Nursery
The nursery is expected to produce a variety of different species of mangroves, which will include Red, White and Buttonwood types.
The mangroves will be nursed from seedlings until they are grown, after which they will be transferred to various sections of the territory to replace damaged mangroves, which were affected during the passage of the 2017 hurricanes.
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In conjunction with this nursey, a second order of business should be to construct and enact legislation that will forever prohibit the destruction of any mangrove forestry any where in the BVI. Such should be supported with massive fines and or imprisonment.
However, when pink riches come asking, all heads are bowed, pockets are spread open and our natural resources go to hell in the interest of gigantium profits, by means of of $6.00 an hour slave labour.
Given the high cost of living in the territory, if the latter is not economic slavery, but most significantly, an aggregious insult to the working people of this territory, and elected officials are incapable of negotiating a wage increase, then we as a people a doomed for another four hundred years.
Hence, welcome to the proactive, bright and intelligent and politically astute and transformational leadership of the day.
Indeed, nothing, relative to the economics and sustainability of our meager natural resources have changed on the last sixty to eighty years.
And to be quite frank, the current type of leadership that is stepping up to lead only creates more questions, raises more insecurities and appear eager to render the very soveriegnity of these territories back into the hands of past oppressive models.
This is an important environmental protection and preservation initiative to replant, replace and grow cleared mangroves along the coast. Mangroves are a productive and protective ecosystem that once ringed the coastline along the eastern end of Tortola, as well as other areas of the VI. What is the importance of mangroves?
Mangroves are natural barriers that protect the shoreline against storms/hurricanes, waves and flooding. They trap sediments and filters runoff/pollutants from land, improving water quality/clarity. Further, they also protect the shoreline against coastal erosion. Additionally, they are a nursery/habitat for a variety of marine and terrestrial species, ie, fish, crabs, shrimps, birds…….etc, working in concert with seagrass and coral reefs to improve water quality.
Moreover, much of the mangrove along the coast have been cleared to promote economic development. The clearing has exposed the shoreline to the damaging effects of storms, wave and flooding, increased coastal erosion, reduced the trapping of sediments and filtering of runoff and lost of breeding ground of for a variety fish, nesting of birds……etc.
The clearing of the mangroves is an example of the adverse impact of what you don’t know what you don’t know but needed to know. But now that we know we (BVI) needs to capitalize on the opportunity to correct past mistakes. Need to strike a balance between environmental protection and preservation and economic growth and development.
This should also be a lifelong project of the Agriculture Department.