Environmental Threats

The health of our creeks and associated natural habitats such as mangroves and wetlands that provide fisheries, tourism and coastal protection benefits is under threat.

There are several roads on islands throughout the Bahamas that have been constructed in a way that limits the flow of water through the mangroves and the surrounding nurseries.  Many marine life are being negatively impacted.  Given this dire state of affairs of several of our mangroves it is imperative that we take every step to arrest the deterioration and address the needs.

Islands affected:

  • Acklins
  • Andros
  • Cat Island
  • Crooked Island
  • Exuma
  • Grand Bahama

According to The Bahamas National Wetlands Policy, creeks and other coastal wetlands are very important resources for The Bahamas.  Not only do they “sustain most forms of marine life which are important to the economy of The Bahamas”, but by absorbing water, trapping sediment and stabilizing the shoreline, they also provide “natural flood control and coastline protection, areas for recreational activities, and the potential for an expanded eco-tourism industry with educational opportunities” (BEST, 2005)

Mangrove environments are important habitats for a number of reasons. Mangrove ecosystems are comprised of four species: Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), White Mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) and Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans), and Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) (Oxenford 2015).  Mangroves serve as a buffer zone for shorelines against storm surges, by reducing wave energy through the network of roots of red mangroves. They provide shelter for a number of species of fish in their vulnerable juvenile stage through the intricate root system provided by the Red Mangrove. Some species that benefit from this environment are commercially important species including Bonefish, Spiny Lobster, Nassau Grouper, and several snapper species. Mangroves provide ecosystem services such as filtration of surface water form terrestrial environments; shoreline protection; supports associated ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds; supports complex food webs because of the high level of primary productivity; and other ecosystem support services. It is also important in the provision goods and services such as employment; food and other products, such as fuel wood; and ecotourism, and recreational activities (Oxenford 2015)

One of the primary goals of the BSCA is to restore water flow through major creaks and the rejuvenation of inland lakes which act as nurseries for crustaceans and game fish.

The BSCA has turned its initial focus on the island of Andros and have secured the services of Caribbean Coastal services who has prepared the report on the London Creek Restoration project which is before the Bahamas Environmental Science & Technology Commission (BEST Commission) for approval.

Andros has the following attributes which makes it the ideal candidate for the pilot project:

  • The largest collective land mass in The Bahamas
  • The largest pine forest in The Bahamas
  • Over 30 fresh water inland lakes measuring 3 – 9 miles
  • The greatest number of blue holes in The Bahamas and indeed in the world
  • The largest reef system in The Bahamas, and the 3rd largest in the world
  • The largest saltwater flats in the Bahamas and the world
  • The largest fresh water supply in The Bahamas
  • The largest tropical aquatic nursery in the world on its west coast
  • The largest concentration of red, black and white mangrove systems in The Bahamas
  • The majority of the lobster and fish caught in The Bahamas is harvested from the north, south and west coast of Andros (Great Bahama Bank)

References:

The BEST Commission National Wetlands Committee. (2005). The Bahamas National Wetlands Policy. Nassau.

Oxenford, H. ENVT 6124 Mangrove Ecology. Cave Hill, Barbados: CERMES, UWI, 2015

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