Photo Credit: Interact Club
The 2017 hurricanes destroyed about 90 percent of the Territory’s mangroves, and efforts are now being made to address mangrove restoration.
The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is currently seeking consultants “for the development of a Sustainable Management Plan for Mangroves in the British Virgin Islands.”
In an official notice, the Department pointed out that, “the plan must also include implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) interventions.”
Director at the DDM, Ms. Sharlene DaBreo is on record as saying that the objective of the consultancy ”is to address post-disaster mangrove restoration and the sustainable management for three affected communities in the British Virgin Islands.”
These communities are Jost Van Dyke, Sea Cow’s Bay and East End/Long Look on Tortola.
DDM’s Information and Education Manager, Ms. Chrystall Kanyuck-Abel, speaking with BVI Platinum News, reminded of a study that was conducted on mangroves last year. The study was an initiative of the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society.
“They brought down a researcher and they found that between Irma and Maria—they did surveys on Beef Island, Tortola, and Jost Van Dyke, and they found that about 90 percent of the Territory’s mangroves got wiped out,” she stated.
The Information and Education Manager sought to remind the public of the important role that mangroves play in preservation of the island.
“Mangroves are very important. Partially, for physical shelter because places like our hurricane holes where we store our vessels in the event of a storm, they are sheltered by mangrove forests,” she stated.
She went on to say, “So, places like Paraquita Bay, but they are also really important to protect the land from storm surge. So, as water is rushing in…all those root systems, they defray some of the physical force of the ocean as it’s rushing in.”
Asked whether or not there is an anticipated timeline for the restoration of mangroves to pre-hurricane condition, Ms. Kanyuck-Abel responded, “To a certain extent, hurricanes are a natural part of our ecosystem, so if we could manage to continue to care for these areas, even though we wouldn’t see anything there now, some of them might be able to come back on their own. But of course, we want to make sure we do everything we can to assist them in that natural process.”