Protecting the coast through reef restoration

Measures are being put in place to safeguard the Grenada’s coastline against the growing impact of Climate Change through the implementation of coral reef restoration projects in the communities of Grand Anse on the mainland and Windward on the sister isle of Carriacou.

This was disclosed by Kerricia Hobson, an official in the Environment Division in the Ministry of Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment who is the Project Manager attached to the “Building Capacity for Coastal Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Coastal EBA project.

According to Hobson, the project aims to “strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of communities that depend on coastal ecosystem services provided by coral reefs and associated ecosystems,” and re-emphasizes “the importance of coral reefs for our fisheries and also for our tourism as an attraction.”

Hobson disclosed that the projects will be launched in the earmarked communities next week Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, making Grenada the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to do so.

She also emphasized the importance of both communities working along with government to build resilience and cited the many benefits that can be derived economically from the eco-system – particularly in the areas of tourism and fisheries.

Hobson, who made the revelation recently during a two-day Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), organised Symposium on Climate Change held at the St. Kitts Marriot Resort and Royal Beach Casino in Frigate Bay St. Kitts told reporters that a vulnerability assessment was done in 2014 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Grenada to determine how the island is coping and its ability to cope with the impact of climate change along the coast.

“We came up with some areas that are particularly vulnerable that did not already have intervention,” Hobson said, adding that the information “was presented to a wide group of stakeholders…and the stakeholders decided how to move forward…and they chose reef restoration.”

“We are actually creating coral reef nursery’s…harvesting live coral reefs from some of the healthy economies around the island and propagating them in the nursery and when they are sufficiently matured we would actually plant them out on to existing reef structures,” she said.

“So we are not introducing any new structures, just planting onto existing structures in those areas,” Hobson said, noting,  “we get protection for our coastline, which is something that is difficult to put a price on…green infrastructure…is more cost-effective in small islands where we don’t have a lot of monies to put into more traditional preventative structures” such as sea walls et cetera.

The Coastal EBA project, which is being implemented in Grenada and the island of Seychelles, which is located in the Indian Ocean has a duration of two and a half years and is being funded by the European Commission with a budget of US$ $3,366, 259.

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