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The Late Friday News, 136th Edition

Dear Friends, April 24, 04
This is the 136th Edition of the Late Friday News brought to you after a brief hiatus while this editor visited in S. America.

This newsletter is brought to you for free, but PLEASE help MAP stay in this fight for the future by becoming a donating subscriber today! Check our website for details (www.earthisland.org/map) or contact: mangroveap@olympus.net

Salud,

Alfredo Quarto,
Mangrove Action Project

Partnering with mangrove forest communities, grassroots NGOs, researchers and local governments to conserve and restore mangrove forests and related coastal ecosystems, while promoting community-based, sustainable management of coastal resources.


Late Friday News Archive


Contents for LATE FRIDAY NEWS, 136th Edition

THE CARIBBEAN

Article from the Antigua Sun:

After 50 years, SDC slated to enhance Maiden Island

April 20 2004 by Desmond V. Nicholson
Maiden Island is one of the many islands that
make up the North Sound group of small islands off the north coast of Antigua. It is located just south of Long Island, on which the Jumby Bay resort has been created.
Maiden Island is a long narrow island about 1" of a mile long by about " of a mile wide at one point.

During World War II, a deep channel was dredged along the southwest side of Maiden Island to allow ships to pass to Crabbs peninsula, where a naval base was built.
Unfortunately, the island's natural environment was destroyed when the coarse shell and sand dredgings were dumped on it. Further, the reef that had since grown was destroyed by Hurricane Luis in 1995.

Now, 50 years later, a few buildings and a
general enhancement of the island are slated by the Stanford Development Company (SDC). The company has removed all the dredged sand and coarse shell and will recover the shoreline with natural beach sand. A breakwater artificial reef has been created and was specifically engineered to lower the wave energy in the beach area, so that the new natural sand will remain stable. Stable sand means clearer water, which is healthier for the coral.

SDC has created the world's largest artificial
fringing breakwater reef system off Maiden
Island, from over 1,000 designed reef modules. Constructed in just two months and planted with live corals during the same period, this reef system is an integral part of the development plan for the island. The coral reef breakwater was created by using
specially designed Reef Balls" which are
prefabricated concrete modules designed to mimic natural reefs.

These round-reef modules are hollow inside, with several openings for the access of marine life and they are constructed with built-in adapters for planting live corals. The Reef Ball Foundation of Florida, with whom SDC is co-ordinating, has developed a system of reproducing live corals and for this project, the foundation's expert volunteers created over 5,000 new coral colonies that were permanently attached to the Reef Balls to form a natural reef.

During the project, the Reef Ball Foundation
identified other corals in Antigua that were
imperiled by impending construction operations and was able to rescue an additional 17.5 tons of adult coral colonies, which were individually stabilised on the Reef Balls and saved.

To achieve the remarkable feat of restoring a
living reef system, the Antigua Department of
Fisheries and the SDC enlisted the help of over two dozen volunteers from the St. John's Chapter of the Antigua Optimist Club. Over 500 sea urchins (Echinometra lucunter) were
added to the reef to act as "janitors' to keep the corals free from algal overgrowth. Scientifically-designed larval lobster settlement substrates were added to the reef to enhance survivability of the spiny lobster
(Panulirus argus), an important species in Antigua.
Many lobsters have already been observed on the newlycreated reef. The volunteer teams documented 73 fish species, 71 invertebrate species, 30 coral species and 26 algal species (plus a turtle) now on the reef.

Every day, the species lists continue to grow.
Human needs were not forgotten in the
construction of the reef. SDC and the Reef Ball
Foundation created hundreds of yards of
snorkeling and diving trails. These trails provide visitors with a complete tour of the reef to see the wondrous and abundant reef life now present. The trails are marked by Reef Balls that have a 12 x 12 inch square marking to make navigation easy, or for
possible future educational signs.

The Reef Ball Foundation has asked divers to observe a voluntary "look, but don"t take
policy" until the Fisheries Department has time to pass a formal rule. There are plans to add mooring buoys so that anchor drops do not damage the new reef.

Seagrass beds and mangrove tree roots are
integrated components of a coral reef system.
They serve as nurseries for many animals that live their adult lives on the reef. One of the reasons Reef Balls were selected for this project is that the alternative would have
>> been an armor stone breakwater that would have impacted thousands of square feet of seagrass beds.

At the suggestion of the Antigua Department of Fisheries, the Reef Balls were chosen and
designed with special open bottoms to allow sea grasses to flourish around and under the Reef Balls so that the conch (Strombus gigas) habitat was preserved. In the areas on the lee or southwest side of Maiden Island, where the sea grass beds are being protected, a team with the SDC has conducted a Mangrove Habitat Restoration Project to further complete the system.

Over 7,000 Red Mangroves have been imported into Antigua from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The importing process included treating the Red Mangroves with both fungicide and insecticide. Over time, these mangroves will develop into a vast mangrove ecosystem for Antigua and will unction together with the Reef Ball coral reefs to complete the marine ecosystem restoration on
Maiden Island.

The newly created mangrove habitat will enrich the life on the reefs with an abundant supply of fish, lobster and a great variety of marine life. As an added bonus, the mangroves will serve as natural filters to maintain excellent water quality for the reefs near Maiden Island.

SDC's attention to the complete ecosystem, rather than just individual components, has been one of the key aims of the overall Maiden Island project. This project is the world's largest total marine ecosystem restoration that includes joint coral reef and mangrove habitat restoration. Since coral reefs and mangrove habitats interac significantly from a biological perspective, the combination of these restoration techniques will yield a greater environmental benefit than either project done alone.

Antigua can be grateful and proud that the SDC has chosen to create this restoration on its shores.

From mangrove@candw.ky



Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director
Mangrove Action Project
PO Box 1854
Port Angeles, WA 98362-0279
USA
fax (360) 452-5866
<alfredo@mangroveactionproject.org>

 

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