Maiden Island, Antigua
Mangrove Habitat Restoration Project
Stanford Development Group worked
with The Reef Ball Foundation and Nova Southeastern University in Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida to create a large mangrove ecosystem on Maiden
Island, Antigua. Red Mangroves were imported from Florida and
strategically planted around Maiden Island to enhance the marine
ecosystem and complement the Reef
Ball coral reef made in 2003-2004. 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 interact significantly from a biological perspective,
the combination of these restoration techniques is yielding a greater
environmental benefit than either project done alone.
Album of the Project
(Red Mangroves on Maiden Island 3 days after unloading and replanting)
Red Mangrove or 'Walking
was chosen for use on the island because it provides marine habitat for
juvenile fish and marine life. The roots of the Red Mangrove look
like legs walking into the water which is why it is sometimes call the
'Walking Mangrove.' Red Mangroves are commonly
grown by nurseries and their habitat value is well documented and
appreciated by environmentalists. To stabilize the seedlings (propagules)
in the open ocean, the most common
method is to use split PVC pipes driven into the ocean floor.
Because the bottom composition varies greatly on Maiden Island, a
variety of new methods are being used to stabilize seedlings including
using prefabricated concrete Reef Balls as underwater "pots."
The mangroves are planted in areas that benefit aquatic life and in
areas where they can provide a natural barrier to erosion.
2 year old Red Mangroves raised from seed and planted along a
seawall in Manatee County, Florida by the Reef Ball Foundation. On
Maiden Island, 2 year old plants rather than seedlings will be installed
so that the restoration process is significantly faster.
Over 4,200 Red Mangroves
were imported into Antigua from Nova Southeastern University's mangrove
nursery in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and another 3,000 are planned.
The Nova Southeastern component of the project is headed by Dr. Richard
E. Dodge who is also in charge of the National
Coral Reef Institute. Many recent scientific papers have been
published about the interaction and larval
dispersion amongst Mangrove and Coral Reef ecosystems.
Nova Southeastern Students and Staff
are removing Red Mangroves from their nursery in Ft. Lauderdale to be
shipped to Antigua.
importing process includes treating the Red Mangroves with both a
fungicide and insecticide at Nova Southeastern University and then
shipping the in special climate controlled containers. Upon
arrival in Antigua, they are inspected by customs and agricultural
officials and when released they are placed in a special nursery area
set up on Maiden Island by Stanford Development and the Reef Ball
Foundation. After a grow out and acclimation period, they are
transplanted to planned areas around Maiden Island. Over time,
these mangroves will develop into a vast mangrove ecosystem for Antigua
and will function together with the Reef Ball coral reefs to complete
the marine ecosystem restoration on Maiden Island.
Above, Nova Southeastern
Staff and Reef Ball Foundation supervisors dip the Red Mangroves into
the solutions used to insure the plants do not carry harmful insects or
fungus to Antigua. After dipping, they are bagged into sealed plastic
bags for shipping.
The newly created mangrove
habitat and 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. Stanford Development
Company's attention to the complete ecosystem, rather than just
individual components, has been one of the keys to the great success of
the overall Maiden Island project.
Propagules of Red
Mangrove. When ripe, these young seedlings detach from the parent
tree and float in the estuary until a suitable substratum is contacted.
Photo courtesy of C. Feller, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
New Propagule forming.
There are 3 types of mangroves (not counting Buttonwood) that can
be grown in Antigua...Black, White and Red. Red is normally in the
water or at the water's edge, next, at waters edge or on land, is the
White Mangrove and the furthest back are usually the Black Mangroves.
Whites may be planted on shore at Maiden island and will
have value for
erosion control but little fishery value except for their ability filter
rain run-off. Blacks are slow growing and very difficult to plant
as they are susceptible to fungus and other diseases and therefore will
probably not be used on Maiden Island.
Reef Ball Red Mangrove "Planter" (Lined
with burlap to retain soil and with and optional
fiberglass rebar anchoring rod pictured
above). (Available in 10 sizes).