Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) partners with fishing guides, local schools, businesses, NGOs, and community leaders to replant thousands of mangroves in East End Grand Bahama

Fri, Nov 25th 2022, 11:39 AM

 

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT),
alongside flats fishing guides, school children, and several local and international partners,
undertook the next step last weekend in a major mangrove restoration project in East Grand
Bahama. The community planting day was part of BTT’s multi-year effort focused on Grand
Bahama and Abaco to help mangrove forests recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane
Dorian. Mangroves are a vital natural resource which build island resilience in the face of future
climate-driven storms, coastal flooding, and sea level rise.
Post-Dorian observations conducted by BTT and other local science partners, such as the Perry
Institute for Marine Science (PIMS) and Bahamas National Trust (BNT), showed that huge areas
of native mangrove forests in Grand Bahama and Abaco were decimated by the storm and are
now in dire need of restoration. In response, BTT launched the Northern Bahamas Mangrove
Restoration Project, a growing collaborative effort between non-profits, government agencies
and the community with the objective of planting 100,000 – if not far more – new mangroves by
the end of 2024.
About Saturday’s planting event in the East End,
Grand Bahama native and BTT Bahamas
Coordinator Nina Sanchez said, “This mangrove
restoration project has been an incredible
opportunity to get local Bahamians, community
groups, and students out onto the flats and into
the mangroves to learn about the importance of
this environment. This project is in the wake of
Hurricane Dorian, but a lot of positive moments for
outreach and education have come out of it. One
of the things that we try to drive home, that
restoration is kind of a last resort. We really want
to preserve, protect, and conserve the
environments that we have by getting students out onto these flats, getting their hands dirty and
realizing that these are incredibly productive habitats. In addition to the flats fishing industry,
they support a lot of commercially important fish species - conch, grouper, snapper. All of them
are important to Bahamian culture and economy and being out here and seeing it with your own
eyes is an important part.”
BTT’s current Grand Bahama and Abaco restoration project includes partners such as BNT,
Friends of the Environment in Abaco, international businesses, such as the apparel brand MANG,
and fly fishing guides, and will involve many schoolchildren over the next two years. The project
began by growing mangroves in nurseries in Grand Bahama and Abaco for the purpose of planting
seedlings in the most impacted areas around these two islands. Key partners from the public
sector, without whose efforts the event could not have taken place, include the Department of
Marine Resources, the Forestry Unit and the Department of Environmental Planning and
Protection (DEPP), as well as invaluable contributions at the local government level.
“Mangrove forests serve as vital nursery habitat for flats fishing species such as bonefish and
permit, and as such, for the wider flats industry that relies on this invaluable resource. This is true
in The Bahamas, in Florida, and throughout the Caribbean basin,” said BTT President and CEO Jim
McDuffie. “Given that mangroves are so key to protecting the coastal environment and human
populations from the worst effects of climate disasters, it is important that conservationists and
communities everywhere take bold action to kickstart the recovery of this environmentally,
economically, and socially significant resource.”
Bahamas Initiative Coordinator Nina Sanchez (center)
distributing new mangroves to volunteers. She called the
project a positive moment of community resilience in the wake
of Hurricane Dorian.
Partnerships are now in development to scale mangrove restoration and protection throughout
The Bahamas. BTT is collaborating with other groups similarly committed to mangrove
restoration, science, and conservation education, such as Waterkeepers Bahamas, PIMS, The
Nature Conservancy, the BNT, and many others. It is hoped that joint public-private mangrove
restoration efforts, along with other related climate resilient initiatives, can grow to include other
islands. The current project will also actively work to engage fishing associations, local chambers
of commerce, government agencies, bonefishing guides and lodges, and myriad schools,
community leaders and businesses.
In addition to replanting, BTT and partners aims to raise community
awareness and engagement about the importance of mangrove forests
and the serious threats they face today. So far, BTT and its partners have
worked with the fishing community, schools, local stakeholders and
government agencies to plant 20,000 mangroves, marking a milestone
in the project.
The planting event this weekend took place in the Maclean’s Town area
of East End Grand Bahama, where mangroves and coastal communities
were severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Students, scientists,
government officials, bonefishing guides and community members all
took part.
Leroy Glinton, a bonefishing guide from McClean’s Town said the event
was impactful on both a professional and personal level. Glinton
explained, “Mangroves are so important to the bonefishing industry and
everyone to whom it provides a livelihood – from independent fishing
guides to the staff at all the various lodges throughout the The Bahamas,” he said. “But healthy
mangroves are also vital for our coastal communities. So many people lost their homes and all of
their possessions in Dorian. Mangroves buffer communities from the worst effects of serious
storms, and it is most gratifying to witness so many organizations, government entities and
individual coming together to take part in a meaningful solution.”
James, a student volunteer from Bishop Michael Eldon School, said, “I am a Hurricane Dorian
survivor. I went through the painful time but being here and being about the mangroves has
inspired me to plant more and protect others from future natural disasters. Another student Troy,
while joyfully covered in mud added, “It really gave me a lot of insight into the importance of
mangroves, their life cycles, and how they shield us from the storms. I liked being able to help
plant more of them so they can protect us in the future and future generations as well.”
Future mangrove planting days will be announced by BTT and other conservation partners
throughout 2023. Persons wishing to get involved should email BTT at
info@bonefishtarpontrust.org.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT),alongside flats fishing guides, school children, and several local and international partners,undertook the next step last weekend in a major mangrove restoration project in East GrandBahama. The community planting day was part of BTT’s multi-year effort focused on GrandBahama and Abaco to help mangrove forests recover from the devastating effects of HurricaneDorian. Mangroves are a vital natural resource which build island resilience in the face of futureclimate-driven storms, coastal flooding, and sea level rise.

Post-Dorian observations conducted by BTT and other local science partners, such as the PerryInstitute for Marine Science (PIMS) and Bahamas National Trust (BNT), showed that huge areasof native mangrove forests in Grand Bahama and Abaco were decimated by the storm and arenow in dire need of restoration. In response, BTT launched the Northern Bahamas MangroveRestoration Project, a growing collaborative effort between non-profits, government agenciesand the community with the objective of planting 100,000 – if not far more – new mangroves bythe end of 2024.

About Saturday’s planting event in the East End,Grand Bahama native and BTT BahamasCoordinator Nina Sanchez said, “This mangroverestoration project has been an incredibleopportunity to get local Bahamians, communitygroups, and students out onto the flats and intothe mangroves to learn about the importance ofthis environment. This project is in the wake ofHurricane Dorian, but a lot of positive moments foroutreach and education have come out of it. Oneof the things that we try to drive home, thatrestoration is kind of a last resort. We really wantto preserve, protect, and conserve theenvironments that we have by getting students out onto these flats, getting their hands dirty andrealizing that these are incredibly productive habitats. In addition to the flats fishing industry,they support a lot of commercially important fish species - conch, grouper, snapper. All of themare important to Bahamian culture and economy and being out here and seeing it with your owneyes is an important part.”

BTT’s current Grand Bahama and Abaco restoration project includes partners such as BNT,Friends of the Environment in Abaco, international businesses, such as the apparel brand MANG,and fly fishing guides, and will involve many schoolchildren over the next two years. The projectbegan by growing mangroves in nurseries in Grand Bahama and Abaco for the purpose of plantingseedlings in the most impacted areas around these two islands. Key partners from the publicsector, without whose efforts the event could not have taken place, include the Department ofMarine Resources, the Forestry Unit and the Department of Environmental Planning andProtection (DEPP), as well as invaluable contributions at the local government level.

“Mangrove forests serve as vital nursery habitat for flats fishing species such as bonefish andpermit, and as such, for the wider flats industry that relies on this invaluable resource. This is truein The Bahamas, in Florida, and throughout the Caribbean basin,” said BTT President and CEO JimMcDuffie. “Given that mangroves are so key to protecting the coastal environment and humanpopulations from the worst effects of climate disasters, it is important that conservationists andcommunities everywhere take bold action to kickstart the recovery of this environmentally,economically, and socially significant resource.”

Bahamas Initiative Coordinator Nina Sanchez (center)distributing new mangroves to volunteers. She called theproject a positive moment of community resilience in the wakeof Hurricane Dorian.

Partnerships are now in development to scale mangrove restoration and protection throughoutThe Bahamas. BTT is collaborating with other groups similarly committed to mangroverestoration, science, and conservation education, such as Waterkeepers Bahamas, PIMS, TheNature Conservancy, the BNT, and many others. It is hoped that joint public-private mangroverestoration efforts, along with other related climate resilient initiatives, can grow to include otherislands. The current project will also actively work to engage fishing associations, local chambersof commerce, government agencies, bonefishing guides and lodges, and myriad schools,community leaders and businesses.

In addition to replanting, BTT and partners aims to raise communityawareness and engagement about the importance of mangrove forestsand the serious threats they face today. So far, BTT and its partners haveworked with the fishing community, schools, local stakeholders andgovernment agencies to plant 20,000 mangroves, marking a milestonein the project.

The planting event this weekend took place in the Maclean’s Town areaof East End Grand Bahama, where mangroves and coastal communitieswere severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Students, scientists,government officials, bonefishing guides and community members alltook part.

Leroy Glinton, a bonefishing guide from McClean’s Town said the eventwas impactful on both a professional and personal level. Glintonexplained, “Mangroves are so important to the bonefishing industry andeveryone to whom it provides a livelihood – from independent fishingguides to the staff at all the various lodges throughout the The Bahamas,” he said. “But healthymangroves are also vital for our coastal communities. So many people lost their homes and all oftheir possessions in Dorian. Mangroves buffer communities from the worst effects of seriousstorms, and it is most gratifying to witness so many organizations, government entities andindividual coming together to take part in a meaningful solution.”

James, a student volunteer from Bishop Michael Eldon School, said, “I am a Hurricane Doriansurvivor. I went through the painful time but being here and being about the mangroves hasinspired me to plant more and protect others from future natural disasters. Another student Troy,while joyfully covered in mud added, “It really gave me a lot of insight into the importance ofmangroves, their life cycles, and how they shield us from the storms. I liked being able to helpplant more of them so they can protect us in the future and future generations as well.”Future mangrove planting days will be announced by BTT and other conservation partnersthroughout 2023. Persons wishing to get involved should email BTT atinfo@bonefishtarpontrust.org.