Tuesday 6th February,
2007 Posted: 14:45 CIT (19:45
The Department of Environment recently completed its first phase
of a project to help restore locally devastated red mangroves by
planting more than 800 reef ball units containing thousands of
Governor, Stuart Jack, accompanied by his wife, Mariko, planted
the last seedlings on Friday, 19 January.
The project was sponsored by US Fish and Wildlife Service’s
Neo–tropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act for its practical
contribution towards the restoration of migratory bird habitat, said
a GIS press release.
The DoE has worked with the Reef Ball Foundation (who
manufactured the reef balls overseas) to build a red mangrove
nursery at the CI Sailing Club in Red Bay. The Sailing Club is a
Darwin Initiative partner and donated the use of the site for the
“With approximately 860 ‘reef balls’ of seedlings planted in pots
made out of marine–based cement (Ph balanced for marine
environments), the young mangroves are protected against storms and
have a better chance of surviving,” said DoE Assistant Director Tim
“We are hoping to establish this as a technique to restore other
areas that were damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004,” continued Mr.
Austin. These areas include, but are not limited to, North Side
Public Beach near the Kaibo and South Sound.
The project, which started in November 2006, has drawn the
interest of school children and community groups. Many people have
assisted the DoE in collecting and planting thousands of seedlings,
including students from Cayman Prep, St Ignatius and John Gray
“After the coming hurricane season, when the seedlings have
reached a reasonable size, we are going to transport them to areas
that need restoration,” explained DoE Research Officer James
“This will head–start the restoration of our coastal mangroves,
and encourage the re–establishment of habitats critical to the
health our marine systems, and resident and migratory birds’
“The DoE is currently obtaining the moulds for the reef balls, so
that, if the project is successful, we will be in a position to
build more reef balls on island, rather than having to import them
After planting the last two sets of seedlings, Mr. Jack
commented, “It is vitally important to look after the mangroves.
This is a great project, and it’s pleasing to see young people
getting involved – this is a fun and interesting way for them to
learn how important mangroves are to our natural habitat.”
If you would like more information about the project and how to
participate please contact Tim Austin at the Department of
Environment on 949–8469.