The Boca del Rio Park is a popular recreational area and an important landmark for the community of San Pedro. Unfortunately, this site has been under a constant battle with nature and is now considered highly vulnerable to erosion.
The seawall and recreational facilities were wrecked after hurricane Keith in 2001 and the installation of geotubes to mitigate the subsequent erosion are already giving way to the high energy waves. No matter what man-made measures are taken it seems that only nature can win this battle.
Mangrove reforestation offers an opportunity to bring back the mangroves that would embrace the temporary substrate created by the tubes and protect the shoreline from the constant battering of waves and storm surge. After consultation with the San Pedro Town Council, a demonstration area has been setup using the Riley Encased Methodology (REM) developed by Bob Riley of Mangrove.org
This past Tuesday, June 28, 2011, volunteers of this year's Coral Ed-ventures summer camp participated in a hands-on demonstration and installation of 8 REM encasements for Boca del Rio. Mangrove reforestation is challenging, as wind and wave energy can make it difficult for seedlings to take root. The Riley Encased Methodology is an innovative technique that dramatically increases the success of mangrove plantings by protecting the young plant as it grows, allowing it to successfully take root and develop into a reproductively mature tree.
The enthusiastic children participating in the Coral Ed-ventures summer camp had the opportunity to plant and name their mangrove propagule and will be working on an educational video to increase the community support and awareness of this initiative. As an incentive for their participation and leadership, the SPTGA will be sponsoring Scuba diving courses for these volunteers and encourage other children to participate in upcoming hands-on programs organized by Hol Chan and the San Pedro Tour Guide Association (SPTGA).
The program is being coordinated by the Coral Reef Alliance in partnership with Hol Chan, Coral Ed-ventures, SPTGA, WWF, Mangrove.org and the San Pedro Town Council.
“We are happy to report that we have had tremendous success at the pilot sites setup in December,” commented Valentine Rosado, Belize Field Manager at The Coral Reef Alliance. “We have kept the December pilot sites setup pretty hush until we have significant growth and we are ready to launch a marketing campaign on mangrove reforestation using REM and also to prevent vandalism from curious onlookers. This week's demo is a first step to begin to inform and educate the general community.” For more information visit the Belize Mangrove Conservation Network
In December, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve hosted a training workshop led by Bob Riley of Mangrove.org. See Ambergris Today article dated December 22nd 2010.
Photos and information courtesy of Valentine Rosado, Coral Reef Alliance