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#403077 - 03/24/11 09:23 AM Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall
Marty Online   happy
The Sugar Caye development south of San Pedro Town has not been without controversy. With plans for the development first announced in June 2009, conservation organizations and stakeholders have clamored about dredging, mangrove and habitat removal, concerns about its' proximity to the town sewage treatment ponds and what effect the project could have on the nearby WASA water treatment plant. On the other hand, local government officials have promoted the new development as a much needed remedy to the shortage of land available to sustain our growing population.

Contrary to popular belief, these concerns have not fallen on deaf ears, and project developer David Mitchell and sales manager John Turley recently invited The San Pedro Sun to an on-sight tour of the progress in habitat restoration Sugar Caye is making. In an interview with The Sun, Mitchell stated, "Organizations like the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD) have inspired us to be very mindful of how we go about restoring mangrove habitat within the development. We decided instead of just doing the job well, we were going to step up to the challenge and set a new standard for like developments. For the last eighteen months we have consulted with renowned mangrove restoration experts, researched how other developers around the world have approached this concern and traveled extensively to areas where mangroves have been incorporated into community developments. We learned what works, and we learned what doesn't. With this knowledge we went to the drawing board with our engineers and came up with a new concept in sea walls that are not only efficient in maintaining land stability but are designed to encourage mangrove growth while providing optimum habitat for fish and marine life."

Marine biologist Cherie Chenot-Rose had the opportunity to check out the new habitat walls and commented, "This new engineering marvel is not only extremely environmentally sound, but the finished product will be aesthetically pleasing to the eye and actually buffer residence's yards from pesky crocodiles. By isolating individual mangrove propagules, which are placed in each hole, the endangered seedlings are protected from wind, waves, and other unintentional damage from humans during the early stages of their development; thus, creating an extremely favorable artificial environment and successful mangrove development. As the efficacious root systems of the mangroves anchor the plants, sprouting prop roots will trail into the water's depths providing even more protection inside the ‘fish condos'. The communities of Ambergris Caye can be proud of the extra mile Sugar Caye is going, spending money and valuable time; to be sure their development is eco-friendly. And, as long as the structures are placed on solid bedrock to prevent sinkage the new seawalls should be a grand success."

But Sugar Cayes "green" motivation does not end here. Tailoring their development plan after internationally recognized green building certification programs; their goal is to set a new standard in sustainable community development throughout Belize and the Caribbean. According to Turley all utilities within the development will be buried, including underground sewage system. The homes will be fitted with LED lighting, water conserving plumbing and low wattage air conditioning units. "We are taking into consideration every way we can comply to green standards while completing this new community. We are really excited about being a model development for future green projects in the region, not only in the design of the homes we are building but in the methods we are using to restore the mangrove habitat; it's going to be healthier then it was before," concluded Turley.

San Pedro Sun

#403097 - 03/24/11 11:50 AM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: Marty]
Judyann H. Offline
This looks great!.....I am inclined to appreciate the concept and the effort going into this.....
My friends call me Judyann


#403105 - 03/24/11 01:30 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: Marty]
MangoCreek Offline
Integrating mangroves into seawall design is, in my opinion, a desirable goal. Having another option to incorporate mangroves into a deep-water, high-energy shorelines is always a worthy objective.

I do have some questions.

What is the cost of the concrete slabs and what is their projected lifetime?

Will the slabs be set a distance from shore and then backfilled?

Will this habitat be used on high energy shorelines or on canals?

Is there a rationale for the size and spacing of the holes? It would seem there's a balance to be achieved between structural integrity of the concrete and the number and diameter of the root holes.

What is the projected time to "maturity" of the mangroves set behind the wall and is there a long term plan to deal with things like plant care, sea level rise, growth in the girth of the plants, and potential structural failures in the concrete?

Have other builders expressed interest?

#403149 - 03/24/11 08:35 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
I'm pleased to see David Mitchell John Turley paying attention.
I think we'll all be dead and gone before mangroves grow that large to have any effect but the thought is good and the fact there aware something very drastic will have to happen before anyone would consider buying a lot on top of this pile of... dredged material.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#403150 - 03/24/11 08:38 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: elbert]
SP Daily Offline
Similar to San Pablo...now almost built out...

#403152 - 03/24/11 08:42 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: elbert]
seashell Offline
"If you build it, they will come." Sadly, elbert, once the "s***pile" is covered up, most won't notice or be aware. As you must know, most of San Pedro is built over refuse, sometimes referred to as "fill".
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#403159 - 03/24/11 10:11 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: seashell]
SP Daily Offline
No refuse involved in this case

#403161 - 03/24/11 10:59 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: elbert]
MangoCreek Offline
Yes, the time scale is the critical part of this design I think. In low nutrient soils mangroves grow very slowly and the sea will have swallowed them before they look like the drawing. In high nutrient soils, however, they can reach over 8 feet tall with extensive root structures in less than 2 years.

In general it seems you'd need a commitment to establishing and maintaining the mangroves or it will be just a seawall with holes in it.

It would be nice to see some comment from the developers.

And just to be clear, I think it's great that they're innovating. Just want to see more of what's behind it.

Edited by MangoCreek (03/25/11 12:25 AM)

#403196 - 03/25/11 11:04 AM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
This keeps me chuckling, never a dull moment in San Pedros development schemes.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#403619 - 03/30/11 06:30 PM Re: Sugar Caye Designs New “Habitat” Seawall [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
ACCSD Response to Mangrove Project at Sugar Caye

Hi Members,

In regards to project at Sugar Caye http://www.sanpedrosun.com/news/sugar-caye-designs-new-habitat-seawall/ we sent a letter to the local newspapers replying the following:

March 28, 2011
Dear Ambergris Today/San Pedro Sun,

Whilst the ACCSD congratulates and welcomes the move by Dave Mitchell to incorporate mangrove habitat restoration within his developments on the island and their plans to promote a green development, the ACCSD feels it only correct to ask the questions others don't and continue not to ask.

In regards to Sugar Caye why wasn't an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted? The EIA legislation under the laws of Belize should apply for a development of this size on the cayes - An EIA involves studies needed in identifying, predicting, evaluating, mitigating and managing the environmental, and key social and economic impacts of development projects.

This document would have addressed the following unanswered questions:

1. Is this development causing the water problems being experienced by the island and the islands water plant?
2. Are the sink holes located on and around the property a danger to the houses planned in that area?
3. Is it safe to have families living that close to the sewage ponds inside what was classified by WASA as a buffer zone?
4. What harmful chemicals are present in the soil and water in that area due to seepage from the Sewage ponds?
5. Were there any water quality samples taken to identify if faecal coliforms are present in the waterways?
6. Who legally owns the property and how was it acquired?
7. How is this development going to remedy the shortage of land available to sustain our growing population, when it like its sister development is aimed at bringing more second home and vacation owners to the island.
8. Does this new "innovative" seawall design justify clearing healthy mangrove wetland?
9. Is it more logical to preserve our existing healthy mangrove wetland and eliminate having to clear, dredge and fill these ecosystems that are vital to the livelihood of all our island community?
10. What is the hurricane disaster plan for this area?

Sugar Caye and its developers continue to bring innovation to the island, not only in the areas of development but in ways of bypassing our country’s laws, in ways to sell idea's and ways to muzzle our local and national media by spending the most advertising dollars.

Sincerely yours,

Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development

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