In early 2013 we reported on the worrying rate of erosion on the Dangriga town shore-line. Photos taken just months apart showed a dramatic reduction in sea frontage.
But, since then, the situation has changed dramatically: when we visited the town today we saw that the beach was back! We wanted to know what was up with that – the mayor had a few answers:
Jules Vasquez Reporting
In February of 2013, we told you about the alarming rate of erosion on the coastline of Dangriga Town. These pictures taken just five months apart, showed a substantial deterioration between late 2012 and early 2013 - where the picnic bench toppled into the sea
"Where we're standing right now, this was actually in the sea."
But today it was dry, gorgeous beach. A thing of wonder, virtually a miracle. In just three or four months, the beach is back - thick, high and wide - the combination we gather of Mother Nature and some cleverness by the town council:
Gilbert Swaso - Mayor Dangriga
"Well certainly, we must give thanks to Mother Nature, but Mother Nature needed some help."
That trapped the sand that comes in with the southeast seasonally. Now normally as the seasons and winds change this sand would be washed south down the coast - kind of a moving beach or sand bar - but now they trapped it:
"What we essentially did was support mother nature's effort by ensuring that we put some embankment the north of the north Stann Creek River, which is just about a couple hundred feet, directly in front of where we are, at the mouth of the river.
That has accumulated the sand coming in with the current and has blocked it from moving further south. And then nature again played into their hands with the epic rains:
"So, that flood brings a lot of sand with it. So, with the placement of that embankment, then it only shored the sand, and then prevented further movement south."
Now, they have created a beach that they hope is permanent:
Gilbert Swaso - Mayor Dangriga
"And then, the other part to the project will be the replanting of trees, such as sea grapes along the shore, which we believe will also hold the soil together, thereby minimizing the erosion that is taking place."
"Might Mother Nature take another turn and just reclaim it all back?"
"Yes, we are very conscious of that, and hence the reason why the strategy is to ensure that we put some additional growing out which we will also wave attenuation, basically to reduce the energy of the wave striking onto the sea."
"So, the beach we have here now, you think it's here to stay?"
Austin Rodriguez - Seafront Resident, 12 Years
"Well, that depends. I don't know in nature's work, how long we will have it, but with the blocking up of over there, the sand is here. I don't know how long it will stay."
But for the time being this is Austin's view and he will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
The town is applying for a grant under climate change funding to solidify the project.
The mayor reports that since the beach has come back – the community has been coming out to enjoy it and they plan to plant almond or what are calls "hammonds" trees to give them shade.