On Thursday, May 26th, the Blackadore Caye Development team invited the media corp for a visit to the island. As part of the visit, a presentation was given on the current status of the development of the island, including an update on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as well as the concept for Blackadore Caye - A Restorative Island Resort.
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Blackadore Caye Development updates media on development plans
During the visit to Blackadore Caye, attendees were provided with a presentation on the current status of the island’s development. Lead Consultant/Managing Director Dionne Chamberlain explained the main goal of the project’s in and a global and local perspective. “The benefits in the global perspective will put the name of our country even higher as the pioneer of initiating an environmental concept that can be delivered worldwide,” said Chamberlain.
At the local level, the restorative project on the island is expected to generate a new revenue stream for the country. According to the presentation, it will create jobs, a new type of tourism and it will give exposure to the local people. “The jobs that will be available when Blackadore Caye is completed will not just any ordinary employment, they will be green jobs,” said Chamberlain. “This new type of exposure will create awareness and encourage everyone to take care of the environment. At the same time, we will partner with the different educational institutions in order to promote a vast educational campaign in regards to green energy.” The plans include introducing vocational courses in schools, so that students can be trained and able to operate eco-friendly equipment such as solar panels. Some of the green technology planned to be used on the island, according to the presenters, has not yet been used anywhere in the world. Blackadore Caye will be the centre of training and point of reference in regards to restorative achievement and clean energy.
After the presentation an onsite tour was conducted on the island by biologist Juan Rovalo. During the tour many of the coconut trees were observed with an orange dye around their trunks. Rovalo explained that it is due to fungi that is affecting all trees on the island. According to him about 80% of the island is covered with hypersaline grass and Love grass. This grass has grown over three feet and is taking over the vegetation on the island after the erosion of the fertile soil that produced a coastal forest. “Instead of having a diverse thriving caye, we are having an ecologically hammered and ill caye,” said Rovalo. “In the remains of littoral forest, we still have around 30 species of plants between shrubs, palms and trees. This is the type of vegetation we should have on the island at the moment. However, due to the constant erosion, more salt water comes on the surface of the island and thus, more hyper saline grass grows.” Rovalo stated that the grass has no benefits for the island, but rather promotes its further erosion, and once its coastal land is lost, nothing can bring it back.
Despite the ecological crisis on Blackadore Caye, around 29 species of fauna still make the island their home. Twelve of these species are actually permanent residents on the island, including three species of bats, one species of mice, hundreds of crabs, eight species of reptile such as lizards, geckos and about three snakes including boa constrictor.
While things do not seem well on the terrestrial area of the caye, its surrounding waters are a prime nursing ground for fish. According to Rovalo, there are hundreds of juvenile fishes harbouring around the island’s shores. “We also have commercial fishes living in these waters, bottom feeders such as permits and bonefish. 80% of the fish population observed was under 20 centimetres long, meaning that they hatch around this area and then leave. We want to enhance that, and with the reforestation of the mangrove plantation project, we expect this to change,” said Rovalo. It is expected that the rehabilitation of the littoral forest will not only increase the number and sizes of fish around the area, but prevent the erosion on the island.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see LOTS more photos in the San Pedro Sun
Blackadore Caye is Dying
According to the development and environmental teams of Blackadore Caye, the island is suffering immensely from erosion, land resource exploitation, local species degradation and deforestation and if no action is taken to stop, reverse and restore the island back to its pristine state, it will eventually disappear.
The research team at Blackadore Caye has indicated all these variables affecting the island, which has already it has lost almost seven acres of land over the past couple years. The rich vegetation of the island is dying fast, along with the rich diversity of fauna that once inhabited the island. Coconut trees are suffering/dying from Lethal Yellowing disease and high levels of salinity in the soil content is preventing any other vegetation from flourishing other than high grass. Local hunting on the island has also completely rid the island of wild boars, coatimundi and deer.
Developers have addressed the initial concerns of the local community by re-drafting their initial plans to build over over the water structures. There will be no longer be any over the water hotel rooms/ buildings at Blackadore; the Welcome Center has been moved to the northern part of the island to help preserve the sensitive ecosystem on the south end. These are just a couple changes the developers took after major environmental concerns were raised at the first public consultation on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
But before any construction of the eco-resort takes place, developers have stressed on the importance of restoring the island back to its pristine state, or at least kick start the process to ensure the island does not erode and die. This is why the project at Blackadore is being called “A Restorative Island”; developers, investors, architects and contractor are all conscious of the sensitivity of the island’s eco systems and are willing to work under practices that will ensure the protection and enhancement of Blackadore’s natural resources.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today
Last edited by Marty; 03/24/1706:47 PM.
#514014 - 05/27/1606:39 AMRe: Media taken on tour of Blackadore Caye
Everything they are saying about Blackadore Caye can also be said about Ambergris Caye. It too was a coconut plantation with a diverse marine ecosystem that has been sacrificed for development. Don't take my remarks as being critical of those opposing the project. I personally struggle with forming an opinion that would oppose the development since I own property that was once in its natural state before being developed. I understand there should be a limit on what is developed. But, when I see all the development being done, I don't see any limits. Again, don't take my remarks as being in favor of the development. I only question how other similar projects are being allowed, or contemplated, and how this project differs. There needs to be a better, and consistent, national plan that, if possible at this stage, finds a balance between development and protecting natural resources and is applied equally to all.
#514042 - 05/28/1612:41 PMRe: Media taken on tour of Blackadore Caye
Some said the same thing about Cayo Espanto when it was proposed. The business logic of the average person does not always apply to those with more money than they know what to do with. Besides, if you are going to have uncontrolled development, which seems to be the case, I would much prefer mega million dollar projects, as opposed to some of the eye sores that that have been built. Reef village, villas built over what once was water and unfinished buildings rusting away that one sees after crossing the bridge, and Sands Villas now falling apart and a huge eye sore, just to name two. Of course not all multi million dollar developments are necessarily a plus. Mahogany Bay as an example. Built on "manufactured land" and a population density that rivals any Goverment housing progect in any slum in the US. And of course there is Grand Belizean Estates. Where do I start about that?
#514127 - 06/01/1612:10 PMRe: Media taken on tour of Blackadore Caye
Blackadore Caye, Belize: Restoration and Development, I Think I Finally Get It
Yesterday, I snagged my first invite to head over to Blackadore Caye with the Jim, who works in Environmental Protection & Restoration, Juan, a head biologist and a crew of Belizeans including a student in Biology at University of Belize to learn about Blackadore Caye.
The caye is 2.5 miles long and lies north to south parallel to Ambergris Caye between our caye and the mainland. It is pencil thin – at no point during my trekking could I NOT see the other side.
I will not profess to be an expert – AT ALL. But I went to the EIA meeting a few months ago to listen, I went to the island yesterday to look around and listen and here is what I think:
The island is exceptionally beautiful – I mean CRAZY STUNNING EYE-POPPING EXHAUSTINGLY GORGEOUS.
2. It is in a state that we see all along the windward coast of Ambergris Caye – erosion and decay. The very few trees on the island are falling into the water and what is behind them? Acres and acres of shallow rooted savannah grasses that won’t keep the remaining soil on the island. There is literally ONE mangrove tree left. ONE.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Scoop
#515782 - 07/05/1605:18 PMRe: Media taken on tour of Blackadore Caye