October 21, 1999
To whom it may concern,
We, at Green Reef, are writing to express our concern about the current dredging activities occurring along the coast of Northern Ambergris Caye.
For the past two months we have received reports of unmonitored dredging occurring along portions of the coast, particularly along the Tres Cocos area. The dredging operator is allegedly dredging only 10-15ft from the beach and using the sand, not to fill the beach, but to fill in the land on private properties for land speculation.
Green Reef understands the decision the Department of Geology made in allowing the "Beach Reclamation" project of 1999 to take place. After the devastation of Hurricane Mitch, it was determined that dredging would be permitted on public lands with the intention of benefiting the San Pedro community and tourist industry. We do not believe, however, that the dredging activity currently taking place along the Northern coast falls under the guidelines of this project. To the contrary, it is private land that is being filled with the use of Crown Lands so as to increase property value.
Dredging activity, itself, is detrimental in more ways than one to the coral reef ecosystem, not to mention seagrass habitat. Green Reef recognizes the need to dredge under extreme circumstances, but when dredging takes place for the unconscionable reasons stated above, it cannot be tolerated. Green Reef feels that it is absolutely necessary that the Ministry of Natural Resources take action now before further damage is done. It is recommended that the Ministry assign a government organization, such as the Coastal Zone Management Authority or ideally, a local organization, such as Green Reef, to monitor dredging activities.
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