Restoration work has begun on the largest mangrove forest and lagoon in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The work, which is led by local NGO, Sustainable Grenadines Inc., will create breaches in strategic areas of the abandoned marina piers. This will create water circulation in the area, which has been almost stagnant for the last 20 years.
The project will restore the Ashton Lagoon’s ecosystem, including its mangroves and salt pond habitat to create a conducive environment for fisheries, coral and mangrove and bird habitat, while increasing the coastal resilience to climate change. These improvements are intended to further improve the Ashton community and create an environment for economic opportunities.
In 1994, a marine-hotel-golf-course development was initiated within the lagoon, despite the area’s designation as a marine conservation area. After a year, the project was abandoned when the development company declared bankruptcy. Additionally, activities conducted prior to this caused catastrophic damage to the lagoon. Dredging and the construction of the marina causeway blocked water circulation within the lagoon led to the loss of significant coastal livelihood resources.
Phase one of the restoration work is funded by The Nature Conservancy, through the Philip Stephenson Foundation and the Grenadines Partnership Fund through The Nature Conservancy to complete the phase one engineering works at the Ashton Lagoon.
The phase one activities include the partial excavation of five piers to restore circulation of water both in and out of the lagoon area. Excavation activities are expected to take place between November and December 2017.