The Richmond Coastal Wetland is a critical area which supports the overall biodiversity of many species of fish, shellfish, birds and marine mammals. Over the years the Richmond area, the only wetland area of this kind in St. Vincent, has been severely damaged. This is due to climate change related disasters and to people that, everyday, mine the beach for sand and gravel or cut and disrupt the freshwater flow for livelihoods.
As a result, Richmond beach has suffered from sea level rise. Mangrove estuaries and wetlands are nurseries for many species and a healthy estuary represents food security for many people. Unfortunately, other wetlands and mangrove systems in St. Vincent have been lost over a number of years.
“The main focus of this project over the next five years will be to establish a “full”, mixed species plot. The Richmond Beach Coastal Wetland area offers a possibility for long term survival and success because of the size and current existing features of the area and through the engagement of the academy. Both red and white mangroves should do well at this site, as they will benefit from the already existing mature shrubbery in the area. A number of different planting methods can be used. Both red and white seedlings can be introduced directly into the soil, as has already been done. In addition, encasement planting can also be done, using red mangrove seedlings in either bamboo or PVC tubes, closer to the water’s edge. The seedlings will need to be planted in individual, species specific transects, so that comparison monitoring can be done over time. Transect sizes will have to be varied according to species and ground conditions.” Reference - Tyrone W. Buckmire, Director, Grenada Fund for Conservation, Inc.
Understanding the importance of these ecosystems and how to preserve them is new for many people and it is important to bring this message out to the public. Lessons on biodiversity have been taught in several local schools over the past three years whilst partnering with the Lions Club, Police cooperative Credit Union, Parks Rivers and Beaches Authority and the Forestry Department.
Furthermore, planting actions are been carried out every year with the planting neem trees, fat pork, pandanas, coco nut, seagrapes, white and red mangroves and a Mangrove expert Tyrone Buckmire from Grenada has visited and advised the project twice.
After all these actions, the area has been met with more respect and care by the local community.
Photos from Richmond Coastal Conservation Project
Videos: Coastal Protection