dredging in SVG

Tom van't Hof tomvanthof at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 20 09:13:31 EST 2001

Dear Kurt,

It is very sad to hear that the battle has practically been lost. I 
have followed your reports on Union Island, although somewhat 
superficially, and I don't know why I did not realize earlier that 
there is one thing that still needs to be done anyhow. If the 
dredging and the construction of the pier are going ahead, the 
impacts need to be documented so that similar mistakes can be avoided 
in the future. That will also require establishing a pre-dredging 
baseline. So there is no time to be lost.

Suddenly the whole story reminded me of Bonaire, where I worked in 
the early eighties. A Venezuelan company was blasting and dredging a 
system of canals in the limestone terrace to create waterfront 
homesites. The canals were then going to be connected to the open sea 
with anticipated disastrous results for the neighboring reefs. We 
were unable to stop the development (too much politics - you know all 
of that), but we did monitor what happened when the dredging for the 
connection began. And we had the baseline data. We established 
permanent photoquadrats and placed sediment traps at three 
downcurrent locations from the dredging site and a control upstream. 
The evidence was overwhelming and the reef was overwhelmed with silt 
(sedimentation went up 1,700 times and all the deep Agaricia died 
within weeks). A silt curtain was put in place after most of the 
damage had been done. Do we ever learn?

The monitoring is simple and can be done by laypersons. The analysis 
requires some expertise. I cannot commit anyone's time here, but why 
don't you transmit a "CRY FOR HELP" to do the monitoring. The 
Anguilla National Trust did exactly that when Beal Aerospace tried to 
destroy Sombrero and we made a difference there, so why not try it 

Never ever give up,

Tom van't Hof
Marine & Coastal Resource Management Consulting
The Bottom, Saba
Netherlands Antilles
Tel. (599) 416-3348
Fax (599) 416-3299
e-mail <<mailto:tomvanthof at hotmail.com>tomvanthof at hotmail.com>

"Specializing in marine protected areas since 1979."
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