[Coral-List] Unsustainable Development
James M Cervino
cnidaria at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 16 09:51:18 EST 2006
Mr Barber and Bourke,
Your intentions are evident as you are simply playing into the hands
of the Developer to obtain this account to place concrete "Balls"
along the limestone coast where this proposed golf course will go.
However, if you were to post a note on the coral-list as speaking out
against this development while wanting to DONATE your "concrete
balls" to the environmental group for coastal erosion-protection,
then your intentions would be justified as environmentally
respectable. Are you aware that your "Balls" will be quickly
overgrown with Macro-algae once this golf course is implemented ?
There is an example of an artificial reef that someone placed close
to shore where mangroves were clear cut. These structures were
placed in the sediment within 10-15 feet depth of water and are
completely smothered with macro-algae which should serve as a model
for you; that surrounding this island with "concrete balls" will
simply not protect the living remaining 100-200 year old corals that
are already stressed.
At least the environmental group on Guana is pushing to protect the
remaining living tissue residing on the surfaces of these coral
skeletons as they seem to understand what "critical levels" of
nutrients mean in an oligotrophic reef system. All they are trying to
do is stop this small island from being over developed with 300
condo units and a golf course. No sound person would back such a plan
on an island that is approximately 2-3km in length. (one can walk
around this island in 30min).
Any logical scientist will tell you that this development will
fertilize the reef and increase the abundance of macro algae species
within this habitat, thereby threatening this already thermally
stressed coral reef ecosystem. Have your and your scientific advisors
reviewed this golf course proposal? I doubt it, as you would then be
aware that they are going to dredge this area as well which will
further add stress to this reef. Mr. Barber; there are many
publications out there that show how sediment loading can effect
coral physiology, here is one such publication that I can forward to
you (Peters, E. 1984. A survey of cellular reactions to
environmental stress and disease in Caribbean scleractinian corals.
Helgol. Meeresunters. 37: 113-137. Your so called environmentally
conscious Reef Ball Team may not have an understanding of the
sensitive cellular mechanisms and physiology of symbiotic reef
building corals. If you did you would not be trying to help this
developer in any way.
You may not be aware of this as, coral reefs are known to be the most
nutrient sensitive ecosystems. Coral reefs can become "eutrophic",
that is, overgrown by weedy algae, at nutrient levels that are so low
that they would indicate nutrient starvation in any other ecosystem.
This golf course will be a point source and will create hazardous
high levels of nutrients into this coastal zone. Any nutrient
drainage into this area will cause the reefs to deteriorate further.
Here are some papers that you can read about reef stress before you
just stamp your letter of approval onto this project (P. Bell,1992,
Eutrophication and coral reefs: some examples in the Great Barrier
Reef lagoon, Water Research, 26: 553-568; B. Lapointe, & M. Clark,
1992, Nutrient inputs from the watershed and coastal eutrophication
in the Florida Keys, Estuaries, 15: 465-476; B. Lapointe, in press,
Eutrophication thresholds for macroalgal overgrowth of coral reefs,
in K. Thacker (Ed.) Protecting Jamaica's Coral Reefs: Water quality
Dear Mr. Bob Bourke Environmental Scientist (ex-marine biologist), do
you call this a sound project?
You said that: "Concepts of Low Impact Development and active
management using primarily groundwater and runoff monitoring
feedback programs are effective in many locations.
We say that we have no time to monitor anything! The Discovery & Co.
EIA plans are to dredge up a portion of the 1 mile island, dump the
sediment onto the surrounding reef and add soil fill combined with
quartz sand for this golf course. This limestone substrate will act
as a permeable filter for the nutrients to leach out into the reef
thereby feeding the invasive species. Here is some information for
you Mr Bourke regarding levels of nutrients that are critical in a
living reef system:
1.0 micromoles per litre of nitrogen as nitrate and ammonia
0.1 micromoles per litre of phosphorous as ortho-phosphate and organophosphate.
These values are in the molecular concentration units used by
chemists and oceanographers. In the weight units more often used in
the wastewater literature these translate into:
Nitrogen: 0.014 ppm N or 0.040 ppm NO3
Phosphorous 0.003 ppm P or 0.007 ppm PO4
I hope that more people will speak out against this type of
development given the state of the worlds reefs are in today. If we
cannot convince the US administration to control atmospheric carbon
dioxide that is responsible for thermal stress in corals at least we
can help the peoples of Guana protect their reef from a developer
that cares nothing about the corals and the fish that live within
Dr. James M. Cervino, MS, Ph.D.
Department of Biological & Health Sciences
Pace University New York NYC
Phone: (917) 620-5287
Web site: http://www.globalcoral.org
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