Ministry of Public Works & BNT Launch ICZM Project to Improve Coastal Resilience

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Climate change is quickly becoming one of the greatest threats to global economies and

human wellbeing. As an island nation, The Bahamas is especially vulnerable to the effects of

climate   change. To combat   this   looming   threat, the   Ministry   of   Public   Works   Project

Implementation   Unit, funded   by   the   Inter-American   Development   Bank (IDB), has

contracted   The   Bahamas   National   Trust (BNT) to   help   implement   parts   of   the Climate

Resilient Coastal Management & Infrastructure Program.

Also known as the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project, the goal of this

project is to use traditional and nature-based solutions to build coastal resilience at several

sites throughout The Bahamas, beginning with Andros and East Grand Bahama.

Shelley Cant-Woodside, BNT Director of Science  and Policy, stated, 

“The Bahamas has experienced storms of increasing intensity and frequency in recent years, with its coastal and low-lying communities feeling the brunt of the devastation first-hand. As a country, it is important to act now to prevent greater risk of flooding, storm surge, and environmental damage in the future. The ICZM project is the first step in improving coastal resilience, management, and infrastructure across The Bahamas on a wide scale.”

This project will offer multiple ways for community members to get involved, including paid

training   opportunities   and   contracted   work.  The   BNT   will   engage   community   members

within project site areas to help with activities, including ecosystem restoration, invasive

species removal, native plant cultivation, and site management.

ICZM efforts will also include a focus on “rewilding” The Bahamas – that is, removing

invasive species that cause ecosystem damage and repopulating the landscape with native

species that are naturally equipped to provide coastal resilience against storms.

During the virtual project launch for the East Grand Bahama activities, Minister of Disaster

Preparedness, Management, and   Reconstruction, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, said,

“Our country faces   difficult questions   of whether to relocate   coastal populations, and how   to

smartly   invest   in   more   resilient   infrastructure.   It   is   therefore   imperative   to   establish   a

comprehensive approach to meeting these challenges and to incorporate considerations for

disaster risk management into all features of national development.

“Traditionally-built shoreline protection like seawalls and jetties are expensive to build and

maintain.   Natural   defenses   represent   more   climate   resilient   alternatives   that   also   boost

livelihood.”

Under   the   ICZM project, restoration   efforts won’t   stop   at   the   coast.   The BNT   will   be

conducting ecological assessments of other habitats like seagrass beds and coral reefs to

determine restoration priorities.

The   ICZM   project   includes   terrestrial   and   marine   activities   and   effective   community

involvement to be executed over a four-year period. Having officially begun on September 3,

2020, the project is set to continue until 2024.

Visit http://www.bnt.bs to learn more and follow the Bahamas National Trust and the Ministry of

Public Works on social media to stay up to date to stay up to date on project activities.

To learn more about the role the BNT plays in managing terrestrial and marine national

parks, protecting   species,  and   informing   environmental   policy,   please   visit   its   website:

http://www.bnt.bs, and follow/subscribe to various social media channels:  Facebook, Instagram,

Twitter, and YouTube.

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