(CNS) Six sites on Grand Cayman and six on Little Cayman situated on crown land have been identified as possible future protected areas under the National Conservation Law. The proposed locations were accepted by the National Conservation Council based on a public survey, and the details have now been published on the Department of Environment’s website to allow the public to see and comment on them. Reflecting the public’s desire to protect the natural environment, more than 50 nominations came from landowners, real estate agents, individuals, civic groups, the National Trust of the Cayman Islands, and the DoE.
Based on a set criteria, measuring biological, climate, social, financial and strategic values to the community, the NCC chose two high-scoring sets of nominations, one involving crown land, the other privately owned land. The first dozen are all set on crown land, though there are some nominations where private land is also being proposed to be included, such as Barkers, where Dart is understood to own a large part of the nominated area.
The potential nominations for private land are now under discussion with the owners to see if they are interested in selling or entering into a conservation management plan with government. This includes the proposed areas for protection in Cayman Brac, which are all on private land.
The six sites on Grand Cayman include areas where there are endangered species or very important habitats. From the tiny areas of mangrove remaining at Salt Creek and the Lower Valley forest area, which is home to the endangered white shouldered bat, to the central wetlands and Vidal Cay, a small emergent rock islet in North Sound which is the only place in the Cayman Islands that provides a nesting area for the bridled tern, the sites offer a diversity of areas for potential protection.
On Little Cayman the sites include additional land to secure the already partially protected Booby colony as well as Preston Bay shrublands and ponds, to help protect the island’s unique rock iguanas, among other things.
Full details of the twelve sites and their importance are set out in detail on the DoE website here, and there is a survey which the public can take to show their support for a particular location to be protected as well as more general questions about attitudes towards conservation and lawful protection.
They can also be viewed at all public libraries and at the government building in George Town or at the National Trust in Little Cayman.