Quarries threaten protected wildlife pond

| 20/02/2019 | 21 Comments
Cayman News Service

Meagre Bay Pond (Photo courtesy of caymannature)

(CNS): Meagre Bay Pond in Bodden Town, an important feeding site for resident and migratory herons, egrets, waders, ducks and other water birds, is being “adversely affected” by two quarries because access routes between them and the pond are being inundated with water from the quarries, the Department of Environment has warned in detailed submissions to the Central Planning Authority. One of the owners of the quarries has applied to increase the depth from 30 to 50 feet and the DoE urged the CPA to order the owner to construct a berm (barrier) on the boundary in an effort to stop the quarry water harming this protected pond.

Meagre Bay Pond is listed as a Protected Area under the National Conservation Law and was formerly designated an Animal Sanctuary under the Animals Law. But the site has been suffering because the hydrological connectivity between the Central Mangrove Wetland and the pond, which is very important for both ecosystems, is being negatively impacted by water from the quarries that surround the pond.

According to planning documents, the owner has already been excavating beyond the approved limits but now wants to dig deeper. The DoE is therefore urging that some protections be put in place to help restore the pond’s natural hydrological cycle.

Experts said that the regular water inundation has prevented Meagre Bay Pond from seasonally drying down to its natural extent and duration. This is limiting the seasonal food resource which attracts very large flocks of egrets and herons, when the pond’s fish would normally be stranded by low water levels.

“These large flocks are the reason that this pond was originally protected and are the site’s most valuable feature for visitors. It also appears that the mangroves around the pond have not recovered well after Hurricane Ivan, probably because they are struggling to adapt to abnormally high water levels,” the DoE stated.

The department urged the CPA to push for the construction of a berm along the boundaries of both the subject quarry and the interconnected neighbouring quarry to mitigate the problem. The berm would prevent the overflow of the quarry water into the pond and should be constructed before the height of the next wet season and before the start of any work to expand the quarry.

The DoE pointed out that there is no safety ledge around the perimeter of the quarry, even though this was a requirement of the quarry’s original planning permission. The department warned that without a safety ledge, it would be hard to rescue any equipment, vehicles, wildlife or even people who fall into it.

Aside from addressing employee safety from an environmental standpoint, having a ledge would encourage vegetation, providing a buffer for untreated run-off, which has the potential to reduce water quality.

The application is among those scheduled to be heard at today’s CPA meeting.

See this application on the CPA agenda in the CNS Library (scroll down to ‘Quarries’)

See full CPA agenda on planning department website here

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Category: development, Land Habitat, Local News, Science & Nature

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is a lot in the proposed National Planning Framework Document about transportation and tourism expansion plus a section devoted to essential Infrastructure but I can’t find the section about quarries. Do the two not go hand in hand?
    http://www.plancayman.ky/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/National%20Planning%20Framework_Low%20Res_3.pdf

  2. Anonymous says:

    Question to the DOE who always appear to behind the 8th ball i.e. green iguanas, by virtue of requesting the quarry owners to build a berm to retain flooding waters from the quarry you are technically giving the green light for them to dig deeper? If this is the case, common sense would prevail that with the proximity of the sea to the quarries that going deeper would increase the salinity in the quarries and would then get mixed in the underground veins which would kill everything in meagre bay pond and also contaminate the lower valley fresh water lense. I have great concerns of the DOE role on these islands and the CPA usual rubber stamping everything in the name of progress. In my opinion the DOE should be an independent body that reports directly to the U.K. considering the envorinment is under threat everyday by greedy developers and politicians. If there is anyone of good sense and has the power to make changes in the structure and reporting lines, please do so. We are almost to the end, if this continues.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agree, and likewise for the Water Authority that regulates quarrying. This developer driven, CIG enabled blatant disregard for conservation and irresponsible handling of our dwindling precious resources has to end.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Revoke their licence to operate until they clean up or the government should shut down their operations if the quarry is already beyond what is legally allowed.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman hates its natural environment and just promotes the built environment. Especially if it comes with money.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Sounds to me like this quarry owner is digging himself into a hole.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Quarry Regs allow digging to MSL limits, unless they are already in excess of that limit, then they are seemingly grandfathered and allowed to go on forever. One of the worst offenders is DART who excavated well beyond reason at Jackson’s Pond, flattened that breathtaking mountain of aggregate into the surrounding mangroves in advance of upper ETH opening, and then trucked it all to various marl cashes around their property portfolio.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is so gross. Makes my stomach hurt.
      When will people realize that the reason we have rules and laws are to PROTECT OUR LIVING ENVIRONMENT? So that we can continue to LIVE HERE!!!!

      Anyone concerned about the ratio of cancer per capita on this rock??? No? Okay then, carry on.

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    • Cess Pita says:

      10.26 I guess your Caymanian by your hostility to Dart and also your reference to “caches”.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Uncle Luke’s Pond, owned by DART, was blasted to around 40 feet below MSL to build ETH and expanded via 200 blast holes into dry banks to enlarge the pond surface area. Jackson’s, was given planning permission in 2009 to go to 20′ below MSL, then 30′ in 2012. Nobody inspects. There are fleets of dump trucks moving this stuff up and down the highway from one property to another, and not from quarries out East, so yeah, there are “caches” of material squirreled for later. It must be a very complex management task to have this material scattered about, in a great effort to keep out of the headlines. It seems they got away with it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Cess Pita you must be an expat… And WHO CARES??
        I am 9:06am comment above you and I DO have hostility for what Dart is doing to this place I call home.
        Signed
        Paper Caymanian

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Caymankind at its best !

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  8. Anonymous says:

    We just figuring this out now.

    Any form of building/real estate/land development will threaten wildlife!

    Geez!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    This should be a NO BRAINER!!!

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  10. Jah Dread says:

    Come on cayman owners put your greed aside and think of the ecological future of your homeland. You have made a lot of money out of the area now spend some to ensure it’s protection for your Caymanian generations to come. Stop the blinging and have a heart will ya.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    “quarries” link not working in the library

    CNS: “Quarries” is the sub-heading, which I usually only link if there are sufficient documents and links for it to warrant its own page. The relevant link is below that, which is an excerpt of the CPA agenda dealing with this application.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    If the Quarry owner is already beyond what he was allowed to do, why on earth are there no repercussions? This begs the question of Planning and their enforcement… we have Laws etc but they are NEVER enforced. Environmental protection status seems to mean NOTHING in Cayman. Marine conservation parks means nothing either (Barkers and the Port). All sounds good on paper until we ask them to enforce it and it doesn’t happen..laws are suddenly ignored, changed etc. This is why PlanCayman means very little as all will be ignored when it suits… its just a tick box exercise until a new developer or someone with connections comes along with their “influence” on certain individuals…. SAD

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Another day in Absurdistan. We broke our previous permissions, and now we want more, more, more….

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