Plan devised for key pond habitat

| 19/12/2019 | 19 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): The National Conservation Council has approved a much needed conservation plan for Meagre Bay Pond, one of Cayman’s oldest protected areas. The conservation law provides for management plans to protect important habitat and allow public access. Meagre Bay is in need of help to restore the water quality and the surrounding black mangrove forest, which has been compromised by quarrying in the area.

The Department of Environment, which devised the plan, said it will also resolve conflicts inherent in the original designation of some privately owned land within the protected area through a combination of land purchases, conservation agreements and zoning.

Meagre Bay Pond and the 300 ft wide band of mangroves around its margin is situated near the Pease Bay area of Bodden Town. It was originally protected as an Animal Sanctuary in 1976 in order to protect seasonally large feeding aggregations of herons and egrets. It is also used by large numbers of resident and migratory birds.

But in 2004 Hurricane Ivan caused extensive mangrove death and ever since industrial quarrying has undermined the site and reached the boundary of the sanctuary, leading to hydrological changes in the pond and concerns that its value to wildlife may be deteriorating as a result.

In December 2017 the Department of Environment (DoE) formed a Protected Area Management Planning Team (MPT) and the plan it shaped aims to restore and maintain a seasonal hydrology and salinity cycle to facilitate sustainable enjoyment of its bird life and natural landscape by members of the public. The goal is also to establish separation between waters of the protected area and adjacent submerged quarries.

Provision has been made to facilitate the natural regeneration of the endangered black mangrove forest and other wetland communities around the pond and recover and maintain the historic seasonal patterns of diversity and abundance of bird life and other native species in the protected area.

A seasonally important feeding resource for both resident and migratory water birds, due to the pond’s high biological productivity. its protection also helps the Cayman Islands meet its commitments under the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Migratory Species and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

A diverse range of birds are regular visitors to the pond, with seasonal flocks of snowy egrets and significant numbers of tricolored herons. The DoE said around 104 different species of birds have been observed in the protected area, including the National Bird, the Cayman parrot, which uses the mangrove forests to nest.

In addition to the birds, the pond is home to an abundance of fiddler crabs when the pond water level is low, and the mosquitofish is the dominant fish that attracts feeding herons and egrets. The endemic pygmy blue butterfly has been historically recorded in the area but the survival of the rare species at the pond has still to be confirmed.

See details of the plan on the NCC 4 December meeting documents here


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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (19)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Please Government, NO PUBLIC ACCESS! Meagre Pay Pond remains relatively pristine now because its generally inaccessible, however, on the southern edge near Seaview Road, I’ve seed discarded vehicles! Anywhere humans can get to we will pollute!

    NO ACCESS!

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  2. Anonymous says:

    wha dey wah mess with Meagre Bay Pond fa? leave it lone!

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  3. Anon says:

    Quarries = $,far more important than any wildlife.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else had roast Heron or Egret? Pretty tasty if you ask me.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Until Ezzard gets his road through the middle of it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t build it soon enough

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    • Anonymous says:

      11:20, “the road” doesn’t come close to this area. Stop with the stupid comments.

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    • Anonymous says:

      11.20 You obviously do not know Cayman geography and mske this statement out of hate for Mr Miller.Thre are no plans to put a road through Meagre Bay Pond.If hou are talking about the East West Arterial Rd.. that is planned for north of the pond. Since the existing road passes just south of the pond, it would make absolutely no sense to put a new road through the pond.

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  6. Kathleen Bodden-Harris says:

    It sounds like Department of Environment & National Trust are our only voices for the environment. CIG can censor DoE from participation, but not NT. This sounds like a good effort for Meagre Bay! PLease keep us posted on progress.

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    • More Cayruption says:

      This should not have happened if Water Authority & CPA were doing their jobs properly. WAC provides advice to CPA for quarry ops based on their studies of groundwater and in this case someone allowed the deep quarries too close to the pond.

      Another failure of oversight. Incompetence rules again and our environment suffers. Oh well soon there will be nothing to worry about except crumbling concrete and Barber Green.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Couldn’t much agree with your comments. What I find hard to comprehend is why isn’t the CPA and all the relevant Government Authorities work in tandem with the DOE? Are the CPA and the WA made aware of the commitments to the Ramsar Convention? If so, shame on them for allowing the quarries to be so close and deep. I hope the DOE revisits that gun club placement up in east end. We certainly don’t want this to happen to our fresh water lense after the fact.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If they provide advice and the property owners go against it, then they enforce penalty.

        You think they just sit back and accept it? If people break the law, it’s the police fault?

        Muppet

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is no actual evidence that the quarries have any effect on Meagre Bay pond.
        The issues there started lying before the first quarry opened but nothing was done about it. Now that it can’t be ignored they are looking to blame someone else.
        As a child growing up in the area there were periodic fish die off, drying out, and almost constantly stink from the pond.
        After hundreds of years of sediment draining into the pond, it no longer functions as it once did

        • Heads in the sand says:

          As with most environmental issues in Cayman they simply don’t exist, substantiated by the complete lack of scientific study. And if a study ever points to an environmental problem, it’s swiftly swept under the rug.

          Better to leave any knowledge in the ground.

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t have to be our only voices. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum and port project, CPR should expand and grow into a full-fledged environmental pressure group. Let the government carp about how it is funded all they want – they know they are spending our money to fight us, why can’t we spend it to fight them?

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