NRA clears mangroves without approval

| 02/08/2023 | 51 Comments
Mangroves bulldozed by the NRA in West Bay, Cayman News Service
Mangroves bulldozed by the NRA in West Bay

(CNS): The National Roads Authority has said the removal of mangroves without prior approval, just days after Cayman marked World Mangrove Day, was a “misunderstanding”. The NRA said it was cleaning culverts, not clearing mangroves, at a site in West Bay, but it appears that some were removed. Now local activists are angry that, despite the pressing need to do more to protect this critical habitat, even the government is breaching its own conservation legislation.

After a member of a local conservation group reported that mangroves were being pulled up with heavy machinery at the site near Willie Farrington Drive, the Department of Environment dispatched a conservation officer, who found that the contractor was clearing culverts.

The DoE officer learned that the work was contracted by the NRA to prepare the area for water drainage during hurricane season. But he confirmed that no permission had been sought from either the Department of Planning to clear vegetation by mechanical means or the National Conservation Council to impact protected species.

“They were advised to contact our Environmental Management Unit for advice on correct procedures when performing work around mangroves, as mangroves are protected as outlined in the Mangrove Conservation Plan,” a spokesperson for the DoE told CNS.

“The Mangrove Conservation Plan has been in effect for over three years. It establishes that any clearance of mangrove vegetation that is not covered by a valid planning permission would be illegal unless the applicant had applied for and received a Section 20 permit under the NCA for the vegetation clearing or the activity met one of the limited exemptions set down in the Conservation Plan.”

However, the requirement for owners to have planning permission before clearing any vegetation by mechanical means has been in place for even longer.

The DoE explained that the law is in place to enable the best possible management of the Cayman’s important and increasingly scarce resources. “While some may feel these processes may present delays, the National Conservation Act is intended to work alongside our Development and Planning Act and Regulations to ensure that our ecologically and culturally important natural resources are managed as safely as possible,” the spokesperson added.

In response, the NRA claimed that the DoE misunderstood what work was actually being carried out. Director Edward Howard said the NRA was not destroying mangroves but carrying out the cleaning of a roadside ditch on crown land.

“This ditch was established back when the road was first constructed,” he said. “This and other drainage ditches and culvert crossings on ETH and some on Rex Crighton Blvd and some in South Sound require maintenance from time to time as they help to reduce flooding in low-lying areas by channelling watering horizontally through the dyke road systems.”

He added that a short section of the northern ditch nearest to Jimmy Powell was being cleared to prevent the corner of Willie Farrington Drive and John Jefferson Drive from flooding during heavy rainstorms.

But a video shot by a member of the Mangrove Rangers (see below) showed an excavator tearing up mangroves. The conservation law is quite clear: without permission, no one can remove mangroves for any reason.

As we have reported many times on CNS, while mangroves are protected under the law, where planning permission is granted, those protections are lost — which has become an increasing source of frustration as it has led to the dramatic loss of mangroves to make way for development.

During just one Central Planning Authority meeting in May, over 140 acres of mangrove were placed under threat on that one day’s agenda, reflecting the extent to which this habitat is now threatened in the face of Cayman’s continued and unrelenting development.

To learn more about the Species Conservation Plan, email the DoE Environmental Management Unit at emu.doe@gov.ky.

Members of the public who observe the clearing of mangroves and believe it may be unlawful are encouraged to make reports to DoE conservation officers at 916-4271 or the Environmental Management Unit emu.doe@gov.ky


Share your vote!


How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (51)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Elvis says:

    Oops

    5
    1
  2. Anonymous says:

    Forgiveness beg vs permission.

    But didn’t CPA last eeek approve mangrove
    Clearing on the flattened Wes Bay strip for CONSTRUCTION STORAGE?!!
    Discarded DOE Objections too.

    17
    1
  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s always a mistake once caught.

    19
    1
  4. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight, the NRA is clearing EXISTING culverts that are in place for flood mitigation; and there are those who are quick to call foul on the NRA. YET, NOTHING was said about the proposed development on WB peninsula that will result in six acres of mostly “seasonal flooded mangroves” being flattened…for an apartment complex!!! This was on the last July agenda for the CPA meeting. No one said a word!!! DOE themselves had a very water down contribution. Hypocrisy.

    28
    2
    • Anonymous says:

      CNS reported that the destruction of 140 acres of mangroves across the island was approved recently.

      6
      2
      • Anonymous says:

        But where was the outrage, like what’s displayed here on this story?! A lot of us have noticed the inequity of some of these environmentalists AND the application of the NCL.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Government breaching its own rules. Present Regan said We have a problem and the problem is the Government. Surprised with the road name yet no name signage. A peculiar name when an older ancestor name from the area would have seemed better.

    14
    8
  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s a drainage ditch. Over time some mangroves colonized it. Now it needs to be scraped out again. Why hyperventilate over it? There are plenty of mangroves on both sides in the picture.

    34
    26
    • Anonymous says:

      Another government entity run my a private sector board. What more is there to say. Go NRA

      1
      12
    • Anonymous says:

      So let me get this right, a company was clearing out an existing drainage culvert because of the upcoming hurricane season. Just so happens mangroves took over the drainage culvert and had to be removed for the drainage culvert to fuction properly. Not sure I even see why this is news, I mean you can have better storm run off or more flooding, you pick.

      23
      8
    • Anonymous says:

      Because mangroves are our gods. Bow down before them.

      10
      11
    • Anonymous says:

      Well said 8.49….so everyone can stop getting their knickers in a twist.

      8
      5
  7. Anonymous says:

    Last Saturday (July 29) NRA had a team on site at the Frank Sound Church of God, rolling marl and preparing the church’s parking lot for chip-and-spray.

    Just curious about that arrangement.

    NRA, Minister Jay, Auditor General, any enlightenment please?

    64
    4
    • Anonymous says:

      Just Minister Jay doing his homework assignment from Min O’Connor-Connolly. She’s tutoring him in doing private roads, car parks, etc. Remember she got an A in that course a few years a go.

      37
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      3.08pm Good job NRA.

      3
      14
    • Anonymous says:

      Strangely, FSCG got involved 10-15 years ago in talks to persuade certain landowners in the FS area to sell off to pave the way for the EW Arterial. They didn’t like being told no. I could never understand why a pastor was involved.

      6
      1
  8. Anonymous says:

    I see that NRA have also demolished and built another temporary building to make way for the Linford Pearson Highway extension to go through the ironwood forest behind the Retreats… I did not see a planning application for that? Who is investigating these clear breaches of the planning laws?

    38
    8
  9. watcher says:

    Self-important people do whatever they want, and at best, they are fined a minimal ATF fee. Mangroves aren’t cleared by accident. That is like accidentally bulldozing the native bush.

    You want this to stop? Create significant fines for willfully disobeying the laws. Then, — just me spitballing here — consider actually enforcing some of the laws, regardless of who breakes them. *gasp*!!!

    71
    6
  10. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful….how does NRA get away with these things?

    47
    11
  11. Anonymous says:

    uh-oh spaghettios!

    19
    7
  12. Anonymous says:

    NRA…solving the islands biggest non-problems..one day at a time.

    43
    6
  13. Anonymous says:

    NRA….the answer to a question no-one asked.

    43
    4
  14. SouthSounder says:

    Absurdistan

    38
    4
  15. Anonymous says:

    A significant fine will bring people’s attention to the requirement.

    Gloss over it in usual CaymanStyle makes the law a joke and those who follow will also laugh at it.

    47
    3
  16. Anonymous says:

    I told you once this Minister nor his chief officer give $#@%about the environment or mangroves those pulling their strings are some of the most prolific destroyers of Mangroves on West Bay Road long before any developers show up there. It’s time their corrupting influence be stopped or removed permanently.

    70
    4
  17. Corruption is endemic says:

    Competence is in short supply…

    51
    3
  18. Fiddlewood says:

    These “misunderstandings” will continue until heavy equipment operators are held responsible, along with their clients, for breaches in the law. Contractors require clients to produce planning permission and building permits before they commence work, and heavy equipment operators should be no different. If they knew their license to operate was at risk there would be no more (or far less) illegal clearing.

    68
    5
  19. Anonymous says:

    Who does the penalty fall on?

    35
    2
  20. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for cig and the civil service.
    but who cares because there is no accountability in cig and the civil service.

    48
    4
  21. Anonymous says:

    Anarchy. A Lawless society. Crime against nature-Ecocide.

    37
    2
  22. Anonymous says:

    This is nonsense. Removing vegetation will make flooding much worse not better. We have the perfect example next to my home. An acre sized plot was mechanically cleared (without any permission being sought or granted).
    There was no flooding in the road in prior years but now this year since all of the vegetation was removed we’ve had extreme flooding and the road is impassible. The plants take up the water when it rains. Remove the plants and you get a swamp or hard pan area and water floods over into surrounding areas.

    64
    6
    • Anonymous says:

      9.40 There’s a huge difference between a drainage ditch and a one acre plot of land which seems to be lost on you. A drainage ditch is supposed to drain water away from one site (roadside) and on to another. Vegetation growing in such a ditch will obstruct the flow of water and eventually lead to blockage and water backing up.

      11
      7
  23. Anonymous says:

    And the ignorance continues, time to stop these greedy, selfish politicians and company owners.

    49
    3
  24. Anonymous says:

    Why are Caymanians hell-bent on wrecking their own island? You guys are crazy.

    71
    4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.