Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

CSI info 15

4. RESULTS OF THE BEACH-MONITORING CAPACITY-BUILDING ACTIVITIES

The results of the project have been grouped into two main sections: a synthesis and an island-by-island review. The synthesis contains an overview and evaluation of the results of the training and capacity-building activities in beach-monitoring. The island-by-island review describes the same activities in more detail on an individual country/territory basis. 

Further detailed information relating to all the activities is contained in Appendix IV.  This includes for each country/territory a table summarizing the following: 

4.1 Synthesis 

Beach-monitoring programmes are in existence in all eleven countries/territories covered by this project.  Local agencies are responsible for the data collection and analysis.  However, bearing in mind the individual characteristics of the countries/territories, e.g. the size of the country and the capacity of individual institutions, there are significant differences between the programmes. Four criteria were used to assess the programmes: 

Based on these criteria and out of the eleven countries/territories, seven now have a vibrant beach-monitoring programme, which are expected to continue beyond the life of this project.  These are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts. Details regarding these countries’ monitoring activities, and their fulfilment of the criteria, are summarized in Table 1

The programmes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the Turks and Caicos Islands have been strengthened as a result of this project; however, they are likely to need further assistance to become fully self-sufficient (see Table 2). 

The programmes in the British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia are slightly different.  In the British Virgin Islands, monitoring with a new methodology is expected to start this year (2001). In St. Lucia, the CDB-UNESCO project was executed during a period when the country was reviewing its institutional arrangements for coastal management and the officer who had been in charge of beach monitoring was away on study-leave, thus it was difficult to assess the status of this monitoring programme.

Table 1. Characteristics of the beach-monitoring programmes in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts 

Country/ territory Length of database Number of persons involved in the monitoring and main partner agency

 

Data currently being collected and analysed on island Other partners involved/interested in the beach-monitoring activities
Anguilla 1992-2001 4, Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources Yes Department of Planning
Antigua and Barbuda 1991-2001 6, Fisheries Division Yes Development Control Authority
Dominica 1987-1991
1994-2001
3, Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division Yes Physical Planning Division
Grenada 1985-1991
1993-2001
8, National Science and Technology Council Yes Fisheries Division; Lands and Surveys Division; Land and Water Resource Unit; Hillsborough Secondary School
Montserrat 1990-1996
1999-2001
4, Fisheries Division Yes Physical Planning Unit
Nevis 1988-2001 6, Nevis Historical and Conservation Society Yes Department of Planning and Development; Fisheries Division
St. Kitts 1991-2001 5, Department of the Environment Yes Physical Planning Division; Fisheries Division

Table 2. Characteristics of the beach-monitoring programmes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia 

Country/ territory Length of database Number of persons involved in the monitoring and main partner agency

 

Data currently being collected and analysed on island Other partners involved/ interested in the beach monitoring activities
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1995-1996 (St. Vincent)

2000-2001 (Bequia)

2, Seismic Unit
10 students, Bequia Community High School
Yes (only in Bequia)    Physical Planning Department
Turks and Caicos Islands 1995, 1997
2000-2001 (Grand Turk only)
3, Department of Environment and Coastal Resources Yes Department of Planning; Coastal Resources Management Project
British Virgin Islands 1989-1994 (scheduled to recommence 2001) 4, Conservation and Fisheries Department No Town and Country Planning Department
St. Lucia 1990-2001 (with some gaps in the database e.g. 1992-1994, 1999-2000) 2, Fisheries Department Yes St. Lucia National Trust, Northwest Coastal Conservation Project (Project ended in 2000);

Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment

 

4.2  Country/Territory Assessments  

4.2.1    Anguilla


Photograph 2.  Seawall under 
construction, Maunday’s Bay, Anguilla. 
September 2000.  

The Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources (DFMR) is the main partner agency, and is responsible for beach data collection and analysis. Within this CDB-UNESCO project, the updated beach change database and software were installed at the DFMR. Three persons from this agency were trained in the data analysis and are considered competent in the use of the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme.  The software and database have also been installed at the Department of Physical Planning, and three officers were trained in its use. 

Anguilla has a substantial database with continuous coverage over the period 1992-2001, which includes the effects of four hurricanes and one tropical storm (H. Luis 1995, T.S. Grace 1997, H. Georges 1998, H. Jose 1999, H. Lenny 1999). 

One of the major problems encountered is the loss of profile reference points during hurricanes, even when they are located a considerable distance inland from the vegetation line.  When this happens, new reference points have to be located, which obviously interrupts the data trend for that particular site.  Another problem encountered is staff mobility, e.g. one person from DFMR trained in the first visit in January 2000, had been moved to another department by the second visit in September 2000. 

The beach change database obviously has the potential for use in the design of sea defence/beach rehabilitation measures.  Following Hurricane Lenny in 1999 (and with the permission of the Anguillan authorities), beach profile data for Maunday’s Bay and Rendezvous Bay were supplied to Applied Technology and Management Inc. of South Carolina, U.S.A., who were advising individual property owners on beach restoration measures. Data were also provided (again with the permission of the Anguillan authorities) to the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, who had been asked by the insurance company of Cap Juluca to investigate the erosion at Maunday’s Bay. 

An increase in hard structures (sea walls, rock revetments etc.) on Anguilla’s beaches has been noted since Hurricane Luis in 1995.  These will inevitably compound the erosion problems already being experienced.  The need to implement the coastal development setback guidelines developed in 1996 (Cambers, 1996) cannot be over emphasized. 

Awareness about beach changes, hurricane impacts and coastal development is an area that needs continual emphasis as beachfront development continues in Anguilla. The narrow sandy barriers separating salt ponds from the sea are prime sites for development.  During Hurricane Lenny many of these barriers were breached illustrating their fragility, their vulnerability and their unsuitability for permanent buildings. 

4.2.2    Antigua and Barbuda


Photograph 3.  Undermined roadway, 
Darkwood Beach, Antigua. 
November 2000.

The Fisheries Division (FD) is the main partner agency and responsible for beach data collection and analysis. (They are also developing the capacity for wetlands, seagrass and coral reef monitoring). The updated beach change database and software were installed at the FD within this CDB-UNESCO project.  Two persons were trained in the data analysis and are considered competent in the use of the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme.  The beach change database was also installed at the Development Control Authority and demonstrated to officers there. 

Antigua has a substantial database with continuous coverage over the period 1991-2001, which includes the effects of four hurricanes and one tropical storm (H. Luis 1995, T.S. Grace 1997, H. Georges 1998, H. Jose 1999, H. Lenny 1999).  The Barbuda database covers the period 1995-2000. 

The beach change database formed the basis for ‘Coastal Erosion Hazard Maps’ of Antigua and Barbuda, prepared on geographical information systems (GIS) by Mr. Philmore James of the FD, as part of an Organization of American States/U.S. Agency for International Development project on Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation.  The accompanying technical and non-technical reports as well as the hazard maps are available on the web (follow the Hazard Mapping link)

As in Anguilla, one of the major problems encountered is the loss of profile reference points during hurricanes, even when they are located a considerable distance inland from the vegetation line. When this happens, new reference points have to be located, which obviously interrupts the data trend for that particular site. The FD plan to fix the position of their beach profile reference points with a geographic positioning system (GPS) and while this may alleviate this problem, since lost reference points can be located spatially after a hurricane with a fair degree of accuracy, changes in the height of the point will not be reflected. 

Fixing of the profile reference points with GPS will, however, allow for linking of the beach-monitoring database directly to the country’s geographical information system (GIS). Several agencies in Antigua: the FD, the Development Control Authority and the Environment Division, are interested in this area. The FD, in particular (see above), has the expertise to develop this linkage further. 

The beach-monitoring activity used to be a joint activity of the FD and the Development Control Authority (DCA). However, due to staff changes and difficulties with coordination, the involvement of the DCA ceased. Discussions were held on how to re-involve the DCA, since it is recognized that the benefits of monitoring go beyond data collection, and include observation and assessment of new structural developments, changing beach uses, restriction of beach access, nature of beach dynamics etc. So officers involved in monitoring become knowledgeable about all aspects of their island’s beaches and can thus play an active role in beach management and the enforcement of regulations. 

One of the problems present in many countries is the sectoral nature of government and the difficulties this poses for fields such as integrated coastal management.  While there has been much talk about the sharing of information (findings, conclusions, applications), the difficulties involved in actually sharing data have yet to be fully resolved.  For instance, while many agree that the public should have to pay for such information (e.g. information for environmental impact assessments), the question arises whether the information should be freely given to other government agencies.  These issues of data ownership and the value of data need further discussion. 

The proliferation of hard structures, particularly vertical sea walls, on the beaches in Antigua is another serious problem, and one that needs addressing.   However, this will need a concerted effort involving several agencies.  Even in Barbuda, which has a low level of beachfront development, serious erosion and loss of buildings took place in August/September 2000. The implementation of the building setback guidelines developed in 1998 (Cambers, 1998a) would be an important first step in reducing the problems caused by developments positioned too close to the active beach zone. Beach sand mining continues to be a problem in Antigua; this activity is controlled by the Ministry of Communications and Works.  However, the existing environmental laws are very ambiguous about the definition of where the beach starts and stops. 

4.2.3    British Virgin Islands


Photograph 4.  Rock revetment 
protecting the Government 
Administration Building, Road Town, 
Tortola, British Virgin Islands. May 1998.

The Conservation and Fisheries Department (CFD) is the main counterpart agency in the British Virgin Islands. Beach-monitoring data were collected between 1989 and 1994; however, then the monitoring ceased. Monitoring in other areas of the environment e.g. mangroves and coral reefs, also ceased around this time due to staff changes and concentration on other priorities. The ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ software was provided to the Conservation and Fisheries Department and one officer was trained in its use during this CDB-UNESCO project. 

During 2000-2001, the CFD acquired a theodolite and training in its use. During 2001 they plan to re-instate their beach-monitoring programme, concentrating on the north coast beaches of Tortola and Beef Island, specifically: Cane Garden Bay, Brewers Bay, Josiahs Bay, Long Bay Lambert and Long Bay-Beef Island.  Permanent markers have been established at these beaches.  The objectives of the monitoring are long-term beach change information and an understanding of the sediment budget along this north coast of Tortola and Beef Island. 

4.2.4    Dominica


Photograph 5.  Evidence of the ravages 
of recent hurricanes, Prince Rupert Bay, 
Dominica. February 2000.  

The Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division (FWPD) is the main partner agency and is responsible for beach data collection and analysis. During this CDB-UNESCO project, the updated beach change database and software were installed at the FWPD. One person from this agency was trained in the data analysis and is considered fully competent in the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme.  It is anticipated that the training will be extended to other persons in the Division, who are involved in the monitoring programme. The software and database have also been discussed with the Physical Planning Unit (PPU), although not yet installed there. The PPU is interested in the application of the database to coastal development setback guidelines. 

Dominica has a substantial database with coverage over the period 1987-1991 and 1994-2000; this includes the effects of several hurricanes (H. Hugo 1989, H. Luis 1995, H. Georges 1998, H. Jose 1999, H. Lenny 1999). 

The FWPD has a history of environmental monitoring (rivers, wildlife) and this may have been an important factor influencing the continuation of the beach monitoring since 1987.  In addition, the same officer has been involved in the monitoring programme since 1987 and now has considerable expertise in many aspects of beach management.  For instance, assessment reports were produced after Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn in 1995 and after Hurricane Lenny (Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division, 1995, 1999).  It is anticipated that in the future such reports can be greatly enhanced, e.g. by using profile graphs showing the ‘before and after hurricane’ situation which can be easily prepared with the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ software programme. 

As in the other islands, the infrastructure damage, especially to roads and buildings, resulting from recent hurricanes is a major problem.  Several beaches, e.g. Toucarie, which in 1987 were wide sandy stretches, are now narrow strips of stones and boulders. Thus Dominicans have lost important recreational resources, and roads have lost natural barriers, which protected them from storm waves. 

4.2.5    Grenada


Photograph 6.  Replanting efforts at
Grand Anse, Grenada. September 2001.

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is the main partner agency in Grenada. This agency coordinates the beach-monitoring programme with the Fisheries Division, the Lands and Surveys Division, and the Land and Water Resource Unit.  The updated beach change database and the software were installed at the NSTC.  Within the scope of this CDB-UNESCO project, six persons from the four agencies were trained in the data analysis; four are considered fully competent in the use of the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme and two will require further training. The software and database were also demonstrated to officers from the Physical Planning Unit, who readily perceived its relevance to forward planning and development control, and propose to get it installed in their agency in the future. 

In addition to these government agencies, the Hillsborough Secondary School in Carriacou is involved in the monitoring programme.  Since 1996, students from the third and fourth forms have been collecting data regularly, with the support of the Fisheries Division in Carriacou.  The data are then sent to the NSTC for analysis.  However, in order for the students to fully benefit from the data collection, training in data analysis needs to be provided in the future. 

Grenada has a substantial beach change database covering the period 1985 to 2001 (with one two-year gap, 1991-1993). 

Database management was one of the main issues that arose in Grenada.  With five agencies involved in data collection, questions regarding location of the database and responsibility for its update, arose.  It was decided that the database should be stored at two agencies: the NSTC and the Fisheries Division.  Responsibility for collecting and analysing data from the south, west and north coasts should remain with the NSTC, the Lands and Surveys Division and the Land and Water Resource Unit.  Responsibility for collecting and analysing the data for the northeast and east coasts would remain with the Fisheries Division.  However, logistics for sharing the two databases have not been completely resolved. 

The west coast of Grenada experienced serious erosion during Hurricane Lenny in November 1999.  In many ways this was a wake-up call for Grenada, since the previous hurricane to hit Grenada was Hurricane Janet in 1955.  Thus, unlike the northern islands, the database in Grenada does not reflect several hurricane events.  Furthermore, without recent hurricane experience, there was considerable local concern about the erosion of vital tourism beaches such as Grand Anse. 

Responding to this concern, a visit was made to Grenada two weeks after Hurricane Lenny to assess the damage and make recommendations for rehabilitation.  (This visit was funded by the CDB-UNESCO project and the Organization of American States).  Following several meetings, a report was produced (Cambers, 1999a) advising the Grenadian authorities not to rush to construct remedial structures, but rather to wait for natural beach recovery.  After the visit, a committee was organized, comprising the Board of Tourism, the Forestry Department, the NSTC, the Organization of American States, several hoteliers and others, to implement the recommendations of the report which included a beach planting programme and the removal of certain damaged structures.  As predicted, the beach recovered following the hurricane; this can be seen visually and in the monitoring data, although more time will be required to determine whether the beach fully recovers to its pre-hurricane size. 

4.2.6    Montserrat


Photograph 7. Foxes Bay, Montserrat, 
one month after Hurricane Lenny. 
December 1999.
 

The main partner agency in Montserrat was the Agricultural Engineering Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Environment. However, during the volcanic crisis (1995-1998), beach monitoring ceased as many people fled the island. Following a visit in 1998, the monitoring programme was re-established in December 1999 with the Fisheries Division (FD) as the main partner agency. Additional field monitoring equipment (Abney level) was supplied to the FD through the UNESCO-CSI regular programme. During this project, training in field techniques was provided to the FD.  The  updated  beach change database  and software  were installed  there. Two persons from the FD were trained in the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme, one of whom is considered fully competent in the use of the programme. The ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme and the beach change database were also installed at the Physical Planning Unit and demonstrated to one officer there. 

The reduced population of Montserrat (around 5,000 people) is a serious constraint that may influence the long-term continuation of any monitoring programme, especially since there has been recent volcanic activity; in 1999 and 2000 there were reports of a growing dome on the volcano. 

Montserrat has a substantial database covering the period 1990-1996; this includes the recovery period after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, as well as the impacts of the 1995 hurricanes. Monitoring has now been re-established since December 1999. Montserrat has also expressed an interest in tying in the beach monitoring programme with the geographical information system (GIS). 

The beach-monitoring database was used by the Physical Planning Unit during the period 1992-1995, when a programme was established to stop the mining of beach sand at all beaches except Farms Bay, and to use quarry sand for all construction purposes except the final plastering/finishing of buildings (see article on the ‘Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum’ entitled ‘A viable solution to beach sand mining? / Montserrat’ by Gillian Cambers, the user name = csi, password = wise).  However, due to the volcanic crisis, people have had to relocate to the northern third of the island.  There is considerable new construction taking place and the supply of sand has become a major issue once again, especially since the quarry is in the ‘unsafe’ part of the island.  The monitoring of beaches again becomes an important tool to effectively manage the sand supply situation. 

4.2.7    Nevis


Photograph 8. Reclaimed land at 
Charlestown, Nevis. September 2000.  

The Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) is the main partner agency in Nevis and is responsible for beach data collection and analysis.  Within the CDB-UNESCO project, the updated beach-change database and software were installed at the NHCS. Four persons (three of whom were interns) from this agency were trained in the data analysis and are considered competent in the use of the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme.  The software and database have also been installed at the Department of Planning and Development and two persons there trained in its use. 

Nevis has a substantial database with continuous coverage over the period 1988-2001, which includes the effects of five hurricanes (H. Hugo 1989, H. Luis 1995, H. Georges 1998, H. Jose 1999, H. Lenny 1999) as well as several lesser storms.  The beach change database has been used to prepare Coastal Erosion Hazard Maps for St. Kitts and Nevis (see section 4.2.8). 

One of the major problems encountered, as in some of the other northern islands, is the loss of profile reference points during hurricanes, even when they are located a considerable distance inland from the vegetation line. When this happens, new reference points have to be located, which obviously interrupts the data trend for that particular site. 

Nevis is one island where a non-governmental organization (NGO) is the main partner agency in the beach-monitoring activity. This illustrates the important role that a dedicated NGO, through its members, can play in environmental management.  A series of volunteers from the NHCS have collected beach-monitoring data, and for the past three years, two volunteers have been solely responsible for data collection. The role of the NHCS in continuing and coordinating the monitoring effort is to be commended. 

The Department of Physical Planning has been closely involved in the beach-monitoring programme during the early 1990s.  As in other islands, there has been a proliferation of hard structures on the beaches which, together with the frequent hurricanes are compounding the erosion problems and restricting access along the beaches (Hanley, 1998).  Concern about this problem has been voiced for several years, and several management options were discussed in a position paper in 1998 (Cambers, 1998b).  New coastal development setback guidelines were also prepared in 1998 (Cambers, 1998c), and while these are being implemented ‘informally’ the setback distances have not yet been included in planning regulations.  However, the problem goes beyond the need for regulations, as illegal unapproved sea defences are being constructed. An assessment of several unapproved coastal defence structures in Nevis was prepared for the Department of Physical Planning early in 1999 (Cambers, 1999b). Thus there is a need for planning, sensitization and awareness, and enforcement. 

4.2.8    St. Kitts


Photograph 9.  Seawall at North Frigate 
Bay, St. Kitts. February 2000.  

The main partner agency in St. Kitts is the Department of the Environment (DE).  The updated beach change database and software were installed at the DE during this CDB-UNESCO project. Two persons from the DE were trained in the data analysis and are considered competent in the use of the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme. One of these persons is from a newly established Parks and Beaches Unit, which has been set up to maintain and enhance the island’s parks and beaches.  The software and database have also been installed at the Physical Planning Division and one person there is competent in its use. 

St. Kitts has a substantial database with continuous coverage over the period 1992-2001; this includes the impacts of four major hurricanes (H. Luis 1995, H. Georges 1998, H. Jose 1999, H. Lenny 1999) as well as several lesser storms. 

The beach change database formed the basis for ‘Coastal Erosion Hazard Maps’ of St. Kitts and Nevis, prepared on geographical information systems (GIS) by Mr. Edsel Daniel of the Physical Planning Division (at present studying at Vanderbilt University), as part of an Organization of American States/U.S. Agency for International Development project on Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation. The accompanying technical and non-technical reports as well as the hazard maps are available on the web (follow the Hazard Mapping link)

Like several of their neighbours, St. Kitts has also seen a proliferation of hard structures on and adjacent to the beaches over the last few years, especially since the 1995 hurricanes. In particular, the removal of some low sand dunes and the construction of a seawall at North Frigate Bay in the second part of 1999, have caused considerable public concern, as access along the beach was restricted during a seasonal erosion episode, (St. Christopher Heritage Society Newsletter, October-December 2000). 

Coastal development setback guidelines have recently been prepared for St. Kitts within the project ‘Planning for coastline change’ (Cambers, 2000b).  Implementation of these guidelines will ensure that erosion problems are not compounded as new development takes place, and will reduce the need for further hard coastal defence structures in front of new properties. However, during discussions with the St. Christopher Heritage Society (February 2000), concern was expressed about a lack of transparency in the permitting and approval process, combined with a lack of public involvement in the planning process. 

4.2.9      St. Lucia


Photograph 10.  Seawall under 
construction, Reduit Beach, St. Lucia. 
April 2000.  

The main partner agency in St. Lucia is the Department of Fisheries (DF). This agency has been monitoring several beaches in St. Lucia since 1990 with the assistance of various NGOs, e.g. the Soufriere Marine Management Area and the St. Lucia National Trust. However, it is very difficult to get sustained assistance from other agencies, and the data received is often not continuous and/or unreliable. The officer in charge of the monitoring programme was away on study-leave (from the end of 1999 until the end of 2000), so during this period, monitoring ceased. However, the monitoring has since restarted from the beginning of 2001. During this CDB-UNESCO project, the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme was installed on computer at the DF and demonstrated to two other officers from the Department. The beach-monitoring database dates back to 1990. A second beach-monitoring database, focusing only on the northwest coast, was established as one of the activities of the Northwest Coastal Conservation Project (Phase 2). Three years data were collected by this project, which terminated in March 2000. Responsibility for coastal management is being transferred to the Department of Fisheries.  

St. Lucia has seen a proliferation of hard structures on the beaches, particularly along the northwest coast, but also other areas in the south, and concern has been expressed about the effects these were having on beach dynamics.  Now that new coastal development setback guidelines have been prepared for St. Lucia (Cambers 1999c), the next stage is to ensure that they are used by the Physical Planning Division of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, so that ‘safe’ setbacks can be included as conditions for development approval. 

Another coastal problem in St. Lucia relates to beach sand mining, which again has become a serious issue.  Sand mining is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Communications and Works.  Considerable efforts were made in the early 1990s to ensure that this Ministry was fully aware of the adverse impacts of beach sand mining.  However, with a very high staff turnover at this Ministry, such efforts have to be continued, so that the impacts of activities such as sand extraction at river mouths are fully understood and remedied. 

4.2.10   St. Vincent and the Grenadines


Photograph 11. Retaining wall, Port
Elizabeth, Bequia, St. Vincent and the 
Grenadines.  November 2000.
 

The Seismic Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Labour was designated by the government as the main partner agency for the beach-monitoring programme in 1995. However, despite several visits between 1995 and 1999, data were never collected on a regular basis. During the first visit of this CDB-UNESCO project, in January 2000, the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ software was installed at the Seismic Unit and one person was trained in its use. However, further training will be necessary. 

Discussions were held with the Ministry of Agriculture and Labour as to the possible nomination of another partner agency, but no decision has been taken to date.  The Ministry did, however, express their interest in the monitoring activity especially in view of the damage to the islands’ beaches and infrastructure caused by Hurricane Lenny in 1999.  The Physical Planning Department also expressed the need for such monitoring information and referred to the erosion at Lower Bay in Bequia, and the destruction of a coastal road at Hamilton, Bequia, both a result of Hurricane Lenny. 

In January 2000, beach monitoring was started in Bequia with the assistance of third form students from the Bequia Community High School and their teacher.  Training was provided in field monitoring methods and several sites were established and measured.  The ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme was installed on computer at the school and training was provided in its use.  It is anticipated that these students will continue the monitoring activity over the next two years and through this activity they will learn about beach dynamics, scientific monitoring and environmental management, and at the same time establish a valuable database which can be used by the island in the effective management of Bequia’s beach resources.  

4.2.11   Turks and Caicos Islands


Photograph 12.  Collapsed pool deck, 
Pelican Beach, Providenciales, Turks 
and Caicos Islands. July 2001.  

The main partner agency in the Turks and Caicos Islands is the Department of the Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR). The software and updated database were installed at this agency within this CDB-UNESCO project. One person from this Department was trained in the ‘Beach Profile Analysis’ programme and is considered competent in its use; in addition, the programme was demonstrated to four enforcement officers. The software and database was also installed at the Department of Planning, and one person trained in its use; and at the Coastal Resources Management Project, based in Providenciales, where four persons were trained. 

Monitoring was started in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1995 (in Grand Turk and Providenciales); however, the activity has not been continued and only two data sets exist (one set for 1995 and one set for 1997).  As a result of this project monitoring was conducted regularly in Grand Turk in 2000 by the DECR. Discussions are underway to re-start the monitoring in Providenciales, possibly with the assistance of students from the Clement Howell High School.  Beach monitoring is very much needed in Providenciales, with its high level of coastal development and vibrant tourism industry, which is very much beach-based. 

Beach sand mining is a serious problem in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and has reached crisis proportions such that sand importation from the Bahamas is being considered. 

The Turks and Caicos Islands, while receiving little damage from Hurricane Lenny in 1999, did receive considerable impact from other hurricanes in the 1999 season, e.g. Hurricane Floyd.  Particularly in Providenciales, where coastal development is taking place at a very rapid rate, the need for ‘safe’ coastal development setback guidelines and control of hard structures on or near the active beach zone is of particular importance.  (As a positive sign, it should be noted that in 1998, construction setbacks had been increased from 60 feet from the high water mark to 100 feet from the vegetation line.)

   

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