|Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
Beaches and tourism
Panel discussion: Regional initiatives relating to beach management and coastal zone management
Chairperson: Mr. Orris Proctor Rapporteur: Mr. Robert Bateson Dr. Gillian Cambers discussed the importance of environmental monitoring as a planning tool in the Caribbean Islands. The methodology and databases developed by the COSALC program were outlined. These databases now provide quantitative predictive tools for normal beach changes as well as those resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes. These tools provide vital information for coastal development setback guidelines, thereby ensuring that future coastal developments are sustainable and in harmony with beach conservation principles. Against a background of small islands with limited natural, human and economic resources, Mr. David Robinson outlined several ways in which the scientific collection of beach change information had assisted in the determination of realistic answers to beach management problems in Nevis. He emphasized that the application of scientific data is one of the best ways to educate the political directorate and the general public. Mr. Luthur Bourne presented a historical background to physical planning in Barbados from its inception in the 1950's to the present. He maintained that prior to the advent of international tourism there were no beach problems. Successful physical planning must be a dynamic process capable of responding to constantly changing circumstances. The adoption of Geographical Information System (GIS) technology can assist in providing the rapid responses demanded.
Chairperson: Mr. Alan Gunne-Jones Rapporteur: Mrs Patricia Phillip Mr. Keith Nichols and Mr. Christopher Corbin advocated a community-based approach to beach management. In St. Lucia an action plan for the management of beaches and mangroves has been developed and the government is in the process of establishing Local Management Authorities (LMAs). These LMAs will consist of government agencies and local coastal stakeholders who will collect data, develop and implement management plans and provide a mechanism for conflict resolution. It is hoped that the LMAs will result in improved management of beach resources. The question of whether traditional beach uses should be given priority over 'modem' uses was discussed by Miss Cheryl Jeffrey and Mr. Griffith Joseph. A case study at Lignumvitae Bay, Antigua, was presented wherein the establishment of a major hotel and marina had displaced the fishermen from their traditional landing sites. While several proposals of solutions had been tried, none had been successful. This paper raised important questions concerning who should pay for the conflict-resolution process. A regional assessment of beach management issues, based on a 1996 questionnaire survey, was presented by Dr. Gillian Cambers. This covered issues such as beach cleaning, user safety, public access to beaches, user conflict and noise. Conflicts between different user groups were common to all islands. None of the islands surveyed had yet developed a comprehensive beach management programme. Turning to the management of turtle nesting beaches, Miss Kathy Hall described the natural and anthropogenic threats facing sea turtles in the Caribbean Islands. These ranged from poaching to the use of recreational vehicles on beaches. While education has proved the best means to combat poaching, other threats, such as those related to increased coastal development, appear to be increasing. Mr. Trevor Barclay, in his presentation, described some of the conflicts between different user groups on the beaches in Grenada. Various groups such as bathers, small boat operators, fishermen and beach vendors have conflicting interests and needs. He proposed that a land use zoning approach combined with community involvement is the most feasible way to maintain the ambience of the beach environment. Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands has been designated as the center for future tourist development. Mr. Clyde Robinson and Miss Michelle Fulford described the problems resulting from recent tourism developments, particularly at Grace Bay. These included beach erosion, loss of public beach access, pollution and environmental degradation. A programme combining institutional support with the full integration of environmental concerns into the planning process was proposed.
Chairperson: Dr. Edward Towle Rapporteur : Mr. Leonard Huggins The construction industry in Puerto Rico could be facing a sand crisis by the end of this century. In a presentation prepared by Mr. Pedro Gelabert and given by Ms. Lisbeth Hyman, the existing sand sources were assessed. These include rivers, beaches, dunes, nearshore and offshore supplies, as well as importation and manufactured sand. It was recommended that in the future offshore sand reserves and manufactured sand should be promoted for construction purposes. Figures relating to the volume of sand extracted from the beaches of the British Virgin Islands were presented and discussed by Mr. Bertrand Lettsome and Mr. Louis Potter. The use of existing legislation had proved inadequate. Application of the Mining Ordinance was proposed as a more effective means of controlling beach sand mining than the Beach Protection Ordinance. Mr. Crafton Isaac reported on the current status of sand mining in Grenada. Despite several recent attempts to address this problem by various agencies or ad hoc committees, the problems resulting from legal and illegal sand mining continued. Against a background of overlapping jurisdiction and an absence of any clear policy, it is inevitable that sand mining will continue. Recommendations were put forward to reduce the degradation. Public awareness and concern about the sand mining issues is increasing in Grenada; the task ahead is to channel this support towards effective management of sand mining. The problems resulting from sand mining in St. Vincent & the Grenadines were discussed by Mr. Maxwell Porter. Sand consumption figures doubled between 1985 and 1990. In December 1994 the government announced that sand imported from Guyana would be used for all government projects. This announcement was interpreted locally as a ban on beach sand mining and resulted in a massive stockpiling of sand throughout the country. While local residents may not be prepared to pay for imported sand, they will inevitably pay in the long term through remedial sea defence works which become necessary as beach sand mining continues. Sand mining practices in Puerto Rico were discussed by Mrs. Andrea Handler-Ruiz. While it is policy in Puerto Rico to ban sand mining from the beaches, very occasionally permits are granted for beach sand mining at specific locations and short periods of time. Most of the sand is extracted from the back dune, inland and river bed areas. Mining practices and restoration methods were described. In Tobago rapid development in the tourism sector over the last twenty years has resulted in a shortage of building aggregates and increased sand mining. In a presentation by Mrs. Charmaine O'Brien-Delpesh it was shown that several beaches, which had been heavily mined for sand, had failed to recover once the mining had stopped. It was suggested that a cultural change has to take place in order to resolve the problem of sand mining since beach sand is regarded as a 'free resource'. Alternatives to beach sand are available in Tobago although at a higher cost to the consumer An effort had been made in Montserrat to use the COSALC beach monitoring data to control beach sand mining. Mr. Alan Gunne-Jones and Mr. Waiter Christopher described the system whereby crushed rock had been substituted for beach sand, while one east coast beach had been kept open for mining to provide finer sand for plastering and finishing. This had alleviated mining on west coast recreational beaches. However, the onset of volcanic activity in July 1995 has confronted Montserrat with the prospect of increased construction in the safe area while the beach that is open for mining is in the unsafe area. This has demonstrated the precarious nature of the control system. Dr. Malcolm Hendry presented an evaluation of sand resources in Anguilla. Cuffently dune sand is mined for construction and reserves at the designated quarry will be depleted in one to two years. The two main alternatives under consideration consist of imported sand or dredged sand. A recent study has shown that it is technically and economically feasible to none these offshore reserves. The environmental effects of beach nourishment using offshore dredge-based sand in Florida was discussed by Mr. Kenyon Lindeman. Impacts on fish, particularly the early life stages, and invertebrates have been documented and assessed. At one site, dredge operations had significantly lowered abundances. The use of techniques such as ecological risk assessment and decision support systems was demonstrated. Mr. Jeremy Collymore described some of the damage caused by hurricanes in the Caribbean Islands. He presented some general recommendations for reducing coastal vulnerability and pointed out that their implementation would involve significant adjustments in policy development and decision making.
Beaches and tourism
Chairperson: Mr. Louis Potter Rapporteur: Mr. Clyde Robinson Examples of poor development practices in Anguilla, such as lowering sand dunes, building on beaches and sand mining were demonstrated by Mr. Orris Proctor and Mr. Roland Hodge. The passage of Hurricane Luis in 1995 accentuated the impacts of these practices. Anguilla is in the early stages of development and while some of the beaches are degraded, this has not reached a crisis situation and many beaches are still in the pristine state. It was recommended that measures such as sound development setbacks, dune conservation and the use of sand alternatives, combined with the involvement of the general public, be implemented to ensure the economic survival of Anguilla. Dr. Edward Towle sought to address several newer categories of generic Best Management Practices (BMPs) for beach systems. These included: utilising a watershed management approach; a 'paired' beach monitoring approach to evacuate the effectiveness of various management practices; utilization of historical data to develop new environmental baselines; risk assessment methodologies; and the adaptation of system analysis models tested elsewhere in the region. Examples of the various BMPs were discussed. The view of the private sector was presented by Mr. Wilbert Fleming. Persons from the private sector needed to be fully involved in the management of beaches, at present this was not the case. There was a need to 'translate' scientific information so that it was understandable and relevant to other sectors and the public. Furthermore the private sector needed to be informed about possible solutions to existing beach management problems such as erosion. Mr. David Simmons described some planning guidelines for tourism development. These included the management of solid and liquid waste and their impact on the marine environment, examples were provided from Barbados. The question of who should pay for expensive sewerage systems was discussed. The ongoing OECS Waste Management Project may help to solve the solid waste management problems in the Caribbean Islands. The need to further involve the Caribbean Tourism Organization in beach management was highlighted.
Panel discussion: Regional initiatives relating
to beach management and coastal zone management
Chairperson: Mr. Luthur Boume Rapporteur: Mr. Christopher Corbin Miss Cheryl Dixon outlined the role of the Caribbean Development Bank and highlighted the Bank's environmental policy whereby all projects are screened for environmental concerns. Specific environmental projects have been funded in the areas of watershed management, solid waste management and protection of natural habitats. Other specific areas that have received funding include institutional strengthening and improvements to the regulatory framework. The need for increased public awareness and valuation of natural resources was discussed. The Caribbean Council for Science & Technology seeks to act as a facilitator and coordinator within the region particularly by providing for technical cooperation between countries. Dr. Donatus St. Aimee, in his presentation, emphasized the need for work at the scientific level to be transferred to the policy making process and the need for community involvement in the planning process. Dr. Malcolm Hendry outlined the role of IOCARIBE. Their coordinating framework and efforts to promote marine science investigations, technology and related ocean services within the region were outlined. Examples were provided of recent projects, workshops and publications. IOCARIBE's interest in assisting the region with the management of its coastal resources was highlighted. Dr. Manuel Valdes Pizzini described the role of the Sea Grant College Program. The three programme areas include research, marine education and marine advisory services. Dr. Vald6s made the point that there needs to be a long-term collaborative relationship between Puerto Rico and the other islands of the Caribbean. Mr. Claudio Volonte described the 'Caribbean: Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change' (CPACC) Project. This project, which covers most of the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) countries, is due to start early in 1997 and has eight major components : sea level/climate monitoring network, database establishment, coastal resources inventory, coral reef monitoring, coastal vulnerability and risk assessment, policy framework for integrated coastal management, economic valuation of coastal resources, and economic/regulatory proposals. Past and planned activities of the Organization of Eastem Caribbean States Natural Resources Management Unit (OECS-NRMU) were outlined by Mrs. Patricia Phillip. The Unit has adopted an Island Systems Management approach which is reflected in the Coastal Resources Management Initiative. One of the future activities is the preparation of detailed coastal inventories which will provide a quantitative baseline measurement of coastal resources for improved management. Dr. A1exei Suzyumov described the holistic approach of UNESCO's CSI platform which seeks to assist Member States in achieving integrated coastal planning and management. Through four pilot project themes, CSI supports cross-sectoral initiatives with environmental, cultural and socio-economic dimensions. This includes: traditional resource management practices; technical and scientific analyses; training, community education and public awareness. Dr. Malcolm Hendry described the role of the Marine Resource and Environmental Management Program (MAREMP) at the University of the West Indies, particularly the Masters programme and its role in providing environmental training to professionals throughout the region. Dr. Boris Oxman of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural & Environmental Resources described the role of the coastal zone management program and its close research linkages with the University of Puerto Rico.
Chairperson: Mrs. Andrea Handler Ruiz Rapporteur: Mr. Arlington James Mr. Hugh Thomas described coastal erosion and accretion as normal processes within a geological framework. He described the various geological and oceanographic processes causing beach changes and pointed out that there is an equilibrium between erosional and depositional forces. However, sand mining disturbs this equilibrium by permanently removing sediments from the coastal system. Mr. Robert Bascom outlined the development and achievements of the Barbados Coastal Zone Management Unit from its inception in 1983 to the present. Through a series of diagnostic, feasibility and design projects, and with financial assistance from the Inter American Development Bank, the Unit has developed a coastal zone management plan for the south and west coasts. Within the next two years this plan will be expanded to include the entire island. Results from many of the studies are applicable to other island states. Data showing beach erosion between 1992 and 1996 were presented for three beaches in St. Kitts by Mr. Bryan Farrell and Mr. Paul Lloyd. At the three sites: Conaree, South Frigate Bay and Cockleshell Bay, the erosion was mainly due to natural forces, especially the hurricanes of 1995. Anthropogenic changes, primarily seawalls and sand mining, had accentuated the natural erosion. A presentation by Mr. Robert Bateson and Dr. Malcolm Hendry highlighted the decline of west coast nearshore fringing reefs in Barbados. Studies during the last twenty years showed that reef calcification had declined whilst bio-erosion had remained constant. Ibis imbalance had led to a decline in sediment generation which combined with a loss of reef structure could result in significant changes in the beach cells.
Chairperson: Mr. Bertrand Lettsome Rapporteur: Mr. Robert Bascom Recent hurricanes have caused significant erosion on the beaches of Nevis. Mr. Audra Barrett and Mr. Leonard Huggins presented a series of beach change data covering the period 1988 to 1996 which showed the -impacts of two major hurricanes. The hurricanes caused permanent loss of land and it was suggested that existing coastal development setbacks should be revised. The effects of hurricanes in Dominica between 1979 and 1995 were discussed in a presentation by Mr. Arlington James. The nine storms which had affected the island over the sixteen-year period had all impacted the island's beaches. In most cases erosion had occurred but at least one beach had shown accretion. In view of recent predictions regarding Atlantic hurricane activity, it was suggested that it may be an opportune time to re-examine the Beach Control Ordinance and to adequately enforce setback limits for developments in the coastal zone.