Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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On 24th October, 1996, the participants visited the northern coast of Puerto Rico (see Annex IV for an outline of the field excursion). The purpose of the excursion was to show the participants several different sand mining techniques and restoration methods, as well as a variety of coastal developments.
Different coastal users were on hand to explain the individual projects from their perspectives, these persons included sand miners, hotel managers, developers and a local environmental NGO.

The first stop at a commercial mining operation generated considerable discussion. All the stages of the mining were demonstrated, these included the mining of the back dune down to the phreatic zone, the restoration of mined areas with backfill, the source of the backfill, and dune restoration attempts. Since the excursion coincided with severe swells generated by Hurricane Lili, it quickly became evident that the width of unmined primary dune left as a protective barrier was insufficient.

A visit to a beachfront cabin development generated discussion about beach access, the use of recreational vehicles on beaches, as well as beach erosion and coastal development setbacks.

After a lunch break, the group visited another dune restoration project, this time using discarded pine trees. Discussion centered around various methodologies for dune restoration and dune stabilization with plants and grasses.

The final stop of the day was to an upscale housing development on the coast where some new construction techniques were described as well as the overall planning concepts of the development.

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