EPIC plants 300 seedlings in Simpson Bay Lagoon

Mangrove seedling volunteer planters.

 SIMPSON BAY–Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) foundation has planted 300 mangrove tree seedlings on Little Key Island in Simpson Bay Lagoon in the past two weekends with the help of staff, volunteers, and partners.

  EPIC started a restoration project of three key sites in St. Maarten earlier this year. By planting native tree species, EPIC is restoring and increasing habitats for flora and fauna, thereby improving biodiversity on the island. One is at Little Key Island, which is important due its potential as a mangrove habitat.

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  With their rare ability to live in salt water, mangrove trees provide a unique habitat for a large variety of animals and act as a nursery, protecting young fish before they head out to sea. Mangroves also protect shorelines from storms, filter toxins from water, and provide recreational areas (ecotourism and diving).

  EPIC decided to reduce wave damage to mangrove seedlings by using the “encased planting method” – mangrove seedlings are planted inside PVC (plastic) tubes, which act similar to plant pots, protecting the mangroves from damaging waves. When the plants reach a certain size and can survive on their own, the PVC tubes can be easily removed from the tree trunk without impacting the environment.

  EPIC will now closely monitor the growth and survival of the mangroves at the restoration site. In addition to the project’s value to biodiversity, it is also testing and defining the most effective method to restore mangrove trees for future lagoon restorations.

  EPIC thanked Nature Foundation for assisting with boat transport, staff and volunteers who made this project “so successful.”

  St. Maarten Sails and Canvas helped with boats, cutting PVC and collecting mud for planting trees.

  Mark Yokoyama of Les Fruits de Mer assisted with an assessment of Little Key biodiversity after Hurricane Irma.

  The project was made possible through the support of the BEST 2.0 Programme and the hurricane recovery funds of EPIC and BirdsCaribbean.

  To learn more or find out about volunteer opportunities, e-mail

info@epicislands.org or learn more about the foundation via

www.epicislands.org .

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72165-epic-plants-300-seedlings-in-simpson-bay-lagoon

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