Boulders blocking a path to the sea grape trees at Zeelandia beach. (STENAPA photo)
ST. EUSTATIUS–In recent years, large scale sand-mining, which is banned in St. Eustatius, has taken place at Zeelandia beach. Although efforts were made to block vehicle access to the beach, individuals have, through the removal of vegetation, created a path in between the sea grapes to drive onto the beach. In addition to removing sand from the beach, the weight of vehicles driving on the beach compacts the sand and can cause damage to sea turtle nests. To prevent this from happening again, additional boulders were placed to block access amongst and around the sea grape trees.
Three of these boulders were placed in front of an opening among the trees blocking vehicle access to the shaded areas in between the sea grapes. Although vehicles can no longer access this particular area, persons can still freely access and enter.Car access has been blocked as these compact the soil in this area, damaging the roots of the existing sea grapes, which provide shade and stabilisation of the cliff.The parking areas to the left and right of the sea grape trees are still accessible and available for parking.ReforeStatia will be replanting sea grape saplings amongst the trees, ensuring that the area can continue to provide shade for residents in the future.
Furthermore, this will also add to the protection against cliff-fall, by increasing the vegetation and making sure the trees have healthy root systems.Statia Pride will donate a bench to be placed under the grape trees for the public to enjoy. Steps that provide safe access to the beach will be constructed in the near future, as the current path down to the beach is no longer safe due to severe erosion.The organisation is imploring persons to continue to enjoy the area and keep the area trash-free.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/measures-taken-against-zeelandia-sand-mining