Nature Foundation cleans Mullet Pond

Toilets found in Mullet Pond clean-up.

MULLET BAY–One of St. Maarten’s most important wetlands, Mullet Pond, was cleaned and restored by Nature Foundation as a part of its environmental response post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Mullet Pond is listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Treaty.

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The project was supported by disaster relief funds from the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA).

Given the importance of the area, the Foundation paused its beach clean-ups to focus on Mullet Pond. “We used divers and volunteers from the community to clean the area both under- and above-water and removed six dump-truckloads of debris,” said Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.

“Because of its unique characteristics and international status, we made the clean-up and restoration of Mullet Pond one of our priorities moving forward. … Although we cleaned and restored the area significantly, we still have our work cut out for us in bringing the area close to the level it was before.”

The Foundation has discussed with the authorities the placement of moorings outside of critical nature habitats for vessel owners to protect their vessels while protecting sensitive natural areas.

“In particular, a houseboat illegally sought shelter in the area, significant damage occurred and we need to prevent this in the future,” he said.

Mullet Pond is a critical ecosystem on the island, as it contains the last intact mangrove forest within Simpson Bay Lagoon. The area was also illegally used during the storms as a protected anchorage area and numerous boats sank in the Mullet Pond Inlet.

Source: The Daily Herald