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Bnt Warns Of 'Catastrophic' Effect Of Storm On Landscape

HURRICANE Dorian caused coastal erosion and “catastrophic” impact to mangrove and pine forests in at least one national park, according to the Bahamas National Trust.

There are also fears that endangered bird populations will face a food shortage due to the food shortage caused by forest destruction.

BNT recently began assessing the full environmental impact of Hurricane Dorian. The agency, along with its partners, began mobilising teams of local and international scientists, to conduct assessments of the marine and terrestrial environments on Grand Bahama and Abaco in the wake of the mega-storm.

BNT plans to create marine, terrestrial, and oil spill contingency task forces to address the many environmental concerns arising from the storm.

“Up until now, like much of the country, the BNT’s focus has been on supporting efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in the wake of Dorian,” says BNT Executive Director Eric Carey. “Now that things on the humanitarian front appear to be stabilising, we will turn our full attention to the environment.

“Since Dorian hit, we have conducted several high-level assessments. We will now shift to evaluating scientifically, what Dorian has really done to the environment. We know that it has taken a tremendous hit.”

Early assessments show that national parks on both Abaco and Grand Bahama have been affected, with more severe damage evident in the parks on Grand Bahama. Photos of Lucayan National Park indicate severe coastal erosion to the iconic Gold Rock Beach, catastrophic impact to the mangrove and pine forests in the park, as well as crippling damage to park infrastructure, BNT said.

Although the waters have now receded, the damage produced by Dorian’s 20-foot storm surge remains, BNT said. Saltwater was pushed very far inland into pine and coppice forests, disrupting the delicate balance of freshwater that these trees need to survive. BNT fears that the salt intrusion will result in the loss of large areas of forests, leading to a higher than normal incidence of forest fires, and a further loss of associated wildlife.

“What we have seen so far has been heartbreaking,” says Lakeshia Anderson, BNT’s director of parks, “we are anxious to get our teams on the ground to see what’s happening.

“Our focus is on assessing the true impact, recovery, and planning for the future. In Hurricane Dorian’s wake, the BNT will have the chance to study the impact of mega-storms and the potential for mitigation and environmental recovery after such extreme events.”

BNT will also conduct comprehensive assessments to determine the impact of Dorian on wildlife. Populations of endangered birds, such as the Bahama Parrot, Bahama Nuthatch, Bahama Warbler and Bahama Swallow are of paramount concern. Grand Bahama and Abaco are the only places on earth where some of these birds exist, BNT said.

Birds can be severely impacted by these storms. Since most eat fruit and nectar, they are especially susceptible to starvation due to food loss, BNT said.

BNT is also continuing to monitor the clean-up and recovery efforts related to the oil spill at the Equinor facility on Grand Bahama. It is still trying to obtain a clear understanding of, the full damage caused, and the progress of recovery efforts to date.

“The Equinor incident is one we are keeping a close watch on,” said BNT Director of Science and Policy Shelley Cant-Woodside. “As the clean-up process continues, there are opportunities to learn from what happened. We need to ensure that we do all we can to prevent such an incident from occurring again while keeping a keen eye on the clean-up process to ensure it is carried out to the highest standards to prevent any long-term damage.”

BNT is a member of the National Oil Spill Contingency Advisory Committee (NOSCAC), which is responsible for handling the response to the oil spill.

Once these assessments have been completed, the results will be used to guide further restoration and recovery efforts, BNT said.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

That's just great! Plum fed up. So now we have one goat, and how many more birds?

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juju 2 months ago

I have definitely seen fewer sharks since Dorian nr Hopetown. Saw a hawksbill turtle walking along the road nr Hopetown. Washed ashore I suppose. Wild birds are definitely hungry.Gobbling up wild bird seed. Also fewer sea turtles and curly tail lizards. I found a crawfish wrapped in a blanket while swimming the shoreline... lovely green leaves and flowers popping out now. Mother nature is amazing...and yes... my property and business are badly damaged... the above are all therapy to some....it will get better....we have seen hurricanes before in Hopetown.

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FreeportFreddy 2 months ago

severe coastal erosion to the iconic Gold Rock Beach, catastrophic impact to the mangrove and pine forests in the park, as well as crippling damage to park infrastructure

Has it EVER occurred to you experts that this erosion was in fact caused by YOU? The BNT cleared many of the downed trees and the 15 foot rootballs that were there for many years. These were in the dune and pre-dune segments of the beach. They were removed earlier this year....storm comes...catastrophic erosion results.

Way to go!!

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