U.S. conservation group sounds alarm over Andros project

U.S. conservation group sounds alarm over Andros project
Andros Island

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A US based conservation organization most known for protecting birds and their habitats has raised concern over one of three Andros projects being considered by the government.

The National Audubon Society noted in a statement that as Piping Plovers are nesting in record numbers on the US Atlantic Coast, their recovery could be jeopardized by a series of mining proposals in The Bahamas, where they spend almost two-thirds of each year.

“The Bahamian government is considering three projects to open part of Andros in the northwest of the archipelago to aragonite mining,” the statement read.

“While all three projects will have some impact on birds, one will directly impact Joulter Cays National Park if it moves forward. A globally significant Important Bird Area, Joulter Cays hosts 10 percent of the Atlantic Coast Piping Plover population, along with many other sea- and shorebird species.”

Matt Jeffery, deputy director of the National Audubon Society’s International Alliances Program, said: “This is one of the most important wintering areas for Piping Plovers.

“These projects would put a number of bird species at risk that are already facing the threat of climate change.”

Working with partners at the Bahamas National Trust, it was noted that Audubon scientists found hundreds of Piping Plovers wintering in Joulter Cays, helping to solve the mystery of where they overwinter.

Joulter Cays was designated a 92,000-acre national park in 2015, and supports the country’s multimillion-dollar fishing and ecotourism industries.

“Piping Plovers depend on beaches to survive, and they already face nearly insurmountable threats here in the Northeast—including coastal development, sea level rise, predators, and people and dogs who get too close,” said Ana Paula Tavares, executive director of Audubon Connecticut and Audubon New York.

“An added threat to their wintering grounds could reverse decades of progress made by dedicated volunteers and partners in conservation, and we want to ensure that these endearing birds remain around for future generations to enjoy.”

The site is also an important migratory stopover for thousands of other bird species throughout North America.

Earlier this week, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) voiced concerns over three unofficial and incomplete development proposals in North Andros.

BNT Executive Director Eric Carey said the proposals for aragonite mining and commercial development pose significant impact to the environment, including five of six protected national parks on the island.

The proposed multi-million dollar project that would require aragonite mining in Morgan’s Bluff has already been opposed by some Androsians and environmentalists.

According to the document submitted last September, the North Andros Green Free Trade Zone project would be modeled after the 1955 Hawksbill Creek Agreement – which gives the Grand Bahama Port Authority responsible for the development, administration, and management in the Port Area.

The project proposes the development of an air-sea manufacturing/commercial park; a 10,000-foot international runway and terminal, with police, customs, emergency services, and immigration; and a deep water international port, also with law enforcement.

It would also include a medical research center with a clinic; an eco-tourism destination including cruise ship berths, hotel, village, restaurants, beach; and an Economic Center with retail, commercial and residential lots.

However, a critical part of the project would include the processing and manufacturing of limestone from the development and aragonite harvesting from the Joulter Cays Sand Bank area.

4 comments

I say no to mining in Andros. The Island of Andros can be developed without selling and destroying our land. The government sold the Hilto hotel and that never should of happen as it begin a historical site. They sold it to the Chinese and now the US embassy have to move. The US government have the military base in Andros, now here comes the Chinese again. Why is our leaders so blind. God help our Country.

I am very hopeful that this administration will do the right thing and not grant either of those proposals. Morgans bluff can do so much better with a first class marina village and a proper commercial shipping area.

Let us all unite together to fight against this greed for money. They don’t care about what can happen, no matter what the cost to our oceans and flats.
Let’s bring world wide attention to this matter, take to our boats on a good day with the media on our side.
Every fisherman from The Bahamas to the United States, Canada,Sweden, all over the world unite to stop these wealthy family’s that we have put to lead our country, instead they our filling there bank account with millions of dollars to live like royalty.
They have no love for nature and they don’t go fishing, bird watching, kayaking,diving etc.
They are doing this because they have made conservation groups look the other way during their push for oil drilling on the great Bahama bank. Now these wealthy political families are moving to destroy the Bahamian people’s country.
Conservation is a joke to the leaders of The Bahamas, it only exists on paper, most of these families sit on board of The Bahamas National Trust.
This is the greatest fight against greed in The Bahamas ever.

Amen to all the comments! Someone has to stand up and stop this potential disaster in one of the last pristine untouched places left in the northern hemisphere!!
Stand up and fight Andros!

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