Waterkeepers Bahamas awarded for dedication to mangrove restoration

Waterkeepers Bahamas awarded for dedication to mangrove restoration
Rupert Hayward, Vice Chair (BPAF), presenting the Grantee Excellence Award to the Waterkeepers Team. (L-R) Karen Panton (BPAF); Joseph Darville; Andurah Daxon; Rashema Ingraham; Javan Hunt; and Liyah Forbes.

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — The Bahamas Protected Areas Fund (BPAF) presented Waterkeepers Bahamas (WKB) with the Grantee Excellence Award, recognizing the non-profit’s outstanding mangrove restoration efforts on Grand Bahama.

Since the passage of Hurricane Dorian, WKB, its partners, Blue Action Lab, Coral Vita, EARTHCARE, and dozens of volunteers have harvested and replanted more than 30,000 mangroves at Dover’s Sound.  

The out-planting exercises are part of ongoing efforts to replenish Grand Bahama mangrove forests devastated during the 2019 storm.  There have been five successful out-planting exercises thus far, with more planned. 

The Grantee Excellence Award presented by Bahamas Protected Areas Fund to Waterkeepers Bahamas.

“Immediately after the passage of Hurricane Dorian, BPAF summoned all resources to determine how to secure funds for hurricane assistance and recovery,” said BPAF’s Executive Director Karen Panton.

“We secured one million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.” 

She explained that grants had been extended for various assessments, including mangrove ecosystems on Little Bahama Bank and around Dover Sound, Grand Bahama.

Waterkeepers extended itself and did an excellent job realizing the project goals and engaging and motivating communities.”

The award is the first-ever to be presented by BPAF. 

WKB Executive Director Rashema Ingraham was delighted to receive the award. “It shows that our willingness to involve the community in all aspects of this project did not go unrecognized and that we were right in thinking that a project of this magnitude needs the community’s full support,” she said. 

According to a press release, Waterkeepers Bahamas is a Bahamas-registered non-profit organization focused on community-based initiatives to ensure the waters of the Bahamas are safe for swimming, fishing and drinking for future generations. It is an accredited member of the Waterkeeper® Alliance, the largest global nonprofit focused on clean water with a network of more than 300 organizations and affiliates spanning six continents. 

The Bahamas Protected Areas Fund (BPAF) is described as a national conservation trust fund whose purpose is to ensure “a sustainable financial base for the effective management of the Bahamas National Protected Areas System and for conservation activities that protect the future and productivity of our national resources”.