Our Partners & Projects
Since 2010, the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), in partnership with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has worked with The Bahamas National Trust to help enhance management of Andros North and South Marine Parks, Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park and Moriah Harbour Cay National Park. The Bahamas was selected to participate in MPAConnect because of the health of our coral reefs, our government’s commitment to international protected area initiatives, our investment in MPAs as a conservation tool and our ecological connectivity with US and other coral reefs in the region. Andros North and South Marine Parks, Pelican Cays Land and Sea Park and Moriah Harbour Cay National Park were nominated to participate in this network based on the high biological value of their natural resources, the viability of conservation efforts. Under this initiative we’ve participated in regional peer-to-peer workshops and learning exchanges to share our knowledge and learn from colleagues in the region, we’ve applied site specific technical support from experts and mentors, and we’ve benefited from regional and international networking opportunities. We look forward to our continued participation in this initiative.
Strengthening Bird-Based Tourism as a Conservation and Sustainable Development Tool
The Inter-American Development Bank is funding a three -year birdwatching tourism project in The Bahamas and other countries in the Americas, with the goal of creating sustainable jobs. The IDB partnered with the National Audubon Society to leverage its bird-watching membership as well as its relationships with conservation partners like the BNT. The project is being implemented in The Bahamas on the islands of Andros and Inagua.
The Project aims to create community -based birding destinations that offer skilled local birding guides, improved national park interpretation and lodging, food services, and related goods and services tailored to the birding market. The project will also help communities, tour operators, and others develop targeted marketing to attract bird watching tourists. It is also designed to support the conservation of protected areas and priority migratory bird species like the Piping Plover ; as well as endemic endangered birds including the Bahama Oriole and other unique Bahamian Wildlife.
The BNT in partnership with National Audubon and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has completed the first Phase of Bird Tour Guide Training for Inagua and Andros. 66 bird tour guides completed training which included bird biology and identification as well as extensive field training. The Ministry of Tourism provided Bahamahost training, as well as a special component on the business of nature tourism.
Kirtland’s Warbler Training and Research Project
The Kirtland’s Warbler Training and Research Project started on Andros in 2001 and moved to Eleuthera in October 2002 following the discovery of number of Kirtland’s warblers there by the Ornithology Group of the BNT. This unique project is primarily funded by a grant from the USDA Forest Service International Program to The Nature Conservancy Migratory Bird Program in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service’s International Institute of Tropical Forestry.
The BNT is actively involved in the work of Birds Caribbean both in the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean. The BNT has been particularly supportive of the Work of the SCSCB West Indian Whistling Duck Working Group and the White-crowned pigeon Working Group. The BNT also through training provided by Birds Caribbean introduced the BirdSleuth programme to The Bahamas.
Pew Environment Group and the BNT Shark Campaign
The Pew Environment Group works with many countries to help protect declining shark populations around the world. They partnered with the BNT in 2008 to help get the fishing regulations amended to specifically protect sharks in Bahamian territory. The amendment was officially signed on the 30th June, 2011. Pew and the BNT continue to work together to help educate the public about the importance of these important apex predators.
GEF Full sized Project, “Building a Sustainable Network of Marine Protected Areas in The Bahamas”
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Full Size Project (FSP) was developed to assist in meeting obligations under The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) to protect and effectively manage 10% of terrestrial and marine habitats by 2010 and 2012 respectively. Furthermore, the project sought to enable achievement of the 20% conservation target goal for near-shore marine resources by 2020 under the Caribbean Challenge Initiative. The Project was completed in December 2016.
Demonstration projects under this project addressed specific threats to MPAs and have the potential to be replicated throughout other systems globally. The Bahamas National Trust lead the demonstration project which aimed to develop a sustainable tourism model for MPAs, inclusive of a business plan to generate sustainable funding. The Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park was designated as the pilot site. Other demonstration projects included lionfish control strategies in MPAs and incorporating climate change and mangrove conservation into planning, lead by The Department of Marine Resources and The Nature Conservancy respectively.
Oceans 5: “Realizing the 2020 Goal, Effective Management and Expansion of the Marine Protected Area System in The Bahamas” (Mar 2016 – Feb 2019)
The Oceans 5 project between TNC, BNT and BREEF as lead partners is underway, with year 1 work-plan approved at $90,000.00 for BNT. The total project budget is 1.2 million dollars, with BNT receiving $120,000 over a 3-year period. BNT will lead stakeholder meetings and prepare the white paper for the next 10% of new MPAs. Under effective management, BNT will enact Park bylaws for existing national parks, and publish management plans for 2 national parks, commencing with the San Salvador National Parks. A new Conservation Planner will be hired as a BNT project lead to ensure project deliverables are met on schedule.
TNC China Global Project, “Increase Effective Management of Protected Area with the Bahamas Marine Protected Area Network” (Mar 2016 – Feb 2017)
The TNC-China Global Project provides a grant to the BNT of $60,000.00 to support the completion and publishing the management plan for the four (4) Abaco Marine Parks: Walker’s Cay National Park, Black Sound Cay National Reserve, Fowl Cays National Park and Pelican Cays Land & Sea Park. Additionally, the project will also contract a Policy Analyst to provide direct support to BNT for the development of a Co-management Framework under the Oceans 5 Project.
Integrating Water, Land & Ecosystem Management in Caribbean SIDS (IWEco) Project
A Small Scale Funding Grant (SSFG) for the amount of $30,000.000 between BNT and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was signed in April 2016, for BNT to conduct the following activities for project development for the GEF funded IWEco Project:
1) Conduct a Rapid Ecological Baseline Assessment for East Grand Bahama and Northshore/Gap creek systems, and
2) Plan and convene consultative meetings with residents in East Grand Bahama.
The project seeks to restore creeks that were blocked as a result of the logging industry and improper road design and construction. Additionally, the project incorporates extensive training for community members to facilitate the development of an ecotourism sector for East Grand Bahama.
The total project budget is 1.4 million dollars. The Project Preparation Grant (PPG) was presented to UNEP for approval on May 15th, 2016.