The Trust, along with its partners, began mobilizing teams of local and international scientists, to conduct assessments of the marine and terrestrial environments on Grand Bahama and Abaco in the wake of mega-storm Dorian.
The BNT is conducting comprehensive assessments to determine the impact of Dorian on severely damaging plant life, altering the coast line, flooding terrestrial habitats and potentially harming fauna. An event like Hurricane Dorian presents an excellent opportunity to truly study the impacts and potential for recovery after such extreme events. These storms will 1) reduce wildlife; 2) allow for salt water intrusion; 3) spread pollution; and 4) allow for the advancement of invasive species. The BNT is planning to conduct marine and terrestrial surveys 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. Birds can be severely impacted by these storms. Since most eat fruit and nectar, they are especially susceptible to starvation due to food loss.
The BNT is also continuing to monitor the clean-up and recovery efforts related to the oil spill at the Equinor facility on Grand Bahama. The BNT 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. expressed BNT Director of Science and Policy, Shelley Cant-Woodside. Ms. Cant – Woodside added, “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. Oversight of the NOSCAC lies with The Ministry of Public Transport and Local Government. Other NOSCAC members include representatives from The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission, local government, Civil Aviation, The Public Analysts, Bahamas Customs, The Bahamas Maritime Authority, The Port Department, and The Ministry of Public Works.
Once these assessments have been completed, the results will be used to guide further restoration and recovery efforts.