Ministry of Public Works & BNT Launch ICZM Project to Improve Coastal Resilience

July 6th, 2021 – Nassau, Bahamas

Climate change is quickly becoming one of the greatest threats to global economies and human wellbeing. As an island nation, The Bahamas is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. To combat this looming threat, the Ministry of Public Works Project Implementation Unit, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has contracted The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) to help implement parts of the Climate Resilient Coastal Management & Infrastructure Program.

Also known as the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project, the goal of this project is to use traditional and nature-based solutions to build coastal resilience at several sites throughout The Bahamas, beginning with Andros and East Grand Bahama.

Shelley Cant-Woodside, BNT Director of Science and Policy, stated, “The Bahamas has experienced storms of increasing intensity and frequency in recent years, with its coastal and low-lying communities feeling the brunt of the devastation first-hand. As a country, it is important to act now to prevent greater risk of flooding, storm surge, and environmental damage in the future. The ICZM project is the first step in improving coastal resilience, management, and infrastructure across The Bahamas on a wide scale.”

This project will offer multiple ways for community members to get involved, including paid training opportunities and contracted work. The BNT will engage community members within project site areas to help with activities, including ecosystem restoration, invasive species removal, native plant cultivation, and site management.

ICZM efforts will also include a focus on “rewilding” The Bahamas – that is, removing invasive species that cause ecosystem damage and repopulating the landscape with native species that are naturally equipped to provide coastal resilience against storms.

During the virtual project launch for the East Grand Bahama activities, Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Management, and Reconstruction, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, said, “Our country faces difficult questions of whether to relocate coastal populations, and how to smartly invest in more resilient infrastructure. It is therefore imperative to establish a comprehensive approach to meeting these challenges and to incorporate considerations for disaster risk management into all features of national development.

“Traditionally-built shoreline protection like seawalls and jetties are expensive to build and maintain. Natural defenses represent more climate resilient alternatives that also boost livelihood.”

Under the ICZM project, restoration efforts won’t stop at the coast. The BNT will be conducting ecological assessments of other habitats like seagrass beds and coral reefs to determine restoration priorities.

The ICZM project includes terrestrial and marine activities and effective community involvement to be executed over a four-year period. Having officially begun on September 3, 2020, the project is set to continue until 2024.

Visit www.bnt.bs to learn more and follow the Bahamas National Trust and the Ministry of Public Works on social media to stay up to date to stay up to date on project activities.

To learn more about the role the BNT plays in managing terrestrial and marine national parks, protecting species, and informing environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs, and follow/subscribe to various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Photo Caption: Coastline on Andros Island

Media Contact: Leah Carr | lcarr@bnt.bs | (242) 429-7902

About the BNT:

The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to manage the national park system of The Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility, the BNT works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 32 National Parks managed by the BNT with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.

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Visit www.bnt.bs to learn more and follow the Bahamas National Trust and the Ministry of Public Works on social media to stay up to date to stay up to date on project activities.

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