The EHCP shared a booth with the Bahamas National Trust in the Environmental Expo hosted by Sandals on November 22. The purpose of the event was to bring together various organizations and agencies with an interest in environmental issues to display their work. Mr. Cordell Thompson was the speaker for the day-long event and gave the crowd of teachers and students much good advice on the importance of creating a sustainable Exuma. The EHCP booth provided interested visitors with information about our mission, our projects, membership and the Moriah Harbour Cay National Park, a priority cause for our organization. Thank you to Sandals for a great day!
“We, as proud Exumians, should be eager to contribute in preserving Elizabeth Harbour. The harbour’s natural beauty is enough to make anyone like me, proud of Exuma and what it has to offer. Conserving the environment also enhances the many ecosystems whether on land or under water.” – J’Cey Taylor
The EHCP now has an official logo thanks to Micholette Sweeting of Forecast Christian Academy! Ms. Sweeting’s design concept was chosen by the EHCP Board of Directors as the first official logo for the organization. She was joined as a first place recipient by J’Cey Taylor of St. Andrews Anglican School for writing an outstanding essay about the importance of taking care of Elizabeth Harbour. Ms. Sweeting and Ms. Taylor were each given a set of snorkeling equipment and awarded a complimentary tour of the Elizabeth Harbour by Off Island Adventures. Taleah Martin and Stephon Miller were the runners-up for the logo competition, and Jon Marie Gorte and Dante Simmons were runners-up for the essay competition. All runners-up attend St. Andrews Anglican School and were also awarded a tour of the harbour. Congratulations students! Thank you for your support of the EHCP and our goal of conserving Elizabeth Harbour for your generation and future generations!
Captain Steven Cole of Off Island Adventures shares the view from his office in this video of underwater scenes in Elizabeth Harbour and Moriah Harbour Cay. Thanks Steven!
The Elizabeth Harbour Conservation Partnership has received official notification from the GEF Small Grant Bahamas Programme of The Bahamas that our organization will receive a grant of $19,000 for the installation of small boat moorings at popular snorkeling locations in the harbor.
The primary purpose of the Elizabeth Harbour Mooring Buoy Project is to protect ecologically important seagrass and coral reef habitats that have become popular locations for snorkeling and diving in Elizabeth Harbour, Great Exuma. The communities of Great Exuma and especially George Town, thrive on the tourism draw of the harbor, but as use of the harbor has increased over the last two decades, certain activities have had an impact. This project will greatly reduce damage to seagrass and coral reefs caused by repetitive anchoring by small private boats, rental boats, and tour boats by providing moorings for their use free-of-charge at the most visited locations. The project will engage the local community through a mooring sponsorship program to ensure long-term maintenance of the buoys, and raise awareness about the importance of biologically diverse seagrass and coral reefs communities to a healthy harbour ecosystem in local and tourist communities through the creation of educational materials and signage.
Community support was critical in order to win this grant, and we wish to thank those that have pledged their in kind time and expertise to nearly match the funds that will be provided by GEF. A big thank you to:
OFF ISLAND ADVENTURES
OUT ISLAND EXPLORERS
THE GOOD LIFE
OFF ISLAND ADVENTURES
The EHCP applied for the grant over the summer with the assistance of Catherine Booker, the EHCP’s secretary. The EHCP looks forward to implementing the project over the upcoming months. Please stay tuned for more information, including ways that you can get involved.
The fundraising event in April with guest, Fabien Cousteau of Plant A Fish, and the support of patron founding members, has given the EHCP resources to work with! During a recent board meeting, the directors decided that education and habitat protection are top priorities for the organization.
Education is a key part of any conservation effort. There is a recognized need to educate both visitor and local communities about local harbour rules, and provide useful tips on how to take good care of the marine environment. The EHCP will be developing educational flyers that may be distributed by hotels, tour guides, the Ministry of Tourism, schools, and anyone else that would like to support the effort to raise awareness about the importance of harbour conservation. The EHCP has an education committee that will be working on brochure and sign design over the summer to be prepared for next season. They are also interested in exploring other ways to educate the community.
So far, the reef restoration project with Plant A Fish has supported several harbour educational opportunities for Exuma including three field trips and a well-attended presentation by Mr. Cousteau.
The EHCP has also identified the installation of dinghy moorings at popular snorkeling locations as a top priority. The dinghy moorings will provide a convenient way for small boats to tie up at their favorite reef or blue hole. Use of the moorings, instead of anchoring, will ensure that seagrass and corals are not damaged by repetitive anchoring or accidental anchor dragging. The EHCP hopes to have moorings installed by next fall. The projects committee will be working on this and other initiatives.
Special thanks to our patron founding members and corporate sponsors for their early support of the EHCP. We wish to give extra special thanks to those local businesses that provided in kind support for our fundraising event including the Peace and Plenty Hotel, Dive Exuma, and Off Island Adventures. If you would like to support the EHCP as a member or get involved in a committee, please let us know by emailing email@example.com
After a recent vessel grounding on the eastern end of Elizabeth Harbour, the Exuma community rescued hundreds of corals from the rubble in hopes of saving the reef. In March the Elizabeth Harbour Conservation Partnership partnered with Plant A Fish and Science Under Sail to form a plan to build a coral nursery to grow the endangered species, elkhorn and staghorn corals, and eventually “plant” them and other rescued coral species in the area that was damaged by the wreck.
Fabien Cousteau, director of Plant A Fish, visited Exuma in April with project manager, Elisabeth Jacobi, to kick off the reef restoration project. The project relied on the expertise of Dr. Robin Smith, a coral biologist and director of Science Under Sail to lead the effort to build the nursery. The team was supported by Catherine Booker and Howard Bethel of the EHCP as well as Jonathan Robinson of Dive Exuma, and staff from the Department of Environmental Health Services (Tristan Adderley, Geo Rolle, and Bradley Charlton). The action was captured by Seth Greenspan, an independent filmaker, Sara Kerens, a professional photographer, and Jerah Coviello of Science Under Sail. The project will be featured in Seth’s documentary on threatened coral reefs and restoration projects around the world.
If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact Plant A Fish. The Exuma project will be featured on their new website, coming soon!