SINT MAARTEN – The Nature Foundation St Maarten outplanted mangroves in Mullet Pond with the help of students from Milton Peters College and Jorakhae Freediving School last Friday. The entire day the students and volunteers worked intensively to enhance St Maarten’s environment and to assist nature in recovering from Hurricane Irma. The mangroves in Mullet Pond experienced and additional impact due to the large amount of boats illegally tied to their roots during the hurricane, hence restoring the mangroves was much needed at this location. The Nature Foundation advocates for a large scale mangroves restoration in Mullet Pond and Simpson Bay in order to restore and enhance St Maarten’s wetlands, as they are much needed for the island’s survival and protection.
“About 200 red mangroves were planted at the denuded mangroves forests in the conservation zone at Mullet Pond, which was definitely desired since about 50% of our mangroves did not recover yet since Hurricane Irma. We have been growing mangrove seeds behind our warehouse for over five months. Last week the juvenile mangroves were ready to be out planted, hopefully one day these little mangroves will be as large as the mangroves used to be in Mullet Pond before Irma” stated Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Wetlands are vital for human survival and the world’s most productive environment, wetlands are protecting coastlines as they reduce storm wave power and protect us against extreme droughts and flooding’s. Wetlands and their mangroves are a habitat for many wildlife species, marine life species and birds call it home or rest in wetlands during migrations, besides mangroves improve water quality due to filtration of the water.
Mullet pond is listed and protected as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Treaty. Mullet Pond is the last intact mangrove forest within the Simpson Bay Lagoon, 70% of all mangroves in the Simpson Bay lagoon are located in Mullet Pond. Simpson Bay has lost large parts of their mangrove forests due to development and worldwide we already lost about 2/3 of our wetlands. Mangrove restoration is much required, especially on St Maarten, in order to protect us and our coast from storms and flooding.
The mangroves were funded by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance as part of their environmental emergency support to the Nature Foundation after the 2017 Hurricanes. The Mullet Bay Towers graciously allowed access to their property in order to facilitate the planting.