Critical Brac wetlands now under Trust protection

| 11/09/2014

(CNS): Since the deregulation of Saltwater Pond as Cayman Brac’s last remaining animal sanctuary in November 2012, which was passed by the LA without a single question from any of the members, the conservation of the island’s very limited wetlands has become even more critical. However, the National Trust has announced that it recently completed the purchase of 10 acres of wetland on the South Side of the Brac (left), ensuring its preservation. Saltwater Pond was stripped of its protection under the Animals Law to allow the owner of the adjacent Alexander Hotel to address an unpleasant odour that sometimes occurs due to the decomposition of natural material. Since then a controversial plan emerged to turn the pond into a marina.

These plans, however, appear to be on hold because the hotel owner, Cleveland Dilbert, who proposed the marina development, is unwilling to pay for an environmental impact assessment, which the government has insisted upon due to the numerous red flags raised by the Department of Environment about the project. Because of this Dilbert closed his hotel on 15 June thsi year, and despite the “de-mucking” of the pond by government to help with the smell, the hotel remains closed.

However, there has been no suggestion that the protection of the pond by law be reinstated.

The decision by the government to remove the protection from Saltwater Pond prompted the Cayman Brac District Committee of the National Trust to identify wetlands in the same general area which could be protected permanently. 

The purchase of the wetlands, also known as the Marshes, was made possible through the generous donations of the Trust’s annual Land Reserve Fund Donors and supplemented by funds raised by the Brac District Committee members.

“Trust members on the Brac put great effort into fundraising for this project. We are grateful to the property owner for agreeing to sell to the Trust and to the Land Reserve Donors for providing the necessary funds to complete the purchase,” said Estelle Stilling, Chairman of the Cayman Brac District Committee. “As the future for avian life on the Westerly Ponds is uncertain, given the close proximity of the airport, residents and migratory birds will be forced to seek wetland further east; this purchase makes that possible.”

The Marshes are a series of herbaceous and woody wetlands between the south coast road and the Bluff, and represents an important feeding area for water birds.  This habitat, and transition habitats adjacent to it, also harbours a wide variety of local plant life.

For more information on the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, visit their website or call 749-1121.

Related articles on CNS:

Legislators defeat environment with animal law (6 November 2012)

'De-mucking' operation at Saltwater Pond (1 August 2014)

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (5)

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  1. Courtney Platt says:

    Hats off to all who helped in making this gift to the future possible.  I pray the Sister Isles will continue to take into account the lessons of Grand Cayman in planning their tourism product.  Nature, the reef fish and coastal views are our most precious tourism attraction… all rapidly declining in Grand.  It is the primitive, natural state of the Sisters that makes them so inviting.  Please, for your progeny's sake don't ruin that.  God gave us stewardship, which requires sustainable use of His Creation.  It is not disposable.  Once paved it will stay dead until the endof mankind.  May God bless us with His wisdom.

  2. Peter Milburn says:

    Kudos to the National Trust.At least someone is doing something to preserve the environment for future generations.I urge everyone to support the Trust in ALL their endeavours.

  3. Anon says:

    A plan to clean up the garbage dump in the wetland is needed immediately.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well done National Trust and those who donated to save the wetlands!