Breakwaters to be used for mangrove seedling protection at Anna Regina

The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) has begun the process of inviting bids for low-cost breakwaters at Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast, Region 2 to facilitate mangrove survival.

NAREI Chief Executive Officer Dr Oudho Homenauth told Stabroek News that the experimental construction is expected to cost anywhere from $12 million to $15 million.

He said groynes and geotextile tubing as sea defences were incredibly expensive and going forward with mangrove rehabilitation more cost effective measures had to be used to prepare sites. He said that reducing the amount of seedlings that are lost due to the hostile growth environment was needed and based on various studies done last year bamboo breakwaters could be a solution.

Homenauth said that “bamboo was one of the recommendations given after a few studies were done…what we noticed was that without protection there was a lot of losses and sites that had construction help were surviving.

“We are moving now to Anna Regina to develop the necessary conditions that would build up the mud… we have never planted mangroves in the area before this.”

However, Homenauth clarified that on studying similar environments, groynes were discovered to be the best idea. The low-cost breakwaters were described to Stabroek News as being punts that were planted with bamboo and placed along the shore that would break the waves, shielding the 14-inch seedlings.

Homenauth told Stabroek News that a technical assistance programme funded through the European Union’s investment in the Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project (GMRP) conducted various studies using local and
foreign experts and the bamboo breakwater was one of the proposed low cost recommendations. NAREI’s CEO admitted that for now the experimental construction was not fully realised and that was the reason for bidders to apply with a comprehensive work plan.

He said the punts would act like groynes and run perpendicular to the shore, unlike the geotextile tubing at Victoria, East Coast which runs parallel. Homenauth said losses were expected. However the work being put into the growing of seedlings and then planting, growth potential had to be a priority.

Contractors are expected to finish work within a three-month time frame according to the bid invitation, which ran in the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday last. Homenauth said that if this low cost initiative proved to be successful it could drastically increase mangrove viability in areas where they have previously been swept away by tides.

The GMRP is in its final year with the last instalment of the $1.1 billion given through budget support by the EU, in March of 2013.

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