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Combining sun, sand and science in the Bahamas

ct included creating sustainable sewage and waste management, removal and replacement of invasive, non-native vegetation with native vegetation, and the creation of coastal buffer zones and private ecological preserves to lessen the impact of development on the terrestrial and marine environments.

The work involved following the project from the EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) in the planning stages, through the implementation of the Environmental Management Plan during the four years of construction. The study documents the efforts, costs and resources necessary for the project. Some of the important findings are:

  • About 15% of the total project budget was necessary for environmental and coastal protection programs- with long-term benefits.
  • Tourism development in the Bahamas must look for sustainable alternatives to meet required water demands due to the limited fresh water resources in the islands.
  • Coastal buffer zones and private reserves (especially small wetlands) within the development project are important in protecting the island from the impact of floods and storms and can help meet environmental goals and reduce costly mitigation projects.
  • Coastal development setbacks are necessary to reduce beach erosion as well as protect vital wildlife habitats.
  • Restoring functional landscapes is critical in new developments to maintain minimum population thresholds of local species.
  • Land-base sources of pollution must be reduced to maintain the value of near shore marine resources.

"BBC is the first project in the Bahamas to employ Bahamians with college degrees in environmental science and management and it represents a major step forward for the country to create jobs in environmental management," explained Sullivan-Sealey.

"This opens up new and exciting career options for Bahamians and creates job opportunities in the hotel/ hospitality industry that are dependent on marine and environmental resour

Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz
University of Miami

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