Signed in as:
Signed in as:
The Central Mangrove Wetland (CMW) is the largest intact area of mangrove wetlands in the Caribbean. The CMW covers about 30% of land mass on Grand Cayman, providing much of the Island’s biodiversity and carbon sinks. Much of the rainfall on the western and central parts of Grand Cayman is attributed to this vast ecosystem. Resident and migratory bird species find refuge and food amongst the mangroves. These are just a few of the vital services the CMW provides to both people and nature.
What threats are there?
The East-West Arterial (EWA) is an extension of a public highway beginning in George Town. The proposed road is 10 miles long and “would traverse a substantial area of wetland habitat on the entire length of the southern perimeter of the CMW (EIA Scoping Opinion).” It is estimated that a minimum of 174 acres would be directly cleared.
But that's only directly. History shows that when roads are built, developments often follow in a sprawling, unconstrained fashion, particularly in the Cayman Islands. Importantly, some argue that the short and long-term outcomes of the proposed road are in conflict with the needs and values of local communities.
The first part of the road (Hirst Dr. to Woodland Dr.) has been constructed and the rest (Woodland Dr. to Frank Sound Rd.) is awaiting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The next phase is to determine the Terms of Reference (ToR), which will outline the methodology of the EIA. In other words, the ToR will describe how to conduct the EIA. The ToR, like the EIA that will follow, will have a public consultation where the public can ask questions and provide feedback.
Where are we now?
The contract for the EIA was awarded on August 29th, 2022. The draft ToR were released on January 30th, 2023 with the Final ToR issued on April 4th, 2023. The public were invited to ask questions and give feedback. Your comments are valuable and responses have been included in the final ToR.
👉Following the publication of the Final Terms of Reference, the EIA consultants have commenced their baseline data collection and consideration of alternatives, impact predication, choice of alternative, and design mitigation.
👉The first draft Chapters and analysis from the consultants are expected to be ready in October 2023.
👉The draft Environmental Statement (ES) is due to be completed by the end of May 2024 and public consultation shall be undertaken upon completion.
The ES will remain on the DoE's website for 21 days. You can send in comments via email (DOE@gov.ky), mail, or hand delivery to the DoE.
Mailing Address: PO Box 10202, Grand Cayman, KY1-1002
Physical Address: Environmental Centre, 580 North Sound Road, Grand Cayman
👉At least one meeting shall be 7 days before the consultation ends. Make a note to attend and ask questions. Members of the NRA team, the proponents consultants and designated representatives from the Environmental Assessment Board will provide more information about the project and answer questions.
What can you do?
The roots of the Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), a protected species. Photo credit: Nik Foster
Watch the video to learn more
The United Kingdom has responsibility for 14 Overseas Territories which are astoundingly rich in biodiversity. However, this wildlife is under severe threat. The RSPB is providing support and advice to Sustainable Cayman as part of its programme of capacity building in the beautiful and wildlife-rich UK Overseas Territories of the Caribbean.
Click here to learn more.