RATS: Mangrove Monitoring and regeneration project

World Wetlands Day, February 2018

RATS Mangrove Monitoring and regeneration project.

We eagerly arrived at the launch bay where Amy Avenant, from the Turks & Caicos  Islands Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), and the helpers from Surfside Academy were waiting for us with kayaks at the ready!  Firstly, the guides from Surfside went through the safety rules with us. After that, we partnered up and each got a lifejacket, paddle and a kayak per pair.

We set off with Ms Rankin and Tristan leading the way and the helpers at the back. We departed at a time when the tide and the wind were against us, but that was fine because it would mean that they both would be helping us on the way back when we had less energy! Energetically we paddled across the main channel and then pulled the kayaks up into the shallows where, for extra safety, we tied them up. We trudged through the squelchy mud until we reached the mangrove site.

Once there, Jackie (our expert from Amanyara) explained to us about the mangroves, the site they are in, what had happened to the mangroves planted in our patch last year (and sadly our sign was taken by the dreaded Irma!). Also we learnt that there are two main species: red and black. You can tell which is which quite easily, because red mangroves have prop roots and are mainly in water, whereas black mangroves are mainly are on land and have snorkel roots reaching down to the water for them. That day we were tagging the red mangroves and collecting data on them. We managed to tag over thirty red mangroves! We recorded the number of prop roots, trunk circumference, as well as the height of each. We will type up our data, and be back to analyse progress later in the year.

After successfully completing the task, we switched up the buddies for our paddle back, untied the kayaks and put them into deeper water and headed off. The return journey was a lot easier! When we arrived back we took the kayaks out of the water, split the paddles and then headed back to the ocean for some relaxing swimming and playing in our beautiful turquoise seas whilst waiting for our parents to come and pick us up.

Mangrove mission complete: well done Reef Action Team!

Oliver French

British West Indies Collegiate
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands

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