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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) met with ten (10) representatives, comprising of members from three communities surrounding the Wellington Park Mangrove Reserve site, Regional Democratic Council representatives (Region 6) and NAREI’s Mangrove Ranger on November 11, 2020. The consultation took place the boardroom of the EPA Whim Regional Office and sought to continue discussions on plans to restore the Wellington Park Mangrove Reserve.

All COVID 19 protocols were observed by participants and organisers.

This consultation was the second held to maximise collaboration between the Agency and community members as they commence work for the creation of a management plan. The management plan would include a governance structure on how the community will manage the area in keeping with the deliverables under the GEF Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) project.

The EPA is implementing GEF Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystems (CLME+) project which requires the selection of a degraded mangrove area to apply Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) approaches and ocean governance arrangements. These approaches are said to be the most effective for the mitigation of pollution, restoration and/or rehabilitation of the area. The Wellington Park site was selected due to the massive sawdust accumulation along the coast, where the mangrove reserve is located. The most probable source of the sawdust is the Sawmills which are located along the Corentyne Coast.

Participants and EPA officers engaged in conversations around the proper management of mangroves, the role of the EPA as part of the CLME+ project, next steps in creating a management plan for the area and the importance of community perspectives in the planning process. Through a re-visioning exercise, the participants drafted plans on what the area can look like in 10-15 years if it is properly managed.

A meeting is scheduled for December 2020, to discuss proper waste management and best practices of sawdust waste. The Agency met with the Sawmill operators, as well as community members earlier in the year and will continue to work with all parties to ensure restoration of the area.