According to the development and environmental teams of Blackadore Caye, the island is suffering immensely from erosion, land resource exploitation, local species degradation and deforestation and if no action is taken to stop, reverse and restore the island back to its pristine state, it will eventually disappear.
The research team at Blackadore Caye has indicated all these variables affecting the island, which has already it has lost almost seven acres of land over the past couple years. The rich vegetation of the island is dying fast, along with the rich diversity of fauna that once inhabited the island. Coconut trees are suffering/dying from Lethal Yellowing disease and high levels of salinity in the soil content is preventing any other vegetation from flourishing other than high grass. Local hunting on the island has also completely rid the island of wild boars, coatimundi and deer.
By now everyone knows that the A-List celebrity name behind the development of Blackadore Caye is Leonardo DiCaprio and although friction from local fishermen and tourism stakeholders has cast somewhat of a negative shadow over the initial plans of the eco-friendly resort and environmental plans, developers have addressed the initial concerns of the local community by re-drafting their initial plans to build over over the water structures. There will be no longer be any over the water hotel rooms/ buildings at Blackadore; the Welcome Center has been moved to the northern part of the island to help preserve the sensitive ecosystem on the south end. These are just a couple changes the developers took after major environmental concerns were raised at the first public consultation on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
But before any construction of the eco-resort takes place, developers have stressed on the importance of restoring the island back to its pristine state, or at least kick start the process to ensure the island does not erode and die. This is why the project at Blackadore is being called “A Restorative Island”; developers, investors, architects and contractor are all conscious of the sensitivity of the island’s eco systems and are willing to work under practices that will ensure the protection and enhancement of Blackadore’s natural resources.
Jim Reilly of Restorative Islands and Biologist Juan Rovalo
Dry, saline, infertile dirt at Blackadore Caye
Hundreds of thousands of mangroves will be replanted, anti-erosion measures will be taken (including natural and safe beach reclamation), reforestation of the island that has very little vegetation and the protection of both land and marine creatures will be top priority of the development are only some of the major project that the restorative island will undertake. Developers are teaming up with the best including world-renown architect Jean Michel Gathy and Jim Reilly of Restorative Island, their vision and work could mean major recognition and opportunities for Belize.
“The benefits in the global perspective will put the name of our country even higher as the pioneer of initiating an environmental concept that can be delivered worldwide,” said Dionne Chamberlain, Lead Consultant/Managing Director.
Dionne Chamberlain, Lead Consultant/Managing Director of Blackadore Caye
Projected restoration at Blackadore Caye
Although the initial buzz about Blackadore Caye was about Leonardo DiCaprio’s involvement in the project, there is now a much more important THING to consider and that would be about Belize, about protecting Mother Nature - what has made our country so lucrative, desired, beautiful. Belize’s involvement in this first-of-its-kind project can become a module for large scale developments around the world, offering our country bigger industries, opportunities, employment and wealth of knowledge, natural resources and human wellbeing. Not taking advantage of this opportunity could be a great loss to the country as there might not be another developer so willing to contribute and protect our natural eco systems.
Before the entire project falls into place, the new jobs created, new revenue collected and the island restored, the Blackadore Caye project must first convince stakeholders in the community and Government to approve the amended Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) at a public consultation in June. Only then will the development commence with restoring the island and eventually the construction of the eco-friendly resort.
Unhealthy coconut trees displaying thick trunks and a narrowing tree top
Few coconut trees dot the eastern side of the island while tall grass grows on the west
Disease affected coconut trees
Erosion on the coastline of Blackadore Caye has wiped out most of its beach area