THE VALLEY, ANGUILLA – The UK Government’s Darwin Plus funding agency has confirmed funding of £268,000 for an innovative project entitled “Improving coastal ecosystem resilience to climate change in Anguilla.”
The Department of Disaster Management, in collaboration with the Anguilla National Trust, the Department of Environment, and the UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, will lead on this three-year project. Local agencies will work with the Wales-based Environment Systems to assess the future risk of climate change to Anguilla’s coastal habitats and identify and prioritise key coastal sites for restoration activities. Restoration activities are likely to include the re-planting of mangroves, and the restoration of coastal wetlands and sand dunes.
This funding is timely and especially important. Studies indicate that intense hurricanes that were once expected every hundred years are now occurring more frequently. Over the last three years, the region has been directly by five major hurricanes, including Category 5 Hurricane Irma that passed over Anguilla in 2017 and Dorian that just recently caused widespread destruction on two islands in the Bahamas. As ocean temperatures and sea levels rise, hurricanes are expected to move more slowly and deposit more rain, leading to further flooding, erosion, and wind damage. Coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, wetlands, sand dunes, coral reefs play a significant role in limiting that damage while also protecting coastal infrastructure.
Darwin Plus is administered by the UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, with additional funding support from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.