2018 – 2023
The Ocean Foundation
Habitat Restoration to Support a Climate Resilient Bioluminescent Bay
The Ocean Foundation (TOF) is partnering with Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust (VCHT) to rapidly restore mangroves and seagrasses in key areas around Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. This bay is one of only a few bioluminescent bays in the world and naturally glows in the dark as a result of bioluminescent plankton. However, in 2017, Hurricane Maria caused major damages to the Bioluminescent Bay, threatening its biodiversity and bioluminescence.
The goal is to quickly restore critical areas to achieve sufficient maturity and coverage before the next major hurricane hits the region so as to prevent further erosion. Puerto Mosquito is a unique ecological feature, which serves as a key environmental, economic, and cultural resource for the island-municipality.
Through this joint restoration project, TOF and VCHT intend to increase the Bay’s resilience to weather and impacts of climate change such as worsening storms and wave surges that may compromise the Bay’s biodiversity. The project will take place within the boundaries of the Vieques Bioluminescent Bay Natural Reserve, a 1,140 acre protected area located in the island-municipality of Vieques and is the main driver of ecotourism for the island. TOF will serve as the lead technical consultant to VCHT developing the large-scale mangrove and seagrass restoration plan building on the initial 1.5-acre critical mangrove habitat restoration at the mouth of the Bay to include up to 47 acres of mangroves and one acre of seagrass.
- Advance VCHT restoration project through regional and field experts in seagrass and mangrove restoration methodologies.
- Develop a large-scale, long-term restoration plan for Vieques Island and the community utilizing previous experience and best practices in PR.
- Restore 47 acres of mangroves and contribute to the overall protection of the 1,140 acres Vieques Bioluminescent Bay Natural Reserve.
- Restore one acre of seagrass in a strategic location near the entrance of the Bay and support larger restoration activities that expedite Bay morphology and ecological recovery.
- Replant over 5,500 mangroves and seagrass to re-establish a natural hurricane barrier protecting two coastal towns and their livelihoods.
- Support mangrove nursery education field trips teaching about nature-based solutions to climate change for at least 300 local residents.
- Advance ocean-focused carbon markets by supporting the project blue carbon credits certification.
- Offset Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s carbon footprint using blue carbon methods, which includes the use of seagrass, salt marsh, and mangrove restoration as a method of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering it in subtidal or coastal sediment.
- Twenty-five-acre seagrass restoration site to be used for the team’s offset is located in a NOAA Marine Reserve in Puerto Rico where it will also provide vital coastal habitat and storm protection.
- Advance the use of coastal restoration for carbon footprint offsetting by developing the first ‘certified’ blue carbon credits, allowing for trading on the carbon market.
- Promote individual carbon offsetting by developing communication assets and an educational package including infographics and videos highlighting the benefits of blue carbon for mass consumption.
About The Ocean Foundation
The Ocean Foundation advances innovative, customized philanthropic solutions for individual, corporate, and government donors, to simplify giving so donors can focus on their chosen passion for the coasts and ocean. The organization focuses its collective expertise to generate cutting-edge content on emerging threats, potential solutions, and better strategies for implementation. The Ocean Foundation aims to evaluate and support the most effective marine conservation projects and organizations.
Header image credit: The Ocean Foundation