The sand dune restoration project on the beaches of Torrecilla Baja in Loíza continues from strength to strength, particularly in the area of the embankment, where visitors can observe the assembly of the initiation, by Dr. Robert J. Mayer, from the Center for Conservation and Coastal Ecological Restoration of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Aguadilla.
“We have already started with the planting of species such as icacos, beach grape, beach vine and marine tobacco, which come from the nurseries of the University of Puerto Rico, to help nature fulfill the project. After hurricanes Irma and María, the coastal areas of all Puerto Rico suffered greatly, ”Mayer detailed in writing.
The project, which is working in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among other organizations, is carried out in especially affected areas of sand dunes and mangroves throughout the area parallel to PR # 187. Work will soon be carried out in the Aircraft sector. Mayer explained that the project in Loíza works specifically in areas of high human traffic, where the constant movement of people walking and even terrain vehicles intervene and affect the natural growth of the flora, which serves to stabilize the sand in the area.
“As part of the project, planning and implementation is done with the help of computerized systems and photometry to monitor the progress of the project, in terms of elevation and volume, among other variables,” the scientist explained. As a solution, the installation of wooden boardwalks was started to help people to move better through the dunes, “added the professor.
For Mayor Julia Nazario Fuentes, the segment of this project that has to do with the education of school teachers, students and members of the community is particularly important so that they are part of the progress of the initiative. “For this, we work in workshops with the collaboration of the Latino Earth Partnership and the 10-step restoration process that includes research, analysis, learning and planning. All this is integrated into the curricula, so that we adults learn from the process and in the future we will have citizens with knowledge to protect their environment and be resilient. The mission is that our ecological and tourist heritage is adequately protected ”.
The mayor added that the beach area will continue to be available to the public, although some areas will be set aside for the dune restoration project. The project is a long-term one and a proposal is already being worked on with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation National Coast Resilience Fund, directed particularly for the Loiceño project.