Today’s Editorial: Award means diversity

The Cayman Islands has been in competition with the world and has come out on top.

The Department of Environment announced Friday it has secured a prestigious $350,000 grant to fund a three-year project titled In Ivan’s Wake.

The project will help the Cayman Islands evaluate the success of managed recovery projects that follow in the footsteps of Hurricane Ivan, which caused major devastation in September.

Once completed, the project will provide a road map of sorts to let us all know just where we stand in the ecological sense of things.

On hand to assist in the project will be experts from such organizations as Kew Gardens and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. They’ll collaborate with the likes of the Cayman Islands Humane Society, Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, National Trust, Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, Department of Agriculture, Mosquito Research and Control Unit, Garden Club and Cayman Wildlife Connection.

We all know that Hurricane Ivan dealt this country a terrible blow. While we as humans suffered because of a lack of proper housing, weeks without electricity and basic creature comforts, the country’s habitat took the hardest hit.

Mangroves were destroyed, livestock died, animals were displaced or killed and invasive species of plant matter were introduced.

The project will allow for the development of biodiversity action plans, practical conservation strategies and methods for the preservation and sustainable use of key habitats and species.

The project will also aim at educating all of us in the Cayman Islands.

On hand will be website that will allow viewers to take a virtual safari of Cayman’s unique wildlife and diverse environments.

A biodiversity plan was being developed before the storm slammed in the Cayman Islands in September. Now, more than ever, such a plan is needed and required.

Kudos to the Department of Environment for going toe-to-toe with the big boys worldwide and coming out on top with this prestigious award, the results of which will mean a plan of action for the Cayman Islands and biodiversity.

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