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YEAR 2006 - CRP Project #1002C (Caribbean)

Project #1002C
Mangrove and Reef Restoration
at Isla Ratones, Puerto Rico

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Staff and volunteers in the field

Project name:   Mangrove and Coral Reef Restoration at Isla Ratones, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico  
Project number:   1002C  
Project status:   Complete  
Grant Administrator:   Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)  
Grantee:   Inter American University of Puerto Rico  
Project location:   Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico  
Grant period:   Jan 1, 2021 - May 31, 2021  
Grant amount:   $19,596  
Land Ownership:   Public - administrated by DNER  
Lat/Long:   18.1171, -67.1877  
Types of Habitat:   Coral reef, seagrass bed, sand  
Project leader: Ilse M Sanders, Ph.D. (Professor)
PO Box 5100
Dept. of Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science
Inter American University
San German, Puerto Rico 00683

Species Benefiting From Restoration:
   • Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
   • Corals: (Porites astreoides, Montastraea annularis,
     Siderastrea radians, Colpophillia natans
   • French Grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum)
   • Bluestriped Grunt (H. sciurus)
   • White grunt (H. aurolineatum)
   • Schoolmaster (Lutjanus apodus)
   • Yellowtail Snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus)
   • Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)

Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
1,000 sq m (0.25 acres)

Project Summary:
Isla Ratones is a nearshore natural reserve islet in the west coast of Puerto Rico, roughly 122m. (400 ft) EW by 82 m. (270 ft) NS. It has extensive sea grass beds and a fringing reef along its north coast, and is used mainly for recreation. The island was formerly completely surrounded by a coral reef and had a mangrove forest. Due to coral bleaching, disease, and destruction of reefs by wave force and currents, and to mangroves cut down, the island has lost approximately 45 percent of its area over the past 60 years. Comité Caborrojeños pro Salud y Ambiente, Inc. (CCPSA), an NGO, undertook a restoration project on the island's north shore to try to stop erosion and sedimentation that is threatening the reef. During February-May 2005, CCPSA planted 600 mangrove seedlings following the Riley Encased Methodology© and placed 48 semi-artificial reefs. The mangrove survival rate has been 88 percent.
We propose to do a second stage to enlarge the area covered by mangroves and to add more artificial reefs. These artificial reefs will be used to establish an interpretive trail and thus educate people about the reefs' importance as substrate for hard corals and habitat structure for fish and invertebrates. The project consists of planting 400 mangrove seedlings and establishing 12 semi-artificial reefs, monitoring the growth and survival of mangroves and hard coral and of fish surveys around the artificial reefs. This project includes students and faculty of Inter American University, CCPSA and community and school volunteers over the period of one year.

Project Objectives:

  1. Restore the north shoreline of Isla Ratones, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico by reestablishing mangroves and establishing semi-artificial reefs
  2. Evaluate the success of the present and a previous phase of the restoration (February-May 2005) by monitoring the survival, growth, and settling of new prop roots of mangrove seedlings, and the use by fish and colonization of hard coral on artificial reefs.

Community Involvement:
The community will help in the placing of the PVC tubes, planting, setting of reefs, monitoring the development of the mangroves, and by disseminating the projects’ outcomes in the schools and community.

Click on photo to enlarge

Project location map - click to enlarge
Project location map

Staff and volunteers in the field - click to enlarge
Staff and volunteers in the field

Coral reef at project site - click to enlarge
Coral reef at project site

Map showing coral trail - click to enlarge
Map showing coral trail

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The Impact of Artificial Reefs on Fish Diversity and Community Composition in Isla Ratones, Western Puerto Rico (PDF 249KB)

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Inter American University


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