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The current weather in Culebra

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Detrimental development practices
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Doug (
Date:   01-13-06 15:39

Mary Ann Lucking, one of Culebra's hardworking environmental preservationist leaders, asked me to post the following. She will post a follow up when time permits. I realize that this forum targets the visitor as much as the Culebrenses, but it is comforting to me to know that people such as Mary Ann and Teresa work tirelessly to keep Culebra from the jaws of the spoilers. Thank you M.A. and Teresa, for your service!

Isla de Culebra
At 9:50 today CORALations filed a complaint with DRNA (QC-03-06) against Punta el Viento Estates heavy equipment clearing increasing the width of their access road. Members of this association have been approached in the past regarding concerns of road erosion impacting Mosquito Bay, but coult not be contacted by phone before the complaint was issued today.
The poor land managenemt practices continued today which prompted us to take action. The digger was cracking trees and other vegitation on the side of the road and pulling soil to refil naturally carved erosion culverts with soil. This essentially re-loads the sediment gun once again for damage to the bay. Every time the road is fixed the width of the road appreciably increases, creating more soil surface area for erosion.

Two hydrogeologists, Greg Morris from Morris and Associations and Carlos Ramos from Island Resources Foundation have looked at these and SE Harbor roads for CORALations. Ing Morris stated that even without topping, just the implementation of planning and engineering, erosion of these roads could be minimized by as much as 90%. Ing Ramos stated he had never seen more poorly planned and constructed roads on any of the islands he has worked on in the Caribbean. Punto el Viento Estates also has individual members carving large private beach access roads and or clearing down steep and powerful watersheds. This is directly killing sea grass of Manzanilla bay and visibly declining water quality of the bay.

Mosquito and Manzanilla were once pristine wilderness beaches and bays of Culebra. Today water quality declines due to adjacent RO-5 urbanizations is taking a toll. Mosquito bay was once used as an index for green sea turtle populations in the Caribbean. According to DRNA studies, the Mosquito Bay green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) population declined from 90+ in 1992 to 0 in 2003. The sea grasses in Manzanilla and Mosquito are designated as Critical Habitat for Green Sea Turtles. The sea grasses of Mosquito Bay are also listed Resource Category 1 with USFWS and considered irrepairable if destroyed.

The work being done today by Punta el Viento Estates had no visible implementation of erosion control. The DRNA was asked to investigate if the association had permits to increase the width of the road, if they have a certified plan CES from Junta de Calidad Ambiental and a permit to deforest the trees being taken on the side of the road.

Complaint was taken by C. Villanueva Mendez (1-43)

Mary Ann Lucking


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Re: Detrimental development practices
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Tom Bauer (
Date:   01-15-06 09:11

The goverment of Culebra should enact soil erosion ordinances against these practices. Often just a few inexpensive design alterations can prevent sediment from reaching the sensitive marine ecosystem. I would be glad to make suggestions (from a soil scientist's perspective) when I get there in early March.

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Re: Detrimental development practices
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: George Brehm (
Date:   01-15-06 09:12

Detrimental Development Practices

Dear Doug and Mary Ann:

I was a resident of Culebra in the mid 90's and I have been worried about the Island since I left. Since I left I have become a Director of Storm Water Compliance for one of America's largest Home Builders and about 10-20% of our subdivisions are developed by ourselves. Before I was asked by my company to help them develop a Storm Compliance Department I worked as a consultant to Maryland State Highway administration. As I have been on my path I have remembered back to many disturbing things I witnessed at Culebra. If there is anything I can do for your cause please do not hesitate to ask. I have a good working knowledge of NPDES the National Pollution Distribution Elimination System. I have been wondering if Culebra has been given oversight of the NPDES program by the Federal Government.
I am very upset to hear the news about the Turtles and sea grass disappearing. I want to help and do not want a place as beautiful as Culebra go the way of the Chesapeake Bay.

Sincerely with Best Intentions,
George Brehm

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Re: Detrimental development practices
Culebra, Puerto Rico
Author: Doug (
Date:   01-16-06 15:04


Mary Ann doesn't post here - I'm not sure whether she lurks. Anyway, I've forwarded your post to her. You can also get in touch with her via the website at

Thank you for your offer.


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