Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 14, 2019 (SKNIS): For many years, the public has been exposed to excessive soil erosion and flooding along the College Street Ghaut. Against this backdrop, work to reduce land degradation in the College Street Ghaut area commenced on June 12.
The focus of the current works will be on the middle section of the ghaut from the bridge adjacent to the Moravian Church up to the bridge that crosses the St. Peter’s Road. The total length to be worked on is approximately 2300 feet. The work is expected to last six to seven weeks and be completed by mid- August.
Halla Sahely, GEF-IWEco St. Kitts and Nevis Project Coordinator, highlighted that the public has an important role to play in addressing the impacts of land degradation in the Federation.
“We need to work together to ensure that there is no illegal dumping of solid and liquid waste inside of the ghaut. These pose a major flooding and public health risk and contribute to increased soil erosion. Livestock farmers should refrain from allowing their animals inside or near to the banks of the Ghaut,”she said.
Mrs. Sahely outlined the project’s goal and deemed it an important initiative.
“The overall goal of the sub-project in St. Kitts and Nevis is to reduce and reverse land degradation by an integrated water, land and ecosystems management approach. The project would strengthen the institutional capacity, improve the policy framework and facilitate pilot projects within the College Street Ghaut watershed in St. Kitts, and key quarry site and nearby wetlands and coral reefs in Nevis,” she added.
The first component of the works will be removal of excess vegetation and solid waste from inside the ghaut. The Parks and Beaches Unit is tasked with the cleanup exercise. Next, excess sediments will be removed from behind the weirs (retaining walls) located inside the ghaut. Debris and sediments will also be cleared from culverts and drains.
A specialized work crew will then begin to stabilize the banks of the ghaut through the installation of gabion baskets and planting of grasses and trees. These will be strategically located in order to stem soil erosion.
The Department of Environment is the lead agency with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in implementing a pilot project in St. Kitts and Nevis titled “Addressing Impacts of Acute Land Degradation in the College Street Ghaut in St Kitts and Quarries and Sand Mining Hotspots on Nevis”. St. Kitts and Nevis is one of ten participating countries in a 5 year multi- focal regional project termed the Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States project (GEF-IWEco).
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the lead Implementing Agency in partnership with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The United Nations Environment Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (CAR/RCU) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will serve as co-Executing Agencies.