The mangrove project: Restoration Breathes New Life into the Cuajiniquil Mangrove

30 / Sep / 2022

By Inga Gusanova, Board of Advisors Corcovado Foundation and Board of Directors Nature Fund for Costa Rica

Exciting and significant progress is being made by the Corcovado Foundation and its partners with restoration efforts at Bahia Thomas mangroves, located on Costa Rica’s northwest Pacific Coast near the town of Cuajiniquil, Guanacaste.  

An abandoned commercial salt mine at Cuajiniquil created high levels of salinity that overwhelmed the mangrove’s ability to filter out ocean salt effectively. This project required a small miracle of engineering to generate diversion canals to reduce the salt level so the mangrove could grow back, and wildlife populations could recover.

The technical implementation and research have been overseen by Dr. Claudia Agraz and her team from the EPOMEX Institute at the Autonomous University of Campeche, Mexico. 

The Cuajiniquil restoration project is funded by The French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and supported by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), as part of the larger “Mangrove Restoration Strategy” initiative.

On August 11, 2022, representatives from French Development Agency, SINAC officials, and the Corcovado Foundation coordinated a field visit to Cuajiniquil to observe the progress.

The officials were able to document that several keystone tree and shrub species are successfully regenerating. In addition, they observed increased populations of wild animals such as crocodiles, felines, and a wide variety of birds.

More importantly, they collected stories from local people on how much this work means for them and their future – which inspires hope that this restoration will remain sustainable in the time to come. 

These results show that the Cuajiniquil project is on track for expected completion in December 2023.

If you want to contribute to support these or other projects by the Corcovado Foundation, volunteer, or check different ways to get involved, you can do so here.

About the Restoration and Regeneration Work by The Corcovado Foundation

The innovative work of Corcovado Foundation, the leading non-profit operator of Cuanjinquil and other mangrove restoration projects, goes beyond replenishing these natural habitats and supporting the people who live nearby. With mangrove restoration initiatives, the foundation uses its experience working with local communities to generate income while protecting the mangroves. Specific initiatives include placing beehives to collect unique mangrove honey, which can then be marketed and sold to local businesses and tourists. Two studies are also underway to create financial incentives to preserve the mangroves. One is to explore if communities could harvest mangrove mollusks sustainably, and another is to potentially design and construct an elevated trail for tourists to see the mangroves. You can read more stories about the work of the Corcovado Foundation here.  

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