Other Environmental Projects
As the Cap Haitien committee members and the One Village Planet agronomists worked in and became better acquainted with the villages, they began to learn from the population more about specific needs in those communities. In Acul, it was the fishermen who complained about the declining fish population. In Derac, we learned that they had not had potable water or electricity available in the town for many years. Brackish water they had once used to water their family gardens had also become scarce and their traditional farming methods were failing them.
In addition to the mangrove planting projects, the Sister Cities committee and One Village Planet have built a community-based aquaculture facility. With technical assistance from marine biologist Justin Freedman, One Village Planet constructed a grow-out pen in a sea grass habitat adjacent to one of its mangrove restoration areas. 118 juvenile queen conch were collected, weighed, measured and tagged with the assistance of local children and members of the Fishing Cooperative. The conch were placed in the pen and monitored, weighed and measured periodically. When the conch were of reproductive age, some were kept to stock the waters. Others are marketed to local restaurants and hotels. This will become a sustainable enterprise for the Fishing Cooperative and can be duplicated in other coastal fishing villages. In the town of Derac, we addressed the water shortage.
A combination of additional funds raised and in kind contributions enabled us to dig a deep potable water well, buy a generator to power the pump and enough pipe to bring the water to the community. Townspeople provided volunteer labor to dig the trench and lay the pipe over the two mile distance across farmlands from the well to the town. Each house pays a monthly fee to fund maintenance and fuel costs. We expect to see a considerable improvement in the health of the inhabitants as a result of the only good water they have had in many years.
Thanks to continued funding through Sister Cities events and contributions from the community, we were able to address some of those needs.