Giriama (Robinson) Island
Conservation benefit: Conservation of 198 acres of mangrove forest in perpetuity
Community benefit: Water cistern, equipment for the Mareneni Beach Management Unit, mangrove replanting
Robinson Island, off the central Kenyan coast, was long connected to the mainland by vast mangrove forests. Many of those trees were cleared to make room for salt ponds. As a result, erosion increased, and the island is now is now separated from the mainland by an ever-widening creek. A long stretch of pristine beach on the east side of the island is a nesting ground for green and hawksbill turtles, and a feeding ground for olive ridley and occasional loggerhead turtles.
The salt ponds caused other damage as well. The disposal of highly saline water into the surrounding mangrove creeks damaged the fisheries and contaminated underground water reservoirs, making wells in the villages of Giriama and Kinyaole unusable.
Close to 1,000 people live on the island or depend on it for their livelihoods and know the importance of mangroves. Some replanting has taken place, but more is needed. This project will scale up current conservation and replanting efforts, as well as support environmental education. Because fresh water is a critical need on the island, the project will fund a 66,000-thousand-gallon cistern. In addition, funds will be provided to the Mareneni Beach Management Unit (BMU) to improve its capacity to enforce conservation rules.
The project will be managed by the Mareneni BMU and the Marine Resource and Management Center (MRMC), a local NGO. MRMC has experience in mangrove conservation and restoration, and will take the lead identifying and mapping degraded areas, as well as restoration and monitoring.