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El Salvador

San Sebastián Island


Conservation benefit: Restoration and protection of five acres of mangroves for 10 years; hydrological restoration of a half mile of mangrove channel

Community benefit: Environmental and waste management training, support for women’s businesses, fence for school


Date Approved: 06.2024


This project protects mangroves, which trap more CO2 than any other kind of forest and as a result, slow global warming.

For years, the coastal mangrove forests of San Sebastián Island have been polluted by trash from the Rio Grande de San Miguel River and Bay of Jiquilisco. The contamination affects the 220 families in the community, as well as wildlife including the American crocodile, leatherback turtle, and hawksbill turtle. Fish, mollusk, and crab populations have also suffered, and some mangroves have died due to disturbances in the natural flow of water. 

A group of local women has been conducting cleanups, and they are now teaming up with Asociación Mangle, our NGO partner from the successful Montecristo Island sea turtle conservation project, to address the relentless trash issues. Around 30 people will learn how to conduct effective beach cleanups and manage the waste, as well as to identify the upstream sources of the pollution. A team of 15 women will lead 12 cleanups. 

Over a half mile of mangrove channel that is currently choked with trash and sediment will be cleared, and mangrove restoration will take place in a five-acre area. At a three-day workshop, participants will learn about Ecological Mangrove Restoration, which identifies the best site-specific ways to promote restoration. The women leading the project will include their children and other relatives in the trash management and mangrove conservation. 

These women will get support in the form of equipment for their small businesses—the making and selling of tortillas and pupusas (griddlecakes made with cornmeal or rice flour, the national dish of El Salvador), and fruit and chicken farming. The local school’s sports field will also get a new fence. Radio Mangle, a conservation-oriented FM station that promoted the Montecristo Island sea turtle conservation program, will help publicize the project with radio spots, interviews, and a video.

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