WELL/BEINGS, The Ocean Foundation (TOF) and The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust (VCHT) are pleased to announce a new formal partnership celebrating their shared commitment to Ocean Health. WELL/BEINGS will provide a significant grant to local TOF partners in Puerto Rico to ensure the protection of coastal communities and vital marine life through the support of mangrove restoration programs in Vieques and Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico as part of TOF’s Blue Resilience Initiative.
“After a successful campaign last year on Deforestation, WELL/BEINGS is now drawing attention to the ‘forests of the sea’ with a campaign to restore and protect the precious mangrove ecosystems that are vital for the health of all life on the planet,” says WELL/BEINGS co-founder, Amanda Hearst.
“The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust is grateful for this grant opportunity provided by WELL/BEINGS and The Ocean Foundation. It will allow us to increase our capacity to grow and plant the mangroves that are the first line of defense in protecting our shorelines during hurricanes and storm surges and are essential to preserving and protecting the Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay Reserve, one of the key drivers to our small island economy,” says Lirio Marquez, Executive Director, Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust.
- Rapidly restore mangroves and seagrasses damaged in key areas in the Jobos Bay Research Reserve and Vieques’ Mosquito Bay to protect from future storm damage and to preserve the Bay’s natural bioluminescence
- Provide local economic benefits through job creation and training for sustainable livelihoods
- Proactively engage members of traditionally marginalized groups in decision making and practice equity in funding distribution and conservation approaches
- Ensure the health and protection of marine and terrestrial animal life who depend on mangroves for their wellbeing
“Mangroves are another example of the interconnection between human health and well-being, animal welfare and environmental justice. At WELL/BEINGS we also promote daily sustainable actions we can all take to effect positive change,” emphasizes Breanna Schultz, WELL/BEINGS co-founder.
Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation, made it clear that “among the people on the front lines of climate change are those who live on the coast who are vulnerable to storms, storm surges and sea level rise. When we invest in mangroves, seagrass, and salt marsh we are providing a natural defense system for such communities. And, it will pay us back many times over through restored abundance including a set of natural systems that absorb the energy of the storm, the waves, the surges, even some of the wind (up to a point); restoration and protection jobs; monitoring and research jobs; enhanced fishery nurseries and habitats to support food security and fishing-related economic activities (recreational and commercial); viewsheds and beaches (rather than walls and rocks) to support tourism; and runoff mitigation as these systems clean the water (filtering waterborne pathogens and contaminants).”
This partnership recognizes that marine conservation efforts cannot be effective if the solutions are designed without engaging all those who share in our collective responsibility to be good stewards of the ocean. That’s why this project will focus on exemplifying values that demonstrate equity and inclusion for all those participating. Support from this grant will also go towards developing the next generation of leaders through a paid internship as well as support for local youth development programs.
WELL/BEINGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated with a mission to “save animals, our planet and our future” through dynamic grant making and education/awareness campaigns that underscore the interconnection between animal welfare, environmental justice and climate change.
Focused on building a next-gen movement, WELL/BEINGS promotes sustainable lifestyle and consumer choices through corporate partnerships, behavior change campaigns and programmatic guides.
About The Ocean Foundation
As the only community foundation for the ocean, The Ocean Foundation’s 501(c)(3) mission is to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. We focus our collective expertise on emerging threats in order to generate cutting edge solutions and better strategies for implementation.
About Vieques Conservation and Historic Trust
For over thirty years The Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust has been the island’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Vieques. Our mission is to foster, study, educate, protect and conserve la Isla Nena’s natural and cultural resources, with a special emphasis on the Bioluminescent Bay, conducting non-formal education activities, and facilitating scientific research. VCHT is committed to the sustainability and resiliency of all aspects of Vieques – its people and the physical and cultural environment.
About Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
This Puerto Rico reserve encompasses parts of Mar Negro and Cayos Caribe, a linear formation of 15 tear-shaped, reef fringed, mangrove islands extending westward from the southern tip of the mouth of Jobos Bay. Jobos Bay supports extensive healthy sea grass beds and includes extensive upland dry forests, lagoons, seagrass beds, and is commercially important for marine recreation, commercial and recreational fishing, and ecotourism.