One of Teens4PR's founding moms just returned from Puerto Rico, where she participated at a Para la Naturaleza Advisory Council meeting. There, she was made aware of some sobering statistics regarding hurricane damage to natural and cultural resources on the island. These compound and will most certainly prolong human suffering on the Island:
• Over $5.5 million in damages to Natural Protected Area access roads, trails, equipment, facilities, and signage
• 60% of the 1,225 beaches of PR suffered moderate to severe damages.
• Over 50% of assessed coral reefs experienced moderate to significant damage and requires immediate triage.
• Over 360 vessels were stranded or sunk, many damaging coral reefs or coastal mangrove wetlands.
• Nearly $80 million in damages to over 300 watershed control projects
• Over 400 landslides were detected, blocking transportation and threatening structures.
• [Once endangered] Puerto Rican parrot, recovery severely impacted by loss of habitat and birds.
• 60% of forested PR was denuded of vegetation, and now has many downed trees. The forest structure and composition may have long term effects.
• Numerous recreational beaches closed, natural areas and parks closed, trails closed, limiting outdoor recreation
• More than 2 million cubic yards of debris have reduced landfill capacity by an estimated 20%.
• Water availability and wastewater treatment have suffered (and remains an issue in some places) due to lack of power to operate.
• Nearly 300 historic properties experienced significant damages.
• Mold and mildew caused by lack of air conditioning power are threatening many paper records, libraries, and artifacts.
• Facilities at some tribal ceremonial sites were damaged.
• Plants are destroyed at botanical gardens.
Besides supporting communities around its nature reserves and promoting sustainable rebuilding, Para la Naturaleza will also help lead efforts to address the ongoing damage to our natural and cultural resources.