Bahamian authorities urged to deal with impact of golf course development
GREAT GUANA CAY, Bahamas, Monday January 23, 2012 – A controversial, shoreline golf mega development has been blamed for coral disease and reef-smothering algae blooms on one of the Bahamas’ most pristine coral reefs.
Save Guana Cay Reef Association Limited said U.S. marine biologists, who this month surveyed the reefs on Great Guana Cay, found that reef-killing fertilizers are seeping from the development.
The group said scientists found that coral diseases and algae had risen dramatically on the reefs nearest the sprawling Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club since its construction in 2010.
“Golf courses require heavy doses of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides to remain green and attractive,” the association said.
“Scientists say this toxic dose of chemicals is seeping through the island’s porous limestone foundation, speeding growth of algae on the fragile reef, and weakening corals, making them much more susceptible to disease.”
Dr. Tom Goreau, who co-presented the findings after visiting the entire shoreline of the seven-mile island said, “These observations provide unambiguous evidence of high nutrient inputs from the golf course to the near-shore waters, with strong negative impacts on water quality and environmental health, along with strong indications that the effects are spreading to the coral reefs offshore.”
Save Guana Cay Reef said it has not received promised scientific monitoring reports since the completion of the golf course.
It added, “We call upon the appropriate authorities to investigate and control this pollution problem before it is too late and one of our most precious resources is destroyed.”