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PRESS RELEASE:
BIRDLIFE OF JAMAICA


BirdLife Jamaica
Questions

Hope Country Club Housing Development
Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS)



BirdLife Jamaica has reviewed the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the controversial proposed HOPE COUNTRY CLUB HOUSING DEVELOPMENT with particular interest in the faunal survey thereof. BirdLife Jamaica is the only local organization specifically interested in the conservation of Jamaica’s birds and their habitats. Where as the organization has not taken a public position on the development itself, BirdLife in a letter to the executive director of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), Mr. Franklin McDonald has noted that it finds the results the faunal survey surprising.

Pointing out that the EIS revealed surpassingly low numbers of birds in both numbers of species and individuals, BirdLife went on to state that the stated method of assessment appeared insufficient to give credibility to the data collected. BirdLife (using recently collected data and historical information from the area in question) pointed out that bird species observed in the development area on all recorded visits by BirdLife for the past years were surprisingly not found by the assessors. Contrary to BirdLife's reports of an average of 20-30 species being found per visit to the area, the EIS found only seven (7) and this seven includes such ubiquitous species as the Turkey Vultures (John Crow).

BirdLife Jamaica notes that birds are excellent indicators of the state of our environment. In faunal assessments on islands such as Jamaica, birds form a significant part of any survey of the fauna because other animal groups (such as mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians) are usually scarce and/or more difficult to sample. The great diversity of both resident and migratory birds within and surrounding the Hope Gardens including the adjoining foot hills have made this area a prime attraction for nature lovers and birdwatchers in particular. This area being unequaled as a birdwatching site within the Kingston metropolitan area. There is no doubt that further clearing, fragmentation and development will decrease the use of the area by birds generally.

The Natural History Society of Jamaica has also questioned the credibility of the vegetation and wildlife data of the HOPE COUNTRY CLUB HOUSING DEVELOPMENT EIS. Here it has been pointed out that compared to the mere hand full of plants (10 species of herbs) recorded by the EIS, some seventy (70) plant species were previously identified by a Hope Zoo task force botanist.

Thanks to current legislation, developers are now required not only to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) but to allow adequate time for public comment. Unfortunately, few of individuals know enough about an EIS to be able to comment if and when they are unhappy about a proposed development. The public, environmental groups and individuals however have a very real role to play in monitoring environmental impacts, particularly prior to the commencement of an operation. At this point, the accurate and careful collection of baseline data must be stressed.


(Catherine Levy, President)
(Leo Douglas, Media Relations Officer)

Contributed by Leo Douglas

Contact Information
BirdLife Jamaica
Mailing address:
2 Starlight Ave,
Kingston 6,
Jamaica W.I.

Office address: (Open: 9 am to 5 pm)
Dept. of Life Sciences,
University of the West Indies
Mona, Kingston 7.
Tel & fax (876) 927-1864

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LINKS
Photo of Proposed Site (800x600) |
1966 Survey Map | Objection sent to the Minister of Housing and Development | Rebuttal of Estech's EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) | Objection made to NRCA (Natural Resources Conservation Authority) | Common Sense: Where will the children play? | Common Sense: The battle of Hope Gardens | Common Sense: An offer they couldn't refuse | Common Sense: No mek dem tek it! | Common Sense: Hoping against Hope | Common Sense: Transparency and Hope | News: The Struggle Continues | Press Release from Birdlife of Jamaica | Memo from Mona Heights Citizens' Association | Letter from Stuart Lacy of WildLife Jamaica | Letter from Gloria Escoffery | Letter from Daphne & Peter Abrahams | Satire by 'Cher' | An Opposing Viewpoint from The Gleaner | Protest Letters | The Principals | Add your $0.02