Improving climate change management strategies through increased conservation capacity for manatees and seagrass in Belize

Grantee:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute Belize  

Location:

Coastal Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Thematic Area:

Climate Resilience 

Timeframe:

January 2024 – April 2026


Funds from Belize Fund ($BZD):

$149,985.00 

Co-financing ($BZD):

$55,000.00 


Project Goal:

To expand our understanding of the impacts of climate change on seagrass ecosystems by utilizing the endangered Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) as a key forager across coastal Belize to ultimately reduce any impacts by providing collected data for future protections.  

Project Objectives:

  1. Increase conservation capacity to implement water quality testing, seagrass monitoring, protection and management in Belize. 
  2. Improve understanding of seagrass ecosystems, manatees, and environmental factors to assist in mitigating climate change impacts on the Belize coastline. 
  3. Launch an awareness campaign to educate Belizean citizens about the importance of seagrass ecosystems. 
  4. Utilize the endangered Antillean manatee as an indicator species to identify important seagrass habitats and measure ecosystem health through health assessments and satellite tagging  

Expected Outputs:

  1. NGO and government personnel trained in seagrass survey skills and water quality testing. 
  2. Report on the status of seagrass ecosystems  
  3. A baseline dataset of 26 seagrass monitoring sites along the Belizean coastline for future reference and comparison. 
  4. Seagrass coverage map updated 
  5. Twelve outreach events conducted at local schools. 
  6. Awareness billboard on Coastal Plain Highway installed 
  7. Public service announcement (PSA) aired on television and social media. 
  8. Five signs installed indicated areas of high seagrass concentration. 
  9. Six manatees health assessed, tagged, and tracked. 
  10. Maps of seagrass habitats utilized by manatees during tracking campaign.