|Andros National Parks|
The National Parks of Andros
Andros Island currently has five national parks which were declared by The Bahamas Government in 2002. The parks, formerly crown land, are to be managed by the Bahamas National Trust under 100 year lease agreements.
Currently they receive minimal active management, due to lack of funds and staffing. It is recognized that while these parks play an important role in biodiversity protection, they are inadequate to protect the full suite of biodiversity that exists on Andros.
The 1,401,048 acre Park system is the country’s largest protected area. The protected areas in Central Andros encompass the highest concentration of blue holes, land crab habitats, two portions of the Andros Barrier Reef, pine forest, a portion of the extensive Andros freshwater lens, and large areas of the North Bight mangrove/inertial wetlands that are important fish nurseries.
The Parks are habitats for the rare Bahamian Boa, Andros Rock Iguana, Andros land crabs and Atala hairstreak butterfly, and are also used by many migratory songbirds which winter in Andros.
Of all the protected habitats, the coral reef areas are probably the most diverse and species rich. The Andros Barrier Reef is unique in the region because of its large area, luxuriant coral growth, low levels of recent coral mortality and low incidence of coral disease.
The inshore and inertidal areas of Andros are a mosaic of habitats including patch reefs, sea grass beds, sand flats, creeks, bights and mangrove forests. These habitats support important species such as conch, sponges, bonefish and crabs. Many important reef species, including grouper and crawfish also use these habitats during parts of their lifecycle.
Although still largely unexplored, some blue holes contain rare species of fish and shrimp as well as Lucayan Indian artifacts.
Andros Island currently has five national parks which were declared by The Bahamas
West Side National Park
The Westside National Park in Andros covers 1.4 million acres of the island. Beginning north of the westernmost point of Andros, including Williams Island and Billy Island, Turner Sound, Pelican Creek, Wide Opening, Loggerhead Creek, Spanish Wells and running all the way south to Water Cays and Curly Cut Cays.
This area of pristine coastal wetlands protects the Bahamas’ most productive nursery area for conch and fish stocks. It is also a prime habitat for bonefish and other important sport fishes. Sport fishing is an important multimillion dollar industry which benefits many Androsians. The West Side National Park is also an important feeding area for the endangered West Indian Flamingo. In this park, marine resources will be protected from destructive fishing practices, ensuring that the West Side remains a natural wilderness for the people of Andros forever.
Andros Barrier Reef National Park
Off Andros’ eastern coast lies one of the longest continuous reef systems in the world. The two declared marine parks cover 64,834 acres and protect significant areas of reef and associated marine habitats. They will replenish the fisheries stocks in surrounding areas and will also support marine-based ecotourism.
Blue Holes National Park
Andros has the highest concentration of Blue Holes in the world. The Blue
Holes National Park is 33,235 acres and protects the blue holes as well as large areas of coppice and pinelands and a portion of the extensive Andros freshwater lens.
Crab Replenishment National Park
This area is the best land crab habitat in Central Andros. This area of 2,979 acres will be protected through management strategies that will ensure a sustainable land crab population for the benefit of the Androsian people. The Park will ensure that this important natural ecosystem will be protected forever from inappropriate development.
Grants received in 2015 from :
Eco Ed Foundation, Tucker Foundation, Caribsave, Paradise Children’s Fund, Moore Bahamas Foundation, Lyford Cay Foundation, Scotia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation and Idea Wild.