This webinar is brought to you by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER)

Puerto Rico was severely impacted by hurricanes Irma, María in 2017 and winter storm Riley in 2018. As a result of this most of the coastal dunes on the north coast of the island were destroyed or degraded making coastal communities more vulnerable than ever to the effects of future storms or other effects of climate change. Since 2018 we have been restoring the affected areas are using natural regeneration, assisted regeneration and reconstruction approaches with simple but effective ecological restoration treatment prescriptions. We are using methods such as the installation of wooden boardwalks and a novel biomimicry matrix method that has resulted in significant sand accumulations in the affected areas. This has allowed us to repair breaches or start dunes in areas that were destroyed by the storms with significant success. The accumulated sand is then stabilized with vegetation. We are using unoccupied aerial vehicle technology and biomimicry software to collect baseline data, plan and monitor our restoration work. Our efforts also include an environmental education component that is helping us educate the communities on the importance of ecological restoration of coastal areas. Our project is not only restoring the coast but is restoring our younger generations creating more resilient communities and a new generation of environmental professionals that will probably turn, solutions to environmental problems, into effective public policy.

Speaker: Robert J. Mayer Ph.D., CERP, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has a B.S. in Biology (U. of Puerto Rico Rio), a master’s degree in zoology (U. of Wisconsin-Madison), and a PhD in Environment (Duke University Marine Laboratory). He is a professor of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla and directs the Center of Conservation and Ecological Restoration also known as “Vida Marina”. His center has been active in finding solutions to the problem of marine debris and the ecological restoration ecological restoration of sand dunes.

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