This area is the second most important nesting habitat inside the US jurisdiction for the endangered Leatherback turtle species. The current governor, Luis Fortuno, revoked in 2009 the Nature Reserve status this area had received by the previous government administration. This is the first time in the history of our island that a governor eliminates the designation of nature reserve to an area.
Two weeks ago the governor signed a new plan that claims to be more “green” and beneficial. They have named this new plan, The Great Reserve of the Northeast. This name is deceptive and misleading, since it leaves unprotected 500 acres of land within the reserve and permits the construction of various residential, commercial and high-end tourism projects within the area. Coincidentally, the patches of land that are unprotected under the new plan are the same patches of land that construction investors have been trying to develop for many years. Also, the new plan permits the construction of roads in order to interconnect these developments. The goverment has been able to manipulate the public’s and the media’s opinion by claiming that they are adding thousands of acres of land to the “Great Reserve”, but what they have failed to mention is that these acres of land are a combination of: 1. lands already impacted by residential and commercial developments, 2.underground coastal lands, and 3. lands already protected by a trust fund (Las Cabezas de San Juan).
These are some of the projects that will be permitted within the nature reserve:
1. Dos Mares Resort
2. San Miguel Resort
3. Seven Seas Resort
4. Paradise Found Villas (an apartment project)
5. Playa Azul Center ( commercial development)
These projects are of high impact to the land, but the government is claiming that they are eco-friendly developments. The new “Great Reserve of the Northeast” is a sham and will result in the fragmentation in many pieces of one of the last prestine areas of our island. The entire process to approve this new plan has been secretive, irregular and corrupt.
The Sierra Club and many other community and environmental organizations have been working hard for years in order to declare this entire area as a nature reserve and only permit the development of real eco-friendly and local business. Please help us spread the word and the truth about the misleading, “Great Reserve of the Northeast.” Our goal is to reinstall the original plan that was approved in 2008, this plan maintains the integrity of a real nature reserve, without any habitat fragmentation. The government needs to respect the participative and open process which took place when the original plan was created and approved in 2008. We demand that the Corredor Ecologico del Noreste be kept as a nature reserve in its entirity.