While FRIENDS programs are making a noticeable difference in Abaco the organization wanted to take another step forward by selecting specific goals to work towards in order to be able demonstrate measurable progress in our conservation activities. By making education a means to an end FRIENDS can take action on some of the pressing issues in Abaco: the need for conservation in the face of development, protecting our marine resources, decreasing litter and pollution and reducing invasive species. Four goals were selected for FRIENDS to focus on the the coming years. The Executive Summary of the strategic plan follows and can be downloaded here.
FRIENDS Strategic Plan Goals
Goal 1: Ensure all primary habitats in Abaco are represented in protected areas.
- Objective 1: Protect 3 primary habitats of Abaco – Blue Holes, Wetlands, Flats by working to final the proposals for the Blue Holes National Park, the East Abaco Creeks National Park and the Cross Harbour and Marls conservation area.
- Objective 2: Through community meetings and input work to identify opportunities for smaller protected areas in across Abaco.
Goal 2: Reduce human impact on marine ecosystems
- Objective 1: Establish baseline data on the health of Abaco’s coral reef and sea grass beds either through programmatic work or in partnership with scientists, and address any issues found
- Objective 2: Through public education and partnerships stop incidents of people touching and standing on reefs
- Objective 3: Establish focus on consequences of illegal actions on marine resources and their habitats (ie. how taking undersized conch will affect the overall population, etc.)
Goal 3: Reduce Litter
- Objective 1: Use Litter Index (Keep America Beautiful protocol) to establish baseline data to use as a measurement tool.
- Objective 2: Reduce highway litter through a litter awareness campaign, with a focus on Ernest Dean Highway between Marsh Harbour and the Snake Cay landfill.
- Objective 3: Reduce coastal litter with a focus on Coastal Awareness Month activities, including community based cleanups. Use standardized data collection methods during cleanups to gather information on quantities and sources of litter
Goal 4: Significantly reduce Hawaiian Seagrape in commercial and residential properties with a long term goal of reducing Hawaiian Seagrape in Abaco.
- Objective 1: Eliminate hawaiian seagrape from 100 residential properties across Abaco
- Objective 2: Eliminate hawaiian seagrape from 20 commercial properties across Abaco
- Objective 3:Engage local plant nurseries in a partnership to eliminate import and sale of Hawaiian Seagrape in Abaco while offering native substitutions.