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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

FEMA assigns funds to DNER for repairs at refuge, public beach in Cabo Rojo



Iris Alameda Wildlife Refuge in Cabo Rojo (FEMA)

By The Star Staff


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allocated funds to the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) to carry out repairs at the Iris Alameda Wildlife Refuge and the facilities at Combate Beach in Cabo Rojo for damage after Hurricane Fiona.


Located in the Boquerón neighborhood, the Iris Alameda Refuge protects, conserves and manages coastal and marine resources, in addition to the recreational space that is available for activities such as cycling, hiking, fishing and hunting.


“Both projects represent a significant investment for the recovery and protection of natural and recreational resources in Puerto Rico,” Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero said. “A resilient reconstruction for Puerto Rico also entails the preservation of the environment for the well-being of the local community.”


The allocation of over $1.2 million for the refuge will allow for work such as the replacement of slabs, fences, roofs and fishing ramps. The funds include over $533,000 for mitigation measures that encompass the creation of infiltration ditches, as well as the installation of nonwoven pavement and geotextile fabric structures to prevent erosion and improve resistance to natural elements.


The refuge’s biologist and management officer, Jenny E. Vázquez Morales, said the facilities support the conservation of endangered Puerto Rican flora and fauna such as the Puerto Rican boa, the ladybug, the guabairo and the black cobana tree. DNER Secretary Anaís Rodríguez Vega said “these funds will allow not only the repair of damaged infrastructure, but also the strengthening of our conservation efforts, ensuring that this refuge continues to be a vital sanctuary for endangered species and a valuable resource for the community.”


The DNER Combate Beach facilities, meanwhile, have nearly $49,000 assigned for their reconstruction. Fences, roofs and slabs will be replaced, and exterior lighting systems will be installed. Over $23,000 of the sum is earmarked to implement mitigation measures, such as installing gabions to prevent erosion and flooding.

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