The San Juan Daily Star
Méndez Nuñez seeks $1 million for Northeast Ecological Reserve
By The Star Staff
In order to protect the Northeast Ecological Corridor Nature Reserve, the New Progressive Party minority leader in the island House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez, has asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to allocate $1 million for the Natural Heritage Program.
“Our mission is the protection of the Northeast Ecological Corridor,” Méndez Nuñez said. “Joint Resolution 92- 2008 orders the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) to expropriate a plot (number 162) in the Fortuna I community of Barrio Mameyes in Luquillo in order to add it to the nature reserve to protect and conserve it for the enjoyment of this and future generations.”
In a letter sent last Wednesday to OMB Director Juan Carlos Blanco, the District 36 (Río Grande, Luquillo, Fajardo, Ceiba, Vieques and Culebra) lawmaker stressed that DNER Secretary Anaís Rodríguez Vega cannot proceed with the expropriation of plot 162 because she needs $1 million for its acquisition and does not have those resources.
“The Secretary of the DNER told us that she estimates that the Natural Heritage Program requires an injection of $1 million in order to proceed with the process of acquiring that property, which will provide depth and greater security to the Natural Reserve of the Ecological Corridor,” Méndez Nuñez said. “Given this, I am asking the director of OGP to include that amount in the government’s budget to achieve the objective of Joint Resolution 92-2008.”
“I have always defended the integrity of the Ecological Corridor and will continue to do so, so it is vital to take measures that guarantee its conservation, while allowing our people, as well as visitors from other parts of the world, to enjoy its unparalleled beauties and unique ecological content,” the legislator added.
The Northeast Ecological Corridor has about 3,000 acres of land. The nature reserve is home to multiple natural ecosystems, such as coastal forests, mangroves, wetlands, coral reefs and seagrass meadows. It also has a bioluminescent lagoon and a considerable coastline, including the beaches of San Miguel, La Selva, Las Paulinas, El Convento and La Colorá.
In addition, it is a habitat for some 860 species of flora and fauna, including around 50 unique endemic, vulnerable and/or endangered species.