Punta Chame development affecting mangroves

A tourist complex plans to remove at least 16 hectares of mangroves from the bay of Chame. The Environmental Impact Study (EIA) for the Portones del Mar Yacht Club & Resort is currently under review by the ministry of environment.

The complex will cost $ 275 million , and generate about 200 jobs during its construction with 90 jobs remaining throughout it’s operation. There will be a marina for 403 boats, hotels, residential buildings and a convention center, among other facilities. Other facilities the company have spoken of developing include a wastewater treatment plants - over the Panamanian Pacific.

While according to the EIA, the company will reforest 32 hectares of mangrove, The ministry of environment must determine if the project will pose a risk to the environmental balance.

The resort will be developed about 10 kilometers from the communities of El Líbano and Punta Chame. If the project is approved, in about six years it will change the coast of Punta Chame. This has generated both expectations and concerns among the residents of the area.

According to the EIA, Portones del Mar will affect 16 hectares of mangrove, causing the loss of forest and vegetation cover, as well as the cleaning of 4 hectares that are on the beach. The EIA determined that there are seven species of vegetation associated to the mangrove in the bay of Chame. This vegetation is refuge and food for the local fauna. In an effort to mitigate their impact, Portones del Mar intends to implement a rescue plan by conserving 23.9 hectares of mangrove and reforesting 32 hectares.

The company also committed to building a perimeter fence around the mangrove area to create protection, with buffer zone of approximately 10 meters wide, between the fence and the project facilities. Other company commitments included environmental awareness awareness signs, and training to its collaborators on the importance of mangroves.

The project has been in the works for over a decade with the NY times covering "Portones Del Mar Yacht Club & Resort and the Residence Club at Stone Eagle" under Great Homes and Destinations as a ground breaker for 2010. However, recent coverage could mean the project is gaining ground, and if the environmental plan is approved construction will begin.