The Challenge:

The 2017 hurricane season obliterated crops and much of the island’s flora. Work is needed to both recover the ecosystem and the industries around Puerto Rico’s natural environment. 

How is Hispanic Federation Helping?

We are working with local partners to protect and strengthen Puerto Rico’s natural environment, supporting green infrastructure initiatives and promoting long-term environmental sustainability.

Who Are We Helping?

Protectores de Cuencas (Yauco, Guanica and Culebra) 

With support from HF, Protectores de Cuencas is reforesting 20,000 native trees in three municipalities, work that will not only beautify the island, but also help protect it. Amazingly, Protectores foresight allowed them to protect 60,000 young, native trees at their nursery from the hurricanes destructive force. Its efforts to reforest tens of thousands more will help replant vegetation that acts as a natural barrier to runoff water that, if unobstructed or unabsorbed, can worsen beach erosion and pollution.  Additionally, they are rehabilitating beach front green infrastructure to prevent further erosion.

Conservación ConCiencia (Naguabo) 

HF funds will support the needs of artisanal commercial fishermen in the municipality of Naguabo by transitioning both their physical infrastructure and fishing practices to environmentally sustainable models and encouraging entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency. Through this initiative, fishermen will receive the training and tools to transition from coral reefs to blue water fishing of healthier open sea species that are also economically viable. This transition will create economic and environmental resilience for fishermen and remove pressure from at-risk species. They will also modernize the facilities of the fishing village with a renewable energy system and restore the surrounding mangroves to increase green infrastructure and protect against future storm surges. Additionally, HF is teaming up with Conservación ConCiencia, the Fishermen’s Association, and La Maraña to carry out participatory community planning process to redesign a part of the boardwalk and develop out the fishermen’s vision for their work.

Para La Naturaleza (Island-wide) 

Hurricane María uprooted countless trees that are critical for agriculture and a viable ecosystem. With HF funding, Para la Naturaleza aims to advance their overall reforestation goals, including plans to plant 100,000 trees and create 100 jobs in reforestation and conservation.

Sociedad Ambiente Marino (Culebra) 

Hurricane María damaged coral reefs around the island municipality of Culebra, setting back years of painstaking work. With funding from HF, Sociedad Ambiente Marino will rehabilitate, reconstruct and replenish previously existing coral farms on the island. As the Sociedad builds up these reefs, they will once again become barriers against waves and hurricanes, serving as a protective layer around Culebra. The reefs are also an important tourist attraction that helps drive the local economy.

Caras con Causa (Guaynabo and Cataño) 

Hurricane María badly damaged the wetland nature preserve and caused massive flooding in the historically marginalized municipality of Cataño. HF’s grant will help restore the preserve by repairing badly damaged pathways and reforest thousands of native seedlings. Funding will also allow Caras to reestablish their environmental program, which includes education, reforestation, adaptation and mitigation, and economic development initiatives. Additionally, Caras will build a community science lab where youth scientists will experience hands-on training to study their local wetlands and global universities will be able to collaborate while investing in the community. Currently none of the local public schools have laboratory facilities. Caras’ goal with this project is to empower the communities of Guaynabo and Cataño  through education and organizing, and to create ecotourism jobs for youth.

Salvemos Playa Flamenco (Culebra) 

In partnership with Foundation for a Better Puerto Rico, Para la Naturaleza, Expedia, and others, HF is supporting the rehabilitation of Flamenco Beach, which is essential for Culebra to once again be a top destination for local and foreign tourists. Over 700,000 tourists visit this amazing public beach annually making Flamenco Beach the most important economic engine for the residents of Culebra. The project goals include reforestation and building green infrastructure and facilities at the beach. Once the project is complete, the municipality of Culebra and the Autoridad de Conservación y Desarrollo de Culebra (ACDEC) commit to maintaining the facilities and infrastructure for the next 20 years. They also commit to maintaining Flamenco’s Blue Flag beach international distinction.