(829) 285-8867info@femagua.org

About Us

Working For a Better Future

Who We Are?

Get to Know Us

Fundación Ecológica Maguá is a non-profit institution destined to carry out projects aimed at the conservation and recovery of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic. For this, a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals in Ecology and Environmental Management, Sociology and Administration team up to develop projects and programs characterized by efficiency in the administration of resources and excellence in their field results in natural ecosystems.

Our History

How We Get to This Point

Fundación Ecológica Maguá is a private, non-profit organization created in Santiago, Dominican Republic, on December 1st, 2017. It was founded by a group of businessmen and academics in order to develop activities and projects that favor the conservation of the environment and natural resources of Hispaniola, particularly through education, participatory social integration, research, conservation and extension.


The work focus was initially directed at the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems, however, due to the close dependence of these with terrestrial ecosystems, it has been decided to prepare a number of proposals aimed at them, particularly aimed at sanitation, watershed management and conservation of biological diversity.


The Foundation's first steps took place long before its formal constitution, in the form of an informal group dedicated to carrying out conservation activities in Sosúa, Puerto Plata, where work began in 2009 channeling resources to work for the hand in hand with the Ministry of Environment and the fishing community of Sosúa in the restoration of the mangrove ecosystem located at the mouth of the Sosúa river, in addition to monitoring and environmental protection of the area, in works for the ecological repair of underwater ecosystems, research and coral gardening in the bay. In another sense, the joint work began by participating and collaborating with other public, private and non-profit institutions for the management of marine resources in Boca Chica in early 2018. Currently, the foundation is seeking partners and sponsorship with the In order to consolidate current projects more firmly and expand their reach to other locations.

Our Functions

What We Do
  • Fight for the conservation, protection, and sustainable use of the natural resources of the Dominican Republic.
  • Collaborate with the administration of natural spaces that contain high ecological value, including threatened ecosystems, protected areas and natural monuments through the various instruments for the management of the same that the state offers, such as the shared management or concessions or usufruct in natural areas, among others.
  • Promote organic agriculture through the development of organic production programs in communities surrounding vulnerable or ecologically valuable areas.
  • Promote ecological tourism through the development of ecotourism projects in communities surrounding valuable natural spaces, always seeking to provide sources of income for the benefit of the community.
  • Partner with other national and international institutions and foundations to develop the preceding points; among these organize assemblies and form national consortia with a view to maintaining institutional synergy regarding the conservation of vulnerable ecosystems & species.
  • Develop restoration programs for ecosystems & species vulnerable to extinction.
  • Conduct scientific research on ecosystems & species.
  • Carry out biological water remediation programs in contaminated areas.
  • Advocate environmental education through awareness campaigns, internship programs, camps, audiovisual resources and collaboration with educational institutions.

Work Areas

Places We Are Working For a Better Change

Sosúa

Our main project is developed in the Sosúa community. We are actively carrying out a set of actions aimed at the socio-economic well-being of the community and the restoration of ecosystems / species, through this, achieving the restoration of ecological health in its coastal-marine areas. To achieve the execution of the Management Plan we have strategic alliances with other institutions and initiatives that support FEM in various ways in the execution of the scheduled programs. Our main allies in this project are the Environmental Rescue Initiative, the Deep Green Foundation, Merlin Dive Center, Dive Cabarete, Superior Dive Sosua and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

Puerto Plata

We are developing local committees to direct in 2019 the first steps of ecosystem management in this area, including a bioremediation pilot, the planting of mangroves in their marine areas, restoration of ecosystems and species such as corals, fish, urchins and oysters, restoration of beaches and designation of breeding and reproduction areas for marine species.

Estero Hondo & Punta Rusia

We are forming a gear with institutions and projects that have local incidence to direct in 2019 a number of programs and actions oriented to the socio-economic improvement of the community through sustainable practices and ecosystem restoration using our experiences as a model in Sosúa.

Boca Chica

We are developing a joint project with the Deep Green Foundation (FVP), in addition to other organizations with local advocacy. Among the main focuses of FEM in the project are the coordination and execution of Environmental Surveillance and Protection, the construction of micro-reefs and the restoration of the Long spined sea urchin, while FVP focuses on mangrove restoration and coral restoration, through various methodologies.

Montecristi

We are supporting and participating in the ecosystem restoration initiatives of the Montecristi Submarine National Park carried out by the Coastal Biodiversity and Tourism Project.

Programs

Protecting Our Planet

Environmental Monitoring and Protection Program

Through conducting a thorough investigation of the physical, environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of each community in particular, we proceed to carry out activities, workshops and community meetings focused on promoting awareness and awareness of the importance of maintaining natural resources in good status and the problems that afflict them in said community. Work tables are made at the end of these workshops to take action, and one of the main ones is the establishment of ecological conservation areas. Within said area, the regulations established by the community and those established in Law 64-00 on the Environment and Natural Resources and Law 307 on fishing are rigorously applied. The program consists of two main elements, the surveillance network, made up of users of the area and coastal establishments, and the intervention unit, made up of a team that includes any of the present military authorities and the executive unit of the foundation. for that area.

Coral Restoration Program

Our coral restoration program aims to increase the resilience of corals to disturbed environments, rebuild reefs by increasing their structural complexity and coral cover, and primarily to safeguard coral species threatened with extinction. To do this, we make use of three main methodologies: The creation and maintenance of coral nurseries, the rescue of colonies and fragments of opportunity and micro-fragmentation in controlled environments. For the nurseries we use a combination of the coral gardening and reefscapers caribbean methodologies, guided by their specifications for their maintenance and monitoring. In this type of methodology we work in a specialized way with various species of branched and laminar corals. In the case of coral rescue, we make mounds and various highly complex artificial structures based on concrete, pvc, coral rock and / or reef gravel on top of them, or on dead reefs, mounting and securing colonies that have been broken or demolished by storms and physical impacts such as anchoring. In the case of microfragmentation, we have a small experimental station in Sosua where we are monitoring the growth of three microfragmented coral species.

Mangrove Restoration Program

Our mangrove restoration program makes use of the tree seedling transplantation techniques developed and the Riley’s Encased Methodology concept. We currently have some 138 mangrove plants growing in the lower basin of the Sosua river, and in other areas such as Boca Chica, we encourage the Fundación Verde Profundo to develop a successful mangrove restoration project in Boca Chica, which we logistically support by making visits to feedback and contributing to decision-making about the program. Our next steps, in addition to increasing said program in Sosua, is to hire nurserymen and local community watchmen to expand the mangrove planting on the coast of Puerto Plata and in Punta Rusia / Estero Hondo. In the past, numerous attempts were made in Puerto Plata, particularly on the Malecon and Costambar, where 286 plants were planted, however, due to lack of vigilance in the unscrupulous area, they destroyed the planting during the night. Lastly, the FEM through agreements has installed two nurseries in the ISA and in the Jardin Botanico de Santiago.

Sea Urchins Restoration Program

As a fundamental part of re-establishing coral-dominated benthic communities, the first step is to create conditions that cause a natural reconversion of bottoms dominated by macroalgae to bottoms dominated by coral. One of the steps that would have a profound impact in this regard is the restoration of the long-toed black hedgehog (Diadema antillarum) in the reef communities. For millions of years, the population densities of D. antillarum in reef environments with depths between 1 to 30mts, were recorded between 4 to 13 individuals / m2. After an epidemic event that led to the mass death of this species in 1983 (> 95%), the seabed was infested with macroalgae. Macroalgae have various evolutionary strategies developed to reduce the resilience of corals, especially by causing stress, abrasion, releasing toxins and chemicals that weaken their immune system and hosting microbial consortia in which microorganisms that cause disease in corals reproduce. As soon as the hedgehog populations were decimated, the collapse of the coral populations began, presenting in the following three years a countless number of coralicidal diseases and conditions not reported before the event. In this sense, Sosúa Bay has a significant population of D. antillarum in shallow environments (Depths greater than 3 meters), maintaining a population at densities equivalent to pre-mortality times. However, the species has been unable to recolonize environments located at depths greater than 3m, and that is why after much literary review and experimentation, we have designed a program aimed at re-establishing this species. Our two methodologies are called: Hedgehog trails, which are artificial habitat trails that are quickly colonized by hedgehogs, so that they will eventually and voluntarily descend from depths, and the capture of larvae in collectors for their captive breeding. For the development of this program we are receiving the mentoring of the specialized academic team ISER Caribe, particularly Dr. Stacey Williams, with which we implement aquaculture techniques for the cultivation of this species. We hope that in a relatively short time, a significant number of young D. antillarum adults will return to the sea.

Ecological Productivity Program

Through the construction of micro-reefs and artificial breeding habitats, we have installed in the bay of Sosua, Estero Hondo and Boca Chica countless of these structures in shallow areas for the breeding of marine species. The structures are colonized in less than two weeks by a great diversity of post-larvae and juveniles of various species that grow and then colonize the reef. The idea is to occupy all the possible productive areas with these structures to exponentially increase the number of juveniles they recruit in our areas of interest, with which we can ensure a large number of adult individuals who colonize the reef once they mature in hatcheries.

Parrotfish Farming Program

We have started in a synergistic way with the micro fragmentation of corals, the collection of post-larvae of parrot fish of various species. These fish will be reared until they reach 10 cm, when they will then be released in the preservation areas with which we are working. For this we have some 10 400-gallon tubs and 15 35-gallon fish tanks. The program has been carried out to date on an experimental basis, however, to the extent that resources can be raised, the initiative could be established on a significant scale.

Oyster Reef Program

Oysters are marine bivalves characterized by their high importance both in the food chain and in the reduction of sediments due to the filtering function they exercise. However, due to indiscriminate harvesting, and the destruction of the vast majority of mangroves in Puerto Plata, their populations are almost non-existent in most of the province. Through the construction of concrete columns lined with oyster shells, we intend to install in 2019 the first oyster reef on the beach of Bergantin, Puerto Plata. The objective of this project pursues three main points: Make a healthy nucleus of adult oysters in Puerto Plata and Boca Chica, filter and bioremediate polluted and / or sediment-rich waters, and create breeding habitats for many marine species.

The Maguá Ecological Hiking Guides

As a fundamental part of inculcating sustainable practices, and so that the community can transform itself from a form of income generation based on indiscriminate exploitation to another based on the conservation of our natural resources, working communities will form groups of guides and hikers who will be trained to develop ecotourism practices in coastal and marine environments.

Current Projects

Nonprofits Fighting for Social and Environmental Justice

Project for the Ecosystemic Management of Coastal Zones in the Province of Puerto Plata

The Project for the Ecosystemic Management of Coastal Zones in the Province of Puerto Plata (PGEZCPPP) is a joint initiative that stems from the close alliance established between the Maguá Ecological Foundation and other organizations and groups that have an impact on its areas of interest. Thanks to this link, in each place of interest, a community team is formed, interested in preserving the environment and promoting tourism. As its main objective, it seeks to establish resilient nuclei of biodiversity in the coastal area of ​​Puerto Plata, where fragile ecosystems and species vulnerable to extinction are preserved through the tools for ecosystem management, in addition to ensuring the recovery and maintenance of the fundamental ecological processes that support healthy biotic communities and ecosystems. The PGEZCPPP seeks to take advantage of the conservation of these areas to offer opportunities and livelihoods to local communities, both by promoting their development in community activities, both in ecotourism activities and sustainable practices, as well as positions and hiring, either as employees for conservation programs or as labor in ecological restoration days. Eventually, we hope that the conservation areas recover the conditions of a healthy ecosystem and that, between them, connectivity is reestablished, forming a coastal-marine biological corridor in Puerto Plata.

Participatory restoration of the coastal habitats of the Sosúa Submarine Park, Dominican Republic

Due to the intense indiscriminate and unregulated fishing activities that have taken place in the entire coastal area of ​​the Dominican Republic in more than four decades, according to the most updated studies, all the coastal marine areas of the Dominican Republic show signs of deterioration. Severe ecological, including Sosua Bay on the north coast of the island. This summary superficially presents the strategies and regulations established in the Sosua Submarine Park (Decree 634-05), following up on its management plan and being developed by the Magua Ecological Foundation with the support of the Deep Green Foundation and other members of the Local private sector including businessmen and NGO's. All our actions are carried out in coordination with other important actors such as the Environmental Rescue initiative, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, CESTUR, the Armed Forces and the local community, which includes the Association of Fishermen, landlords, NGOs, and especially , diving centers and tour operators. The management plan was formally implemented in 2009, focusing on environmental monitoring and protection and complemented by other activities such as the restoration of habitats / marine species, which currently includes (2017-2018): The growth of 687 coral colonies of the genus Acropora sp. in nurseries, transplants and domes, 138 mangrove trees constantly planted and maintained at the mouth of the Sosua river, experimental reintroduction of black hedgehogs to coral reefs, 49 micro-reefs for breeding marine fish, and experimental evaluations with different marine species / ecosystems in Sosua bay. All these initiatives are carried out with a monitoring process in which members of the local community participate as a way of integrating it into the environmental education program. Visual censuses show a significant increase in fish, invertebrates and sea turtles, as well as the recruitment of new corals on degraded reefs. Additionally, the project has raised awareness in the community, involving several fishermen working as ecotourism guides, mangrove and coral nurseries, vigilantes and practitioners of responsible fishing. In addition, students, businessmen and politicians regularly participate in activities related to the management of marine resources in the area. Our current purpose aims to increase the goods and services offered by marine ecosystems, especially, promoting tourism through the concept of geotourism, contemplative diving and the groups of national and foreign volunteer students who visit us as collaborators to initiatives. On the other hand, taking into account that current initiatives are executed on a small scale due to lack of funds, and understanding that they have the potential to form large projects, we are in the process of creating a system of collaborations, sponsorships and other mechanisms that generate entry to increase both the well-being of the community through the conservation and sustainable use of its resources, as well as the activities and initiatives of restoration and preservation of underwater life that are being carried out.

Participatory Biodiversity and Geotourism Project, Estero Hondo, Dominican Republic.

The communities of Punta Rusia and Estero Hondo are located in the northwest of the province of Puerto Plata, bordering on the province of Montecristi. In the specific case of its coastal and marine ecosystems, it is estimated that this area is home to some of the best in the country, but likewise, it is considered to be among the most vulnerable and threatened due to the anthropic pressure that they experience. On its coastline, Estero Hondo and Punta Rusia contain large extensions of mangroves, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs that develop in the form of long strips, cays, patches, and small barriers. The structural complexity of these reefs is very high, and in some cases a healthy cover of live coral can be noted. The Project for Ecosystem Management in the province of Puerto Plata contemplates in the medium term strengthening the work that has been carried out by various institutions in the communities of Punta Russia and Estero Hondo. At the moment the project is in its infancy, and the work will begin formally in early 2019, these works seek to implement initiatives and programs related to sustainable development that will be aimed at stimulating the socio-economic growth of the community and achieving restoration of its natural ecosystems. Among the most important points is the reduction of the pressure of visitors on Cayo Arena through the conformation of various attractions, such as the "Geovillage of Punta Russia", the city of rays (snorkeling area with rays and fish) , fitting out and restoration of Punta Russia Beach and Maritza Beach in Estero Hondo, and the creation of new entertainment points in the area. We also intend to replicate the experiences and initiatives of ecosystem restoration in Sosua throughout the Estero Hondo and Punta Russia area. In this 2018, the Magu Ecological Foundation is initiating links to form a gear with local advocacy actors, especially with the Coastal Biodiversity and Tourism Project, with the Deep Green Foundation, in addition to Agrofrontera, the local Summer Punta Russia Initiative, Coastal Biodiversity and Tourism Project, Punta Russia Fishermen's Association, etc.

Community Project for the Management of Marine Resources in Boca Chica

Project headed by the Deep Green Foundation, which seeks to restore the coastal and marine ecosystems of Boca Chica. The project arises from the union of the FEM with the FVP to execute a pilot project for the restoration of mangroves and coral reefs. Within the project, the actions of the FEM focus on environmental surveillance and protection work and the restoration of the hedgehog (Diadema antillarum), in addition to technical-scientific collaboration with all the project's programs.

Other Projects

  • Project for the Participatory Ecosystem Management of the Coastal Zones of Gaspar Hernández
  • Participatory Restoration of the Coastal Habitats of Playa Dorada and Bergantín
  • Participatory Restoration of the Coastal Habitats of Costambar
  • Participatory Restoration of Maimon's Coastal Habitats
  • Participatory Management of Coastal and Marine Resources in Luperón
  • Agroforestry Project for the Management of the Sosua River Basin, Puerto Plata
  • Agroforestry Project for the Management of the Rio Camu Basin, Puerto Plata
  • Ecotourism Trail "Northern Nebulous Forest", La Cumbre, Puerto Plata
  • Ecotourism Trail “Los Saltos de los Indios”, Juan de Nina, Puerto Plata
  • Project for the Restoration of Flora and Fauna of the Northern Cordillera