Environmental Impact

The Environmental Impact Study for the construction of the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort is dated March 1998. The following is a list of environmental impacts that were proposed in this document:

  • Solid waste generation of over 300 lbs daily for the 7 to 10 year duration of the construction
  • 400,000 gallons of daily water consumption for the project supplied in-part by the PR Water Authority and the other part would be supplied by the local wells (built during the early 1800’s)
  • 300,000 gallons daily of sanitary waste water disposal
  • 10,000 KVA of daily electric power demand
  • 3,000 lbs of daily solid waste generation by the completed project
  • Cutout impact of over 30,000 cubic meters of soil and fill of over 70,000 cubic meters during the construction
  • Water runoff injected into local aquifer and into a sewer system that will be discharged into the Atlantic Ocean

Our environmental concerns

 

Negative impact of water runoff into the swimming waters of the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle and endangered Green Turtle

Considered by many to be the most beautiful of sea turtles for their colorful shells, the hawksbill turtle is found in tropical waters around the world. They spend their time in coral reefs, rocky areas, lagoons, mangroves, oceanic islands, and shallow coastal areas. These turtles are solitary nesters, nesting in low densities on small scattered beaches. Adult females are well adapted for crawling over reefs and rocky areas to reach secluded nesting sites. Hawksbills are considered Critically Endangered around the world by the IUCN Red List and are listed as Endangered in the US.

Learn more about the Hawksbill Turtle here 

The green turtle is the second largest after the leatherback. They can weigh up to 500 lbs (225 kg) and reach four feet (1.2 m) in length. The adult is an herbivore, dining on sea grasses, seaweeds, algae and other forms of marine plant life. Their beak is sharp and finely serrated, perfectly adapted for grazing in seagrass beds and scraping algae off of hard surfaces. They are listed as Endangered in the US and around the world by the IUCN Red List.

Learn more about the Green Turtle here

Negative impact of water runoff to the breeding waters of the threatened Humpback Whale

Humpback whales are known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. The pristine coastal lands of the Playuela Valley become the perfect breeding grounds of many humpback whales. Water runoff from the Christopher Columbus Landing Resort would cause the contamination of the feeding, reproductive and breeding waters and would be a threat to the humpback whale population that migrates to the Playuela Valley.

Learn more about the Humpback Whale here

Contamination of the underground aquipher system

The Playuela Valley sits on top of an independent aquipher that feeds off the local rain. There are seven water wells in the property, some dated in the early 1800’s.  The Environmental Impact Study states that the Columbus Landing Resort would be consuming their water demand from these wells, depleting the fresh water reserves from this aquipher. Also, the Environmental Impact Study calls for disposal of sanitary sewage water via injection wells. To this date, the area does not count with sewer system and/or water treatment plant. Injecting sanitary waste water into these wells would pollute the aquipher system and send contaminated water into the Atlantic Ocean, home of all the endangered species listed above.

Water runoff threat to endangered coral species

The Playuela Valley coast boasts amazing coral reef formations and underwater cave systems, and is weekly visited by hundreds of local divers and snorkelers. Among these corals, there are three threatened species protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, such as the elkhorn coral, pillar coral, and massive star coral. Also, there have been sightings of the West Indian Manatee, a species considered vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 

Threat to the native Puerto Rico hat palm tree forests

The lands in which the construction is currently planned is home to the largest remaining population of the Sabal Causarium (Puerto Rico hat palm tree), a rare native species with conservation value to the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.  These trees are a very important part of the ecological balance of the region and is home to bird species such as Puertorrican Lizard Cuckoo, the Scaly-Naped Pigeon, the Zenaida Dove, the Yellow Warbler, the Bananaquit, the American Oystercatcher, the Kingbird, among many others. Even though the construction developers have sworn to protect these hat palm tree forests, there is documented video and photo evidence of the utilization of construction machinery and collection of land fill from within the base of the forest, leaving the palm tree roots exposed.