Lac Bay of Bonaire is a shallow non-estuarine lagoon of about 700 hectares, separated from the open sea by a shallow coral barrier-reef. It possesses the only major concentration of seagrass beds and mangroves of the island. It is a designated Ramsar wetland of international significance, an Birdlife International IBA (Important Bird Area) and also fulfills a critical fish nursery function for the reefs of the island. The bay has consequently been designated as a protected area and is managed by Stinapa-Bonaire. The bay has been losing effective seagrass nursery habitat surface and quality as a consequence of mangrove-driven land acclamation. This in-turn is potentially being exacerbated by human-mediated eutrophication and erosion caused by agricultural and animal husbandry in the wider watershed, as well as other factors. The number of visitors to Bonaire and to Lac has been increasing dramatically over the last decades particularly from cruise ships. Yet little has been done to document and map the various types of human use that occur on and in the vicinity of the bay which might affect the ecological carrying capacity of the bay and the critical roles it plays. In this survey we do preliminary mapping and analysis of the level and distribution of human activity in and around Lac and discuss what possible threats these may entail for the environment of the bay.
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