The Department of Environment is divided into four main sections:
The Administration Section handles accounting and finance, routing public inquires to the appropriate DOE staff, and managing the front desk.
The Enforcement Section works primarily with the enforcement of the National Conservation Law to ensure protection of the marine and terrestrial environment.
DOE Conservation Officers spend a significant proportion of their time conducting routine patrols of the marine and terrestrial environment. In cases of infractions of the law that require prosecution the Marine Enforcement Officers must assist in the preparation of case files for the Legal Department including collecting evidence, taking statements and attending Court.
The Marine Enforcement Section remains on standby 24 hours a day and is often called upon to assist in search and rescue operations for vessels or people in distress around Cayman waters.
The Operations Section deals extensively with the day-to-day maintenance of the Cayman Islands’ Marine Parks System, including the installation and routine maintenance of over 350 Public Moorings, as well as Marine Park boundary markers and signs.
The Operations Section is also primarily responsible for the maintenance of the Department’s vehicles, boats and other technical equipment employed in all aspects of DOE work. Additionally the Operations Section staff provides field and logistical support to DOE research projects as well as functioning as the primary marine pollution response team for oil spills and other pollution events.
Research and Assessment Section
The Research and Assessment Section is responsible for the design and implementation of the Department’s research agenda with a main emphasis on research projects that deal with local management issues such as the conservation of fisheries or other natural resources.
In addition the Research Section also encompasses a Sustainable Development Unit that provides technical advice and monitoring services to the Ministry and Planning Department to limit the impacts of development on the natural environment. With the assistance of the Administration Section for the processing of permits the Research Section also acts as Scientific Authority under CITES.
Marine Resources Unit
Researchers in the DoE’s Marine Resources Unit assess the status of key species, monitor habitats, and implement conservation programmes.
Our work includes:
- Assessing the status and management needs of key species such as conch, lobster, sea turtles, sharks, grouper, other reef fish
- Monitoring habitats such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves, evaluating the effectiveness of marine parks, and assessing water quality
- Spearheading efforts to control the threat of invasive lionfish
- Managing a fishing line recycling programme in coordination with the Sustainable Development Unit
- Providing aquaculture support services
- Conducting public education and outreach activities
- Assisting with the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements such as CITES.
- Implementing the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) and drafting Species Action Plans on behalf of the National Conservation Council
- Collaborating with other scientific institutions and working with interns and volunteers
Terrestrial Ecology Unit
The Department of Environment operates a small Terrestrial Ecology Unit, which deals with the protection of biodiversity in the Cayman Islands, on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government.
Our work includes:
- Establishing and managing terrestrial protected areas
- Protection of native flora and fauna
- Implementation and compliance with the National Conservation Law and Multilateral Environmental Agreements
- Development and implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plans (NBAP) and Species Conservation Plans
- Monitoring and scientific research on priority species and habitats
- Maintaining scientific collections (e.g. insectarium and herbarium)
- Partnering with visiting scientists, local and international institutions and volunteers
- Public education and outreach
Sustainable Development Unit
The Sustainable Development Unit (SDU of the Research & Assessment Section) of the DOE was set up in July 2006 to spearhead the formation of a national policy-level strategy for sustainable development. This was in reaction to the expanding advisory nature of the DOE on environmental best practices and obligations under various Multilateral Environmental Agreements that require integration of physical, economic, social and environmental development planning policies. To date the SDU has worked on a National Sustainable Development Framework, draft National Conservation Law, the draft Grand Cayman Development Plan, revised National Tourism Management Policy, Go East Initiative, National Assessment of Living Conditions study and Public Health Review, the Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean (ECACC) project, implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, and continues to advise on planning and coastal works applications.
For further information call: Department of Environment (345) 949-8469 or email: DoE@gov.ky