Jamaica has always institutionalized its environmental concerns by legislating measures to address them. Over the years, many laws have been passed which give several agencies the authority to regulate and manage the environment. However the fragmentary basis on which these laws were created has resulted in the overlapping of responsibilities of some institutions, making it difficult for these organizations to embrace some level of direct accountability. In terms of watershed management there have been concerns over the years about the increasing degradation of Jamaica’s watersheds. This has led to a series of project-based interventions aimed at mitigating and preventing the environmental and human factors which impact negatively on watershed areas. These interventions were carried out mainly through bilateral and multilateral assistance, with some varying degrees of success.
Agencies and policy makers have tried to address the degrading levels of soil erosion within the Rio Minho Watershed, caused mainly by deforestation and the activities of hillside farmers. The approach taken to address these problems and protect upland slopes has been dominated by both biological/cultural and engineered soil conservation methods.
In 2003, the UK Department of International Development (DFID) funded the joint Effective Development of River Mining Project between the British Geological Survey and the Jamaica Mines and Geology Division. The objectives of the project among others were to evaluate the renewability and sustainability of fluvial sand and gravel resources, as well as the socio-economic and biophysical impacts of sand and gravel extraction on host communities and the environment.