An Integrated Environmental Assessment of the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)
This report represents the culmination of three years of research
by NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
(NCCOS), Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment
(CCMA) and local partners, in the St. Thomas East
End Reserves (STEER) in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
The purpose of this work was to provide local resource
managers with a spatially comprehensive characterization
of stressors including chemical contaminants, nutrients,
and sedimentation along with their effects, and a biological
survey of the entire STEER.
The work was requested by local resource managers,
and the data and information generated from this project
establishes a baseline of conditions within the STEER, and
identifies challenges to be addressed in order to protect and
conserve the valuable natural resources within the STEER.
Funding for this project was provided by NOAA's Coral
Reef Conservation Program (CRCP). The efforts discussed
here were led by NCCOS with significant participation
from partners, including CRCP, the USVI Department
of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Divisions of
Coastal Zone Management, Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental
Protection, along with the University of the Virgin
Islands, and The Nature Conservancy. NCCOS has been
proactive in collaborating with other NOAA line offices
as well as federal, state and nongovernmental organization
partners to maximize cost-sharing efforts and reach its
goals. Their efforts and extramural funding has made it possible
to complete assessments that would have otherwise
been unobtainable through federal funding alone.
Acknowledgements: The authors wish to acknowledge the support from NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) for this project.
We would also like to thank Jean-Pierre Oriol, Director of the Division of Coastal Zone Management, Department of
Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR), Roy Pemberton (Director), DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, Anita Nibbs of
DPNR Division of Environmental Protection, Tyler Smith, Sandra Romano, Renata Platenberg, Kevin Brown, and Stanley
Lateski of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), and Rob Ferguson and Marlon Hibbert of NOAA's CRCP for help
with the planning, logistics, and field work for this project, along with interpretation of results and for providing useful
comments and editorial assistance. Erik Davenport, Larry Claflin, Matthew Poti, and Matthew Kendall from NOAA's
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment, provided valuable
input into the statistical analysis of the data. We would also like to thank Sybille Sorrentino of Virgin Island Ecotours for
graciously providing a base of operations for our field work. We would like to acknowledge the help provided by Alexandra
Holecek, Stephen Hale, John Barimo, and Jeanne Brown, formerly of the DPNR Division of Coastal Zone Management,
Division of Fish and Wildlife, UVI, and The Nature Conservancy, respectively. Finally, we would like to thank
Captains Bobby Vante, Kevin McCartney and Larry Aubain for their skill and patience in getting us safely to and from our
sampling sites within the St. Thomas East End Reserves.
Government contract labor was provided by CSS-Dynamac, Fairfax, VA.
Citation: Pait, A.S., S.I. Hartwell, L.J. Bauer, D.A. Apeti, and A.L. Mason. 2016. An Integrated Environmental Assessment of the
St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 202. Silver Spring, MD. 219 pp.
Appearing as solitary forms in the fossil record more than 400 million years ago, corals are extremely ancient animals that evolved into modern reef-building forms over the last 25 million years. Continue Reading →
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