Building capacity for St. Croix East End Marine Park
The Nature Conservancey
Type Period Note:
Revised Final Report April 1, 2006 - September 30, 2009
Final project report for NOAA Award No. NA05NMF4631055, "Building Capacity for St. Croix East End Marine Park". The GCRC grant entitled "Building Capacity for St. Croix East End Marine Park" was for the purpose of increasing local capacity to manage the St. Croix East End Marine Park (STXEEMP, or "Park"). This project has assisted in the implementation of priority projects as identified in the Park Management Plan developed in 2002 and in yearly project proposals for funding from NOAA. Activities implemented in the period of this project supported education and outreach, research and monitoring for the Park, and engaging local stakeholders in management activities. Established in 2002 to protect a mosaic of fringing reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and nesting sites for endangered sea turtles, St. Croixs East End Marine Park was the culmination of a 30-year process. Since its creation, the STXEEMP has been increasingly successful at meeting its management plan objectives by implementing key actions to protect the marine ecosystems within its boundaries while managing the site for public use. However, the Park has never been able to operate at optimal capacity. In order to achieve the goal of increasing local capacity, The Nature Conservancy designed a program working in collaboration with the Division of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) involving two primary activities: (1) the development and implementation of a Volunteer Support Network (VSN) for the STXEEMP and (2), implementation of a Marine Conservation Volunteer program. These are aimed at addressing short-term institutional gaps in agency administrative, financial and technical capacity through volunteers that serve with the STXEEMP for six-month assignments and in building a long-term base of local support via the VSN. These have been vital to increasing the level of effective and efficient operation of the management authority to protect and preserve the 80.5 km2 of coral reef resources in the east end of St. Croix. This project has resulted in improved marine protected area management and financial sustainability; improved use of the marine resources through targeted local awareness projects and focused community outreach and public education activities leading to improvement in the overall health of the coral reef ecosystems of the USVI.
FY2005 CRCP Project ID 1413; Project Title: General Coral Conservation Grants; Principal Investigator: Andy Bruckner. Grant NA05NMF4631055