Bridging gaps for a territorial marine park system in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Type Period Note:
Final Report, October 1, 2006 - September 30, 2008
"The Bridging the Gaps project was developed to support the efforts of the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) in the pursuit of designating and implementing effective management of a Territory-wide marine park system. The government was lacking a means for effectively determining how to simultaneously promote economic growth while addressing land-based impacts on the natural environment. The "gap" to effectively manage a system of marine protected areas included the information and tools needed by management and regulatory agencies to make decisions that would balance development with sustainable resources use and the effective conservation of critical habitats, endangered marine species, and a thriving coral reef ecosystem. Understanding the necessity to approach planning in the marine landscape holistically, policy makers, regulators, conservation partners and stakeholders took into consideration the Territory's current and projected development and land use needs that would affect the management of the natural resources. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) worked with the USVI's Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR), The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) and other local VI partners to increase the capacity of the government to base land-use decisions on the ecosystem needs of the USVI. The Nature Conservancy provided technical support for an in-depth spatial analysis that would become part of the ecological component of the Territory's Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan (CLWUP). The results include portfolios of critical conservation areas, areas there were appropriate for development, and a report and recommendations for how to advance a conservation decision support system for the territory (see attached draft USVI gap results). Ultimately these outputs will provide the means for selection of additional or possible alternative areas in order to accomplish the goal of establishing an effective territory wide network of marine parks within territorial and federally controlled waters. The advancements made by DPNR to increase the technical capacity for the Territory along with progress made towards the goals to effectively manage a system of marine protected areas was made possible with funding assistance from NOAA's General Coral Reef Conservation Program."
FY2006 CRCP Project ID 1413; Project Title: General Coral Conservation Grants; Principal Investigator: Andy Bruckner. NOAA GCRC Program Grant NA06NMF4630112