Title: Final environmental assessment : sustained reduction plan for non-native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands National Park
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Title: Final environmental assessment : sustained reduction plan for non-native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands National Park
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: United States. National Park Service.
Virgin Islands National Park ( Contributor )
Publisher: United States. National Park Service.
Publication Date: 2004
 Subjects
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands -- Saint John -- Virgin Islands National Park
Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300646
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK



FINAL
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT








Sustained Reduction Plan
For
Non-native Goats and Sheep
Within
Virgin Islands National Park



DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
SOUTHEAST REGION


JULY 2004










This Final Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluates impacts, alternatives and associated effects for
control of non-native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands National Park.

Comments and Availability
Comments on this Final Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Goats and Sheep within Virgin Islands
National Park Environmental Assessment should be postmarked by JULY 30, 2004 and addressed to:

Superintendent
National Park Service
Virgin Islands National Park
1300 Cruz Bay Creek
St. John, Virgin Islands 00830
(340) 693-8950 extension 224

The Final EA is available for public review at the following locations:

Elaine I. Sprauve Public Library Enid M. Baa Public Library
St. John, VI St. Thomas, VI


VINP Visitor Center National Park Service Headquarters
Cruz Bay; St. John, VI Christiansted NHS; St. Croix, VI

The Final EA may also be viewed at www.nps.gov/viis or www.friendsvinp.org. Printed copies of the
Final EA can be requested from the National Park Service at the address above; electronic copies can be
requested by contacting Rafe Boulon@nps.gov.

Important Notice. Reviewers should provide the National Park Service (NPS) with their comments
during the review period for the Draft EA. This will allow NPS to analyze and respond to the comments
at one time and to use information acquired in the preparation of a Final EA, thus avoiding undue delay in
the decision-making process. Reviewers have an obligation to structure their participation in the National
Environmental Policy Act process so that it is meaningful and alerts the agency to the reviewer's position
and contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. vs. NRDC 435 U.S. 519.533 (1978).
Environmental objections that could have been raised at the draft stage may be waived if not raised until
after completion of the Final EA. City of Angoon vs. Hodel (9th Circuit, 1966) and Wisconsin Heritages.
Inc. vs. Harris 490f. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Comments on the Draft EA should be specific
and should address the adequacy of the analysis and the merits of the alternatives discussed (40 CFR
1503.3).



As the nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for most of our
nationally owned public lands and natural and cultural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land
and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the environmental and cultural values of our
national parks and historic places, and providing for enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The department
assesses our energy and mineral resources and works to assure that their development is in the best interests of all.
The department also has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who
live in island territories under U.S. administration.




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SUMMARY OF THE
FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT



Introduction

St. John Island, the smallest of the three U. S. Virgin Islands is located near the Tropic of Cancer in a
group of islands known as the Lesser Antilles that separate the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean,
and lies 70 miles to the east of Puerto Rico. Virgin Islands National Park is located on the island of St.
John. Within the Park, three plants and five animals are listed as endangered or threatened under the
Endangered Species Act. Twenty-five of its plants and one of its animals are listed as threatened or
endangered under the Virgin Islands Endangered and Indigenous Species Act of 1990. It is this
uniqueness that makes St. John a bastion of biological diversity. To date, 22 recorded archeological sites
associated with the Prehistoric Indian cultures have been located on St. John. A systematic and thorough
archeological survey of the entire island, however, would result in the discovery of many additional sites.
An estimated twenty-percent of the island is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its
archeological significance. Virgin Islands National Park was established in 1956 to protect and preserve
these nationally significant resources.

Non-native, exotic species introduced to St. John Island throughout the last 500 years have caused
extensive damage to the rich resources of the island. Without aggressive management actions to reverse
the tide of degradation caused by introduced exotic animals and plants, the rare biological and
archeological resources of St. John are in peril of being lost forever.

This primary restoration plan proposes actions to:

1) Substantially reduce non-native goats and sheep within VINP,
2) Sustain a population near-zero through fencing, monitoring and periodic removal,
3) Promote the conservation and recovery of plant and animal species and habitat, and
4) Reduce disturbance of archeological and historical resources.

Description of the Alternatives

The two alternatives considered in this Final EA include: (1) No Action, Maintain Current Management
Level; and (2) the Preferred Alternative, Reduce Goats and Sheep Within VINP and Sustain a Near-zero
Population. Five additional alternatives were considered but eliminated form detailed analysis (page 29).

Alternative 1 No Action: Maintain Current Management Level

Under this alternative, no reduction efforts would be used on the non-native goats and sheep within the
boundaries of Virgin Islands National Park. Their population numbers would continue to rise and fall
with the seasonal and long-term availability of food resources. Goats and sheep would continue to impact
Park vegetation and wildlife including endemic and Federally and Territorially listed plant and animal
species.

If left unchecked, goat and sheep populations would be expected to increase in size and area throughout
the Park. In 1998, goats and sheep were found in several VINP areas, including Brown, Leinster,
Bordeaux Mountain, Ram Head, Maho, Hawksnest, Reef, Lameshur watersheds and Hassel Island.
During the next three years they immigrated or were intentionally introduced into the Cinnamon, Mary's

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Point and Lind Point areas of the Park. From these new locations, goats and sheep have readily moved
into adjacent watersheds, causing damage to sensitive natural and cultural resources. Goats and sheep
also pose threats to public health and safety. This alternative is inconsistent with Federal mandates to
protect water, plant, animal, cultural resources and visitor safety, and as well as similar Territorial
regulations.


Alternative 2 Environmentally Preferred Alternative: Reduce Goats and Sheep within
VINP and Sustain a Near-zero Population


The program goals for the Preferred Alternative include:


1) Substantially decrease the goat and sheep populations throughout the Park to a near-zero level; and
2) Monitor and remove goats and sheep periodically, and install and maintain fences indefinitely, and
3) Minimize future wildlife encroachments through education, public outreach and partnerships.

Under this Alternative, the reduction program would occur in three phases:

1) Administration, infrastructure acquisition and selective fencing;
2) Collection using primarily baits, traps and contract hunters; and
3) Monitoring and periodic removal of remnant goats and sheep, resource education, community
outreach, information dissemination, record keeping, fence maintenance and partnership renewal.

The preferred alternative would reduce ecosystem and archeological site disturbance and promote native
species recovery. A population reduction effort by professional wildlife reduction experts through
standard baiting, trapping and collection techniques would remove non-native goats from Virgin Islands
National Park. Long-term monitoring and maintenance would sustain a near zero population because
eradication is unfeasible.

Alternative 1 Alternative 2
Al A.2
Alternative Goat and Sheep Goat and Sheep
Features Control Control
Environmentally Preferred
No Action Alternative: Trapping, Shooting
and Fencing


Goat and Sheep No reduction strategy would be Substantially reduce goats and sheep
Reduction implemented. populations throughout the Park.
Goals
Monitor and remove immigrant goats
and sheep, indefinitely.


Fence Construction 0 mile. 2 to 3 miles.


Duration of Program 0 1 year planning; 2 to 3 years removal;
monitor for and remove immigrant
goats and sheep; indefinitely.


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Summary of Environmental Impacts


For each alternative action, the Park analyzed the potential environmental impacts that would likely
occur. Environmental impacts were divided into the following categories: Native Plant Communities,
Rare and Listed Plants and Animals, Non-native Plants, Native Island Fauna, Non-native Island Fauna,
Soil and Water Resources, Cultural Resources, and Human Uses.

The Preferred Alternative is Alternative 2: Reduce Goats and Sheep within VINP and Sustain a Near-zero
Population. This action would be accomplished through selective fencing, baiting, trapping, shooting and
periodic goat and sheep removal. Under this alternative, there would possibly be minor short-term
impacts to native flora, fauna, soils, waters, cultural resources, and human uses due to the activities
associated with feral goat and sheep reduction. However, following initial reduction of non-native goats
and sheep, protection of Park resources would be immediate.

Native Plant Communities

Alternative 1 Non-native goats and sheep would continue impacts on vegetation through
grazing, accelerated soil erosion, seed dissemination, understory removal, exotic plant
proliferation and trail creation.

Alternative 2 The reduction of goats and sheep would have substantial positive effects on native
plant communities.

Rare and Listed Plants andAnimals

Alternative 1 Non-native goats and sheep would continue to impact all known populations of
listed plant species.

Alternative 2 The three listed plant species and numerous rare plants would all benefit from the
reduction of goats and sheep.

Non-native Plants

Alternative 1 Non-native plants would continue to benefit from the ground disturbance activities
of non-native goats and sheep.

Alternative 2 A large reduction of the goat and sheep populations and their disturbances would
substantially reduce long-term establishment and spread of non-native plants.

Native Island Fauna

Alternative 1 Non-native goats and sheep would continue to directly and indirectly impact
native wildlife through destruction of habitat, competition for food, and supporting enhanced
populations of predators.

Alternative 2 Goat and sheep reduction would reduce direct competition for food on many
island animal species. Loss of habitat would also decrease wetland waterfowl and near-shore
marine communities would be enhanced.




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Non-native Island Fauna


Alternative 1 Without reduction, non-native goat and sheep populations would continue to
increase in the Park.

Alternative 2 Within three years of implementation, goat and sheep populations would be
considerably reduced within the Park.

Soil and Water Resources

Alternative 1 Non-native goat and sheep grazing and herbivory would continue to reduce plant
cover and greatly increase soil erosion, sedimentation and nutrient-loading eutrophicationn) of
ephemeral streams, salt ponds and ocean runoff

Alternative 2 Reduction of goats and sheep would greatly reduce soil disturbance, destruction of
cryptobiotic crusts, and lessen soil erosion, ephemeral stream, salt pond and ocean sedimentation
and eutrophication. Cyano-bacteria make up the majority of the micro-biotic crusts but lichens,
mosses, green algae, micro-fungi and bacteria are present as well.

Cultural Resources

Alternative 1 Non-native goats and sheep would continue to destroy irreplaceable archeological
sites, historical resources, and would degrade and destroy the scientific values of these sites.

Alternative 2 One of the secondary impacts of archeological and historical sites, goat and sheep
populations would be reduced in approximately three years, thereby reducing their detrimental
impacts to these sites on St. John and Hassel Island.

Human Uses

Alternative 1 All NPS areas prohibit hunting unless it is specifically authorized in the enabling
legislation. Human uses would change "free-roaming" grazing practices. The aesthetics of visits
to the Park would be lessened due to reduction of native wildlife, reduction of plant cover, and
destruction of archeological and historic sites. The scientific value of the Park's natural and
cultural resources would decrease. Public health and safety would continue to deteriorate.

Alternative 2 Visitor use and access would be limited in some areas while goat and sheep
reduction occurs in selected areas. Reduction of goats and sheep would improve Park aesthetics,
scientific values of natural and cultural resources, and recreational opportunities. A small number
of persons would have the opportunity to register as NPS Volunteers (VIP's) and participate on a
restricted basis with the reduction program. NPS would continually work with goat and sheep
owners to keep goats and sheep at home, and perhaps assist with the control program
implementation. Goats and sheep would no longer serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and
livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases. Ranchers would continue to graze their livestock
on non-Park land (approximately 48 percent of the island of St. John); about 25 percent of private
lands are within the NPS boundary. Public health and safety would increase.






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TABLE OF CONTENTS



SUMMARY 3

I. CHAPTER I. PURPOSE AND NEED FOR ACTION 10

A. Introduction 10

B. Purpose and Need 11
1. Program Objectives: Park-wide Sustained Reduction 15

C. Park Location and Setting 16


II. CHAPTER I. DESCRIPTION OF THE ALTERNATIVES 19

A. Non-native Goats and Sheep Control Alternatives 19
1. Non-native Goats and Sheep Implementation Plan 19
a. Request Goat and Sheep Owners to Remove Stray Animals 20
b. Fence Existing Long-term Vegetation Monitoring Plots 20
c. Fence Selected Areas of the VINP Boundary 20
d. Use of Local Field Volunteers 21
e. Baiting 21
f Traps and Snares 22
g. Animal Control Agents 22
h. Tracking "Baying" Dogs 23
i. Chemical Restraint and Radio-telemetry 23
j. Capture and Disposition of Non-target Wildlife 24
k. Final Disposition and Use of By-products 24
1. Community Outreach and Education 25
m. Ecological Research and Monitoring 26
n. Restraint and Handling of Non-native Goats and Sheep 27
o. U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife Services Program 27
p. Collection by Territorial Department of Agriculture (VIDA) 27

2. Alternatives Considered but Eliminated from Detailed Analysis 28
a. Sequential Park-wide Reduction by Fenced-Zone Removal 28
b. Live Capture of Non-native Goats and Sheep and Relocation to Another Island 29
c. Use of Poison 29
d. Use of Contraceptives or Sterilization 29
e. Public Hunting on NPS Property 30

3. Alternative 1. No Action, Continue Current Level of Management 30
4. Alternative 2. Reduce Goats and Sheep within VINP and
Sustain a Near-zero Population, Preferred Alternative 31

B. Environmentally Preferable Alternative 34


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III. CHAPTER HI. AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT


A. Natural Resources 36
Wetlands and Floodplains 36
Terrestrial Vegetation 37
Native Animals 39
Endangered and Threatened Animal Species 40
Threatened and Endangered Plant Species 41
Introduced Animals and Plants 43

B. Natural Resource Threats 46
Land Use and Boundary Issues 46
Visitation Issues 46
Threats to Endangered and Threatened Species 47
Non-native/Exotic Animal Impacts 48
Non-native Domestic Goat and Domestic Sheep Impacts 49
Origin 49
Physical Description 49
Distribution and Abundance 49
Impacts on Flora 50
Impacts on Threatened and Endangered Plants 52
Potential Transmission of Goat and Sheep Disease and Parasites Issues 53
Biological Pollution (Exotic Plants) 54
Forest Recovery and Fragmentation 54
Garbage Disposal and Recycling 55

C. Cultural Resources 55
History 55
Archeological Resources 57
Historic Structures 58
Ethnographic Resources 60


IV. CHAPTER IV. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES 62

A. Non-native Goats and Sheep Control Environmental Consequences 62

1. Alternative 1. No Action, Continue Current Level of Management 62
a. Air Quality Impacts 62
b. Scenic Value Impacts 62
c. Cultural Resource Impacts 63
d. Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts 63
e. Soil Impacts 63
f Threatened & Endangered Species Impacts 64
g. Vegetation Impacts 65
h. Wildlife Impacts 66
i. Water Quality Impacts 66
j. Wetland, Saltpond and Floodplain Impacts 66
k. Park Operations Impacts 66
1. Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions 67

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2. Alternative 2. Reduce Goats and Sheep within VINP and Sustain a Near-zero
Population, Environmentally Preferred Alternative 67
a. Air Quality Impacts 68
b. Scenic Value Impacts 68
c. Cultural Resource Impacts 68
d. Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts 69
e. Soil Impacts 69
f Threatened & Endangered Species Impacts 70
g. Vegetation Impacts 71
h. Wildlife Impacts 72
i. Water Quality Impacts 73
j. Wetland, Saltpond and Floodplain Impacts 73
k. Park Operations Impacts 74
1. Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions 74

B. Summary Table of Environmental Consequences 76


V. CHAPTER V. COMPLIANCE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND
REGULATIONS 83

VI. CHAPTER VI. CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION 85

VII. CHAPTER VII. PLANNING TEAM / PREPARERS 87

IIIV. CHAPTER IIIV. REFERENCES CITED 88

IX. CHAPTER IX. APPENDICES 96

A. List of Endangered Plants and Animals of the U.S. Virgin Islands 97
B. List of Introduced Animals to St. John Island, U.S. Virgin Islands 100
C. Consultation Letter from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 101
D. Memorandum of Understanding between NPS and Department of Agriculture 104


LIST OF FIGURES

1. Location of St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands 18


LIST OF TABLES

1. Summary Table of Environmental Consequences 76









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I. CHAPTER I. PURPOSE AND NEED FOR

ACTION


I.A. INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this document is to evaluate the short-and long-term environmental consequences of a
control program for non-native Domestic Goats (Capra hircus) within Virgin Islands National Park
(VINP), St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands. Non-native Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries) would be similarly
collected from VINP as an ancillary part of the goat reduction program. Collectively their impacts to
vegetation and wildlife are similar and this document focuses on goat impacts and the environmental
consequences of a no action and preferred alternative. NPS would also be implementing a non-native
wild hog sustained reduction program (Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild Hogs within VINP
EA, NPS 2003) during the same time period to reduce costs and address similar impact types.

Animals, which are introduced or released by humans, either wild (e.g. deer), or domestic (e.g. cats), are
considered non-native by conservation biologists throughout the world. Exotics (e.g. deer) are generally
more frightened of humans, while feral animals (e.g. burros) can be very friendly to people. Each of these
species disrupts complex native ecological communities, jeopardize endangered and native plants and
animals, and degrade natural habitats.

Seventy-five percent of St. John is within the authorized boundary of VINP; however, the Federal land
comprises only 52 percent of the island. Therefore, approximately 25 percent of the land is privately
owned within the Park boundary. Because fencing and gating the entire Park is financially and
logistically unfeasible, complete removal of any of the 12 introduced mammals from the Park is
unrealistic. The next-best alternative is to substantially reduce the populations of the most detrimental
species and take ongoing actions to sustain the near zero or minimal populations.

As described in Section II.B, the National Park Service and the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA), Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS) Division, as lead
agencies would conduct the reduction of non-native goats and sheep from VINP (Alternative 2). Each
agency would have a Program Coordinator and this team would manage and supervise the program. The
Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife (VIDPNR)
would play an advisory role for the program.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed between the NPS and Virgin Islands
Department of Agriculture (VIDA) and authorizes them to trap and remove goats and sheep from VINP
(Appendix D). Both VIDA and NPS would aggressively promote the Animal Registration and
Impoundment Program throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, VIDA would play an advisory
role for the program.

All personnel involved with this program would follow the mitigation measures described in this
document for the protection of resources. These actions have been determined to be the most successful
actions available to abate on-going resource degradation and recover unique island resources.

The sustained population reduction effort would require the use of standard wildlife capture and removal
methods including the possible use of fencing, baits, traps, snares, rifles, dogs and Judas goats (animals
with radio-collars attached). Because goats and sheep are highly social animals, an animal equipped with

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a radio transmitter can lead field personnel to remote locations where goats and sheep congregate. Goats
used in this fashion are called Judas goats. The program goals include the reduction of goats and sheep
throughout the Park to zero or near-zero, monitoring and periodic removal to sustain this reduction.
Because eradication is impossible, the sustained reduction too near-zero is believed feasible. National
Park Service guidelines for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) require an
analysis of potential effects of the proposed activity on the affected environment. This Environmental
Assessment reviews these potential impacts and the actions necessary to prevent or mitigate any adverse
effects.


I.B. PURPOSE AND NEED

The purpose of the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is to undertake a control program for non-
native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands National Park (the Park). By reducing their populations
inside the Park, adverse impacts to visitors, residents, and natural, cultural and marine resources would
decrease. Collectively, goat and sheep populations pose a very large threat to the native natural resources,
long-term resource management programs of the Park, cultural resources, and visitor health and safety.

People have accidentally or intentionally introduced hundreds of non-native species into natural
communities worldwide, and while many die out, some persist and become permanent pests (Stone and
Loope 1996). It is now widely accepted that the current rates of native species extinctions are
dramatically higher than background rates; most current extinctions can be directly attributed to human
activity. Human-caused extinctions can be roughly divided into four broad categories: non-sustainable
use of resources, habitat destruction, pollution, and introduced non-native species (Soule 1990).

Introduced species are responsible for 39 percent of all recorded animal extinctions since 1600 for which
a cause could be attributed (Treshy and Croll 1994). Thus, some impacts of introduced species are
irreversible and at least as devastating as the other categories. Once established, introduced species often
become permanent unless intentionally removed (Treshy and Croll 1994).

Native wildlife, however, in island ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of introduced
species. Of the 484 recorded animal extinctions since 1600, 75% have been island endemics. Introduced
species were completely or partially responsible for 67% of these extinctions (based on the 147 island
species for which the cause of extinction is known, calculated from the World Conservation Monitoring
Centre 1992).

Islands are important for the conservation of biodiversity for four reasons: 1) a large percentage of their
biota are endemic species and subspecies; 2) they are important breeding areas for seabirds, pinnipeds,
and sea turtles, which forage over thousands of square kilometers of ocean but are dependent on relatively
small amounts of protected land on islands for breeding and nesting; 3) many islands are sparsely
inhabited or uninhabited by humans, keeping socioeconomic costs of protection low; 4) the species and
ecological communities on islands have evolved in natural fragments, making them more susceptible than
continental species to the problems of habitat fragmentation caused by small reserve size. Therefore,
restoring and protecting islands, functioning unmanaged ecosystems can be maintained without large
expenditures or significant conflict with local human populations (Treshy and Croll 1994).

Because the Park boundary is entirely inter-mixed with private or territorial lands, both small and
medium-sized mammals readily enter from adjacent lands and establish breeding populations. Also,
dozens of private inholdings exist within the boundary throughout the Park. For these reasons, the
permanent elimination (eradication) of non-native goats and sheep from the Park would be very difficult.

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The National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq [1988], August 25, 1916, sc. 408, 39 Stat.
535) mandates the parks to "conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife
therein... {to} leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Changes to the natural
communities from human actions in the parks, including the continuous and unabated invasion of exotic
and feral species, are contrary to the intentions of the Act. The Redwoods Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. la-1)
reaffirms this principle. In general, these two statutes confer upon the Secretary of the Interior the
discretion to determine how best to protect and preserve park resources. Additionally, the NPS Organic
Act, especially 16 U.S.C. 3, authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to destroy animals that may be
detrimental to parks; therefore comprehensive control of exotics and their effects in the NPS is therefore
incumbent on the agency.

On August 2, 1956, Congress established a portion of the U.S. Virgin Islands, "containing outstanding
scenic and other features of national significance" as the Virgin Islands National Park, to be
"administered and preserved...in its natural condition for the public benefit and inspiration..."(70 Stat.
940). In October 1962, Congress expanded the park's boundaries to include offshore areas "in order to
preserve for the benefit of the public significant coral gardens, marine life, and seascapes..." (76 Stat.
746). The act also specified that there was no intent to limit customary uses of or access to offshore areas
"for bathing and fishing, subject to regulations as the Secretary of Interior may find reasonable and
necessary for protection of natural conditions and prevention of damage to marine life and formations."
In 1978, Hassel Island, which is located in St. Thomas harbor, was added to the Park and not more than
$1 million was authorized to be spent to restore and rehabilitate historic structures and develop public
facilities on the island.

NPS Natural Resources Management Guidelines (1991, Chapter 2, Page 286) require that for each exotic
or non-native species present within a National Park Service unit, an individual management and
monitoring program be tailored to the particular park setting. This program includes a species evaluation,
development of an information base, monitoring, initiation of management action, and establishment of
an institutionalized follow-up program.

NPS is mandated to control/remove animals determined injurious to native flora and fauna. Management
of populations of exotic plant and animal species, up to and including eradication, will be undertaken
whenever such species threaten Park resources or public health. High priority will be given to the
management of exotic species that have a substantial impact on Park resources and that can be expected
to be successfully controlled (NPS Natural Resources Management Guideline 1991, Chapter 2, Page 286;
NPS Management Polices 2001, Page 37).

National Park Service is required to identify and promote the conservation of all Federally listed
threatened, endangered, or candidate species within park boundaries and their critical habitats. The
National Park Service is also required to protect all state and locally listed threatened, endangered, rare,
declining, sensitive, or candidate species that are native to and present in the parks, and their critical
habitats. All management actions for protection and perpetuation of special status species will be
determined through the Park's Resource Management Plan (NPS Management Policies 2001, Chapter 4,
and Page 11). Management and monitoring programs should be coordinated with other state and Federal
agencies.

Guidelines for management of species Federally listed as threatened, endangered or candidates for listing
are found in NPS Management Policies and Natural Resources Management Guidelines, National Park
Service Management Policies (NPS 2001) and guidelines for natural resources management (NPS 1991)
establish the affirmative responsibility of NPS, and the individual Park, for managing both listed and
candidate species. They also stress that management actions should emphasize removal of threats, but
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also active recovery efforts and that management should be done in an ecosystem context.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires actions authorized, funded or carried out by Federal agencies
not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species. Under section 7(a)(2) of the ESA (16 USC
section 1536), Federal agencies are required to consult with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
on actions which may affect listed species or critical habitat. Because this primary restoration plan
proposes actions that may affect the 2 Federally listed plant species and 5 Federally listed wildlife species
on St. John Island, NPS would consult with USFWS on likely effects to those species (Appendix A and
C). The St. Thomas Lidflower and Prickly-ash Recovery Plans stipulate that trampling and grazing by
non-native goats and sheep were a factor in the decline of each of these species and should be removed
from the island to prevent continuing habitat degradation on St. John (USFWS 1988). The USFWS
determined that this proposed action would have no impact on listed species or migratory birds; in fact, it
would most likely greatly benefit them (see Appendix C).

National Park Service management also seeks to preserve and foster appreciation of cultural resources in
NPS custody through appropriate programs of research, treatment, protection, and interpretation (NPS
2001). Guidance for cultural resources management in NPS units is found in National Park Service
Management Policies (NPS 2001) and Cultural Resources Management Guidelines (NPS-28).
Management of cultural resources in NPS units is subject to the provisions of the National Historic
Preservation Act (16 USC 470 et seq.), the National Environmental Policy Act (42 USC 4371 et seq.), the
American Indian Religious Freedom Act (42 USC 1996), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's
regulation regarding "Protection of Historic Properties" (36 CFR 800), the Secretary of the Interior's
"Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation (FR 48:44716-40) and "Federal
Agency Responsibilities under Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act" (FR 53:4727-460).

With the exception of bats, the Virgin Islands National Park is presently inhabited by numerous species of
non-native mammals that have produced severe impacts on many indigenous species of plants and
animals and threats to visitor safety (Appendix B). Feral or wild mammals include the white-tail deer
(Odocoileus virginianus), donkey (Equus asinus), domestic goat (Capra hircus), wild hog (Sus scrofa),
domestic sheep (Ovis aries), cattle (Bos taurus), West Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus), tree
rat (Rattus rattus), Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), house cat (Felis catus), domestic dog (Canis
familiaris), and house mouse (Mus musculus). Some of these species also threaten visitor experience and
safety. Increasing populations of these species are seriously affecting native species of plants and
animals. Additionally, introduced species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and plants are impacting
the fragile environment (see Appendix B, List of Introduced Animals to St. John Island).

Non-native domestic goats (Capra hirus) and domestic sheep (Ovis aries) are ungulate species not native
to North America or South America; but are from South West Asia (Gordon Luikart et. al. 2001). In
Europe, the domestic goats came from South West Asia already domesticated. Christopher Columbus
first brought goats and sheep into the West Indies in 1493. The Danes brought non-native goats and
sheep to St. John in 1718 when they colonized the island. Goats and sheep have established non-native
breeding populations in many areas and all habitat types of the Virgin Islands National Park.

A few residents say all goats and sheep have owners, and many people keep goats or sheep in herd sizes
ranging from a few animals to several dozen. Many residents believe that "free-ranging" goatherds in the
Park are not owned by ranchers. The Park has experienced goat and sheep grazing since it was
established in 1956. The original areas of goat encroachment included: portions of Leinster Bay near the
Johnny Horn Trail; Bordeaux Mountain area above and including much of the Lameshur watershed; the
East End near the NPS Firing Range; the upper-eastern portion of Hawksnest Bay; and the Ram Head
area. By the early 1990's, free-ranging goatherds were established in each of these areas, Mary's Point
and Brown Bay. In 1999, 5 goats were abandoned at the former seaplane ramp at Lind Point. Finally, in

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the summer of 2000, approximately 12 goats were abandoned on the North Shore Road immediately
inside the Park boundary above Cruz Bay.

A conservative non-native domestic goat estimate within Virgin Islands National Park is from 600 to
1000 animals, and the present area of impact is essentially 95% of the Park, including the most sensitive
and rare forest habitat types found in the Caribbean region. A conservative non-native domestic sheep
estimate within the Park is approximately 50 animals. These estimates include animals that live in the
Park and omit animals that graze the Park routinely, but live outside the Park, a situation that occurs at
Bordeaux Mountain and the East End portion of the Park. Moreover, because of the dramatically
increased herd size at Ram Head/Lameshur, and Brown Bay/Leinster, natural resource degradation would
continue at an accelerated rate. In addition, perhaps the worst aspect is the new introductions at Lind
Point and along the North Shore area, because goats could be impacting as much as 100% of the
terrestrial Park, within a few years.

Goats and sheep are selective browsers, which mean they select for their favorite foods, and then only
browse them (Coblentz 1974, 1977, 1978, and 1980). Goats and sheep tend to graze small shrubs and
grasses very close to the ground and may even tear the roots from the substrate, preventing regeneration.
The most fragile forest community on the island is the dry forest, which predominates, in the southeastern
portion of the island. These communities may have the smallest possibility for recovery, and both their
species composition and total individual numbers are low. In addition, steep semi-barren cliffs dominate
this area, making a perfect habitat for the sure-footed goat. Precious topsoil is lost and degrades the coral
reefs below the cliffs. Some individuals from the main Ram Head herd frequent the Lameshur Bay
watershed, perhaps in search of water in the moist forest found there. This occurs on an almost daily
basis and has continued unabated for the past several years. This is especially devastating because the
Lameshur watershed forms a very large portion of the core area of the Virgin Islands National Park
Biosphere Reserve.

Goat and sheep herds are capable of denuding large areas of all vegetation, including trees (through bark
stripping) and cactus (Katahira and Stone 1982; Mueller-Dombois and Spatz. 1975). The VINP represents
possibly the largest and best example of dry tropical forest remaining in the Caribbean and these exotic
species are having a serious impact on its health and sustainability. The spread of many non-native weed
species is greatly facilitated by the transport of their seeds by animals and the presence of bare,
unvegetated ground. Goats and sheep feed on the seed heads of annual exotic grasses and other weeds.
The seeds emerge from the animal's digestive system intact and able to sprout. Goats and sheep also
carry seeds in their coats, having the ability to transport seeds many miles from the source point. Further,
the grazing and trampling by goats and sheep removes vegetative cover and creates bare ground for
establishment of non-native plants (Yocum 1967).

Their hooves and browsing activities create trails and cause erosion precious topsoil from steep hillsides
into adjacent wetland and marine environments. The sediments smother coral reef and sea grass
ecosystems and reduce sunlight necessary for photosynthesis. The nutrients carried with the sediments
cause algal and bacterial blooms that rapidly deplete the oxygen. The eutrophic result causes animals to
move or remain and perish.

The only other wildlife that may be affected by changes in habitat created by goat and sheep browsing
and grazing are the native and migratory birds. Nesting habitat in the native forests may be slowly and
subtly changed (Scowcroft and Hobdy 1987). Food sources may also be changing as native plant species
change in abundance and composition, and exotic plant species are introduced and spread (Stone et. al.
1992).



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Goat/vehicle collisions within the Park are also a concern of managers and the public. These accidents
usually caused inconvenience to the driver and passengers of the vehicles and led to vehicle damage.
Drivers and passengers have been injured and some require a trip to the hospital. National Park Service
Management Policies (4:6) authorizes control of animal populations "when they present a direct threat to
visitor safety."

St. John Island contains a rich archeological record of the Prehistoric Indian culture contained in 22
recorded sites, with the earliest human occupations dating nearly 4,000 years ago. A systematic and
thorough archeological survey of the entire island, however, would likely result in the discovery of many
additional sites. Sites range from isolated artifacts to huge, stratified sites spanning a period of 4,000
years. The large number, diversity and relatively undisturbed nature of the island sites provide excellent
research opportunities for archeological investigations into human adaptation in a context of changing
environments and cultural conditions. Goat and sheep grazing has damaged a number of island sites, such
as Cinnamon and Reef bays. The information potential of some shallow sites and surface scatters has
been completely destroyed by goat and sheep grazing.

Goat and sheep grazing in the upper layers of deeper, more complex stratified sites profoundly disturbs
time and spatial relationships and destroys the context of the information contained in these sites.
Continued goat and sheep grazing of archeological sites on the island would likely result in the loss of
integrity, and ultimately loss of the values which make these archeological sites eligible for inclusion in
the National Register of Historic Places.

The long history of grazing by non-native ungulates has greatly accelerated erosion of soils on St. John.
Large areas have been denuded of vegetation and are eroded down to bedrock. Trampling by goats and
sheep exposes substantial sections of land to erosion by water and wind. This ensures that the native
plants would not be able to recover, and also floods reefs with choking silt. Erosion and trampling cause
disturbance to archeological sites that have long been protected from erosion by vegetation.

Program Objectives: Park-wide Sustained Reduction. The NPS proposes to implement a goat and
sheep management program for Virgin Islands NP. The overall objective of the goat and sheep
management program is to manage the Park according to NPS mandates and guidelines. This can be
accomplished by preventing goat and sheep from interfering with the natural processes and perpetuation
of natural features and native species, halting range expansion of goats and sheep, and preventing the
threat to public safety from these species on the roadways within the Park.

The Virgin Islands National Park General Management Plan (1983) and Resources Management Plan
(1999) identified the need to remove non-native animals and exotics from VINP. The objectives for
management of non-native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands National Park include:

1. Protect the native species and natural processes of the Park ecosystems by reducing the
impacts of goats and sheep on these species and processes.

2. Protect rare, endangered, or threatened species, and their habitat, by reducing goat and sheep
populations and impacts on areas species and ecosystems.

3. Protect wetland, saltpond, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and their native inhabitants, by
reducing goat and sheep populations and their sedimentation and nutrient-loading impacts.

4. Ensure the opportunity for visitor experience of undisturbed natural processes by reducing
the effects of goat and sheep activity upon aesthetic and wilderness values of the Park.

5. Protect public health by monitoring goat and sheep populations and collected animals for
possible diseases communicable to humans, livestock or wildlife.
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6. Minimize adverse effects of goats and sheep, and control methods upon resources adjacent to
the Park.
7. Conserve archeological sites threatened by accelerated erosion by goat and sheep trampling.

8. Initiate conservation and restoration of soil and wetland resources damaged by the activities
of goats and sheep.

9. Control and reduce the spread of invasive, non-native plants caused by the activities of goats
and sheep.


I.C. PARK LOCATION AND SETTING

Virgin Islands National Park is located near the Tropic of Cancer in a group of small islands known as the
Lesser Antilles that separate the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. The most northwesterly of this
clustered island chain are the Virgin Islands of the United States and Great Britain, and approximately
113 kilometers (70 miles) to the west, the U. S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The U.S. Virgin Islands,
made up of three main islands and 57 smaller, mostly uninhabited islands and cays, are found near the
crossing of 18 degrees north latitude and 64.5 degrees west longitude. The island of St. John (52 square
kilometers or 20 square miles) is the smallest and least developed of the three main U.S. owned Virgin
Islands. St. Croix (218 square kilometers or 84 square miles) lies approximately 64 kilometers (40 miles)
to the south of St. John, and St. Thomas (83 square kilometers or 32 square miles), lies about 4 kilometers
(2.5 miles) to the west.

Virgin Islands National Park comprises 52 percent (2,816 hectares or approximately 10 square miles) of
the island of St. John. Established in 1956, the park was expanded in 1962 to encompass 2, 287 hectares
(8.7 square miles) of the surrounding waters. Of the NPS land on St. John, either private interests or the
Virgin Islands government owns three square miles. In 1978, Congress authorized the addition of
approximately 135 acres on Hassel Island in the Charlotte Amalie harbor, St. Thomas to the Park. The
NPS has acquired most of the land on Hassel Island and has limited first right to match any offers on most
of the remaining private properties. The Virgin Islands government also owns small parcels of land on
Hassel Island. Also, on St. Thomas, approximately 15 acres in the Red Hook area are under park
jurisdiction and, until recently, served as the Park's administrative purposes; and approximately five acres
at Wintberg for administrative purposes.

Because of the internationally significant natural resources, Virgin Islands National Park was designated
an international biosphere reserve in 1976, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization; and is among the few biosphere reserves with both marine and terrestrial resources. The
Park was included in the United Nations Biosphere Reserve System as a representative example of Lesser
Antillean cultural and natural ecosystems.

Virgin Islands National Park contains examples of most tropical Atlantic terrestrial, coastal and marine
ecosystems. These include various examples of subtropical dry to moist forest, salt ponds, beaches,
mangroves, seagrass beds, corral reefs and algal plains. Terrestrial topography is quite dramatic with
average slopes being 30 percent. The highest elevation at Bordeaux Mountain (1,277 feet) plunges
sharply to the sea over a distance of three-quarters of a mile. Rock petroglyphs, middens and three
settlements are several of the remains of prehistoric cultures found to date. European settlement patterns
and plantations systems significantly altered St. John's biology and ecology by removing native forests,
mining corals for construction, building structures, terraces, rock walls and roads, and importing
vegetation and mammals. The plantation settlements took advantage of the labor of enslaved Africans.

For most of the year temperatures are in the seventies and range from the mid-sixties in the winter months
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(November-February) to the high eighties in the summer months (July- September). All precipitation is
in the form of rainfall. The average annual rainfall in the Virgin Islands is only about 41 inches, but
variation from year to year is considerable. The average on St. John is from 35 inches of rain on the south
and east end to 41 inches in the interior. During the year rainfall pattern show an erratic distribution. It
varies from a fraction of an inch in a dry month to as much as 18 inches in a single event. Unlike other
tropical regions, the Virgin Islands do not show marked climatic seasons except perhaps more
precipitation in the rainy season (May and June and September through November). Water conservation
is a way of life in the Virgin Islands. The prevailing winds for most of the year are the South East Trades.
The winds from this direction allow for slightly more precipitation on the north side of the island than the
south side and favor higher lands.

The last four decades have brought considerable change on St. John through the development of vehicular
transportation and roads, resorts, and other tourist facilities. In terms of visitor attractions, scenery,
beaches and spectacular marine gardens are the most significant features of Virgin Islands National Park.
However, there are an estimated 250 historic structures within the Park, most of them remnants of the
Danish sugar plantation era, which are increasingly popular with visitors. Over the past ten years,
visitation to the Park has averaged approximately 942,800 persons annually.






































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Figure 1. Location of St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands


NAUTICAL MILES

g0 o 100 150 200 250 300


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II. CHAPTER II. DESCRIPTION OF THE

ALTERNATIVES

The alternatives address the management of domestic, non-native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands
National Park. Alternatives were derived through the public scoping process and in cooperation with the
Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA)
Wildlife Service program (AHPHIS). The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that a
reasonable range of alternatives be developed to provide decision-makers and the public with a clear basis
for choice (40 CFR 1502.14). Case law has determined that reasonable alternatives include those that are
technically and economically practicable and feasible, using common sense, rather than those that are
simply desirable (46 CFR 18027, Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning CEQ's NEPA RI ,,,,, I, i,).

The alternatives detailed below were developed to focus on issues identified by NPS resource specialists,
goat and sheep reduction experts and other control experts, government regulatory agencies, and the
general public. Chapter VI, Consultation and Coordination, lists all agencies and organizations that may
have provided input regarding the proposed action.

This chapter describes the alternatives that were analyzed in this Environmental Assessment for reduction
of non-native goats and sheep within Virgin Islands National Park. Following a brief description of
control techniques for implementation (II.A.1), the alternatives for goats and sheep are (1) no action; and
(2) reduce goats and sheep within VINP and sustain a near-zero population, the Environmentally
Preferred Alternative.

The comprehensive sheep and goat management program is outlined in three phases, which are detailed
below and comprise a range of alternatives. Several methodologies are necessary to accomplishment
management goals efficiently and humanely throughout the remote and challenging park and indefinite
time period. Initial actions focus on humane goat and sheep removal from VINP, the later actions focuses
on preventing additional encroachment. The action would be accomplished primarily through, baiting,
trapping and limited shooting. Secondary techniques for possible future control consideration include
use of tracking "baying" dogs, snares, and radio-telemetry for "Judas" goat collection alternatives.
Partnership renewal focusing on ongoing education to minimize new goats or sheep from entering VINP
is of paramount importance. The description of the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is located in
the document after Alternative 2. A majority of goats and sheep removed from VINP would be donated
to wildlife ranches or donated for general utilization. All aspects are thoroughly described in appropriate
sections of this document.

As required by NEPA, Alternative 1 is included as a "No Action" alternative, serving as benchmarks
against which other action alternatives can be compared. This alternative represents the state of the
management of these non-native wildlife populations within Virgin Islands NP at the time. Chapter
II.A.2 contains a section that explains the rationale for dismissing other methods or alternatives from
consideration and detailed comparative analysis.


II.A. Non-native Goat and Sheep Control Alternatives

II.A.1. Non-native Goat and Sheep Implementation Plan



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This section describes available control and related techniques and methodologies for non-native goat and
sheep control in the Park, including fencing, shooting, baiting, trapping, snaring, dogs, chemical restraint
and radio-telemetry. Limited use of field volunteers for goat and sheep collection is addressed. Final
disposition of collected animals including land burial and charitable meat donation are included. The
section concludes with a section describing public outreach, information and education. The term collect
as used in this document refers to a captured or dispatched animal.

Request Goat and Sheep Owners to Remove Stray Animals
Prior to implementing a plan to reduce goats and sheep from the Park, owners of goat and sheep herds
would be requested by letters and press releases to remove their livestock from within the boundaries of
Virgin Islands National Park. Owners would be required to remove their animals within 60 days of the
start of the reduction program. At the close of this sixty-day period, any goats and sheep within the Park
would be considered abandoned property, and collected to protect Park vegetative communities from the
negative effects of grazing by goats and sheep (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Part 2.15(5)(c):
pets or feral animals). The Virgin Islands Code, Title 19, Section 2616 (a): "any animal found running at
large, or tied on public property or on private property without the consent of the owner of said property,
shall be taken up by animal wardens and impounded in an animal shelter, and there confined for
disposition in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter."

Fence Existing Long-term Vegetation Monitoring Plots
Fencing is expensive but perhaps feasible for small areas, therefore, existing long-term vegetation
monitoring plots (research exclosures) would possibly be fenced. Currently, at least 26 special protection
areas in VINP have been identified but remain unfenced. A network of long-term ecological monitoring
plots, representing a range of plant community stand ages and land-use histories, has now been
established in each of the following forest types on the island: upland moist, gallery moist, dry evergreen
woodland and dry evergreen scrubland. Peter Weaver (1999) has established 16 plots in the dry
evergreen and moist forest of the Cinnamon Bay watershed; the New York Botanical Garden has three
plots covering upland moist, gallery moist and dry evergreen woodland; and the Smithsonian has two
plots covering dry evergreen woodland and dry evergreen scrubland. In addition, the USDA-NRCS has
five long-term plots in the Lameshur and Cinnamon Bay watersheds to measure soil temperature and
moisture. Information on forest regeneration, tree seedling growth, changes of species composition and
forest structure are gathered by researchers through Memorandums of Understanding, Cooperative
Agreements and direct National Park Service funding.

Fencing these long-term monitoring plots would provide an immediate protection solution, but must be
regularly monitored and maintained protect them from encroachment by wildlife, vegetation or human
encroachment or storm damage. Other endangered, rare or unique concentrations of plants or animals
would be identified for protection as warranted. The need for special protection fencing depends on the
size, location and long-term plan for the existing research area. Careful consideration must be provided to
ensure: 1) archeological clearances, 2) appropriate, environmentally sensitive installation, and 3) accurate
maintenance funds are obligated.

Fencing would be constructed from vinyl-coated galvanized chain-link fence with 7-foot metal spade
posts manually driven 2 3 feet into the substrate and appropriately spaced. Diagonals near gates would
provide stability and the use of cement would be minimal.

Fence Selected Areas of the VINP Boundary
Ungulate-proof fences would be considered for installation to permanently restrict their access to park
land immediately adjacent to Herman Farm, L' Esperance and Catherineberg, and within portions of
Brown, Reef, Lameshur, Cinnamon, Hawksnest and Francis bays, the NPS Range, Rams Head and Hassel

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Island. These locations have been historically breached by goats or sheep, and allow easy entry into
VINP. Where necessary restricted-access, ungulate-proof gates would be installed and maintained; these
gates would not change human access to park lands. During fence installation the opportunity would be
used to collect subsurface archeological information on a systematic basis by mapping and shovel-testing
the post holes as they are dug. NPS may provide money to assist ranchers with fence installation or repair
to reduce non-native animal encroachment of NPS lands.

Fence installation would follow consultation with goat and sheep ranchers, and VIDA would typically be
consulted. Their assistance and cooperation would be solicited and encouraged throughout the ongoing
goat and sheep reduction program. Enhanced community outreach through numerous governmental and
non-governmental organizations would continue to be an essential and ongoing component.

In arid and semi-arid regions, goats need freestanding water to drink and they occasionally congregate
around watering holes. By taking advantage of this they can be trapped with fences surrounding the
watering hole using a one-way entrance.

Use of Local Field Volunteers
The Volunteers-In Parks (VIP) program would be used to involve St. John and St. Thomas residents to
share their knowledge, labor and hunting skills to assist with specific goat and sheep collection activities.
Local knowledge would be gathered from island residents regarding trap design, manufacture, placement,
seasonality, fruiting cycles, movement patterns, and bait choice. This program responds to a cultural
tradition which includes a long history of goats and sheep on the island, and what is known
archaeologically about enslaved African Americans, and others, supplementing their diets, (at least in
some areas of the Americas), through hunting, fishing, and trapping (Olwig 1985).

VIP's authorized by VINP would participate under the exclusive direction and authority of the Park
Superintendent (or his designee); such VIP's would be prohibited from using firearms and must
participate within the guidelines established by the NPS and USDA Program Coordinators. VIP's may be
used to install and maintain fences near the VINP boundary or selected vegetation monitoring plots.

Baiting
Baiting would take place with careful monitoring to ensure consumption by target species. Small bait
stations would be established in various locations within the Park. A single aged ram generally leads a
herd. If he can be removed, the remaining animals can often be readily collected. However, lead rams
are often challenging to collect. Bait stations may or may not operate concurrently depending on
available personnel, placement and climatic conditions. Temporary bait stations would be initially
established within or near areas of high goat and sheep concentrations as determined by field
observations, track and scat data. No specific bait is considered ideal for goats or sheep; therefore, traps
would be initially baited with shelled corn, although other baits, including water, would be tested. As
animal concentrations change and move within a watershed, bait station locations would also change.
Because goats and sheep are mobile between wet and dry seasons, temporary and non-fixed bait stations
would be employed. Goats and sheep may not bait into an area, but through baiting efforts, they may
become concentrated in an area.

During the bait station acclimation period, field observations, scat and track analysis would allow field
personnel to estimate the population size using the bait station. As animals are removed from the
surrounding area, those numbers could be compared with the initial population estimate to determine the
reduction percentage for the general area. Careful data collection and record keeping would be
supplemented with photography.


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Traps and Snares
Initially, trap usage might represent the highest number of animals collected for the least amount of
human effort. Therefore, a few different models or techniques would be employed to collect goats and
sheep, including single box and multiple corral-style live traps, drop nets, and snares. Trap success is a
function of natural food availability, environmental conditions, goat and sheep population densities and
distribution, trap placement, trap design, age and previous trapping activity (Fox and Pelton 1977).
Portable, chain-link single-catch traps have been the most practical and efficient traps for capturing goats
and sheep in many areas. These may be constructed for remote use in this program, in addition to the
multiple-catch corral trap envisioned to capture the majority of trapped goats and sheep. Live-capture
traps may be assembled in the field and dismantled for movement to a new site. While live capture traps
are more expensive to obtain and use, they are preferred over kill traps. VIDA employs multiple-catch
corral traps relatively effectively throughout the territory for capturing goats and sheep.

Rigid, heavy-gauge welded wire panels measuring 4 x 8 feet would be wired together and fastened to an
independent, one-way door. Three panels form a triangular corral trap capable of holding several
animals. Additional panels may be joined to increase the corral size. Pre-baiting with no door may be
necessary.

Although trapping is an effective control method and might remove many goats and sheep from the Park,
it has some limitations. For example, some animals may be or would become "trap shy" and may avoid
traps regardless of bait type or trap location. In addition, it is difficult to transport traps to some areas of
the Park due to the remote, rugged and steep terrain or without causing serious impacts to natural or
sensitive areas. Finally, in terms of time, trapping is extremely labor-intensive. Therefore, the most cost-
effective method for controlling goats and sheep in the Park is a combination of trapping and shooting.

Live traps are the preferred method of capture; neck snares may be used rarely in conjunction with
independent bait stations. Traps and snares would be inspected at minimum 12-hour intervals; many may
be checked at smaller time intervals. Initial trapping typically yield the highest ratio of animals collected
over time and this value drops over time until trapping in the area is no longer cost effective.

Neck snares would only be considered for deployment under rare circumstances and in remote locations.
Neck snares would be constructed using slip-wire and secured close to the ground along established
corridors frequented by goats and sheep and remote from human activity. Wildlife conservationists
consider these to be live traps for virtually all targeted wildlife captured. However, white-tailed deer
sometimes behave erratically and may readily suffocate and quickly (and humanely) die. Neck snares
would be employed in selective and remote areas to lead rams. Cost-effective and only in areas where
other collection methods have failed. Capture and disposition of nontarget wildlife is addressed in a
separate section below.

Guidelines for trapping goats and sheep include:

1. Trap inspection within 12 hours maximum intervals,
2. Trap placement remote from visitors (when feasible),
3. Plot trap locations on topographic maps using global positioning system (GPS), and
4. Coordinate trapping efforts by NPS/USDA program coordinators.

Animal Control Agents
Most goats and sheep would be collected from Brown, Leinster, Reef, and Lameshur bays, Ram Head and
Hassel Island. Additionally, goats and sheep would be collected from NPS property throughout St. John
and Hassle Island, because they inhabit a majority of VINP.

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Trained and certified animal control agents would collect goats and sheep on the ground or from
temporary tree stands, with the possible use of the techniques and technologies described below. USDA
APHIS and NPS personnel would be qualified and certified for the centerfire rifle or shotgun used to
dispatch goats and sheep, a silenced pistol may be employed to safely dispatch some corralled animals.
Firearms used for this program would be equipped with telescopic scopes and silenced muzzles (except
the shotgun). Transportation of field personnel may include trucks, jeeps, horses, all terrain vehicles and
boats. Temporary tent camps may be established in remote areas.

Large-scale wildlife collection operations would be closely coordinated with the public, Virgin Islands
Territorial Government officials, in particular VIDA, NPS Law Enforcement, Interpretation Rangers, and
Maintenance personnel. Resident and visitor safety is of paramount importance, along with the humane
treatment of wildlife during all program operational phases. Direct reduction activities would be well
organized by NPS and USDA Program Coordinators and Law Enforcement authorities. NPS Law
Enforcement personnel and others would ensure proper closure and visitor clearance from each area, as
necessary. Personnel safety would be of greatest concern at all times. Field personnel would be equipped
with both a two-way radio and cellular telephone linked through the newly renovated VINP radio system.
A full-time NPS dispatcher would ensure smooth communication between all field personnel. Most
collections would be small-scale operations using single or corral traps.

Tracking "Baying" Dogs
Use of well-trained and experienced tracking "baying" dogs can be extremely cost effective when seeking
to remove a small number of trap-shy individuals. Use of dogs would be considered for humanely
collecting individuals where other alternatives have failed. The removal of goats or sheep from remote,
densely vegetated locations would possibly require the use of trained tracking dogs. These specialized
animals would be brought in from the U.S. mainland and maintained under strict control at all times.
Dogs would be under the control and guidance of USDA Program Coordinators and visitor safety would
be foremost in all operations.

Every successful NPS goat and sheep reduction program on an island or the mainland environment has
relied upon the use of tracking dogs to locate goats or sheep. Tracking dogs are being used at Hawaii
Volcanoes and Channel Islands National Parks to locate goats in steep terrain, and in dense brush and
forest. They would only be used to locate goats and not contact the goats. As they would be under strict
control at all times, they would produce no impacts to ground-nesting birds. Dogs, prior to being allowed
in the Park, would be vaccinated for all common canine diseases. The USDA would be required to
submit inoculation documentation.

Chemical Restraint and Radio-telemetry
Because goats are highly social animals, one equipped with a radio transmitter can lead field personnel to
remote locations where goats congregate (Taylor and Katahira 1988; White and Garrott 1990). A goat
used in this method is termed a "Judas" goat. Before fitting an adult goat with a radio transmitter, the
animal must first be captured and restrained through injection of chemical sedatives. The fastest, safest
and most humane method to restrain goats for attaching a radio collar is through chemical restraint.
Standard large-animal restraint drugs would be used to temporarily sedate trapped goats. USDA-APHIS
personnel have extensive training in the preparation and use of chemical restraint and immobilization
drugs for large (and small) animals throughout North America (Kreeger 1997). Their experience includes
many successful goat and sheep reduction or eradication programs.

Telazol is a combination of tiletamine and zolazepam and would be used in conjunction with Rompun to
reduce nausea (Kreeger 1997). Goats and sheep are particularly susceptible to overheating and would be
kept in the shade with provisions for wetting them down as necessary (IWVS 1991) Intramuscular

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Telazol injections would be administered by either a jab stick, blow gun or CO2 pistol to captive
individuals in corral or box traps. Fewer than five goats would be collared in each watershed.
Immobilization drugs and drug delivery equipment would be restricted to employees responsible for goat
management under the direct field supervision of the Program Coordinators. These employees must have
completed a Wildlife Immobilization Practitioner Course as required by NPS-77-4. Immobilization drugs
would be stored in a locked safe and records would be maintained to include the date, amount used,
purpose, and signature of the user. Since Telazol and Rompun are listed as a Class II substances, all
guidelines for use and storage specified by the Drug Enforcement Administration would be followed
(Fowler 1978). Radio-collared animals would be monitored at least twice a year to detect and remove
ingress animals into the control units (Hegdal and Colvin, 1986; Kreeger 1997). Following a maximum
three-year term, "Judas" goats would be humanely collected.

Capture and Disposition of Non-Target Wildlife
The live capture and snare traps proposed for use in this program is relatively species specific. Moreover,
they are widely considered live traps; which means the majority of trapped animals are found alive. Both
target and non-target species are generally found uninjured or only moderately injured in the snare. A
minor amount of injury is impossible to avoid, while every reasonable measure would be employed to
reduce injury and suffering of both target and incidental wildlife captured throughout the reduction
program. Live traps and neck snares are considerably more expensive to obtain and use, but are preferred
to use of leg snares or kill traps, because they are more humane when used properly. The nontarget
wildlife that might become incidentally captured includes the following non-native species: white-tailed
deer, hogs and burros. These three exotic species have been selected for extensive population reduction
programs. The sustained hog reduction program is currently underway, and captured hogs will be
humanely collected. Few (if any) white-tailed deer are expected to be captured; however, these would be
humanely collected. Donkey capture would be extremely rare and those would be released. Other non-
native species would be humanely collected.

Final Disposition and Use of By-products
Biological data would be collected from all captured goats and sheep. Collected goats and sheep would
be turned over to VIDA in a majority of cases, for final disposition with wildlife ranchers or for private
utilization (slaughter). In many cases VIDA personnel will be authorized to live-trap goats and sheep
directly; all pertinent data will be recorded before final utilization. Some would be donated by VIDA or
NPS/USDA to island residents strictly for personal (private) utilization. Only ranchers participating in
the VIDA Animal Registration and Impoundment Program qualify to accept livestock.

In extremely remote locations where transport is impractical or impossible (e.g. Brown Bay bottom-
portion), euthanized goats and sheep may be treated with lime to facilitate decomposition. This treatment
would occur a minimum of 50 feet from established VINP trails and an equal minimal distance from
drainage guts or saltponds. Lime accelerates the rate of decomposition in the warm, moist subtropical
weather; al00-pound carcass often completely decomposes within 5 days. On rare occasions when
overland transport is impractical and topography and wetland proximity prevent liming, collected animals
may be brought to sea, weighted and released a minimum of one nautical mile from the shore.

VIDA veterinarians are certified by the USDA to inspect livestock for public consumption, for example,
for use in a hospital or prison. Livestock consumed by private individuals does not require VIDA or
USDA inspection, certification or approval. Residents accepting donated meat from the NPS for private
consumption would be required to sign a form stating the guidelines for handling the meat and reiterating
its' use for private consumption (not for resale). Because the public has had a long association with
capturing and consuming goats and sheep, the NPS has spent considerable energy to ensure collected
animals could be legally and safely provided to them (directly) for private consumption, and for public

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consumption through VIDA. Field supervisors would ensure personnel involved in data collection or
butchering operations wear protective gloves and avoid contact with reproductive tracts or fetuses of
female goats or sheep. VIDA concurs with this protocol.

Community Outreach and Education
Public awareness regarding the goat and sheep reduction program would be promoted whenever possible.
NPS and USDA personnel would work with community leaders, the Virgin Islands Government, Friends
of the VINP, and non-governmental organizations to establish communication avenues, provide
education, and resolve problems. The NPS would spearhead a program with these groups to establish and
provide general information, and ongoing education through community involvement. This information
would systematically be disseminated throughout the community and the park via broadcast, print and the
electronic media. General conservation information regarding biology and ecology of introduced animal
and plant species; both locally and globally, would be included in this educational outreach campaign.

There is also a need to convey information regarding goat and sheep management to Park visitors. Many
visitors are unaware of goats and sheep existing in the Park; nor do they realize the devastating impact
goats and sheep have on Park ecosystems. Information and presentations in the form of posters,
published articles, bulletin board fliers, exhibits, signs, brochures, and slide and video programs would be
used to address goat and sheep biology and management. This work would dovetail well with the
projects currently underway to develop a comprehensive non-native animal brochure series whose
intended audience is island visitors and residents. A well-placed exclosure may be installed for the public
to learn about introduced herbivores and their impacts on vegetation.

Park biologists, interpretive rangers and their counterparts at DPNR and particularly VIDA would work
together to routinely educate the community through partnerships with the University of the Virgin
Islands Cooperative Extension Service, Friends of VINP, the Environmental Association of St Thomas
and St. John and the St. John Community Foundation. The partnership would establish and regularly
disseminate information regarding island ecology and the necessity to keep livestock tagged and fenced.
The group would recognize and respond to the necessity of public outreach with goat and sheep ranchers.

In concert with VIDA, the Cooperative Extension Service and other partners, the NPS would continually
work with goat and sheep ranchers to keep goats and sheep on private property; and emphasize the
importance of the Animal Registration and Impoundment Program.

A public meeting was held at the Legislative Conference Room on August 12, 2003. Personnel from
VIDA, PNR, Friends of the VINP and the St. Community Foundation were invited. About 40 persons
attended the two-hour meeting, which was conducted by Ralf Boulon, Chief of the Resources
Management Division, VINP. A comprehensive presentation outlined the VINP feral/exotic mammal
control program included rats, cats, mongoose, hogs, goats, sheep, deer and burros. Special attention and
emphasis were placed on goats, and the associated problems within the protected lands of VINP. After
discussing various control alternatives and others considered but rejected from detailed analysis, Mr.
Boulon explained NEPA and the process through which Park managers involved the public and other
neighbors, evaluated and finalized alternatives, and gained approval to implement a program to reduce the
impacts to the natural and cultural resources of VINP. Questions were addressed at the end of the
meeting.

A VIDA veterinarian briefly described the Animal Registration and Impoundment Program (Virgin
Islands Code, Act 5911; USVI DOA 2002) implemented last year to tag all livestock, including every
sheep, burro, horse, cow and goat within the territory. Number and color combinations are assigned to
the individual ranchers to allow for notification of stray livestock owners by NPS (or others). Mr. Boulon

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emphasized the ranchers would be given a lengthy period to remove goats and sheep from within NPS
property before reductions would commence.

A VIDA official asked if his staff could trap goats or hogs from within NPS property and VINP
implemented a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with VIDA for 5 years (Appendix D). VIDA
may consider trapping hogs or goats from some communities bordering the NPS. This effort may provide
additional livestock for ranchers and simultaneously remove individuals from the Park. A majority of
attendees spoke favorably about the removal of goats (and other mammals) from all or sensitive areas
within VINP. A few ranchers noted seeing more introduced mammals (livestock) throughout the Park
now, in comparison with previous times when they were growing up on the island. One questioner asked
if the enabling legislation could be changed to allow for sanctioned hunting activities. However, due to
the small size of VINP, the large_extent to which fragmentation by roads, trails and inholdings occur, and
the high extinction potential of both goats and hogs; the authorization of hunting would not satisfy the
program objectives and would be extremely difficult to safely manage and regulate.

One VIDA employee noted a problem with the hog meat donation program. Hog meat from the reduction
program is donated to persons strictly for their personal consumption, and NPS would not donate hog or
goat meat for institutional use, e.g. the Territorial Prison. However, a hog meat recipient misunderstood
this and brought his hog carcass to VIDA for inspection. The VIDA veterinarian, NPS, and USDA-WS
agreed to include detailed written instructions for each hog or goat recipients and this along with detailed
verbal guidelines should suffice to clarify the final disposition of donated meat.

In concert with VIDA, NPS would continually work with goat and sheep owners to keep goats and sheep
on private property; and perhaps assist with the control program implementation.

Ecological Research and Monitoring
Monitoring and assessment of key ecosystem components would be a necessary component of a sustained
reduction program for goats and sheep. Pre-reduction surveys for baseline data of goat and sheep damage
would be conducted. Post-reduction surveys of affected areas would be conducted in order to measure
reduction in damage due to the control of non-native goats and sheep.

During the bait station acclimation period, scat and track analysis would allow field personnel to estimate
the sub-population size using the bait station. As animals are removed from the surrounding area, those
numbers could be compared with the initial population estimate to determine and approximate reduction
percentage for the general area. Careful data gathering and record keeping would be supplemented with
photography.

Monitoring programs would focus on the long-term impacts to vegetation, and the disease status of goats
and sheep. The presence and status of disease organisms in goats and sheep should be investigated every
five years. Fruiting cycle surveys would also be used to monitor food availability and distribution.
Results of these surveys would be used to ascertain goat and sheep movement and to aid in developing
control strategies, efficiency and cost effectiveness. Long-term monitoring involves the maintenance of
permanent goat and sheep exclosures in areas containing long-term vegetation data.

Research efforts would concentrate on the natural history, population dynamics, and impacts of goats and
sheep on the Park ecosystem. The 'Judas goat' technique would be evaluated to determine its efficiency
when used for localized reduction programs. Future research relating to goats and sheep would be
systematically identified and conducted as needs are identified the prioritized. Some disease and
parasitism investigations would also be carried out (Stuht 2001). Stuhts' (2001) study on St John should
be repeated and an attempt made to collect more samples of goats and deer. Research relating to goats

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and sheep would provide information useful in refining control techniques, population censusing and
habitat utilization modeling (Brisbin and Mayer 2001).

Restraint and Handling of Non-native Goats and Sheep
Although goats have the reputation of being able to withstand heavy stresses, in reality they are relatively
delicate. Their bones are small and easily broken. Rough handling is avoided and necessary, goats are
docile and easily managed; when accustomed to being handled (Fowler 1978).

Goats do not bite, strike or kick, but usually fuss more than sheep. They vocalize and they may stamp
their feet in obvious threat, but once they are grabbed they do not strike. They do, however, use their
heads for butting. Horns pose the most serious threats to human handlers and may be used as battering
rams. The ram (male) is frequently adorned with heavy horns capable of inflicting serious injury.

Goats are considerably more agile than sheep and less prone to accept people placing an arm around the
goat's chest. If placed in the set-up position, a goat would lash out with both forefeet and hind feet in a
purposeful attack on the face and hands of the handler.

Sheep are one of the easiest of the large domestic animals to handle (Fowler 1978). Sheep do not
generally bite, strike or kick a human handler. The only danger of injury they offer is from the use of the
head as a battering ram. Fortunately, they grow either horns or antlers.

Sheep are one of the easiest of the large domestic animals to handle (Fowler 1978). Sheep do not
generally bite, strike or kick a human handler. The only danger of injury they offer is from the use of the
head as a battering ram. Fortunately, they grow neither horns nor antlers. Sheep have strong flocking
instincts and normally move in a group. It is difficult to separate one individual from the group. If one
animal can be enticed to pass through a gate, the rest usually follow.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services Program
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services Division would be
conducting the goat and sheep management program under contract and with co-management with the
NPS. Virgin Islands National Park is reducing the number of goats and sheep in the park directly by
trapping and shooting. Meat would be distributed to local community members or to volunteers
participating in the reduction program.

Wildlife Services provides federal leadership and expertise to resolve conflicts between people and
wildlife. Wildlife Services works in all 50 states upon request to help balance the needs of both people
and wildlife. In the last decade, their mission has expanded beyond agricultural damage management to
include minimizing wildlife threats to public health and safety, resolving wildlife conflicts in rural areas,
protecting private and industrial property, protecting threatened and endangered species, and preserving
natural resources.

Collection by Territorial Department of Agriculture (VIDA)
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the NPS and the Territorial Government of the U.S.
Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) was developed and implemented last year (Appendix
D). This MOU authorizes VIDA personnel to humanely trap goats and sheep within NPS lands.
Biological data would be collected by the NPS from each animal prior to final deposition. Depending on
the location, collected animals would be either turned only to ranchers who participants with the VIDA
Animal Registration and Impoundment Program or slaughtered for consumption. Where neither options
are feasible, NPS-USDA personnel would humanely euthanize collected animals for final disposition by


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liming or sea burial Consult the Final Deposition section for additional details on Page 24, and Appendix
D, Memorandum of Understanding between NPS and Department of Agriculture.


II.A.2. Alternatives Considered but Eliminated from Detailed Analysis

Sequential Park-wide Reduction by Fenced Zone Hunting (Install Ungulate-proof Fences on
Parklands and Reduce Goats and Sheep within the Fenced Areas). One method used to prevent re-
colonization of Parklands by goats and sheep is to construct permanent barriers to their dispersal. This
method is practiced where eradication is the objective. The method requires fencing small areas and
eliminating animals from within the fenced exclosure. Exclosures without goats and sheep are joined to
create larger goat-and-sheep-free areas. This measure, although effective, would be impractical and
unfeasible to implement on St. John for many reasons. The primary reasons why this method is
impractical are cost, boundary surveys, cultural impact mitigation, archaeology inventories and data
recovery, resident and visitor access, exorbitant installation and maintenance costs, and lack of funds to
complete this alternative within the foreseeable future (3 to 4 years). Finally, the method would take over
ten years to implement and could be entirely compromised by the introduction of a single pregnant goat
or sheep. The method would be most effective in areas with few inholdings, an uncontested boundary,
limited access and substantial financial and maintenance resources.

Initially, the Park would be required to request funds from line item construction and compete nationally
for these funds, which is a ten-year cycle. Next, several hundred thousand dollars would be required for
an updated boundary survey, because 1986 is the most recent surveys. Then, extensive archaeological
surveys and data collection must be conducted. The terrain on St. John is very rugged, which greatly
increases the expense and difficulty associated with construction and maintenance of fences. Several
hundred inholdings, about 25% of the land are within the authorized boundary. These would substantially
increase the amount of fencing and gates required to guard against private livestock escaping into Park
lands from within or adjacent areas. The aquatic boundary alone is approximately 75 miles. Maintenance
and financial costs and access considerations negate this option from consideration.

Boundary fencing has been an important management tool for controlling goats and sheep at Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park (Barrett 1984). Over 100 miles of boundary and interior fences, which cost over
$2 million to construct, are the key asset in the ungulate control program of this national park. Seventy miles
of goat and sheep-proof fences are inspected monthly and 30 miles of goat and sheep-proof fences are
inspected every two to six months. Minor repair work is need on small sections of fence following
inspections, particularly after tree falls and washouts. Fences need to be replaced every 5 to 35 years
depending on their location and exposure. Fences in high rain fall areas or directly exposed to volcanic
fumes on the east and southwest rift zones or to salt spray near the coast require replacement more frequently
than others (Resources Management Plan, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 1999). A systematic effort is
underway to replace the most deteriorated fences in this national park. Essentially all fences built in the
1970s and 1980s need to be replaced. Approximately 19 miles of the most deteriorated fences were replaced
in 1995-1999. An additional 28 miles of older fences needs to be replaced in the near future.

A goat and sheep-proof fence has been proposed at the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National
Park, where goats and sheep have historically entered the park. It has been proposed that such a fence
would impede goat and sheep immigration into areas where goat and sheep control has been effective.

Fencing the boundary has merit, but is distasteful, particularly if visitors frequently encounter it. Fencing
the Park boundary would also be prohibitively expensive. For example, Goatcher (1989) estimated it
would cost $2,160,000 to fence 60 miles on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park in

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California. Fence maintenance, also, would be a major concern since falling trees; vandalism and the
corrosive moist ocean salty environment are expected to increase maintenance costs estimated at
$100,000 per year. Finally, the fencing effort could be neutralized if people physically reintroduced goats
and sheep back into controlled areas. Based on the Channel Islands costs, we conservatively estimate the
cost of installation and gate access to be $7.5 million in FY 2003 dollars. Unfortunately, these monies
may not ever be available for due to the competition for that funding source Line Item Construction,
while impacts continue to increase. Moreover, the impacts to vegetation, cultural and historical resources,
visitor mobility and user experiences, tremendous ongoing maintenance costs and ineffective method to
permanently restrict goat and sheep encroachment.

Because goats and sheep aggressively trample and jump, fencing designed to prevent goat and sheep
encroachment would be especially expensive to install on St. John, and the buried portion would require
frequent replacement. Aside from the high cost to fence, one major drawback is that a single pregnant
goat and sheep can soon repopulate a watershed if inadvertently or deliberately reintroduced.

Goat and sheep removal would occur in each of these management units on a sequential basis. Complete
reduction would be achieved in each of the units in a coordinated effort lasting approximately three years
using trained, professional direct reduction experts and volunteers. Areas experiencing reductions would
be closed to the public temporarily for an estimated 90 days. It is the goal of this program to considerably
reduce the goat and sheep populations in a timely, humane fashion, and their detrimental impacts to the
island. The establishment of fenced zones would allow greater flexibility in the duration of the overall
program; however the risk of failure is increased substantially when the program is projected over many
years. This alternative is entirely unfeasible and impractical regardless of the exorbitant costs.

Fences would be constructed of either triple-galvanized steel or special alloy metals to resist corrosion in
the warm moist saline environment of St. John. This fence type has been demonstrated to be effective in
Channel Islands National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's for several years.

Live Capture of Non-native Goats and Sheep and Relocation to Another Island. Non-native goats
and sheep are susceptible to a wide range of infectious and parasitic diseases. While some of these
diseases are specific only to goats and sheep, others are shared with other animals, including some that
are shared with humans. Millions of dollars have been spent in an effort to rid the United States of these
wildlife and human plaguing diseases. Therefore, agencies considering actions that could increase the
potential for transmission of these diseases are highly discouraged from doing so. Also, the costs
associated of capturing, holding and shipping goats and sheep to another island are extremely high.
Therefore, this alternative has been rejected on a large scale. However, some animals may be relocated to
other islands within the USVI as per USDA/VIDA and NPS approval, and within veterinarian
authorization.

Use of Poison. There are a number of toxicants which can be effective as part of a reduction program.
However, each of the potential poisons could negatively affect non-target species. It would be very
difficult to protect non-targets from incidental poisoning. Additionally, there are rare, threatened and
endangered species which would be threatened by increased mortality from poisons. For these reasons,
poisons would not be used as a tool in the reduction of non-native goats and sheep.

Use of Contraceptives or Sterilization. Contraception or sterilization could be a relatively benign way
to reduce some goats and sheep from an area; however, many would remain in the area unless other
aggressive reduction techniques were simultaneously employed. Unfortunately, birth control technology
is presently inadequate to achieve a substantial, immediate and cost-effective reduction of goat and sheep
populations throughout the Park. This is especially true when goat and sheep herds are essentially

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thriving throughout the Park is entirely covered with vegetation and with a year-round growing season.
Contraceptives are expensive and require annual reapplication.

Public Hunting on NPS Property. Authorize goat and sheep hunting by the public within the Park. The
primary reason this method is inapplicable for the reduction program because the Superintendent lacks the
legal authority to authorize public hunting in Virgin Islands National Park (36 CFR 2.2). In addition,
public hunting, guided or unguided, is insufficient to substantially reduce the population and maintain a
near-zero goat and sheep population throughout the Park.

Recreational hunting can achieve control or reduction of animals that have a relatively low reproductive
potential. However, animals with high reproductive potentials, such as goats, sheep, hogs and rabbits, are
considerably more difficult to control. This is especially true when a reduction program is initiated after a
species population has gone unchecked over several decades, as with goats, sheep, hogs, burros and
others in VINP.


II.A.3. Alternative 1. No Action, Continue Current Level of Management

Under this alternative, no reduction efforts would be used on the non-native goats and sheep within
Virgin Islands National Park. Their population numbers would continue to rise with the availability of
food resources and the documented trend to move into new areas would continue within VINP. Goats
and sheep would continue to impact island vegetation including endemic and Federally listed plant
species. Impacts to native plants and native plant communities from goats and sheep have been well
documented in the literature (Baker and Reeser 1972: Coblentz 1978 and 1980; DieterSpatz et. al. 1973;
Katahira and Stone 1982; Mueller-Dombois et. al. 1975; Scowcroft and Hobdy 1987; Stone et. al. 1992;
Stuht 2001; Taylor and Katahira 1988; and Yocum 1967).

If left unchecked, goat and sheep populations would be expected to increase throughout the Virgin Islands
National Park. Goats and sheep have established non-native breeding populations in many areas and all
habitat types of the Park. Many people keep goats and sheep in herd sizes ranging from a few animals to
several dozen. Small herds of sheep sometimes mix with goatherds, but sheep are considerably less
common than goats. The Park has experienced goat and sheep grazing since it was established in 1956.
The original areas of goat and sheep encroachment included: portions of Leinster Bay near the Johnny
Horn Trail; Bordeaux Mountain area above and including much of the Lameshur watershed; the East End
near the NPS Firing Range; the upper-eastern portion of Hawksnest Bay; and the Ram Head area. By the
early 1990's, free-ranging goatherds were established in Brown Bay and Ram Head. In 1999, 5 goats
were abandoned at the former seaplane ramp at Lind Point. Finally, in the summer of 2000,
approximately 12 goats were abandoned on the North Shore Road immediately inside the Park boundary
above Cruz Bay.

A conservative domestic goat estimate within the Park is from 600 to 1000 animals, and the present area
of impact is 85% of the island, some of which is among the most sensitive and rare forest habitat types
found in the Caribbean region. A conservative domestic sheep estimate within the Park is less than 50
animals. These estimates include animals living in the Park and omits animals those grazing the Park
routinely, but living outside the Park; a situation occurring at Bordeaux Mountain, the East End and
Susanaberg, and others. Moreover, because of the dramatically increased herd size at Ram
Head/Lameshur, and Brown Bay/Leinster, natural resource degradation would continue at a much faster
pace. In addition, perhaps the worst aspect is the new introductions at Lind Point and along the North
Shore area, because goats could be impacting 100% of the Park, within a few years. From these new
locations, goats and sheep would readily move into adjacent watersheds, causing irreparable damage to
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sensitive natural and cultural resources. Goats and sheep also pose threats to public health and safety and
pose severe environmental damage to cultural and natural resources.

Under the No Action Alternative, NPS would continue to animal-proof trash receptacles, dumpsters and
buildings at campgrounds, day use sites, concession areas, Park overlooks, and employee housing areas
and collect trash on a regular basis. FY 2000, Virgin Islands NP installed about 100 animal-proof trash
containers (at a cost of about $75,000) at all Park sites except the major concession operations at Trunk
Bay and Cinnamon Bay to collect both refuse and recyclables. In fiscal year 2002, the NPS requested
$30,000 in funding to purchase and install an additional 20 animal-proof trash containers at major
concession locations (eight at Trunk Bay and twelve at Cinnamon Bay) to collect both refuse and
recyclables. Also in 2002, NPS has contracted for the construction of a one-mile long burro exclusion
fence with four barbed-wire strands around the perimeter of the Cinnamon Bay Campground at an
estimated cost of $67,000 that is not designed to also exclude goats and sheep. A design necessary to
exclude goats and sheep would have been prohibitively expensive and the non-native animal causing the
greatest problems during the planning stage and previously was the burro.


II.A.4. Alternative 2. Reduce Goats and Sheep within VINP and Sustain a
Near-zero Population, Environmentally Preferred Alternative

The program goals for the Environmentally Preferred Alternative include:

1) Substantially decrease the goat and sheep populations throughout the Park to near-zero levels;
2) Monitor and remove goats and sheep periodically, and install and maintain fences indefinitely,
3) Prevent or minimize future encroachment through education and community outreach.

Under this alternative non-native goats and sheep would be controlled from within Virgin Islands
National Park lands on St. John, Hassel Island, and St. Thomas, (should goats or sheep move into NPS
property on St. Thomas). The goal would be to humanely and substantially reduce their population
throughout the Park, and sustain the reduction to zero or near-zero through monitoring, periodic removals,
selective fence installation and maintenance, and ongoing information dissemination through partnerships
with governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The National Park Service and the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) Division as lead cooperating
agencies would conduct the initial reduction of non-native goats and sheep. Each agency would have a
Program Coordinator and this team would manage and supervise the program. The Virgin Islands
Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife (VIDPNR); and VIDA;
would play an advisory role to plan and implement the reduction, mitigation and monitoring components
of the program. All personnel involved with this program would follow the measures described in this
document for the protection of resources.

Prior to implementing a Park-wide goat and sheep reduction program, goat and sheep ranchers would be
requested by letters and press releases to remove their livestock from within Virgin Islands NP. Ranchers
would be required to remove their animals within the 60 days before implementing the direct reduction
program. Following this sixty-day amnesty period, goats or sheep residing within the Park would be
considered abandoned, and subject to collection to protect the Park's vegetation, wetland and cultural
resources from the negative effects of free-ranging livestock (Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Part
2.15(5)(c): pets or feral animals). The Virgin Islands Code, Title 19, Section 2616 (a): "any animal found
running at large, or tied on public property or on private property without the consent of the owner of said

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property, shall be taken up by animal wardens and impounded in an animal shelter, and there confined for
disposition in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter."

The primary tools for goat and sheep collection would be live traps, shooting and snares. During the peak
period of the goat and sheep reduction program, there would be an increase in personnel on St. John
Island of 2 4 people. However, they would be the same individuals contracted by the NPS to implement
the sustained reduction of non-native hogs from VINP. They would be housed generally in government
housing on NPS owned property. A standard-sized pickup truck would be the primary mode of
transportation. All-terrain vehicles may be used incidentally for transportation, one or two horses may be
considered for limited field operations at some point. Temporary tent camps may be established to
facilitate operations in remote areas.

The techniques and tools for achieving the reduction goal would be similar to those described under
Alternative 2, and are consistent with goat and sheep reduction models on Santa Rosa Island and Santa
Cruz Island (NPS 2001) in Channel Islands National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (1999).


Steps Required for Park-wide Goat and Sheep Sustained Reduction

Under this Alternative, the reduction program would occur in three phases:

1) Administration, infrastructure acquisition and selective fencing;
2) Collection using baits, traps and contract hunters; and
3) Monitoring and periodic removal of remnant goats, resource education, community outreach,
information dissemination, record keeping, fence maintenance and partnership renewal.


Phase I Administration, Infrastructure Acquisition and Selective Fencing (Approximately 1
to 2 years)

This phase would require approximately one year to complete once environmental compliance is met.
This year would be used to hire or contract with personnel, purchase supplies, construct traps, establish
communications, and fence especially vulnerable long-term monitoring plots. NPS may also begin
selective fencing near limited areas of the boundary where goats and sheep can easily reenter the Park.
Funds would possibly be made available for island livestock ranchers to install or repair their fences.

Consensus building would be established before and during the NEPA process, continued into Phase I
and sustained indefinitely. A strong bridge would be established and strengthened between the NPS,
USDA-Wildlife Services and VI Department of Agriculture (VIDA). Key groups or officials may
facilitate this crucial bridge, including Friends of VINP, the St. John Community Foundation, VI
Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative
Extension Service, The Environmental Association of St. Thomas and St. John, the St. John Rotary Club,
and the Island Administrator.

Fences would be constructed to exclude non-native animals from specific long-term vegetation
monitoring plots and limited selective areas of the boundary where goats and sheep easily reenter the Park
from nearby private livestock ranches. For example Herman Farm, L' Esperance, Catherineberg,
Bordeaux Mountain, Hawksnest, Cinnamon, Ram Head and Lameshur may be considered if wildlife trails
are present.

Non-governmental organizations (NGO's) with guidance and assistance from the NPS and USDA would
develop a comprehensive community outreach strategy. This outreach serves to inform, advise and
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educate the St. John community and island visitors about goats and sheep and the ecological damage a
small group of goats and sheep can inflict on a small, remote subtropical island. VIDA and the UVI
Cooperative Extension Service would play a key role with the NPS to prepare and disseminate
information in an ongoing basis. One focal point of this informational campaign would be the VIDA
Animal Registration and Impoundment Program. The community would be advised of the global
problems germane to introduced goats and sheep as well as the potential economic loss to the U. S. Virgin
Islands if no action is taken to reduce their populations.

The necessity of a long-term monitoring plan that includes periodic goat and sheep removal from the Park
would be emphasized. The importance of preventing or minimizing new feral animal introductions,
cessation of feeding activity for dry soils within the Park and other general conservation measures would
be emphasized. Once the NPS/USDA team develops this program with key NGO's (such as Friends of
VINP, St. John Community Foundation, and the Environmental Association of St Thomas and St. John),
it is envisioned these partnership would share in the ongoing development and determination of
information. Of paramount importance is the prevention of future non-native wildlife encroachment in
VINP.


Phase II Collection Using Baits, Traps and Contract Hunters (3 to 4 years)

Initial scoping and observation conducted in Phase I and before would allow Program Coordinators to
determine where to concentrate their resources. Several methods or techniques may occur
simultaneously, but different methods would be used later in Phase II, as goats and sheep become trap-
shy. Then radio-telemetry and baying dogs may be employed to collect additional goats and sheep.
Because goats are highly social animals, a goat equipped with a radio transmitter can lead field personnel
to remote locations where animals congregate. As goats become trap shy and less common, contract
shooters (USDA APHIS/NPS) may use bait stations to eliminate these individuals. Once collected a goat
would be donated through VIDA processed for consumption, treated with lime for decomposition, or (in
rare instances, possibly) buried at sea. Please see Final Disposition and Use of By-products on page 23.
Fence installation may be completed in areas designated for selective fencing while minimizing damage
to cultural sites and structures.

A relatively fast initial goat and sheep population reduction campaign is envisioned. Phase II would
possibly take approximately 3 to 4 years. Baiting in conjunction with snares, single-capture and corral
traps would be employed throughout each targeted watershed. Areas of high goat (and to a much smaller
degree sheep) concentrations such as Cinnamon, Lameshur and Reef bays would be selected and removed
initially. Goat and sheep movements would determine where the collection efforts must then be focused.
Biological and ecological data would be recorded from each collected animal. These data, field
observation records and scat and track analysis would help determine relative abundance, for workers to
establish a baseline from which to estimate and measure group population dynamics.


Phase III Monitoring and Periodic Removal of Remnant Goats and Sheep, Resource
Education, Community Outreach, Information Dissemination, Record Keeping, Fence
Maintenance and Partnership Renewal (Ongoing, Indefinitely)

This phase would be an indefinite period of scheduled and systematic monitoring throughout NPS land
for goat and sheep sign. Monitoring efforts for the presence or absence of goats and sheep is crucial to
routinely locate and remove animals from the Park, and protect the sensitive natural and cultural
resources. Water sources, which are preferred habitat for goats and sheep, historical locations of high
population densities and NPS lands near private livestock ranches, would serve as key monitoring areas.
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If goats, sheep or their foraging and trampling sign become evident in an area, NPS Law Enforcement or
Resource Management personnel would be authorized to trap or humanely dispatch the animals as
described in Phase II. VIDA would be sought for their assistance Long-term ecological monitoring to
assess ecosystem change due to goat and sheep reduction would continue indefinitely.

NPS law enforcement and interpretation rangers, maintenance and resources management personnel
performing routine fieldwork would be provided with general "Introduced Species Observation Sheets."
These personnel would be instructed on the animals of particular concern and importance of reporting any
suspected sightings, sign or activity, and be routinely notified by resource management personnel to
submit any documented sighting as soon as possible.

Two possible fence uses are described in this alternative: selective fencing critical areas of the boundary
near existing livestock ranches, and fencing some existing long-term vegetation plots. VINP personnel
would monitor the selective boundary fence and long-term vegetation exclosure fences every 6 and 12
months, respectively. These workers would also monitor the four watersheds annually using transects for
goat and sheep sign. Monitoring for encroachment would be intensive where goat and sheep
concentrations were historically high, and in areas near private livestock ranches. Detailed records would
be documented from these areas and monitored in a comprehensive mammal database.

The partnerships and community outreach established before and during the NEPA process in Phase I
would be supported, maintained and strengthened as key personnel change. Consistent, ongoing
education and cooperation would be central outreach themes, with emphases on the efforts to routinely
provide this information to the resident and visiting public. Dissemination would occur through the
development of printed and electronic media. In concert with VIDA, the Cooperative Extension Service
and other partners, the NPS would continually work with goat and sheep ranchers to keep goats and sheep
on private property; and emphasize the importance of the Animal Registration and Impoundment
Program. Other governmental (e.g. PNR) and NGO (e.g. Friends of VINP, the St. John Community
Foundation, et al), partners would be used to systematically disseminate the information previously
developed to continually educate the public about non-native animals and their impacts to natural and
cultural resources. This campaign dovetails well with similar partnerships and information regarding
sustained reductions of rats, cats, mongooses and hogs from within NPS lands.


II.B. Environmentally Preferable Alternative

In accordance with Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, Alternative 2 is identified as
the Environmentally Preferred Alternative. The Environmentally Preferable Alternative is defined by
CEQ as the alternative "that will promote the national environmental policy as expressed in NEPA's
Section 101. Generally, this means the alternative that causes the least damage to the biological and
physical environment and best protects, preserves and enhances historic, cultural and natural resources"
(46 CFR 18027, Forty Most Asked Questions Concerning CEQ's NEPA Rgii k ,dir, ).

Section 101(a) of NEPA recognizes the importance of environmental quality to the overall welfare of
man, and declares a continuing policy to promote conditions under which man and nature can exist in
productive harmony. Section 101(b) establishes a continuing responsibility for the Federal government to
improve and coordinate Federal plans, functions, programs and resources to the end that the Nation may:

1. fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee of the environment for succeeding generations;
2. ensure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, and aesthetically and culturally pleasing
surroundings;
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3. attain the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation, risk of health or
safety, or other undesirable and unintended consequences;
4. preserve important historic, cultural, and natural aspects of our national heritage and maintain,
wherever possible, an environment that supports diversity and variety of individual choice;
5. achieve a balance between population and resource use that will permit high standards of living and a
wide sharing of life's amenities; and
6. enhance the quality of renewable resources and approach the maximum attainable recycling of
depletable resources.

According to NPS policy (Director's Order 12, 2001), the Environmentally Preferable Alternative is the
alternative that will promote the national environmental policy expressed in NEPA Section 101(b), which
includes alternatives that accomplish the goals from this section (listed above).

Because, in comparison to Alternative 1, Alternative 2 better restores the natural conditions throughout
the Park, it is considered the Environmentally Preferable Alternative. Alternative 2 best responds to NPS
mandate to preserve and protect unimpaired the significant resources for which VINP was established and
allows for appropriate use and enjoyment by the public. Potential adverse effects on natural and cultural
resources would be reduced over those in the No Action Alternative. By reducing the population of non-
native goats and sheep inside the Park, adverse impacts on visitors, residents and natural and cultural
resources would decrease. The proposed reduction programs would produce minimal or no damage to
Park resources or threats to visitor and employee safety. Collectively, goat and sheep populations pose a
very large threat to the native natural resources, long-term resource management programs of the Park,
NPS mandates, and the health and safety of Park visitors.

The Environmentally Preferable Alternative would cause the least damage to the biological and physical
environment and best protect, preserve and enhance the Park's historic, cultural, natural and wetland
resources. However, Alternative 2 would best fulfill NPS's statutory mission and responsibilities; best
meet the purpose and need for a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Goats and Sheep; best respond
to the very great issues identified through public and agency scoping; and achieve the best balance of
environmental protection, visitor experience, public safety, economic well-being and other factors.























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III. CHAPTER III. AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT


III.A. NATURAL RESOURCES

This chapter of the Environmental Assessment describes the current status of baseline information from
inventories, monitoring and research projects. NPS-77, "Standards for Natural Resource Inventory and
Monitoring", and the 1997 Inventory and Monitoring Implementation Plan by the Biological Resources
Division, USGS were also used as sources of information. The description of the affected environment is
not meant to be a complete description of the program area. Rather, it is intended to portray the
significant conditions and trends of the resources that may be affected by the proposed program or its
alternatives.

Wetlands and Floodplains
Several guts or gullies have been known to have permanent pools of freshwater, some of which still
contain small populations of several species of shrimp and fish that were once a delicacy among local
residents. Guinea and Fish Bay guts still have populations of freshwater shrimp (Macrobrachyum sp.,
Atya sp. and Xiphocaris sp.). In addition, one or two species of gobies and Mountain Mullet
(Agonostomus monticola). Little is known about these special species, including their population size,
ecological role, origin or distribution. Their populations are perhaps greatly reduced due to upstream
discharges from commercial activities in the Susannaberg area (e.g. Moses' Laundromat, Majestic
Construction, etc.).

The pattern of rainfall and soil type is critical to recharge streams or aquifers. Brief showers do not
significantly add to recharge. To create streamflow, 13 to 25 millimeters (2 to 4 inches) in a single
rainfall are necessary with a resultant 20-75% surface runoff flow.

Two intermittent streams, Guinea Gut and Fish Bay/Battery Gut, are both outside the park on the south
shore. Other smaller intermittent streams and many watercourses carry storm runoff for a short time after
heavy rainstorms transporting sediment to the sea. In most cases, the streambed and adjacent floodplain
restabilize over the years. If changes are made to the cross section, grade, plane or profile of the stream
or adjacent flood plain, sediment loss occurs and restabilization must take place. In most cases,
construction and changes in land use can be a major disruptive event increasing erosion and sediment
transport.

Normally evapo-transpiration utilizes 90 to 95 percent of the rainfall falling on St. John. The remaining 5
to 10 percent of the rainfall produce minimal surface runoff, except in the storm conditions of heavy
rains. A combination of factors (high evapo-transpiration rate; persistent trade winds; high temperatures;
and long hours of direct sun) aggravates dry conditions on St. John, where water tends to be in short
supply (Nellis, et. al. 1985).

Mangrove habitats are the equivalent of salt marshes in North America. They occur as a coastal fringe of
red mangroves immediately seaward of terrestrial uplands, but can also be found as basin forests at the
base of large watersheds. Mangrove shorelines make up approximately 2% of the shoreline and are found
in protected bays: Cruz Bay, Mary's Creek, Haulover Bay, Newfound Bay, Hurricane Hole, Coral Harbor
and Fish Bay. Hurricane Hole may be the most pristine of the remnant mangrove habitats remaining in
the USVI because over 50 percent of all mangroves in the USVI have been destroyed during the past 50
years. Mangroves provide an extremely important interface between terrestrial processes and marine
habitats. They filter sediment from upland runoff, thus maintaining water quality. They produce and
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export nutrients used by other marine ecosystems. They provide a vitally important nursery habitat in
their submerged prop roots for many species of coral reef fish, juvenile shellfish and numerous marine
creatures. Many species of birds' nest, rest, roost or forage in mangroves, where they are safe from
predators. The mudflats that form behind mangroves support populations of the large gray land crab
(Cardisoma guanhumii).

Salt ponds are shallow, saline ponds at the base of valley drainage systems. They form as reefs grow
from two rocky points of a bay, eventually meeting in the middle and forming a berm created by storm
surge movement of coral rubble. This berm isolates the pond from the sea and usually becomes colonized
by mangroves and other salt tolerant species. Salt ponds are effective upland sediment traps, thus
maintaining water quality in adjacent marine waters. Ponds are important habitat for many species of
shorebirds, bats and waterfowl where they feed on insects and invertebrates living in the pond and nest in
the fringing mangrove vegetation. Drastic fluctuations in salinity, temperature turbidity and levels of
oxygen and hydrogen sulfide make life in a salt pond a challenge for all but a few adaptable species. Salt
ponds also have many traditional uses including, medicinal soaking and salt collection for cooking. Salt
deposits as the pond dries up during the dry season. The animal and plant life associated with this
ecosystem has not been well studied, and salt pond ecology is complex and only partially understood.
There are five salt ponds larger than 2 acres in size on St. John. The largest is on the south shore behind
Salt Pond Bay, and about 3 acres.

Trampling and grazing by non-native goats and sheep adjacent to small streams and springs may result in
high rates of soil erosion, which severely impacts aquatic habitats. Trampling and grazing by goats and
sheep detrimentally affect the aesthetic and wilderness values of the Park. In searching for food and
shelter, goats and sheep create winding trails through all plant communities. These paths compact the soil
and contribute to increased water run-off and erosion. These paths can also serve as routes for the spread
of invasive, non-native plant species.

Mangroves are a fragile ecosystem in need of special protection. Goats and sheep forage on seedlings of
the three mangrove species protected under V.I. law. Their trampling and grazing disturbs soil surface
layers and contribute to erosion and sedimentation in mangrove habitats found in Cruz Bay, Mary's
Creek, Haulover Bay, Newfound Bay, Hurricane Hole, Coral Harbor and Fish Bay.

Terrestrial Vegetation
The destruction of the natural vegetation on St. John has been extensive, and includes about 90 percent of
the island. Large portions of the original forests were cleared for plantations during the late 1700s and
early 1800s. A majority of the tropical hardwood trees found here were harvested and sent to Europe for
furniture, boat and mast construction. This intensive modification of the forest distribution and structure
changed the hydrologic regime that was present on St. John. The island became drier as vegetative cover
was removed or modified. Evidence from relict streambeds indicates that St. John may have had
perennial streams that are no longer in existence. Ultimately, forest destruction has affected over 90% of
the island. As a result, some of the native and federally or territorially protected plant species have
become extinct, or nearly extinct, with their populations reduced to a few individuals (Woodbury and
Weaverl985, Acevedo-Rodriquez 1996).

The present vegetation exhibits differing degrees of revegetation, ranging from recently disturbed to late-
secondary successional forests, which may be up to 100 years old. Eleven vegetation types have been
mapped and described, including: mangroves, salt flats, pasture, upland moist forest, gallery moist forest,
basin moist forest, dry evergreen forest, dry thicket and scrub, thorn and cactus, disturbed vegetation, and
rock and coastal hedge. About 63% of the island is in the dry evergreen forest category and 17% in the
combined moist forest category. The upland moist forest contains some virgin stands with minimal

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exotic floral species. The tallest trees on the island grow along the banks of the intermittent streams
within the valleys of large watershed areas.

The greatest current threats to forest regeneration are human development and growing populations of
non-native goats, sheep, hogs and donkeys. Goats, sheep and donkeys alter forest composition by
selectively feeding on palatable species and distributing the seeds of exotic species through their feces.
Hogs destroy vegetation through rooting up of plants. Despite disturbance by non-native animals and
construction, Parklands continue to be a valuable refuge for native plant species. To date, 747 species of
vascular plants have been identified from St. John, of which 642 (86%) are native to the island. The
species are found in 117 families, of which 12 are introduced. Almost all species (99.7%) on St. John are
found on other islands within the Virgin Islands. Two species are endemic to St. John (Eugenia earhartii
and Machaonia woodburyana) and six others are endemic to the Virgin Islands. Another 25 species are
endemic to the Puerto Rico platform. Many voucher specimens and representatives of common plants
have been collected by premier botanists and placed in the Park herbarium collection, creating an
extensive collection of a majority of island plant species. As they conduct monitoring and inventories,
botanists continue to identify new species. Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez of the Smithsonian Institute
discovered three species new to St. John in 1992.

A network of long-term monitoring plots, representing a range of stand ages and land-use histories, has
now been established in each of the following forest types on the island: upland moist, gallery moist, dry
evergreen woodland and dry evergreen scrubland. Peter Weaver (1999) has established 16 plots in the
dry evergreen and moist forest of the Cinnamon Bay watershed; the New York Botanical Garden has
three plots covering upland moist, gallery moist and dry evergreen woodland; and the Smithsonian has
two plots covering dry evergreen woodland and dry evergreen scrubland. In addition, the USDA-NRCS
has five long-term plots in the Lameshur and Cinnamon Bay watersheds to measure soil temperature and
moisture. Information on forest regeneration, tree seedling growth, changes of species composition and
forest structure are gathered by researchers through Memorandums of Understanding, Cooperative
Agreements and direct National Park Service funding.

Documented direct effects on plant communities by alien herbivores including non-native goats and sheep
are reduction in native species cover, density and biomass. Alien herbivores such as goats and sheep have
also caused the elimination of the soil litter layer and loss of seed banks, increased soil disturbance, and
soil compaction, and lowered or altered rates and patterns of nutrient cycling. Hoofed herbivores impact
native vegetation communities through their grazing and browsing activities, which changes plant species
composition and distribution. These changes typically result from the selection and avoidance by
herbivores of certain plant species, thereby modifying plant succession processes in that area, eventually
leading to a different plant community than existed before. For example, the most palatable and
nutritious plants will be preferentially eaten, leaving the thornier, less desirable species (from the
herbivores' perspective). If this continues at a high enough level over a period of time, the plant
community will be changed towards one containing more thorny species with less total plant cover.

Disturbances caused by non-native goat and sheep grazing and movement through island vegetation may
facilitate the spread of non-native, invasive plant species. Once established, these species have
demonstrated the ability to expand at the expense of native plant species. Additionally, many of the
naturalized exotic plant species found on St. John have not co-evolved with the grazing pressures exerted
by large herbivores. They have adaptive mechanisms, which allow them to avoid being grazed or to
better survive the impacts of grazing. These exotic plant species have expanded in the presence of goats,
sheep, hogs and donkeys on St. John at the expense of the islands' native flora. The presence of non-
native goats and sheep would only likely benefit these undesirable species because exotic plants are
widely dispersed through their feces.

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Documented indirect effects of alien herbivores such as non-native goats and sheep to plant communities
include the increase of cover, frequency, and biomass of non-native plant species, increased water run-off
and soil erosion, and degradation of soil structure. Goats and sheep have also contributed to changes in
soil micro-flora and micro-fauna, and the potential loss of fire-induced successional communities due to
inadequate fuels and lack of seed banks.

Non-native goats and sheep are selective browsers: which means they select for their favorite foods; then
only browse them. Goats and sheep tend to graze small shrubs and grasses very close to the ground, and
often tear the roots from the substrate; preventing regeneration and accelerating topsoil loss and erosion.
The most fragile forest community on the island is the dry forest, which predominates, in the southeastern
portion of the island. These communities may have the smallest possibility for recovery, and both their
species composition and total individual numbers are low. In addition, steep semi-barren cliffs dominate
this area, making a perfect habitat for the sure-footed goat. Precious topsoil is lost and will degrade the
coral reefs below the cliffs. Some individuals from the main Ram Head herd frequent the Lameshur Bay
watershed, perhaps in search of water in the moist forest found there. This frequently occurs on an almost
daily basis and has continued unabated for the past several years. This is especially devastating because
the Lameshur watershed forms a very large portion of the core area of the Virgin Islands National Park
Biosphere Reserve.

Native Animals
The only mammal native to St. John are bats. Three of the six native bat species are protected under the
V.I. Endangered and Indigenous Species Act of 1990 (Act No. 5665). Some bat species are primary
pollinators of many native floral species and important seed dispersal agents for many species of fruit
bearing trees and shrubs. Other bats consume vast quantities of insects, including mosquitoes. Fish-
eating bats are also present; these are the second largest bats found in North America. Bat abundance at
night on St. John may exceed bird abundance during the day. Except for a short study using ultrasonic
surveys to detect bats, little is known of bat abundance on St. John, ecology of roosting maternity
colonies or threats. The Park is mandated to identify, monitor and protect native fauna and their habitat.

Recent museum analysis of materials excavated from the Cinnamon Bay archeological dig during 1998
has yielded some startling discoveries. The remains of at least four extinct animals have been identified,
including the Caribbean Monk Seal (Monachus tropicalis), Puerto Rican Shrew (Nesophontes, sp.), a
flightless rail and others. At least six other species have been identified which have been extirpated from
the Virgin Islands. This dig is revealing considerable information about faunal assemblages on St. John
before European colonization, and demonstrating the Prehistoric Indians lived in a substantially different
natural world from what we find today. These Indians may have brought some species such as the Green
Iguana (Iguana iguana) and the Red-Foot Tortoise (Geochelone carbonaria) to the Virgin Islands from
South America as food sources. These animals were apparently important food sources for these Native
American Indians.

Avifaunas are abundant and varied. The latest National Park Checklist of Birds on St. John includes 170
species in 17 families. St. John is an overwintering area for migratory warblers using the eastern flyway.
Fragmentation of habitat has been suggested for reducing populations of over-wintering warblers. More
recent research from 62 permanently marked survey points in moist forest and dry woodland on St. John
suggests that the reduction in numbers of overwintering warblers is due primarily to reduced numbers of
one species (Northern Parula) and possible reductions in breeding populations along the southeastern
United States from North Carolina to northern Florida. Birds are probably the best-studied group of
terrestrial animals in the Park. Continued surveys are necessary to determine trends in populations of
resident and migratory species. An intact native forest ecosystem is necessary for avifauna to rest, mate,
nest, and feed or migrate within the Park and territory.

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Terrestrial reptiles and amphibians on St. John are varied. Three native of tree frogs species
(Eleutherodactylus lentus, E. antillensis and E. cochranae) and one introduced species, the Cuban Tree
Frog (Osteopilus septrionalis), occur and one introduced Marine Toad (Bufo marinus), two geckos
(Hemidactylus mabouia and Sphaerodactylus macrolepis), three species of Anolis Lizards (Anolis
stratulus, A. cristatellus and A. pulchellus), the Red-foot Tortoise (introduced), Green Iguana
(introduced), Ground Lizard (Ameiva exsul), Legless Lizard (Amphisbaena fenestrata), Worm or Blind
Snake (Typhlops richardii), a type of Garter Snake (Arrhyton exiguus) (introduced), the Puerto Rican
Racer (Alsophis portoricensis) and the Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya mabouya). Herpetological
populations on St. John have not been adequately inventoried, monitored or protected. Species that occur
on nearby islands may also occur here but have not been observed and documented.

Catherine Curry prepared an insect species checklist from the Park museum collection in 1970, when ten
families were represented and 52 species identified (Curry 1970). William Muchmore (1987) studied
terrestrial invertebrates in 1987 and made a collection of common representative insects for the Park.
Two hundred and thirty-two species representing 124 families were identified. Arachnida (scorpions,
pseudoscorpions, harvestmen, and spiders) made up the largest order. Jeremiah Trimble has identified
thirteen species of dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata) in VIIS (Trimble J., IAR, 1997). Michael
Ivie (1983 and 1984) has been studying beetles (Coleoptera) in the Virgin Islands for several years.
Before his research, approximately 75 species of beetles had been described for the VI. Ivie has now
documented over 1500 species (several new species) and expects to find over 2000. Most of these species
may be found in VINP, but will only be documented through further studies. Additional inventories
covering a greater number of families are needed to more fully document the species and distributions of
insects within VINP.

Non-native hogs continue to have large and adverse effects on island wildlife and fauna. Because
herptofauna and invertebrates are small, often slow and readily available, they are particularly susceptible
to local extirpation from hog depredation. Of particular concern are the varied native reptile and
amphibian populations in the Park and their associated links in the food and ecological web of the island.
Wild hogs prey upon three species of tree frogs, two species of sea turtles, two geckos, and three Anolis
lizards, the Ground Lizard, Legless Lizard, Blind Snake, the Puerto Rican Racer, and the Slipperyback
Skink. The Park has listed over 232 common insect species, including 13 species of dragonflies and
damselflies and over 1500 beetle species, many of which are consumed by non-native hogs. Many
invertebrate species may be lost before researchers have catalogued them. NPS is mandated to identify
and protect native flora and fauna and their habitats for the enjoyment of future generations.

The cessation of goat and sheep grazing and trampling in specific locales would also improve habitat for
native lizard, snake, salamander and insect populations which are dependent on the consumption of
leaves, fruits and berries for their survival. Goat and sheep removal from riparian areas would improve
riparian habitat for frogs and aquatic invertebrates that in turn depend on the consumption of plants for
their survival. Goat and sheep removal would provide fruits and berries in years of large food production
and would improve habitat for those species which depend on these food sources, such as many bird
species (pigeons and doves) bats, herpeto-fauna and insects.

Endangered and Threatened Animal Species
The Endangered Species Act (PL 93-205) requires Federal agencies to protect all listed species and
habitats. Twelve Federally listed endangered and threatened species have been observed in the Park (see
Appendix A, List of Endangered Plants and Animals of the U. S. Virgin Islands). Five whale and several
dolphin species migrate through the Park. The endangered West Indian Manatee is extremely rare around
St. John, although it has been recently recorded (ca. 1990) from West End, Tortola in the British Virgin


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Islands. These listed species, include six marine mammals, five birds, three reptiles (sea turtles) and two
plants.

Five Federally listed threatened or endangered bird species have been identified. The Federally
Endangered Brown Pelican nests, feeds and roosts both adjacent to and within National Park boundaries.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating nesting success in considering this species for delisting.
The Federally Endangered Peregrine Falcon is a rare winter migrant. The Federally Threatened Roseate
Tern and Endangered Least Tern are summer residents that have both been observed nesting within the
Park in recent years (1997 and 1999, respectively). Piping Plover are a rare summer migrant.

Two of the Federally listed sea turtles are commonly found in Park waters. The Hawksbill Sea Turtle
requires coral reefs for food and refuge. Peak nesting season on Park beaches is from July through
November, although nesting activity may take place any month of the year. While Green Sea Turtles feed
in seagrass beds in Park waters, they are infrequent nesters on St. John beaches. Sea turtles are
infrequently struck and killed by boats speeding through Park waters. Nesting frequencies have
decreased on many beaches due to adjacent upland development that results in people, lights and dogs, all
of which deter turtles from using particular beaches. Direct impacts on Federal endangered species by
exotic species include the predation of sea turtle nests and eggs by the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes
auropunctatus) and non-native wild hogs. While considerable information exists on seasonality of
nesting for sea turtles using VINP beaches, no rigorous studies of nesting numbers and frequencies on all
VINP beaches has been carried out since the early 1980's.

The Federally Endangered Virgin Islands Tree Boa (Epicrates monensis granti) has never been observed
on St. John although it occurs on the East End of St. Thomas and on Tortola, BVI. This species could
conceivably exist on St. John.

Non-native goats, sheep, hogs and donkeys negatively affect the fauna of the Park through predation,
habitat alteration or competition for food. One territorially endangered and threatened animal species, the
Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya mabouia), is endemic to the Park. Other Territorial Endangered species
include ground-nesting species such as Bridled Quail Dove, Bahama Pintail Duck and West Indian
Nighthawk, all of which suffer egg and chick depredation or habitat loss due to hogs. Areas uprooted by
hogs undergo notable declines in small mammal populations (Singer et. al. 1982). Goats, sheep and wild
hogs are in direct competition with small animals for insects, earthworms and other invertebrates and also
compete with native species for other available food resources, especially hard mast.

Threatened and Endangered Plant Species
As of March 31, 2001, 736 native plant species were listed as endangered or threatened under the
Endangered Species Act. According to the Center for Plant Conservation, over 4,000 species of U.S.
plants, roughly 25 percent of our country's entire known native plant species are at some degree of risk.
Of these, many hundreds could vanish in the next few decades. Faced with the expanding development of
natural areas, competition from invasive non-native species, loss of pollinators, and over-collection for
ornamental and other uses, many of our native plants face an uncertain future. Hawaii, California, Texas,
Florida and the Puerto Rican platform have the greatest number of rare, imperiled and federally listed
plant species (Harrelson 2001).

Two plant species Federally listed as endangered occur on St. John and non-native goats and sheep
consume: Prickly Ash (Zanthoxyllum thomasianum) and the St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes
thomasiana). Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum) is also consumed and has been proposed for listing
(USFWS 1988; see Appendix A, List of Endangered Plants and Animals of the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Twenty-five plant species Territorially listed as threatened or endangered exist on St. John that goats and

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sheep consume: Cyposelia humifusa, Urban's Holly (Ilex urbanii), Central American Oak (Ilex
sideroxyloides), Pinion (Tillandsia lineatispica), Wooly Nipple (Mammilaria nivosa), Croton fishlockii,
Egger's Cockspur (Erythrina eggersii), Egger's Galactia (Galacteria eggersii), Cowage Cherry
(Malpighia woodburyana), Malpighia linearis, Byrsonima sp., Psidium sp., Eugenia sp., Schoepfia
schreberi, Christmas Orchid (Encyclia ciliare), Yellow Dancing Lady (Tolumnia prionochila), White
Dancing Lady (Tolumnia variegatum), Ponthieva racemosa, Prescottia oli,, u"li,, Prescottia stachyoides,
Tetramicra canaliculata, Myrtle-leaved Peperomia (Peperomia myrtifolia), Machaonia woodburyana,
Bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata), and Solanum mucronatum. The non-native hogs, goats, sheep and
donkeys on the island variously threaten each of these. The Federal listing proposal for these species
identified non-native goats, sheep, hogs and donkeys as the major cause of decline' for each of these plant
species. The primary causes of impact to these rare species by non-native goats, sheep, hogs and donkeys
are trampling, direct feeding and soil erosion.

Non-native goats, sheep, wild hogs and European boar are seriously threatening the sole, small remaining
populations of the endangered St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes thomasianum), Prickly Ash
(Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum), which has been proposed for
listing. Resource managers are particularly concerned about protecting the St. Thomas Lidflower,
because the largest population of 216 individuals lives, near the top of Bordeaux Mountain. Goat and
sheep herds are capable of denuding large areas of land of all vegetation, including trees (through bark
stripping) and cactus. The VINP represents possibly the largest and best example of dry sub-tropical
forest remaining in the Caribbean and many of these exotic species are having a serious impact on its
health and sustainability.

Direct impacts to twenty-five listed plant species would include herbivory of Threatened and Endangered
plant species by non-native goats and sheep and the trampling, crushing and uprooting of listed plant
species should goats and sheep walk, root or bed down within listed plant occurrences. Depending on the
number of individual goats and sheep within an area, one too many T&E plants may be grazed, trampled
or uprooted. Those occurrences that are found in areas of high goat and sheep use would likely incur the
most damage. Because the rarity of these listed plant species is defined by their limited numbers; even
relatively small impacts can have a large detrimental effect. Individual plants lost through predation,
trampling or uprooting cannot contribute offspring to the succeeding generation. This results in a loss to
the next generation of both absolute numbers and potential genetic diversity. A decrease in genetic
diversity can lead to an overall decrease in evolutionary fitness for a species. Decreased population
numbers, lead to increased potential for extirpation from continued predation or from large random
disturbance events such as fire, hurricanes or drought.

Indirect effects to listed Threatened and Endangered plant species by non-native goats and sheep include
alterations in listed plant micro-habitats, soil erosion, and facilitation of the spreading of invasive, non-
native plants into the habitats of listed plant species. Disturbances caused by goats and sheep in and
around listed plant occurrences can lead to increase erosion without those occurrences. This increased
erosion can expose the roots of listed plant species inhibiting water and nutrient uptake or in severe cases
completely up-root individual plants. Disturbances caused by goat and sheep foraging and grazing can
also facilitate the spread of invasive, non-native plant species within listed plant occurrences. Invasive,
non-native plant species can out-compete native plant species, including listed plants, for available
nutrients and water. This can lead to the local extirpation of listed plant occurrences.

Goats and sheep excrete excess nutrients and waste in the form of urine and feces. Nitrogenous organic
compounds in urine can chemically burn (over-fertilize) individual Threatened and Endangered listed
plants and alters the microhabitat around the point of urination. Goat and sheep feces can cover
individual listed plants blocking their access to sunlight, reducing the plant's vigor and health. Adjacent

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plants may benefit from the extra nutrients available in urine and feces similar to the effects within the
application of normal fertilizer. Increased nutrient availability may still be evident three years after
deposition of dung.

Each Federally and Territorially listed species require the NPS to provide some level of protection and
monitoring. Direct impacts on Federal endangered species by exotic species include the grazing of Z
thomasianum, C. thomasiana and S. conocarpum by non-native goats, sheep, hogs and donkeys. Non-
native goats, sheep, hogs, deer and donkeys may be having an impact on many Territorial endangered
species of plants. While the distribution of endangered plants is relatively well known, the extent of
threats to each species is imprecise.

Introduced Animals and Plants
With the exception of bats, the Virgin Islands National Park is presently inhabited by numerous species of
non-native mammals that have produced severe impacts on many indigenous species of plants and
animals and threats to visitor safety (Appendix B, List of List of Introduced Animals to St. John Island).
Feral or wild mammals include the white-tail deer, donkey, wild hog, goat, cow, sheep, European boar,
West Indian mongoose, tree rat, Norway rat and cat, dog and house mouse. Some of these species also
threaten visitor experience and safety. With the possible exception of deer, increasing populations of
these species are seriously affecting native species of plants and animals. Additionally, introduced
species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and plants are impacting the fragile environment (see
Appendix B).

For a more thorough description of the effects of these introduced animals, see Sustained Reduction of
Non-native Rats, Cats and Mongooses from Virgin Islands Environmental Assessment (NPS 2002).
Norway Rats or Brown Rats (Rattus norvegicus) existed on St. John from the 1700's and were introduced
by European explorers. Black or Tree Rats (Rattus rattus) existed on St. John from the earliest records
and were also introduced by Europeans. Both species occur in Virgin Islands National Park and range
throughout St. John, but the tree rat is considerably more common. Most problems arise from the
nocturnal black rats, which reside in trees and generally forage at night. Tree rats are associated largely
with people and human establishments and are known as commensal rodents.

As commensal rodents, Norway and tree rats are habituated to living near humans and except for an
occasional predation by red-tailed hawks, they have no biological predators. Rats are omnivorous; they
eat nearly every kind of grain, fruit, fish, fowl, carrion, milk products, and vegetables. Several rodents
can destroy hundreds of chicks in just one night. They are behaviorally plastic, have high reproduction
rates, and survive in a variety of habitats. These traits make them ideally suited to survive on a variety of
predator free islands. Even if extinctions do not occur, rats can have ecosystem wide effects on the
distribution and abundance of native species through direct and indirect effects. For example,
comparisons of rat-infested and rat-free islands, or pre and post rat eradication experiments, have shown
that rats depressed the population size and recruitment of birds, reptiles, plants and terrestrial
invertebrates. Rats have also been shown to affect the abundance and age structure of intertidal
invertebrates. The introduction of new Rattus species should be avoided, even to islands that already
have introduced rats.

Cats originated from an ancestral wild species, the European and African Wild Cat (Felis silvestris). The
cat (Felis catus) is now considered a separate species. The estimated numbers of pet cats in urban and
rural regions of the United States have grown from 30 million in 1970 to nearly 65 million in 2000.
Reliable estimates of the present total cat population are not available. Nationwide, approximately 30%
of households have cats. In rural areas, approximately 60% of households have cats. Populations of birds
on oceanic islands have evolved in circumstances in which predation from mammalian predators was

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negligible and they, and any other island vertebrates and invertebrates, are therefore particularly
vulnerable to predation when non-native cats have been introduced.

The impacts of cats on wildlife are difficult to quantify. However, a growing body of literature strongly
suggests that cats are a very large factor in the mortality of small mammals, birds, reptiles and
amphibians. Because free-ranging cats often receive food from humans, they can reach population levels
that may create areas of abnormally high predation rates on wildlife. When the wildlife prey is a
threatened or endangered species, the results may be extirpation or extinction. Effects of cat predation are
most pronounced in island settings (both actual and islands of habitat), where prey populations are already
low or stressed by other factors, or in natural areas where cat colonies are established.

Domestic cats have and continue to threaten populations of reptiles and ground and shrub nesting birds as
well as providing vectors for transmission of parasites and diseases to humans. Cats carry many diseases,
some which may be passed to humans (cat scratch fever, various bacterial skin diseases) and others that
are transmissible to cats. Certainly, their feet and fur carry germs, which they invariably disperse in their
wanderings. Cats also apparently like to defecate in the bathrooms and showers at Trunk Bay, producing
very unsanitary conditions and additional work for Park employees. Several visitors have contracted
"creeping eruption" (also known as hookworm), a nematode infection, and while on the beach at Trunk
Bay. This is transmitted via cat feces, probably deposited on the beach where conditions are favorable for
parasitic survival.

Cats hunt for both fun and food. Unlike wild predators, cats hunt whether they are hungry or not. These
cats are called "subsidized predators" because they sometimes receive a steady supply of food at home.
Pet cats can hunt longer and are less susceptible to disease than many wild predators. Because non-native
cats routinely kill insects and other small animals for "sport" to practice their hunting skills, in addition to
using them as a food source, great numbers of wildlife are lost each year to a small non-native cat
population. A recent university study in Wisconsin (Fish and Wildlife Today 1998) estimated that "1 to 2
million free ranging rural cats in Wisconsin kill roughly as many as 217 million birds each year."
Researchers noted that birds make up only 20 percent of the cats' diet. Seventy percent of the diet was
small mammals and 10 percent reptiles and amphibians (Patronek 1997; Coleman and Temple 1995).
Thus, great numbers of wildlife can be lost each year to a small non-native cat population.

In the 1880's, European planters introduced the West Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) to the
Caribbean and to St. John as a biological control to suppress the tree rat populations that decimated sugar
cane fields (Nellis and Everard 1983). It was thought to be the salvation for the large sugar cane
plantations on the islands that were being ravaged by tree rats. At first, the statistics indicated that a very
large decline in the rat population had occurred and the decline was attributed to mongoose predation. As
a result, in the next 30 years (1872 to 1900), even more mongooses were brought to the islands and
distributed throughout the Caribbean as a biological control.

Soon it was discovered that rats hunt at night and did not cross paths with the daytime foraging
mongooses. Rats are nocturnal and sleep in trees during the day. They were therefore able to eat as much
sugar as they wanted by night, while the mongooses were sleeping. The rats were safe, during the day,
from the mongooses, which cannot climb trees. They coexist well and we now have both non-native
species to contend with. Mongoose populations are scattered throughout St. John, with the highest
concentrations near human populations, due to increased food availability. Mongooses have no biological
predators and populations rise sharply when sufficient food quantities become available (Nellis and Small
1983).

Problems compounded as the rats continued to enjoy sugar cane and mongooses feasted instead on bird

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and sea turtle eggs, as well as, insects, papaya and guava. Public health concerns increased when the
mongoose was discovered to be a carrier of rabies. Since mongooses have no natural predators here, the
checks and balances of natural population control are missing. Non-native mongooses have devastated
reptile populations, some bird populations and continue to depredate the nests of the endangered
Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Coblentz, 1983).

Because reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, such as insects, are small, often slow and readily available
on St. John, they are particularly susceptible to local extinction from non-native rat, cat and mongoose
depredation. Of particular concern are the varied native reptile and amphibian populations in the Virgin
Islands National Park and their links to the ecological web of the island. Non-native rats, cats and
mongooses prey upon three species of tree frogs, two geckos, three Anolis lizards, the Ground Lizard,
Legless Lizard, Blind Snake, the Puerto Rican Racer, and the Slipperyback Skink. The Park has listed
over 232 common insect species, including 13 species of dragonflies and damselflies and over 1,500
beetle species; all of which may be eaten by rats, cats and mongooses.

Great numbers of wildlife, therefore, are lost each year to relatively small non-native rat, cat and
mongoose populations. The cumulative impacts associated with these increasing wildlife loses are very
large. Small islands typically have both smaller resident wildlife populations and lower species diversity.
This is particularly true on very small and highly fragmented islands such as St. John, because most
negative impacts are concentrated and accelerated when compared with similar impacts to a larger
landmass.

Non-native rats, cats and mongoose prey upon endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback sea turtles, which
nest on St. John. Norway and roof rats, cats and mongoose kill emergent hatchlings as they crawl from
the nest to the ocean at night, when the rats are most active. Non-native rats, cats and mongoose will also
prey upon sea turtle nests soon after being laid when the odor is still present, eating many eggs and
spoiling the remaining ones. The Sea Turtle Recovery Plans stipulate that predators should be removed
from turtle nesting beaches in order to protect species listed under the authority of the Endangered
Species Act.

Non-native rats, cats and mongooses prey upon chicks, juveniles and adults of most bird species that nest
on St. John. Of particular concern are endangered Brown Pelicans, Least Terns and threatened Roseate
Terns. Territorial endangered species preyed upon by non-native rats, cats and mongoose include ground
and tree nesting species such as Bridled Quail Dove, Bahama Pintail Duck, and the Antillean Mango
Hummingbird, all of which suffer egg and chick death due to rats. Non-native rats, cats and mongoose
also prey upon four (of the five) native bat species, three of which are territorially endangered, and the
only indigenous mammals on the island.

Donkeys destabilize steep slopes through maintenance of trails and these results in erosion and impact to
coral reefs and seagrass beds. They also affect plant community composition, distribution and succession
through selective feeding and dispersal of exotic plant species. Donkeys continue to enter campsites and
destroy tents and camping equipment in their efforts to locate food items. Visitors have been bitten and
threatened by some donkeys. Traffic safety becomes an issue when visitors stop to look at or photograph
donkeys on the road, thus impeding traffic and causing accidents.

Goats, sheep, wild hogs and deer are seriously threatening the sole, small remaining populations of the
endangered St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes thomasianum), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum
thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum), which has been proposed for listing.
Resource managers are particularly worried about the protection of the St. Thomas Lidflower, because the
largest population of 216 individuals lives near the top of Bordeaux Mountain. Goat and sheep herds are

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capable of denuding large areas of land of all vegetation, including trees (through bark stripping) and
cactus. The VINP represents possibly the largest and best example of dry tropical forest remaining in the
Caribbean and many of these exotic species are having a serious impact on its health and sustainability.


III.B. NATURAL RESOURCE THREATS

This chapter of the Environmental Assessment summarizes the condition of the natural resources. It
addresses the nature and severity of major threats to the natural resources and impacts that have the
potential to affect those resources.

Land Use and Boundary Issues
Approximately 52.0% of the island is Federal land. The Park owns 2,816 hectares (7,444 acres) of the
3840 hectares (9,485 acres) authorized by the enabling legislation. Within the Park boundary, 26.5%
(901 hectares or 2,226 acres) of the land is owned by either private interests or the Virgin Islands
government. These separate parcels of non-federal land or inholdingss" are dispersed throughout the
federal land within the authorized boundaries. The trend has been to further sub-divide the parcels and
develop them. There were 261 parcels of non-federal land in 1991 and approximately 322 in 1992.

The NPS is unable to restrict development on private adjacent lands, as our Enabling legislation lacks
eminent domain authority. Local zoning or Coastal Zone Management Act (CZM) protection is often
inadequate due to relaxed or inconsistent enforcement. Virgin Islands National Park participates in CZM
or any permit review for construction or modification of land within or adjacent to Park boundaries and
offers comments. The Resource Management Division has established mechanisms for the Park to be
contacted on adjacent development issues and to participate in the review/permitting process. There is
also a need to upgrade the Park's land status maps (1986) to show changes in ownership and anticipate
potential development. Due to lack of eminent domain authority, the Park has to compete for NPS
acquisition funds and must work closely with groups like the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park and
Trust for Public Lands. These non-profit NGO's can either purchase or hold land until Park funds are
available or purchase and donate land to the Park.

Development of private inholdings within and adjacent to the Park boundary, and pressure to re-open or
pave old Danish cart roads within the Park, represents serious threats to marine and terrestrial ecosystems
in the Park. Clearing of St. John's steep hillsides on slopes approaching and exceeding 30 degrees, has
resulted in elimination of native species, spread of exotic plants, increased soil erosion, loss of sparse
topsoil, and fragmentation of the forest and "viewsheds". These impacts need to be minimized or at least
mitigated. Because development cannot be prevented, eco-sensitive development must be encouraged to
require use of recycled and low energy products as well as forested scenic easements. Agreements with
landowners could be developed to achieve energy savings, and to minimize loss of biological diversity,
introduction of exotic species, degradation of Park resources and scenic values.

Intact forests are important habitat for migratory birds. Development of private lands within the Park and
construction of roads through watersheds which are now largely undisturbed could have drastic
consequences for the birds which winter in the Virgin Islands.

Visitation Issues
Visitation to the Park is usually of a short-term nature. The annual number of visitors has increased from
around 120,000 in the early 1970's to 1.2 million in 2001. Heaviest visitor use occurs between November
and May, reflecting increased cruise ship arrivals. Most visitors spend their time on, in or near the water.
Beach use and boating are the most popular activities. The beaches along the northwest shore between
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Cruz Bay and Cinnamon Bay receive the highest concentration of use. Many tours also visit the premier
cultural site of VINP, Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

It is desirable to provide a variety of appropriate opportunities and experiences for visitors, from
concession operated/heavy use to primitive surroundings/light use. Human carrying capacities were
established in the 1983 GMP for Park facilities, anchorages, recreational beaches and Biosphere Reserve
core areas. These carrying capacities will be reevaluated in light of the trends in visitation since 1983, as
well as the 2004 GMP update. Congestion and potential crowding threaten to impact or possibly impair
not only the quality of the visitor experience but also the integrity of scenic, natural and cultural
resources. The Final Commercial Services Plan/EA (2001) identifies desired future conditions that
represent only commercial use capacities which best balances resource protection with a quality visitor
experience. Total capacity has yet to be addressed. Trails, roads and facilities must be maintained and
upgraded, but not at the expense of the environment.

Starting in 1998, the Fee Demo Program instituted a fee collection program for Trunk Bay and Annaberg
Sugar Plantation. Visitors now pay $4.00 per person to visit both sites, whether by land or water. Of fees
collected, the Park retains 80%, less cost to operate collections and can submit proposals to compete for
the remaining 20%. In the four years of this program, substantial funds have been collected for use in
upgrading visitor facilities and providing enhanced services, such as animal-proofing many trash
receptacles and dumpsters, improving trails and boardwalks, and new comfort stations and sewage
treatment facilities. During the four years of operation, the annual net fee revenue averages $284,000 per
year.

Threats to Endangered and Threatened Species
Protection of threatened and endangered species and their habitat is imperative, as is reduction or control
of exotic and non-native species. Threatened and endangered species of plants are threatened by
development of inholdings and damage caused by non-native animals. Rooting activities of hogs is
damaging the Calyptranthes population on Bordeaux Mountain. Non-native goats, sheep and donkeys
graze on seedlings and saplings of rare plants and disperse the seeds of non-native species that compete
with the rare species for light, water, space and nutrients.

Law Enforcement rangers strictly enforce the pet leash and restriction laws, especially during turtle
nesting season. Dogs must be kept on a leash or physically restrained while in the Park (36 CFR 2.15).
Dogs are restricted from all NPS beaches, not only sea turtle nesting beaches. Dogs dig in the sand,
sometimes scenting a sea turtle nest, then predating and destroying the entire nest.

The major threat to the reproductive success of threatened and endangered sea turtles is predation of eggs
and hatchlings by mongooses and rats. Predation of sea turtle eggs by mongooses is a learned response.
Mongooses see a dog or other mongoose digging a nest or find a recently dug nest and discover a high
protein source of food. Although sea turtles attempt to disguise the scent by dispersing sand with their
flippers, mongooses often detect it and dig to find the eggs. Mongoose predation accounted for up to a
23% loss of sea turtle eggs (Nellis & Small, 1983). Some beaches on St. Thomas experience 100%
predation of eggs and nests. Since they are the major predators and threat to nesting success; trapping
mongooses each season is necessary adjacent to nesting beaches.

Human poaching of threatened and endangered sea turtles and taking of eggs may be a problem in remote
areas of the Park. Sea turtle products, mostly hawksbill shells, are the most commonly confiscated
products by the U.S. Customs at United States borders. These confiscations are on the increase. Taking
of adult turtles, mostly green, is still allowed in adjacent British waters. Public education, involvement of
volunteers with beach patrol programs and encouraging protection of the endangered and threatened sea

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turtles in British waters, can raise community awareness about these ancient animals while reducing the
incidence of taking and poaching.

Turtle mortality due to boat strikes has greatly increased over the last fifteen years (Boulon, 1997). In
some years, over half of all reported turtle strandings involved damage to the carapace from boat
propellers or hulls. Increasing populations of juvenile green turtles and increasing numbers of high speed
powerboats results in increased numbers of incidental mortalities. The numbers of high speed boats
travelling along the north shore of St. John en route to the BVI continues to increase.

While other parts of the world (Southeastern U.S., Hawaii) have been reporting large numbers of green
turtles affected with fibropapillomas, the USVI has only had a few reports of individuals having this
disease. However, reports of infected turtles are on the increase and sizes of reported tumors are also
increasing. This may become a great concern if this disease starts to affect a large segment of our turtle
population. Monitoring of in-water sightings and strandings must be maintained.

Endangered and threatened seabirds (Brown Pelican, Roseate and Least Terns) are most commonly
affected by predation on eggs and young by rats, cats and mongooses. Humans are also potential poachers
of eggs in remote areas. Disturbance by human visitation to offshore cays results in low egg production,
death of chicks to sun exposure or even abandonment of the whole nesting colony. Decreases in baitfish
populations may limit nesting populations and affect the breeding and fledging success of these birds.

Non-native/Exotic Animal Impacts
Indian mongooses are one of many problem exotic and non-native animals on St. John. Mongoose
predation has contributed to the reduction of many reptiles, amphibians, insects, ground nesting birds and
sea turtles. Because of its high fecundity and large population, it is unrealistic to try to eliminate this
predator from the island. Attempts to eliminate mongoose from much smaller islands than St. John (Buck
Island, St. Croix) have been time intensive, costly and have failed. A single pregnant female will
reestablish the population in just a few years. The only realistic management measure is to control this
species through poison/removal at certain sites during certain times of the year is to reduce its impact on
indigenous species (e.g. turtle nesting beaches from June through October).

Non-native cats prey on birds, frogs and lizards, having large effects on their populations. The
populations of non-native cats at certain beaches (Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Francis Bay) have
increased dramatically in recent years. A local vet, in conjunction with the St. John Animal Care Center,
has offered to neuter cats brought to her. These cats have then been released in the Park or elsewhere,
with the goal of cat population reduction through attrition. However, these cats may live for many more
years, continuing to depredate natural populations of birds and reptiles. More recently, cats have been
trapped and taken to the Humane Society on St. Thomas for adoption. This has resulted in greatly
reduced non-native cat populations in the Park. This effort must be maintained, as the populations will
expand again as cats' reproduce and others wander into or are released in the Park.

Donkeys, goats, sheep and hogs graze and browse on vegetation both inside and out of the Park. Impacts
to vegetation have been identified and recorded (Coblentz 1983; Nellis et. al. 1985, and Ray 1990).
Plants on St. John did not evolve with grazers and browsers so have not developed defenses and survival
tactics. Forest structure and species composition is changing due to introduction of exotic plants in fecal
matter and disappearance of favorite non-native animal foods. Goats and sheep are predominantly
concentrated along the east and southeast boundary of the Park, and Reef and Fish bays. They are
beginning to utilize Ram Head, Annaberg and Brown Bay quite heavily. Hogs are centered around the
Susannaberg landfill and have spread from there to Bordeaux Mountain, Cinnamon Bay and Annaberg.
Signs of rutting are now found in Catherineberg, Reef Bay, Cinnamon Bay and Lameshur Bay. Donkeys

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wander the entire island. Young black mangrove saplings (a protected species) are one of their favorite
foods.

A conservative non-native sheep estimate within the Park is less than 50 animals. Recent introductions
include two species of frogs from Puerto Rico and a bird. The Cuban Tree Frog is thought to prey on
species of smaller frogs such as our indigenous tree frogs. The "coqui" has been heard around Caneel
Bay. The House Sparrow flew across the narrow 3-mile wide channel separating St. Thomas and St. John
and now breeds on the island. Audubon Society members are monitoring this species and have attempted
some reduction.


Non-native Domestic Goats and Domestic Sheep Impacts
Origin. Non-native Domestic Goats (Capra hirus) and Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries) are ungulate species
introduced (not native) to North or South America; but originate from South West Asia (Gordon Luikart
et. al. 2001). In Europe, the domestic goats came from South West Asia already domesticated.
Christopher Columbus first brought goats and sheep into the West Indies in 1493. The Danes brought
goats and sheep to St. John in 1718 when they colonized the island. Goats and sheep have established
non-native breeding populations in many areas and all habitat types of the Virgin Islands National Park.

The goat is one of the smallest domesticated ruminants, which has served mankind earlier and longer than
cattle and sheep (Gordon Luikart et. al. 2001). Domestic goats are still the main economic resource in
many developing countries. Their importance hails back to the Neolithic age: indeed, they may have
played a crucial role in the spread of agriculture at that time. Goats are more likely to follow humans in
their travels than other domestic animals, and they are much less fussy about their food. It is managed for
the production of milk, meat and wool, particularly in arid, semitropical or mountainous countries. It is
better adapted to dry conditions than cattle or sheep.

Physical Description. During mating season in late summer, the buck releases an oily substance through
facial and leg glands. The strong scent attracts females during the rut. Ranchers who breed goats for
their fleece will put the goats they wish to breed in a pen called a mating pen. The goat will be kept here
until the female or females are pregnant (D.Ohashi and Schemnitz 1987). Following a 5-month gestation
period, the kid remains with the mother for several months, unlike the wild breed that abandons their
young within two days. They usually live between 8 to 10 years.

Maximum weight for a goat is 225 pounds; most male goats in the Virgin Islands weight about 180
pounds. Adult females weigh considerably less. Goats are 3 2 to 5 feet long and stand 3 to 4 feet at the
shoulder. Both sexes have 30 to 32 teeth. Coat color varies from white, tawny, tan, brown, grey, black
and all colors in between. Goats usually have very small horns, if any at all. Their horns are often cut off
before they get too long to prevent injury to the shepherd and the other goats in the herd.

Distribution and Abundance. A few residents say all goats and sheep have owners, and many people
keep goats and sheep in herd sizes ranging from a few animals to several dozen. Many residents believe
the "free-ranging" goatherds in the Park are not owned by people. The Park has experienced goat and
sheep grazing since it was established in 1956. The original areas of goat and sheep encroachment
included: portions of Leinster Bay near the Johnny Horn Trail; Bordeaux Mountain area above and
including much of the Lameshur watershed; the East End near the NPS Firing Range; the upper-eastern
portion of Hawksnest Bay; and the Ram Head area. By the early 1990's, free-ranging goat and sheep
herds were established in Brown Bay and Ram Head. In 1999, 5 goats were abandoned at the former
seaplane ramp at Lind Point. Finally, in the summer of 2000, approximately 12 goats were abandoned on
the North Shore Road immediately inside the Park boundary above Cruz Bay.
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Non-native goat numbers on St, John are known to oscillate widely between climatic episodes. During
drought years, goat numbers have been estimated to be between 300 and 375. Under normal rainfall
years, numbers have been estimated to be as high as from 600 to 1000 animals. The island's free-ranging
goat population changes within the year. These numbers are not surprising given that goats have a high
reproductive potential. Conservatively, with plentiful food, goats can be expected to double their
numbers at least once a year.

A conservative goat estimate within Virgin Islands National Park is from 600 to 1000 animals, and the
present area of impact is 85% of the island, some of which is among the most sensitive and rare forest
habitat types found in the Caribbean region. A conservative non-native sheep estimate within the Park is
less than 50 animals. The estimate includes animals that live in the Park and omits animals that graze the
Park routinely, but live outside the Park, a situation that occurs at Bordeaux Mountain and the East End.
Moreover, because of the dramatically increased herd size at Ram Head/Lameshur, and Brown
Bay/Leinster, natural resource degradation will continue at a much faster pace. In addition, perhaps the
worst aspect is the new introductions at Lind Point and along the North Shore area, because goats could
be impacting as much as 100% of the Park, within a few years.

Also, by the late 1990's, the Brown Bay herd grew to at least approximately 100 individuals. Clearly, the
larger breeding populations remain in the wild, with basically unlimited food sources, no hunting or
predation pressure, the faster the population will raise and the more extensive control measures will be.
The environmental and to a lesser degree cultural impacts as well. Continuing the downward chain of
ecological calamity from changing species composition, spreading nonnative vegetation, trail making,
increasing erosion, and reducing habitat for birds, herptofauna, insects and others.

The very large concerns are the potential for spreading into new areas, especially now that a population is
established on the northern portion of the Park, and the speed and thoroughness with which goats and
sheep degrade the sensitive natural and cultural environments. The amount of disturbance caused by
goats and sheep would vary by plant community depending upon access, shelter, water sources, and food
availability. These plant communities providing adequate water, abundant food sources and shelter
would probably incur the most use.

Impacts on Flora. Documented direct effects on plant communities by alien herbivores including non-
native goats and sheep are reduction in native species cover, density and biomass (Baker and Reeser
1972; Coblentz 1977). Alien herbivores and goats and sheep have also caused the elimination of the soil
litter layer and loss of seed banks, increased soil disturbance, and soil compaction, and lowered or altered
rates and patterns of nutrient cycling. Hoofed herbivores impact native vegetation communities through
their grazing and browsing activities, which changes plant species composition and distribution. These
changes typically result from the selection and avoidance by herbivores of certain plant species, thereby
modifying plant succession processes in that area, eventually leading to a different plant community than
existed before. For example, the most palatable and nutritious plants will be preferentially eaten, leaving
the thornier, less desirable species (from the herbivores' perspective). If this continues at a high enough
level over a period of time, the plant community will be changed towards one containing more thorny
species with less total plant cover.

In searching for food and shelter, goats and sheep create winding trails through all plant communities
(Coblentz 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1980). These paths compact the soil and contribute to increased water
run-off, sediment and nutrient loading erosion. These paths can also serve as routes for the spread of
invasive, non-native plant species. Where they intersect maintained Park trails, these goat and sheep trails
can also lead visitors astray.


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Micro-biotic flora or crusts are a critical component of many of the arid and semi-arid rangelands
throughout the Northern American West, Midwest and East (Vtorov 1996). These crusts are found
throughout the world and are known to occur on St. John. Cyano-bacteria make up the majority of the
micro-biotic crusts, but lichens, mosses, green algae, micro-fungi, and bacteria are present as well.
These soil crusts significantly modify the surfaces on which they occur and can represent 70-80 percent
of the living ground cover. Soil crusts are known to be important in nitrogen fixation, enhancing vascular
seedling establishment, and reducing soil erosion.

Several studies have shown that soil crusts are severely impacted by the trampling associated with
grazing. Researchers have noted that soil lichen cover is negatively correlated with livestock grazing and
that soil mobility and erosion increased with reduced lichen cover. It is likely that non-native goat and
sheep grazing would be equally or more damaging. Recovery of soil crusts following the cessation of
grazing and trampling has also been noted.

Disturbances caused by goat and sheep grazing and movement through island vegetation may facilitate
the spread of non-native, invasive plant species (Yocum 1967). Once established, these species have
demonstrated the ability to expand at the expense of native plant species. Additionally, many of the
naturalized exotic plant species found on St. John have not co-evolved with the grazing pressures exerted
by large herbivores. They have adaptive mechanisms, which allow them to avoid being grazed or to
better survive the impacts of grazing. These exotic plant species have expanded in the presence of goats,
sheep and hogs on St. John at the expense of the islands' native flora. The presence of non-native goats
and sheep would only likely benefit these undesirable species because exotic plants are widely dispersed
through their feces.

Documented indirect effects of alien herbivores and non-native goats and sheep to plant communities
include the increase of cover, frequency, and biomass of non-native plant species, increased water run-off
and soil erosion, and degradation of soil structure. Goats and sheep have also contributed to changes in
soil micro-flora and micro-fauna, and the potential loss of fire-induced successional communities due to
inadequate fuels and lack of seed banks.

Goats and sheep are selective browsers: which means they select for their favorite foods; then only
browse them (Coblentz 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1980). Goats and sheep tend to graze small shrubs and
grasses very close to the ground and may even tear the roots from the substrate, preventing regeneration.
The most fragile forest community on the island is the dry forest, which predominates, in the southeastern
portion of the island. These communities may have the smallest possibility for recovery, and both their
species composition and total individual numbers are low. In addition, steep semi-barren cliffs dominate
this area, making a perfect habitat for the sure-footed goat. Precious topsoil is lost and will degrade the
coral reefs below the cliffs. Some individuals from the main Ram Head herd frequent the Lameshur Bay
watershed, perhaps in search of water in the moist forest found there. This frequently occurs on an almost
daily basis and has continued unabated for the past several years. This is especially devastating because
the Lameshur watershed forms a very large portion of the core area of the Virgin Islands National Park
Biosphere Reserve.

The ecological impacts from introductions of non-native herbivores can be both drastic and immediate
(Scowcroft and Hobdy 1978). Hoofed herbivores impact native vegetation communities through their
grazing and browsing activities, which changes plant species composition and distribution. These
changes typically result from the selection and avoidance by herbivores of certain plant species, thereby
modifying plant succession processes in that area, eventually leading to a different plant community than
existed before. For example, the most palatable and nutritious plants will be preferentially eaten, leaving
the thornier, less desirable species (from the herbivores' perspective). If this continues at a high enough

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level over a period of time, the plant community will be changed towards one containing more thorny
species with less total plant cover. The exact impact to a plant community will depend on the feeding
habits and habitat preferences of the herbivores, the herbivore population size, and thew length of time
they occupy an area.

Presently, the greatest threats to forest regeneration are development and growing populations of non-
native goats, sheep, hogs and donkeys (Coblentz 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1980). Goats, sheep and donkeys
alter forest composition by selectively feeding on palatable species and distributing the seeds of exotic
species through their feces. Hogs destroy vegetation through rooting up of plants. Despite disturbance by
non-native animals and construction, Park lands continue to be a valuable refuge for native plant species.
To date, 747 species of vascular plants have been identified from St. John, of which 642 (86%) are native
to the island. The species are found in 117 families, of which 12 are introduced. Almost all species
(99.7%) on St. John are found on other islands within the Virgin Islands. Two species are endemic to St.
John (Eugenia earhartii and Machaonia woodburyana) and six others are endemic to the Virgin Islands.
Another 25 species are endemic to the Puerto Rico platform. Many voucher specimens and
representatives of common plants have been collected by premier botanists and placed in the Park
herbarium collection, creating an extensive collection of most species on the island. As they conduct
monitoring and inventories, botanists continue to identify new species.

A network of long-term monitoring plots, representing a range of stand ages and land-use histories, has
now been established in each of the following forest types on the island: upland moist, gallery moist, dry
evergreen woodland and dry evergreen scrubland. Peter Weaver (1999) has established 16 plots in the
dry evergreen and moist forest of the Cinnamon Bay watershed; the New York Botanical Garden has
three plots covering upland moist, gallery moist and dry evergreen woodland; and the Smithsonian has
two plots covering dry evergreen woodland and dry evergreen scrubland. In addition, the USDA-NRCS
has five long-term plots in the Lameshur and Cinnamon Bay watersheds to measure soil temperature and
moisture. Information on forest regeneration, tree seedling growth, changes of species composition and
forest structure are gathered by researchers through Memorandums of Understanding, Cooperative
Agreements and direct National Park Service funding.

The Virgin Islands National Park has probably the best baseline set of data for dry tropical forest in the
Caribbean. The numerous studies and long-term monitoring plots, coupled with the inventories and
published works on St. John vegetation, make this the most comprehensively studied habitat type in
VINP. All of the Federally and Territorially listed species require some level of protection and
monitoring.

Impacts on Threatened and Endangered Plants. Direct impacts to twenty-five listed plant species
would include herbivory of T&E plant species by non-native goats and sheep and the trampling, crushing
and uprooting of listed plant species should goats and sheep walk, root or bed down within listed plant
occurrences (Mueller-Dombois and Spatz 1973). Depending on the number of individual goats and sheep
within an area, one to many T&E plants may be grazed, trampled or uprooted. Those occurrences that are
found in areas of high goat and sheep use would likely incur the most damage. Because the rarity of these
listed plant species is defined by their limited numbers; even relatively small impacts can have a large
detrimental effect. Individual plants lost through predation, trampling or uprooting cannot contribute
offspring to the succeeding generation. This results in a loss to the next generation of both absolute
numbers and potential genetic diversity. A decrease in genetic diversity can lead to an overall decrease in
evolutionary fitness for a species. Decreased population numbers lead to increased potential for
extirpation from continued predation, or from large random disturbance events such as fire, hurricanes or
drought.


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Indirect effects to listed T&E plant species by non-native goats and sheep include alterations in listed
plant micro-habitats, soil erosion, and facilitation of the spreading of invasive, non-native plants into the
habitats of listed plant species (Mueller-Dombois and Spatz 1973). Disturbances caused by goats and
sheep in and around listed plant occurrences can lead to increase erosion without those occurrences. This
increased erosion can expose the roots of listed plant species inhibiting water and nutrient uptake or in
severe cases completely up-root individual plants. Disturbances caused by goat and sheep foraging and
grazing can also facilitate the spread of invasive, non-native plant species within listed plant occurrences.
Invasive, non-native plant species can out-compete native plant species, including listed plants, for
available nutrients and water. This can lead to the local extirpation of listed plant occurrences.

Goats and sheep, like all animals, excrete excess nutrients and waste in the form of urine and feces.
Chemicals, primarily nitrogen, in urine can chemically bum individual T&E listed plants and alters the
microhabitat around the point of urination. Goat and sheep feces can cover individual listed plants
blocking their access to sunlight, reducing the plant's vigor and health. Adjacent plants may benefit from
the extra nutrients available in urine and feces similar to the effects within the application of normal
fertilizer. Increased nutrient availability may still be evident three years after deposition of dung.

Goat and sheep herds are capable of denuding large areas of land of all vegetation, including trees
(through bark stripping) and cactus. The VINP represents possibly the largest and best example of dry
tropical forest remaining in the Caribbean and many of these exotic species are having a serious impact
on its health and sustainability.

Altered and degraded forest systems are recovering from the clear-cutting done in plantation days. Most
species are still present, but composition and forest structure do not yet resemble pre-plantation
descriptions of the forests. Ecological succession to dominant communities is being monitored. Grazing
and browsing by non-native livestock and development pressures are the greatest threats. The few
remaining mangrove forests have been considerably stressed by recent hurricanes: Hugo (1989), Luis
(1995), Marilyn (1995), Bertha (1996) and Georges (1998) and development pressures. Fragmentation of
small natural areas into even smaller parcels is a threat to natural systems and processes.

There are no permanent streams or lakes on St. John. There are only a few perennial pools in major
watersheds that may hold water all year. The water in salt ponds and mangroves are brackish at best.
Neither deer nor goats were seen drinking from the ocean. Water is critical to the health of all ruminants.
Deer will often travel a long distance for a drink of water. It would be useful to know how the lack of
fresh water affects the behavior, movement and general health of the deer on the island. In Arizona, years
with poor fawn crops and poor body condition are associated with drought. The goats in the study ranged
on VINP land during the morning hours, and regularly returned to a farm outside the Park boundaries in
the afternoon where fresh water may have been available (Stuht 2001).

Potential Transmission of Goat and Sheep Disease and Parasites Issues. Fecal samples were
collected in June 2000 from white-tailed deer and free-ranging goats in the Virgin Islands National Park
(Stuht 2001). Eggs of strongyles, Moniezia sp., Trichuris sp. and oocysts of coccidia were found in both
deer and goats. The coccidium in deer was identified as Eimeria mccordocki. This was the first study of
parasites of white-tailed deer on St. John. Strongyles have been reported previously from white-tailed
deer on St. Croix. None of the parasites found in this study are highly pathogenic to deer and goats and
none are of known public health significance. It is thought that exotic populations host fewer species of
parasites than native populations of the same species.

In the areas where deer and goats were watched closely by Stuht (2001) it appears that their food habitats
are a little different. Goats seemed to eat more leafy vegetation of all kinds. If they can reach it, they eat

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it. Deer seem pickier, and spend more time looking for green herbaceous plants nearer the ground.
However, some green plants are ignored by deer. Both deer and goats appeared to like the fruit of the
local tamarind (Tamarindus indica). They both made regular visits to the base of these trees in search of
fruit that had recently dropped.

Great numbers of goats and sheep serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and livestock for infectious and
parasitic diseases (New, Barton, Morris and Potgieter 1994). A variety of arthropod, protozoan, and
helmith parasites also has been found from the Park, including, ticks, lice, protozoa, kidney worms,
esophageal worms, stomach worms, intestinal worms, and lungworms. Goats also carry foot rot. It is
very hard to get rid of this disease in sheep if goats are nearby. Goats are also potential carriers of exotic
diseases such as foot and mouth disease. These are common parasites for both wildlife, and goats and
sheep. Suggested cautions would be to inform people that during butchering activities, gloves should be
used and that contact with the reproductive tracts and fetuses of female goats and sheep should be
avoided.


Biological Pollution (Exotic Plants)
Harmful exotic plants can have profound environmental consequences ranging from wholesale ecosystem
changes and extinction of indigenous or native species, especially on islands, to more subtle ecological
changes and increased biological sameness (monospecific forests). Both intentional and accidental
introductions of harmful non-indigenous plants occur. Intentional introductions take the form of
ornamental plants to enhance perceived beauty or of crops, fruit trees and medicinal plants to generate a
new source of food or income. Accidental introductions arrive as contaminants or hitchhikers on bulk
commodities, packing material, in ship ballast, seed shipments and soil. Agricultural inspections of plants
entering the Virgin Islands through customs are cursory at best. No inspections are done on cargo
transported between the Virgin Islands. An inventory of exotic species and determination of their status
in the Park are needed. If the species interferes with Park objectives, has the ability to alter ecosystems,
can spread to natural communities, can out-compete native species or is allellopathic, management
actions need to be evaluated and implemented.

Disturbances caused by goat and sheep trampling, grazing and movement through island vegetation may
facilitate the spread of non-native, invasive plant species. Once established, these species have
demonstrated the ability to expand at the expense of native plant species. Additionally, many of the
naturalized non-native plant species found on St. John Island have not co-evolved with the grazing
pressures exerted by large herbivores. They have adaptive mechanisms, which allow them to avoid being
grazed or to better survive the impacts of grazing. These non-native plant species have expanded in the
presence of goats, sheep and hogs on St. John at the expense of the island's native flora. The presence of
goats and sheep would only likely benefit these species due to the fact that exotic plants are currently
widely dispersed through their feces.

Forest Recovery and Fragmentation
Altered and degraded forest systems are recovering from the clear-cutting done in plantation days. Most
species are still present, but composition and forest structure do not yet resemble pre-plantation
descriptions of the forests. Ecological succession to dominant communities is being monitored. Grazing
and browsing by non-native livestock (goats, hogs, sheep and burros) and development pressures are the
worst threats. The few remaining mangrove forests have been considerably stressed by recent hurricanes:
Hugo (1989), Luis (1995), Marilyn (1995), Bertha (1996) and Georges (1998) and development
pressures. Fragmentation of small natural areas into even smaller parcels is a threat to natural systems
and processes.


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Garbage Disposal and Recycling
Until 1994 the St. John solid waste disposal site was an open landfill located at Susannaberg, 2.4
kilometers (1.5 miles) east of Cruz Bay, south of Centerline Road. The Territorial Department of Public
Works manages the facility. This landfill served the needs of the entire island, including the Park until it
was closed after a large fire erupted and eventually was put out in 1992. The landfill has been capped and
closed according to the Environmental Protection Agency's standards; however, leachates carrying
contaminants may wash down Guinea Ghut or seep into the groundwater during heavy rainstorms.
Garbage generated on St. John is taken to the landfill site, loaded onto trucks, barged to St. Thomas and
deposited in the Bovoni Landfill. This landfill has exceeded capacity and resource recovery alternatives
are being explored by the VI Government.

Twelve percent of the contents of the landfill are metal, 40% is paper and 5% is glass. If just these
materials were recycled, the volume of garbage going to the landfill would be decreased by over 50%. If
composting household garbage, grass and leaves were done; another 23% in volume would be reduced.
The Park, the VI Anti Litter and Beautification Commission (VIALBC) and a few key local citizens has
initiated recycling programs for aluminum. Recycling would decrease the volume of garbage sent to the
landfill as well as save energy. Ninety percent of the energy it takes to manufacture aluminum from
virgin materials can be saved if aluminum is recycled. Goat and sheep access to human garbage at all
NPS visitor and concession facilities and structures are one of the reasons why the Park is animal-
proofing all of food containers.



III.C. CULTURAL RESOURCES

This chapter of the Environmental Assessment describes the current status of baseline information from
inventories, monitoring and research projects. Major Park planning documents have been completed.
Some are in the process of being updated; the Land Use Plan, General Management Plan, and the
Resource Management Plan. Virgin Islands National Park needs an update to major inventories and
documentation of cultural resources in addition to special studies and an administrative history.

History
Non-native Domestic Goats (Capra hirus) and Domestic Sheep (Ovis aries) are ungulate species
introduced (not native) to North or South America; but originated from South West Asia (Gordon Luikart
et. al. 2001). In Europe, the domestic goats came from South West Asia already domesticated.
Christopher Columbus first brought goats and sheep into the West Indies in 1493. The Danes brought
non-native goats and sheep to St. John in 1718 when they colonized the island. During the 17th Century,
sailors released goats onto islands and into some areas of St. John Island for emergency food supplies.
Goats and sheep have established non-native breeding populations in many areas and all habitat types of
the Virgin Islands National Park.

The goat is one of the smallest domesticated ruminants, which has served mankind earlier and longer than
cattle and sheep (Gordon Luikart et. al. 2001). Domestic goats are still the main economic resource in
many developing countries. Their importance hails back to the Neolithic age: indeed, they may have
played a crucial role in the spread of agriculture art that time. Goats are more likely to follow humans in
their travels than other domestic animals, and they are much less fussy about their food. It is managed for
the production of milk, meat and wool, particularly in arid, semitropical or mountainous countries. It is
better adapted to dry conditions than cattle or sheep.

A few residents say all goats and sheep have owners, and many people keep goats and sheep in herd sizes
ranging from a few animals to several dozen. Many residents believe the "free-ranging" goatherds in the
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Park are not owned by people. The Park has experienced goat and sheep grazing since it was established
in 1956. The original areas of goat and sheep encroachment included: portions of Leinster Bay near the
Johnny Horn Trail; Bordeaux Mountain area above and including much of the Lameshur watershed; the
East End near the NPS Firing Range; the upper-eastern portion of Hawksnest Bay; and the Ram Head
area. By the early 1990's, free-ranging goat and sheep herds were established in Brown Bay and Ram
Head. In 1999, 5 goats were abandoned at the former seaplane ramp at Lind Point. Finally, in the
summer of 2000, approximately 12 goats were abandoned on the North Shore Road immediately inside
the Park boundary above Cruz Bay.

Three waves of migrations brought Native Americans north from the Orinoco River valley of Venezuela.
By the time of European discovery of the New World, two prehistoric Indian groups inhabited or visited
the Virgin Islands, the Arawaks or Tainos and the more aggressive Caribs. On November 4, 1493,
Christopher Columbus and a fleet of 17 ships made land fall in the Lesser Antilles beginning two
centuries of international wars for supremacy of the West Indies, disrupting native customs and
deforesting the land. The Columbus expedition did land on St. Croix, probably at Salt River.

Beginning in 1718, St. Thomas and St. John were colonized by the Danish West India and Guinea
Company. Landholdings were cleared and cultivated. These "plantages" or "plantations" relied on slave
labor and sizable capital investment. On St. John in 1733-4, development was slowed and nearly stopped
by an almost successful slave uprising. The Danish West Indies became a crown colony in 1755 and
development accelerated. By 1780, the greater part of St. John was under cultivation. Early crops
included cotton, tobacco and dye woods such as indigo, but shifted predominantly to sugar. The rugged
terrain, the thin rocky soil and labor-intensive economies created problems. As long as sugar prices
remained high and African slaves were easily available, agricultural development was financially viable.

Denmark abolished trade in slaves in 1792. By the 1800s, sugar prices dropped. Plantation economy
became marginal. By the mid-1800s, competition with areas where mechanical cultivation of both sugar
and cotton and the increased production of the European sugar beet was too much and some plantations
folded. In 1848 slavery was abolished in the Danish West Indies. The plantation systems succumbed.
Only a few plantations lasted into the 20th century. They introduced crops that produced bay and lime
oil, mechanically crushed sugar, or they attempted to raise and sell livestock.

The breaking point for most remaining plantations occurred in 1867. Following a major hurricane and
earthquake, tracts of cultivated land were abandoned or allowed to shrink. The population declined.
Land reverted to natural vegetation that buried the collapsing remains of the once flourishing agricultural
buildings. In 1917, the Danish West Indies was ceded to the United States. The territory of the Virgin
Islands was created in 1931 and is currently administered by an elected governor and legislature.
Oversight authority for the territory rests in the U.S. Department of Interior.

Now the islands are based on a tourist economy. After World War II, with rising wages and improved
large-scale commercial air travel, mass tourism became reality. The over one million tourists per year
originate predominantly from the United States (64%), Europe (10%) and Canada (7%). Beginning in the
1950s, St. Thomas became a popular destination for Caribbean cruise ships that send passengers to St.
John for day trips. The island, which once harbored fewer than 800 people living mostly in two-room
wooden cottages without indoor plumbing, electricity or telephones and their only means of transportation
a donkey or a horse, has undergone a dramatic transformation. A population of over 4,500 persons is now
sustained by wage employment that allows many to live in modem housing and own cars.

The Virgin Islands National Park was welcomed when it was established in 1956 on St. John. It was
thought that the Park would provide economic opportunities for local Virgin Islanders. But, the Park has

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been developed as a "natural area", following an U.S. concept of nature foreign to St. Johnians. The
general policy adopted by the Park dictated that land be "managed 'back' toward pristine condition" that
had prevailed "when the area was first visited by the white man" (Administrative Policies 2001). Access
to economic resources in the Park has been restricted, severely limiting traditional use of the environment.
The tourist industry created only limited economic opportunities for St. Johnians.

After the Park was established, it undertook the task of undoing the effect of almost 250 years of
cultivation. If a St. Johnian had a garden plot under cultivation on land acquired by the Park, the plot
could continue to be cultivated but no new land could be cleared. Soil was depleted within several years
and the traditional extensive swidden agriculture ceased. Cattle grazing on Parklands were forbidden. No
longer permitted to turn their cattle loose on a nearby estate during periods of drought, farmers were
forced to slaughter them. Even though hunting and trapping had never been a major part of the local
economy, the Park set up large signs prohibiting it. There was a fine of $500 or six months in prison for
any person violating Park rules.

The Park Service did not prohibit all economic activity in the Park area, believing it is necessary to
provide visitors to the Park with modem facilities, such as trails, roads, camping and dinning facilities.
Facilities have been established for swimmers at all beaches held by the Park Service. Tourist facilities
have been developed by private businesses on inholdings within the Park, such as Caneel Bay Plantation
and Maho Bay.

Archeological Resources
The Virgin Islands prehistorically are part of a larger Caribbean Culture Area. This area consists of two
distinct chains of islands. The Lesser Antilles are a line of small, mainly volcanic islands sweeping
northward from Trinidad near the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The Greater Antilles
consists of a chain of four large islands: Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic),
Cuba and Jamaica. American Indians prior to discovery inhabited the Virgin Islands by the Spanish
explorers. Prehistoric information and surveys are incomplete.

The earliest occupation of the Americas was detected around 10,000 BC. During the last glaciation when
a land bridge formed between Asia and North America, small highly mobile bands of hunters and
gatherers reached America. They hunted large megafauna such as the mastodon and mammoth. It is not
thought that the Antilles were inhabited during this period (13,000 to 7,900 BC). The earliest recorded
prehistoric site for the Caribbean Culture Area is the El Jobo Site in Venezuela. This culture was
probably an offshoot of the North American big game hunting tradition.

During the next period of time, the hunter/gatherer groups became more organized and spread out. They
developed storage pits, began collecting shellfish, developed habitations, prepared their dead for burials,
traded with other groups and developed the atlatyl to increase hunting prowess. This period of time is
called Archaic on the mainland (8,000 to 1,000 BC) and Meso-Indian in the Caribbean (5,000 BC to AD
0). The only known site representing this period of time in the Virgin Islands is the Krum Bay Site on St.
Thomas although there may be a site as old as 700 AD at the west end of Cinnamon Bay beach.

The third broad period of pre-history is called the Neo-Indian in the Caribbean (AD 0 to contact with
Europeans). During this period of time, there was an increase in horticulture, ceramic pottery use and
there was a shift to a more sedentary lifestyle. Several waves of culture groups left the Orinoco valley in
Venezuela and migrated northwards. Just a few hundred years prior to contact with Europeans, the
Arawaks had begun to be displaced by this last migrant group. By European contact, the Caribs had
occupied all of the Lesser Antilles including the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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Twenty-two prehistoric sites have been recorded on St. John, thirteen of which are on National Park
Service land. Only two of these sites are currently on the National Register, the Reef Bay petroglyphs
and the Cinnamon Bay site. Nine additional sites may be eligible for National Register listing. The
largest and best-known site on St. John is at Coral Bay outside the Park boundary.

The subsistence economy of these Archaic people was based on collecting plants, fishing and small game
hunting with an emphasis on the exploitation of maritime resources. No large mammals were present on
St. John. The Iguana (Iguana iguana), Hutia (Isolobodan), and several bird species provided land-based
meats. The hutia, a small rodent-like animal, and the iguana are thought to have been introduced to St.
John by Arawak settlers. Reef fish were the most important and easiest to exploit. The Manatee
(Trichechus manatus) was known to have been used by aboriginal and historic settlers alike. Shellfish
were abundant, with Conch (Strombus sp.) and the West Indian Topshell (Cittarium pica) being found the
most often in the archeological record. Spiny lobster and crabs were also utilized for food. Recent
evidence from Cinnamon Bay shows that the Caribbean Monk Seal as well as freshwater turtles, snakes
and a number of rails were also consumed.

The prehistoric archeological evidence from Cinnamon Bay Site established for the first time that Classic
Taino Culture dominated the Northern Virgin Islands. Besides defining the presence of Taino culture in
the region the Cinnamon Bay Site is also proving to be significant in defining the social, political and
religious development of this culture, which was present at the time Europeans enter the New World. The
Taino culture that met Christopher Columbus in the New World extended throughout the Greater Antilles
and Bahamas. Classic Taino culture was a complex culture verging on civilization. These people were
skilled farmers, hunters, fishermen and artists. Travel at sea was done in canoes; some could carry up to
150 people. The Taino impacted European culture through their introduction of such items as sweet
potato, the hammock, rubber, tobacco, cassava, pineapple, beans, squash, peanuts and guava. Many
words we use today are derived or were Taino such as barbecue, tobacco, hurricane, potato, canoe,
hammock, savanna and cannibal.

Spanish colonization ended Taino culture within 30 years as many thousands died and the culture was
annihilated as a result of disease, suicide, and extermination. By 1503, every chiefdom on Hispaniola was
destroyed; by 1511, there were very few left alive on Jamaica. In 1508, Juan Ponce de Leon, in his search
for gold, colonized Puerto Rico. The Borinquen, as the Taino of Puerto Rico called themselves soon
rebelled and allied with their neighbors in the northern Virgin Islands. From these Islands the Taino
staged warfare against the Spanish. The rebellion resulted in the Spanish King to decree that all were
subject to extermination and by 1519 they had all but eliminated the Taino culture.

Non-native goats and sheep damage irreplaceable archeological and historical sites and degrade the
scientific importance of the sites located at Cinnamon and Reef bays. Damage to archeological sites by
goats and sheep would continue essentially unabated. Goat and sheep grazing at archeological sites on
the island has resulted in a loss of integrity, and could ultimately result in a loss of the values that make
these sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic Structures
The most conspicuous structures, both in volume and size, are the remains of sugar plantations. They are
found predominantly along ridges of the north coast and valleys of the south coast of St. John, where
drainages were good for growing sugar cane. On drier areas of the island, cotton and livestock were
raised.
Consolidation of small landholdings to larger economically feasible ones occurred over time. From 1728
Danish tax records, 91 plantation lots were counted on St. John. Only half of these were under
development. Seventy-two years later, in 1800, P.L. Oxholm mapped 68 plantations, 41 of which were

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within the current authorized Park boundaries. Currently there are 46 historic plantations within the
authorized boundary, 31 of these are on federal land.

There are 236 historic structures on the 1989 List of Classified Structures for St. John. Seventeen of these
are still roofed or with vestiges of roofing. Nine structures are in use. Sixteen historic districts are
recorded on the National Register, all of which are on federal land. These contain 180 individual
structures. Seven individual structures are recorded on the National Register, four of which are on federal
land. Structures range in function from Danish plantation great house, cook house, slave village and
sugar processing factory to colonial fort and battery, to a school and even a guard custom house. They
date from 1718. Many of the structures have fallen to ruinous piles of rock not considered salvageable
and should be removed from the List of Classified Structures (LCS) and added to the Cultural Sites
Inventory (CSI) as historic archeological sites. Basic inventories are not complete. Portions of structures
and new historic archeological sites hidden by years of vegetative growth are still being discovered.
Historic structure reports have not been completed for most structures undergoing stabilization.

No National Landmarks are yet listed for the island of St. John, although there are six worthy of
nomination (M. Barnes, 1990). Two sites were nominated in 1994: Fortsberg and the Reef Bay Great
House Plantation manager or owner residences were usually with the area of production or on higher
ground overlooking the factory. Slave quarters or "villages" were placed on the periphery of the
production center. Most plantations included an orchard and plot for raising vegetables. Terrain dictated
the pattern, either grid or terracing with walls. Existing roads and trails generally follow original cart
roads that should also be considered part of the cultural resource.

Architecture was rural in character and utilitarian of purpose. The most common construction was rubble
masonry using locally available fieldstone set in lime mortar with liberal use of imported brick for
framing doors, window openings, arches and quoining of comers. Much rubble and brick masonry has
traces of a parged or plaster finish. Stucco inlays of colored plaster ornamentation were frequent in
principal buildings. The Reef Bay Great House and Hammer Farm are excellent examples of the use of
ornamentation. Characteristic, but not common, was the use of blocks of cut and fitted brain coral that
was usually left exposed. Annaberg Sugar Plantation is an excellent example of this architectural style.
Clay wing tile, both glazed and unglazed, was not an unusual roofing material. Flooring made of brick,
clay tile or Gotland limestone flagging was widely used. The few remaining well-preserved structures
indicate that workmanship was excellent.

The most significant and complete historic structures on St. John under Park jurisdiction have been
cleared of vegetation and stabilized to provide a degree of protection against further deterioration. The
work has been predominantly limited to masonry repair of standing walls. The Reef Bay Sugar Factory
has been re-roofed with a lightweight modem galvanized-type roofing to protect the machinery and other
features of the interior. Significant structures that have been stabilized include the Reef Bay Sugar
Factory which is the best preserved example of technology used in mid-19th century sugar making, the
Cinnamon Bay sugar plantation which was one of the first established on the island and site of significant
events during the 1733 slave rebellion, the Annaberg Sugar Plantation illustrating an excellent example of
a complete factory complex, and the Hammer Farm (also called Catherineburg) windmill tower with
unique ramp and vaulted storage.

The Reef Bay Great House is considered one of the most important historic structures in the Park and
illustrates West Indian formal architecture. It is on the National Register (H-15) and has been nominated
for National Historic Landmark status. Fish plates and tie rods were installed in some walls of the Reef
Bay Great House to increase structural strength, but have now been removed. Reconstruction of the walls
of southwest comer was needed to stabilize it and keep it from imminent collapse. This was completed in

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1993. The structure has also been re-roofed with sheets of galvanized aluminum. Plastering of the
exterior is still needed.

Fourteen known historic districts and one individual building exist on inholdings within the authorized
NPS boundary on St. John. Nine districts qualify for nomination to the National Register for their
historical associations and their integrity. They include: Caneel Bay Plantation (H6); Susannaberg
Plantation (H7); Adrian Plantation (H8); Oynes Point Custom Guard House (H9); Leinster Bay Plantation
(H29); More Hill (H38); Frederiksdal and Mount Pleasant (H41). The State Historic Preservation Office
has nominated two sites for the National Register: Frederiksvaem, Fortsberg, Coral Bay (H44); and
Whistling Cay Customs Guard House (H47).

The major environmental impact to the historic structures is growth of vegetation. Plant roots penetrate
soft mortar and plaster surfaces working themselves deeper into the structure forming cracks through
pressure against surfaces as they grow, and providing avenues for moisture, rainfall and leaf litter to enter
and accumulate. Consistent and ongoing vegetation removal is the major effort to stabilize historic
structures within VINP.

Non-native goats and sheep destroy irreplaceable historic sites and degrade the scientific importance of
the sites located at Cinnamon, Reef, Leinster and Brown bay watersheds, as well as Lind Point areas and
Hassel Island. Damage to historic sites by goats and sheep continues unabated; and increases each year as
the population grows and the impacted areas expand. Goat and sheep grazing at historic sites on the
island has resulted in a loss of integrity, and would automatically or concurrently result in a loss of the
values that make them eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Ethnographic Resources
The culture of island residents is important to understand and maintain. Only limited ethnographic
program has been developed. Oral histories are needed before elderly island residents containing a wealth
of information forget or pass away. Crafts such as basketmaking were conducted for additional income or
trade, but also as avenues to carry on community traditions and lifestyles. An expansion of craft
demonstrations, displays and an outlet for their sale may be desirable.

The goat is one of the smallest domesticated ruminants, which has served mankind earlier and longer than
cattle or sheep (Gordon Luikart et. al. 2001). Domestic goats are still the main economic resource in
many developing countries. Their importance hails back to the Neolithic age; indeed, they may have
played a crucial role in the spread of agriculture at the time. Goats are more likely to follow humans in
their travels than other domestic animals and they are less fussy about their food. They are managed for
the production of milk, meat and wool, particularly in arid, semitropical or mountainous countries, and
goats adapted better to dry conditions than cattle or sheep.

During mating season between late summer and early winter the buck releases an oily substance to attract
does. Ranchers who breed goats for fleece put the goats they wish to breed in a pen called a mating pen.
Usually there is one buck with several does. The goats remain together until the females become
pregnant. Does usually carry the kid for 5 months, before giving birth. The kid will stay with its mother
for several months, unlike the wild breed that will only stay with their mother for one or two days. They
usually live between 8 to 10 years.

A few residents say all goats and sheep have owners, and many people keep goats and sheep in herd sizes
ranging from a few animals to several dozen. Many residents believe the "free-ranging" goatherds in the
Park are not owned by people. The Park has experienced goat and sheep grazing since it was established
in 1956. The original areas of goat and sheep encroachment included: portions of Leinster Bay near the

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Johnny Horn Trail; Bordeaux Mountain area above and including much of the Lameshur watershed; the
East End near the NPS Firing Range; and the upper-eastern portion of Hawksnest Bay. The Brown and
Leinster bay watersheds include perhaps a few dozen sheep. Fortunately, sheep are not impacting any
additional Park lands. By the early 1990's, free-ranging goatherds were established in Brown Bay and
Ram Head. In 1999, 5 goats were abandoned at the former seaplane ramp at Lind Point. Finally, in the
summer of 2000, approximately 12 goats were abandoned on the North Shore Road immediately inside
the Park boundary above Cruz Bay.

For example, goats and sheep may have played an important role in the colonists and enslaved Africans
culture for two hundred years (Olwig 1985). For these residents, goats and sheep were a source of food
and clothing. The horns were used as chipping tools, ornaments, headdresses, bow strings and for making
fishing lines. Goats and sheep were also an important part of the folklore and the religion of island
residents.

Ranchers have a legal right to maintain livestock on their property, and many keep the traditions fresh
through the generations. VIDA implemented the Animal Registration and Impoundment Program in
2001, in part to facilitate these practices while protecting public and private lands from devastation by
livestock. VINP Interpretative Rangers and others have begun to record oral histories and cultural
traditions in the late 1980's and early 1990's. The NPS intends to protect and preserve the rich and varied
tradition of both African and European peoples on St. John. However, by removing the goats and sheep
from grazing within VINP, any and all related traditions would continue and may be enhanced.

There has been a local goat and sheep-hunting tradition on St. John for centuries (Olwig 1985). Such a
cultural tradition reflects the long history of goats and sheep on the island and what is known
archaeologically about enslaved African Americans, and others, supplementing their diets (at least in
some areas of the Americas) through hunting, fishing, and trapping. Unofficial goat and sheep hunting
was allowed in the Park through the mid-1990's, then it was determined the Park's enabling legislation
prohibits the Superintendent from authorizing hunting.

If the Environmentally Preferable Alternative were implemented, goat and sheep ranchers would no
longer be permitted to graze their livestock on Park lands for the production of milk, meat and wool.
They would continue to graze their livestock on non-Park land (approximately 48 percent of the island of
St. John). NPS would contact local St. Johnian residents who have requested a hunting permit. They
would be asked to participate as Volunteers-In Parks (VIP's) program in implementing this goat and
sheep reduction program. We will be able to contact these individuals, as we have their previous hunting
permits on record (also see page 21, Use of Local Field Volunteers; as well as page 23, Use of By-
products).















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IV. CHAPTER IV. ENVIRONMENTAL

CONSEQUENCES

Chapter IV discloses the environmental consequences of implementing each of the two alternatives
described in Chapter II. This analysis of environmental consequences is largely a qualitative assessment
of the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of the alternatives on twelve natural and cultural resources
categories. A summary of this analysis can be found in Table 1. In addition this chapter will analyze
whether the actions proposed in this analysis will impair park resources. Discussion on "Impairment of
Park Resources or Values", as required by National Park Service Management Policies (NPS 2000) and
Director's Order 12 (Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis and Decision -making), is
provided as a separate section at the end of each of the twelve resources categories.

Direct effects, as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality, are those that are caused by the action
and occur at the same time and place. Indirect effects are those that are caused by the action and are later
in time or farther removed by distance. Cumulative effects result from the incremental impact of the
action when combined with other past, present or reasonably foreseeable future actions. Cumulative
impacts can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period
of time.


IV.A. Non-native Goats and Sheep Control

IV.B.1. Alternative 1. No Action, Continue Current Level of Management

Goat and sheep populations have been increasing for the past several years as evidenced by the
introduction of goats and sheep in Maho and Cinnamon watersheds in 1998, which were historically free
of goats and sheep. Impacts associated with the presence and proliferation of goats and sheep would be
expected to increase under this alternative. The increase would be in severity, as well as, detrimental
cumulative impacts, as a combination of factors merge to intensify a specific resource.

Air Quality Impacts
No adverse air quality impacts would be expected under this alternative. However, there would be no
impairment of air quality as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: No air quality impacts would be expected under the implementation of the no action
alternative.

Scenic Value Impacts
Scenic values would decline under this alternative as non-native goats and sheep eat, trample, crush and
uproot native flora. The aesthetics of the Park would be lessened due to the reduction of native
vegetation, reduction of plant cover, and damage to archeological and historical sites. The natural and
cultural resource values of the Park would decrease. However, there would be no impairment of scenic
values as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, scenic value impacts would continue to decline
due to the decrease of native wildlife, decrease of native plant cover, and decreased protection of
archeological and historic sites that have been disturbed by goat and sheep grazing.

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Cultural Resource Impacts
Non-native goats and sheep would continue to damage irreplaceable archeological and historical
resources and would degrade the scientific importance of the St. John archeological record. Under this
alternative, damage to archeological and historic sites by goats and sheep would at Cinnamon, Reef,
Leinster, Brown, Francis, Maho, Lameshur bays and the Lind Point area and Hassel Island continue
essentially unabated. Continued goat and sheep grazing at archeological sites in the Park would likely
result in their loss of integrity, and ultimately loss of the values that makes them eligible for listing on the
National Register of Historic Places.

Cultural resource impacts would increase where goat and sheep vegetation grazing and exotic seed
dispersal continually impact the context of these resources, thereby compromising their scientific value.
However, there would be no impairment of cultural resources as a result of the implementation of
Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, the Saint John Island archeological records are
significant for the large number and diversity of pristine sites found in the Park. Sites range from isolated
artifacts to huge, stratified sites encompassing habitation areas and specialized activity areas spanning a
period of 4,000 years. Continued goat and sheep depredations throughout the Park would result in a
truncated archeological database. The number and diversity of sites would be greatly reduced, destroying
the values of the district, and resulting in de-listing of the National Register district, possibly leaving a
small number of individually eligible sites. The value of remaining archeological sites would be greatly
reduced, and future researchers would be unable to take advantage of new research techniques that may
be developed in the future.

Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts
Under the no action alternative, existing socioeconomic conditions would continue on St. John Island,
with visitation continuing to increase. In many areas of the Park, visitation levels would remain heavy
except in remote backcountry areas. Goat and sheep ranchers would continue to use Park lands to graze
their livestock for the production of milk, meat and wool. The quality of the visitor experience would be
somewhat impacted by the presence of non-native goats and sheep and by their effects, which include
evidence of goat and sheep trampling and vegetation grazing, the occasional sightings of goats and sheep,
and continued impacts to native vegetation that the public hopes to observe.

Health and sanitation impacts would continue to decline under this action. Increasing goat and sheep
populations would continue to serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and livestock for infectious and
parasitic diseases as when compared with the goat and sheep reduction alternative. However, there would
be no impairment of socio-economic/visitor uses as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, these effects to visitor experience include seeing
scarred landscapes because of goat and sheep grazing, the occasional sighting of goats and sheep, and
continued impacts to native wildlife which would continue to be at risk until goats and sheep are removed
from the Park. Goat and sheep ranchers would continue to use Park lands to graze their livestock for the
production of milk, meat and wool. They would also continue to graze their livestock on non-Park land
(approximately 48 percent of the island of St. John).

Soil Impacts
Major soil impacts would remain unchanged under this alternative. This alternative would not implement
any reductions in the non-native goat and sheep population. Goat and sheep trampling, grazing and
herbivory would continue to reduce plant cover and greatly increase soil erosion and sedimentation of
streams and nearshore ocean water where it can affect coral reef and other marine communities.

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Slopes whose vegetation and soils have been upturned and tilled as a result of goat and sheep trampling
and grazing are susceptible to having rapid runoff during storm events. This rapid runoff would continue
to deepen existing gullies, and possibly create new gullies. Rapid runoff causes high sedimentation to
occur in low gradient valley bottom reaches. However, there would be no impairment of soils as a result
of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, the goats and sheep create disturbed soil
conditions. Goats and sheep would continue trampling and grazing around the Park causing more soil
erosion and more potential patches for other invasive species invasions. The result of past activities,
mainly domestic and feral livestock grazing, has had a major effect on the soil conditions on Saint John
Island. Goat and sheep disturbance continues to degrade soil resources. Without implementing this
program continued degradation of soils and watershed values would occur.

Threatened and Endangered Species Impacts
Non-native goats and sheep are a potential threat to each of the twenty-eight Federally or Territorially
listed Endangered and Threatened (T&E) plant species found on St. John Island (see Appendix A). Under
this alternative, the threats to each of the listed species would remain or increase. Fluctuations in the
severity of impacts would occur seasonally and yearly as goat and sheep numbers changed. However, the
potential for recovery of rare plant species would still be negligible even during those years when goat
and sheep numbers are low. This is because the number of goats and sheep in the Park is tied to food
availability.

Direct impacts to listed plant species would include herbivory of twenty-eight T&E plant species by non-
native goats and sheep and the trampling, crushing and grazing of listed plant species should goats and
sheep walk or bed down within listed plant occurrences. Depending on the number of individual goats
and sheep within an area, one to many T&E plants may be grazed, trampled or uprooted. Because the
rarity of these listed plant species is defined by their limited numbers; even relatively small impacts can
have a large detrimental effect. Individual plants lost through predation, trampling or uprooting cannot
contribute offspring to the succeeding generation. This results in a loss to the next generation of both
absolute numbers and potential genetic diversity. A decrease in genetic diversity can lead to an overall
decrease in evolutionary fitness for a species. Decreased population numbers lead to increased potential
for extinction from continued predation, or from large random disturbance events such as fire, hurricanes
or drought.

The VINP would be failing to actively remove or destroy species that are known to predate listed species.
In St. John, the listed species include the Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes
thomasianum), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum),
which has been proposed for listing. Non-native goats and sheep also potentially impact twenty-five
territorially threatened and endangered listed plant species. However, there would be no impairment of
threatened and endangered species as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, the three listed plant species would continue to
be threatened due to goat and sheep associated activities. Specifically, Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower
(Calyptranthes thomasianum), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum
conocarpum), which has been proposed for listing, would continue to grazed by goats and sheep. Goats
and sheep also potentially impact twenty-five territorially threatened and endangered listed plant species.
Any grazing that currently occurs on these populations would continue to degrade the endangered species,
and may eventually lead, if management actions are not taken, to the extinction of these Park populations.



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Cumulative effects are those factors that in the past, present or future have affected T&E plant species.
All species, but especially those with small population sizes, face the threat of extinction. Threats to a
species survival include competition from other species, disease, predation, habitat loss, long-term
environmental trends, and catastrophic events. Species with small populations also face threats to their
gene pool from inbreeding, loss of heterozygosity, and for those species arising from colonization and
subsequent adaptive radiation, possible Founder effects. There is no clear indication, however, whether a
decrease in genetic diversity leads to a decrease in species fitness.

Vegetation Impacts
Goats and sheep are voracious browsers of vegetation and prefer native plants because these plants
evolved in isolation from large herbivores and lack defenses against ungulates. Under this alternative, no
reduction efforts would be used on non-native goats and sheep on St. John Island. Their population
numbers would continue to rise and fall with the seasonal and long-term availability of food resources.
Goats and sheep would continue to impact the native island vegetation, including endemic and Federally
and territorially listed plant species.

Impacts to native plants and native plant communities by introduced alien herbivores have been well
documented in the literature. Similar impacts have been noted with regards to goats and sheep.

Documented indirect effects of alien herbivores and goats and sheep to plant communities include the
increase of cover, frequency, and biomass of non-native plant species, increased water run-off and soil
erosion, and degradation of soil structure. Goats and sheep have also contributed to changes in soil
micro-flora and micro-fauna, and the potential loss of fire-induced successional communities due to
inadequate fuels and lack of seed banks. However, there would be no impairment of vegetation as a result
of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, the result of past activities has had a major
impact on the current vegetation conditions in the Park. Without implementing this program the current
vegetation composition, especially those in a low seral condition and those communities with a high
weedy component, would continue to expand and affect the recovery of native communities. High seral
communities would continue to be negatively impacted causing less desirable species to continually be
introduced into these communities and thereby reducing their resource value.

Implementing present and future activities as described above would add only negligible impacts to the
major negative goat and sheep impacts to native communities as a result of implementing this alternative.
Cumulative negative impacts to native communities would result from not reducing goats and sheep
control as described under this alternative.

Wildlife Impacts
The non-native goat population, estimated at from 600 to 1000 individual animals, would continue to
fluctuate due to annual differences in weather. The non-native sheep population of about 50 animals
would similarly continue to fluctuate but be expected to increase. In years with favorable precipitation,
greater plant productivity would allow goat populations to expand. Conversely, during periods of
drought, goat populations would temporarily decrease.

Native wildlife would continue to be adversely impacted by this action because goats and sheep consume
very large numbers of native plants that create important habitats for Park fauna, including several native
bird, reptile and amphibian species and numerous insect and spider species. However, there would be no
impairment of wildlife as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.


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Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, the past activities, such as the initial introduction
goats and sheep to Saint John Island, has resulted in the current goat and sheep populations. The goat and
sheep populations would continue to reside within the Park. Native wildlife would continue to be
adversely impacted by this action because goats and sheep consume very large numbers of native plants
that create important habitats for Park fauna, including several native bird, reptile and amphibian species
and numerous insect and spider species. Ranchers would also continue to graze their livestock on non-
Park land (approximately 45 percent of the island of St. John).

Water Quality Impacts
Major adverse water quality impacts would remain unchanged under this alternative. This alternative
would not implement any reduction in the non-native goat and sheep population. Goat and sheep
trampling, grazing and herbivory would continue to reduce plant cover and greatly increase soil erosion,
sedimentation and nutrient loading of streams and nearshore oceans water where coral reef, seagrass and
nursery ecosystems would be impacted.

Slopes whose vegetation and soils have been upturned by goat and sheep trampling and grazing are
susceptible to rapid runoff during storm events. This rapid runoff would continue to deepen existing
gullies, and possibly create new gullies. Rapid runoff causes high sedimentation to occur in low gradient
valley bottom reaches.

High sedimentation rates with low watershed slope stability would be a primary concern for decline in
water quality for the Park. However, there would be no impairment of water quality as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, water quality impacts would continue to decline
because of the sediment and nutrient loading from goats and sheep grazing.

Wetland, Saltpond and Floodplain Impacts
Adverse impacts to wetlands would continue under this alternative as the native flora continue to decline
under the foraging and trampling pressures of non-native goats and sheep throughout the Park. Goats and
sheep would also continue to forage on red, black and white mangrove seeds, propagules and seedlings, a
protected species in the Virgin Islands. There would also continue to occur increased sedimentation rates
into wetlands at Cruz Bay, Mary's Creek, Haulover Bay, Newfound Bay, Hurricane Hole, Coral Harbor,
Fish Bay and Hassel Island, under the no action alternative. However, there would be no impairment of
wetlands, saltponds and floodplains as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, wetland impacts would continue to decline
because of the sediment and nutrient loading in wetland habitats from goats and sheep grazing.

Park Operations Impacts
Highest potential for adverse operational affects from non-native goats and sheep on the Park's
administrative, resources management, interpretation, law enforcement and maintenance costs would be
expected to continue. Under this alternative, NPS would continue to animal-proof trash receptacles,
dumpsters and buildings at campgrounds, day use sites, concession areas, park overlooks, and employee
housing areas. Also in 2002, NPS has contracted for the construction of a 1-mile donkey-exclusion fence
with four barbed-wire strands around the perimeter of the Cinnamon Bay Campground at an estimated
cost of $67,000 that is not designed to also exclude goats and sheep. However, there would be no
impairment of Park operations as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.



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Cumulative Effects: If the no action alternative is taken, it would not complement other programs in the
Park such as a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Rats, Cats and Mongooses (NPS 2002); and a
Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild Hogs (NPS 2003). All of these plans have similar
objectives for reducing non-native animal populations within VINP. This proposal would also not mesh
well with a Commercial Services Plan (NPS 2001); Vessel Management Plan (NPS 2003); and
Installation of Moorings in VICRNM (NPS 2003).

Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions
The cumulative impacts from this alternative would have negative consequences for National Park
Service lands, plants and wildlife. Many native terrestrial plant, animal and invertebrate species would be
adversely impacted under this alternative. The greatest impact would be changes in plant species
composition and the associated changes in native fauna, including birds, reptiles, small mammals and
insect species.

Health and sanitation impacts would continue to decline under this action. Under the no action
alternative, greater numbers of goats and sheep would continue to serve as co-hosts with native wildlife
and livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases as when compared with all goat and sheep reduction
alternatives. Goat cholera, goat brucellosis, trichinosis, foot and mouth disease, African goat fever, and
pseudo-rabies are all diseases that would continue to be transmitted from goats to other livestock more
frequently than when compared to all goat and sheep reduction alternatives. A variety of arthropod,
protozoan, and helmith parasites were found in the Park, including, ticks, lice, protozoa, kidney worms,
esophageal worms, stomach worms, intestinal worms, and lungworms. These are common parasites for
goats and sheep.

This alternative is inconsistent with the National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C.), the Virgin Islands
National Park General Management Plan (NPS 1983), and the Resources Management Plan (1999): non-
native and exotic pests such as goats and sheep are threats to native fauna and flora and should be controlled.

This alternative is not consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan that supports the
removal of non-native pests that damage the coastal zone and vegetation therein, and policies of the
Territory of the Virgin Islands, for reasons described above.

Other planning efforts recently completed or currently underway would not affect the Park's goat and
sheep reduction program: including a Commercial Services Plan (NPS 2001); Vessel Management Plan
(NPS 2004); and Installation of Moorings in VICRNM (NPS 2004).

Additional planning efforts recently completed or currently underway would affect the reduction
program: including a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Rats, Cats and Mongooses (NPS 2002);
and a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild Hogs (NPS 2003). All of these plans have similar
objectives for reducing non-native animal populations within VINP. However, there would be no
impairment due to cumulative impacts as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.


IV.B.2. Alternative 2. Reduce Goats and Sheep within VINP and
Sustain a Near-zero Population, Environmentally Preferred
Alternative

The program goals for the Environmentally Preferred Alternative would substantially decrease the goat
and sheep populations throughout the Park, with periodic monitoring and goat and sheep removal and

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fence maintenance ongoing indefinitely. Minor impacts associated with periodic monitoring, goat and
sheep removal, and fence maintenance would be well below the deleterious impacts from the present
situation where goat and sheep populations are expanding throughout the Park. Because Park-wide
eradication is unfeasible, the next-best choice is to dramatically reduce the goat and sheep populations
and sustain the reduction.

Air Quality Impacts
No adverse air quality impacts would be expected under this alternative. However, there would be no
impairment of air quality as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: In general, air quality emissions from activities associated with implementation of
the Environmentally Preferred Alternative would be negligible.

Scenic Value Impacts
This alternative would result in the most rapid reduction of non-native goats and sheep and, therefore, the
least damage to natural, cultural, marine and terrestrial resources through reduced goat and sheep
depredations on Park sites. Scenic values would increase under this alternative because goats and sheep
would no longer be eating, trampling, crushing and uprooting native flora. The aesthetics of the Park
would be greatly increased due to the increase of native wildlife, increase of native plant cover, and
increase protection of archeological and historic sites. The natural and cultural values of the Park would
greatly increase. However, there would be no impairment of scenic values as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, scenic value impacts would be
greatly increased due to the increase of native wildlife, increase of native plant cover, and increased
protection of archeological and historic sites that have been disturbed by past goat and sheep grazing.

Cultural Resource Impacts
Within three years of implementation, non-native goats and sheep would no longer continue to damage
irreplaceable archeological and historical sites and degrade the scientific importance of the St. John
archeological record. This alternative would likely result in the most rapid reduction of goats and sheep
and, therefore, the least continued damage to cultural resources through goat and sheep depredations on
archeological and historical sites at Cinnamon, Reef, Leinster, Brown, Francis, Maho, Lameshur bays,
and the Lind Point area and Hassel Island. Goat and sheep grazing through disturbance has already
adversely impacted the integrity of some of the Park's National Register-listed archeological sites.

Impacts to the Park's cultural resources by fencing and direct reduction operations are anticipated to be
insignificant. The primary movement would take the form of foot traffic, and some may be near
archeological sites. These areas are currently open to the public and risk destruction by goats and sheep
unless this alternative is taken. Impacts of this nature could be minimized by orienting the reduction
groups to the sensitivity of these sites to damage and requesting they avoid traffic over historic structures
whenever possible. Campsites, fences and trap locations could be assessed in advance using shovel-
testing for any cultural resources concerns. Fence posts would require test holes to ensure protection of
archeological resources. However, there would be no impairment of cultural resources as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Alternative is taken, the St. John Island archeological records
which are significant for the large number and diversity of pristine sites found in the Park would be fully
protected. Sites range from isolated artifacts to huge, stratified sites encompassing habitation areas and
specialized activity areas spanning a period of 4,000 years. Goat and sheep depredations throughout the

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Park would not result in a truncated archeological database. The number and diversity of sites would be
greatly increased, not destroying the values of the district, and not resulting in de-listing of the National
Register district, possibly leaving a greater number of individually eligible sites. The value of remaining
archeological sites would be greatly increased and future researchers would be able to take advantage of
new research techniques that may be developed in the future. Small impacts may continue because some
goats would presumably remain in the Park.

Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts
The Environmentally Preferred Alternative to conduct simultaneous Park-wide reduction of non-native
goats and sheep would have some short-term negative impacts on socioeconomic issues but would also
have long-term positive impacts on the quality of the visitor experience. Goat and sheep ranchers would
discontinue their use of Park lands for livestock grazing, and the associated negative affects of the
practice. The ranchers would be able to maintain their entire herds, for the production of milk, meat and
wool, on their private livestock ranches. Visitor use would be restricted on those specific NPS lands
when major collection operations occur. Fences would be located to avoid crossing roads. Gates, who
would potentially impact resident or visitor movements, would not be installed.

Under this alternative, Park-wide reduction would be an intense effort over a short period of 3 to 4 years.
Depending on the planned operation in the initial three years of intensive reduction effort, relatively small
portions of VINP could be closed for brief (for example, two consecutive days) periods of time.

Over the last ten years, the annual visitation to St. John Island averages approximately 550,000 visitors
per year. Depending on when and how long the closure is in place, access to some areas may be limited
for brief time periods (for example two consecutive days). The public could be redirected to another site
on the island. Wildlife Control Agents would also contribute to island economy through increases in
salaries for personnel, purchases of goods and services, rental of vehicles and equipment. The Park
would contact St. John residents who have requested hunting permits, and ask them to participate in the
Volunteers-In Parks (VIP's) program to participate with the goat and sheep reduction program.

The quality of the visitor experience would no longer be impacted by the presence of goats and sheep and
their effects, which include evidence of goat and sheep trampling and grazing, the occasional sighting of
goats and sheep, and continued impacts to native plant communities and wildlife habitat associated with
grazing and trampling, that the public hopes to observe.

Health and sanitation impacts would necessarily improve under this action. Under the Park-wide
reduction alternative, non-native goats and sheep would be less likely to serve as co-hosts with native
wildlife and livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases. However, there would be no impairment of
socio-economic/visitor uses as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative were taken, the overall visitor
experience would be enhanced upon reduction of goats and sheep populations. Park-wide, the extensive
areas that have been heavily disturbed by goats and sheep would begin to heal, resulting in better visual
appeal. Goat and sheep ranchers would no longer continue to use Park lands to graze their livestock, with
associated negative affects on their ability to make a living in the Park for the production of milk, meat
and wool. They would continue to graze their livestock on non-Park land (approximately 48 percent of
St. John). Small impacts may continue because some goats would presumably remain in the Park.

Soil Impacts
Soil disturbing activities from non-native goats and sheep would be greatly reduced within three years of
implementation of this alternative. Substantial reductions would eventually allow disturbed areas to heal

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over with vegetation. No new goat and sheep trampling and vegetation grazing areas would be
established.

Eventually, erosion from already disturbed sites would decline as the sites establish vegetation cover. As
vegetation cover increases, overall watershed conditions would continue to improve. As watershed
conditions improve, runoff within the watershed would be more readily intercepted by vegetation and be
absorbed on site. This would cause less intense runoff events and decrease the rate of gully erosion
(aggredation and widening). Less intense runoff events would cause less sediment delivery into local
waterways.

Under Alternative Two, the use of existing trails could also lead to a short-term increase in soil erosion.
The increase in soil erosion and the impacts to the soil micro-flora would likely decline once the goats
and sheep are reduced from the Park and use of the hunting trails is discontinued. These trails would be
ephemeral and not heavily used. Traps would be placed in already disturbed areas to reduce any potential
impacts to soils.

Trampling of the soil by vehicles and the hunters could cause alterations in the soil micro-flora and
cryptobiotic soil crusts may be damaged. As discussed previously, cryptobiotic soils are important
components of soils in arid and semi-arid environments. Trampling, especially during the dry season
easily damages these soil crusts. These soil crusts have the ability to re-colonize disturbed areas from
nearby non-disturbed land; however re-colonization and re-establishment of soil crusts in an area can be
somewhat slow depending on various environmental factors. However, there would be no impairment of
soils as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, effects from this alternative
would have within the two to three year time period goat and sheep reduction would decrease the duration
of goat and sheep trampling and grazing on the Park. Soil compaction would likely occur by the
trampling of hunters and dogs, but the relatively short time period of this disturbance and the removal of
goats and sheep and goat and sheep trampling disturbance would negate the compaction. The removal of
goats and sheep would decrease soil erosion by eliminating goat and sheep trampling and by allowing
plant species recovery in previously trampled areas. Small impacts may continue because some goats
would presumably remain in the Park.

Threatened and Endangered Species Impacts
Under Alternative Two, non-native goats and sheep would no longer be a threat to each of the twenty-
eight Federally or Territorially listed Endangered and Threatened (T&E) plant species found on St. John
(see Appendix A). Under this alternative, the threats to each of the listed species would be reduced by the
goat and sheep reduction program, involving the use of teams of hunters simultaneously in a Park-wide
intensive hunting effort. Direct impacts to listed plant species would occur if fencing were placed within
listed plant occurrences. Individual plants could be crushed or uprooted when fence posts are placed in
the ground. NPS employees could also inadvertently crush plants by walking over them. This could
occur when initially constructing the fence or during maintenance of the fence.

However, with proper planning and botanical surveys, known rare plant occurrences could be avoided.
Indirect impacts to listed plants could occur if invasive non-native seeds are transported into listed plant
occurrences either on the fencing material itself or on the boot and clothing of the NPS employees or
contractors constructing the fence or on the pack stock used to move the fencing material. Measures such
as washing vehicles, removing seeds from boots and clothing, and educating those involved in
constructing the fences about the dangers of invasive weed species, can be enacted to minimize the risk of
spreading these weed species.

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Threatened and endangered plant species would experience increased survivorship and seedling
establishment and recruitment. T&E plant species are likely to benefit from decreased disturbance levels,
increased litter retention, and re-development of the soil crusts. As T&E populations recover, they would
be able to better withstand any subsequent natural disturbance events that may occur. Larger population
numbers provide insurance against the formation of genetic bottlenecks. Replenishment of the seed bank
-- for those species that rely on natural disturbance events -- means adequate seedling establishment and
recruitment would occur when the next disturbance event hits.

The VINP would no longer fail to actively remove or destroy non-native species that are known to
predate listed species. In St. John, the listed species include the Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower
(Calyptranthes thomasianum), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum
conocarpum), which has been proposed for listing. Non-native goats and sheep would also no longer be
impacting twenty-five Territorially Threatened and Endangered listed plant species with extinction.
However, there would be no impairment of threatened and endangered species as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 2 (Appendix A).

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, effects from this alternative
would have very positive consequences for National Park Service lands, plants and wildlife. Many native
terrestrial plant, animal and invertebrate species would be positively impacted under this alternative. The
greatest impact would be recovery of native plant species communities and the associated changes in
native fauna, including birds, reptiles, small mammals and insect species. Serious negative impacts to the
listed species from goats and sheep grazing include the Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes
thomasiana), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum),
which has been proposed for listing, would be greatly reduced. Goats and sheep grazing would also no
longer be impacting twenty-five Territorially Threatened and Endangered listed plant species with
extinction.

Past grazing disturbance is the largest factor that created unsuitable habitat for Saint John Island's T&E
species. Present and future activities, as described in chapter III Threatened and Endangered Plants
section on page 37, would only cause negligible additive impacts when considered with the impacts of
this Alternative. This is because activities that could impact listed species or their habitat require review
by NPS botanists for impacts. In addition, projects that may affect a T&E species' viability must have
approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to be implemented. To avoid or minimize
impacting T&E species, mitigation would be incorporated into the program design. Prior to final
approval for a project, NPS biologists are required to conduct field surveys to identify if T&E plants
would be impacted by the project (as was done for this program). Small impacts may continue because
some goats would presumably remain in the Park.

Vegetation Impacts
Non-native goats and sheep are voracious browsers of vegetation and prefer native plants because these
plants evolved in isolation from large herbivores and lack defenses against ungulates. Alternative 2
would initially involve Wildlife Control Agents in an intensive reduction effort. This reduction effort
would be expected to last two to three years. Negative effects to native vegetation and individual plants
by wildlife control agents would be short-term, insubstantial, and ephemeral, if any. Short-term impacts
to native vegetation would occur as non-native goats and sheep are chased and cornered. These impacts
would include trampling of the vegetation, damage to individual plants as leaves, branches and shoots are
torn by running animals and hunters.

Twenty-six long-term ecological monitoring sites (Weaver 1999) could potentially be permanently fenced
to exclude goat and sheep populations. Valuable ecological data would be saved. Additionally, even

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with the current road and trail systems, the teams might create trails as they moved between different
areas in the Park. These trails would be ephemeral and not heavily used. These temporary trails are
consistent with park use and management guidance. Impacts associated with the installation of trails are
very minimal compared to the current impacts goats and sheep are having on scenic values, cultural
resources, public safety, soils, threatened and endangered species, vegetation, wildlife, water quality and
wetlands. Trails and fencing would avoid any vegetation over one inch DBH and would consist of
underbrush thinning sufficient to permit passage of humans or installation of fences. Vegetation would be
allowed to regrow after fence installation to mitigate potential visual impacts. However, there would be
no impairment of vegetation as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, the effects from this alternative
would eliminate goats and sheep disturbance within two to three years, a major vector known to facilitate
the spread of weedy species. The removal of goats and sheep in a relatively short period of time would
decrease disturbance dramatically on Saint John Island. With the removal of heavy disturbance, it is
expected that ruderal (establishes following disturbance) invasive species would have a more difficult
time invading native communities. There are opportunities for restoration in these now degraded
landscapes. Generally annual and perennial forbs are the first species to begin the successional process.
Small impacts may continue because some goats would presumably remain in the Park.

Wildlife Impacts
Under this alternative, the entire non-native goat population, estimated at approximately 600 to 1000
individuals, would be removed from the Park over a two to three year period. Goats and sheep would be
killed either by live-trapping and then shooting with a handgun or by hunting teams and shooting. The
non-native sheep population of less than 50 animals would be similarly removed from the Park over a 3 to
4 year period.

The near-cessation of goat and sheep grazing and trampling in specific locales would also improve habitat
for lizards, snakes, salamanders and insects that are dependent upon the consumption of leaves, fruits and
berries for their survival. Goat and sheep removal from riparian areas would improve riparian habitat for
frogs and aquatic invertebrates that are likewise dependent upon the consumption of plants for their
survival. The removal of goats and sheep would provide fruits and berries in years of very large food
production would improve habitat for those species which depend upon these crops, such as many bird
species (pigeons and doves) and bats.

Goat and sheep reduction actions themselves would have slightly negative impacts on Park wildlife and
fauna over the two or three year removal period. The hunting teams, which would necessarily traverse
almost all areas of the Park at least once, would have the following impacts such as hunters moving
through the brush may encounter and inadvertently harass wildlife species.

Fence building itself could have temporary negative impacts, as presence and activities of fence builders
may disturb wildlife. However, this is unlikely, since many fences would be along road or areas of
human habitation with little cover and less chance of harboring wildlife at any particular time. It is
assumed that little clearing of vegetation and associated impacts on wildlife habitat would occur during
fence building. However, there would be no impairment of wildlife as a result of the implementation of
Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken: past activities, such as the
initial introduction of goats and sheep to St. John Island, has resulted in the current goat and sheep
populations. Under this alternative, the entire goat and sheep populations would be removed from the
Park over a two to three year period. Present and future activities, as identified in chapter III, would have

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a large effect to the goat and sheep populations residing in the Park. The cessation of goat and sheep
grazing and trampling inspecific locales would also improve habitat for lizards, snakes, salamanders and
insects that are dependent upon the consumption of leaves, fruits and berries for their survival. Ranchers
would continue to graze their livestock on non-Park land (approximately 48 percent of St. John). Small
impacts may continue because some goats would presumably remain in the Park.

Water Quality Impacts
Major adverse water quality impacts from non-native goats and sheep would be reduced within three
years of the implementation of this alternative. Goat and sheep carcasses can release compounds
affecting water quality, including: nitrates, total dissolved solids, chloride, and ammonium-nitrogen. The
rate of these releases is largely temperature dependent, and they readily dissipate harmlessly into the
atmosphere. Most collected animals would be removed and only rarely would one or more is abandoned
in extremely remote areas. These would generally be lightly limed.

To reduce concentrations of these compounds requires carcass deposition away from standing water
sources and obvious drainage guts. Final placement would not occur within 50 feet of saltponds or guts,
and may include a small portion of lime. Lime accelerates the rate of decomposition in the warm, moist
subtropical weather. Only in extremely rare occasions when overland transport is impossible and
topography and wetland proximity prevent liming, then collected animals would be brought to the sea,
then weighted and released a minimum of one nautical mile from the shore. However, there would be no
impairment of either marine nor terrestrial water quality as a result of the implementation of Alternative
2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, water quality impacts would
greatly diminish, because sediment and nutrient loading from watersheds that have been disturbed by past
goat and sheep grazing would improve. Small impacts may continue because some goats would
invariably remain in the Park.

Wetland, Saltpond and Floodplain Impacts
Major adverse wetlands and floodplain impacts from non-native goats and sheep would be reduced within
several years of the implementation of this alternative. Adverse impacts to wetlands would no longer
occur under this alternative as the native flora and fauna would change under natural conditions, but that
those impacts inflicted by goats and sheep would no longer be present throughout the Park.

High sedimentation rates with low watershed soil stability due to goat and sheep trampling and grazing
would no longer be a concern for decline in the quality of the Park's wetlands and floodplains
communities. These impacts would decrease as the numbers of goats and sheep decrease. Goats and
sheep would no longer continue to forage on red, black and white mangrove seeds, propagules and
seedlings, protected species in the Virgin Islands. A decrease in goat and sheep grazing and trampling
would reduce rates of erosion and sediment deposition in wetland communities in Cruz Bay, Mary's
Creek, Haulover Bay, Newfound Bay, Hurricane Hole, Coral Harbor, Fish Bay and Hassel Island.
However, there would be no impairment of wetlands, saltponds and floodplains as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, wetland impacts would no
longer continue to occur because of the sediment and nutrient loading in wetland habitats that have been
disturbed by pastgoat and sheep grazing. Small impacts may continue because some goats would
presumably remain in the Park.



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Park Operations Impacts
This alternative would have the lowest potential for adverse operational affects because non-native goat
and sheep populations would be greatly reduced throughout the Park at all visitor use, administrative,
cultural and natural resources sites. Under this alternative, the overall costs of administration of the non-
native wildlife control program would be increased with the implementation of contracts to remove exotic
wildlife ($60,000 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service /
Wildlife Services Division).

This program would necessitate an increase in on-Park personnel, jeep or truck style vehicles and all-
terrain vehicles. Other methods of transportation may also be used, such as horses. Housing would
utilize existing structures whenever possible, including government approved facilities on NPS owned
property. Temporary tent camps may also need to be established to ensure efficient operations in remote
areas, such as boat-only accessible anchorages and rough, roadless terrain. These camps would be located
in areas already impacted by vegetation clearing associated with construction of historic buildings sites
located in the Park's backcountry.

Under Alternative 2, the non-native goat and sheep reduction program would occur in three phases: 1)
administration, infrastructure acquisition and selective fencing; 2) collection using baits, traps, dogs and
contract hunters; and 3) monitoring for and removal of immigrant goats and sheep, resource education,
community outreach, record keeping and fence maintenance.

Fences would be constructed to exclude non-native animals from all long-term monitoring plots, some
campgrounds and limited selective areas of the boundary where new animals can easily reenter the Park
(Herman Farm, L' Esperance and Catherineberg). However, there would be no impairment of Park
operations as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Effects: If the Environmentally Preferred Alternative is taken, it would complement other
programs in the Park such as a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Rats, Cats and Mongooses (NPS
2002); and a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild Hogs (NPS 2003). All of these plans have
similar objectives for reducing non-native animal populations within VINP. This proposal would also
mesh well with a Commercial Services Plan (NPS 2001); Vessel Management Plan (NPS 2003); and
Installation of Moorings in VICRNM (NPS 2003).

Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions
Alternative Two would result in a vigorous reduction in non-native goats and sheep from within the Park.
This alternative would reduce goat and sheep disturbance of native plant communities within several
years. This would greatly reduce the numbers of these exotic (introduced) quadrupeds, animals that are
known to facilitate the spread of weedy species. Their removal would reduce the impacts to the Park's
native plant communities by invasive species disturbance. The lack of trampling and grazing in the
Park's plant communities would reduce impacts to and facilitate the recovery of native T&E species. The
lack of disturbance would allow natural regeneration of T&E via germination of seeds beneath shrub and
forest canopies. The regeneration may also lead to the spread of T&E species into surrounding plant
communities, and the continued recovery of other disturbed plant communities throughout the Park.
Serious negative impacts to the listed species including the Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower
(Calyptranthes thomasiana), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum
conocarpum), which has been proposed for listing, would be greatly reduced (Appendix A).

Alternative Two has high probability of success for goat and sheep population reduction. However,
potential for failure exists should resource constraints become evident any time during program
implementation. This alternative is totally reliant on amassing a high intensity reduction effort for a short

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period of time. Failure to maintain either component (high intensity or short duration) would result in a
lower probability of success.

The cumulative impacts from this alternative would have very positive consequences for National Park
Service lands, plants, wildlife and operations. Many native terrestrial plant, animal and invertebrate
species would be positively impacted under this alternative. The greatest impact would be recovery of
native plant species communities and the associated changes in native fauna, including birds, reptiles,
small mammals and insect species.

Health and sanitation impacts would necessarily improve under this action. Under the Park-wide
reduction alternative, non-native goats and sheep would no longer serve as co-hosts with native wildlife
and other livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases. Goat cholera, goat brucellosis, trichinosis, foot
and mouth disease, African goat fever, and pseudo-rabies are all diseases that would no longer be
transmitted from goats to livestock within the Park. Small impacts would be expected to continue,
because some goats would presumably remain in the Park.

This alternative is consistent with the National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C.), the Virgin Islands
National Park General Management Plan (NPS 1983), and the Resources Management Plan (1999): non-
native and exotic pests such as goats and sheep are threats to native fauna and flora and should be controlled.

This alternative is consistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan that supports the removal of
non-native pests that damage the coastal zone and vegetation therein, and policies of the Territory of the
Virgin Islands government, for reasons described above.

Other planning efforts recently completed or currently underway would not affect the Park's goat and
sheep reduction program: including a Commercial Services Plan (NPS 2001); Vessel Management Plan
(NPS 2004); and Installation of Moorings in VICRNM (NPS 2004).

Additional planning efforts recently completed or currently underway would affect the reduction
program: including a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Rats, Cats and Mongooses (NPS 2002);
and a Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild Hogs (NPS 2003). All of these plans have similar
objectives for reducing non-native animal populations within VINP. However, there would be no
impairment due to cumulative impacts as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.




















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IV.B. Table 1. Summary Table of Environmental

Consequences


This section describes the environmental consequences of the two alternatives that were analyzed in this
environmental assessment for a non-native goat and sheep control program within Virgin Islands National
Park. The alternatives include (1) no action, and (2) environmentally preferred alternative, reduction
through trapping, shooting and fencing.

Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Category
Ca o Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Air Quality Impacts No adverse impacts would be expected. No adverse impacts would be expected.


Scenic Value Highest potential for adverse impacts. Lowest potential for adverse impacts.
Impacts
The aesthetics of the Park would be The aesthetics of the Park would be increased
lessened due to the reduction of native and enhanced due to increased native wildlife,
wildlife, reduction of plant native cover, increased native plant cover, and increased
and damage to cultural sites, wetland and protection of cultural sites; underwater
marine resources. viewsheds would be greatly enhanced.


Cultural Resources Highest potential for adverse impacts as Lowest potential for adverse impacts as goats
Impacts goats and sheep continue to damage and sheep would no longer continue to
irreplaceable archeological and historical damage irreplaceable archeological and
sites on St. John and Hassel Island and historical sites on St. John and Hassel Island
degrade the scientific importance of these and degrade the scientific importance of these
sites that makes them eligible for listing on sites that makes them eligible for listing on the
the National Register of Historic Places. National Register of Historic Places.


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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Catego Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Socio-economic/ Highest potential for adverse impacts as Lowest potential for adverse impacts as goat
Visitor Use Impacts goat and sheep ranchers continue to use and sheep ranchers would no longer use Park
Park lands to graze their livestock, with lands to graze their livestock, with associated
associated negative affects on their ability negative affects on their ability to make a
to make a living in the Park. living in the Park.

Goat and sheep ranchers would continue to Goat and sheep ranchers would no longer
use Park and non-Park lands to graze their continue to use Park lands to graze their
livestock for the production of milk, meat livestock for the production of milk, meat and
and wool. wool. They would continue to graze their
livestock on non-Park land (approximately 48
percent of the island of St. John).

Health and sanitation impacts would Health and sanitation impacts would
continue to decline, necessarily improve.

Park visitors would continue to experience NPS would contact former St. Johnian
a decline in the normal flora, fauna, residents who have requested a hunting
wetland and marine environments and permit. Their participation under the
associated wildlife, thereby depreciating Volunteers-In Parks (VIP's) program would
the quality of their experience. Cultural be sought in implementing this goat and sheep
sites would diminish, as well. reduction program.



Soil Impacts Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for adverse impacts as soil
goats and sheep continue to reduce plant disturbing activities of goats and sheep would
cover and greatly increase soil and organic be reduced within 3 years of implementation.
litter erosion and sedimentation of streams
and nearshore ocean water where it Elimination or near-elimination would
adversely affects coral reef, seagrass and eventually allow disturbed areas to heal over
other marine communities, with vegetation. No new goat and sheep
grazing and trampling areas would be
established.


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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Catego Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Vegetation Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for adverse affects as fewer
s goats and sheep continue to damage plant goats and sheep would cause less damage to
Impacts community composition and structure by plant community composition and structure by
selective grazing of native vegetation and selective grazing of native vegetation, and
distributing seeds of exotic plant species in distributing seeds of exotic plant species in
their feces and transmission to new sites on their feces and transmission to new sites on
their hair and coats. their hair and coats.

Numerous long-term ecological monitoring Several long-term ecological monitoring sites
sites would be inundated and eventually would be entirely fenced and therefore
destroyed by goat and sheep trampling and protected from all large non-native herbivores
herbivory. including goats, donkeys, hogs, sheep, and
white-tailed deer.


Threatened/ Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for adverse affects as goat
Endangered goat and sheep grazing continue to impact and sheep grazing would no longer continue to
Species Impacts T&E plants protected under the impact T&E plants protected under the
(T&E) Endangered Species Act (ESA). Endangered Species Act (ESA).
In St. John, the listed species include the In St. John, goat and sheep grazing would no
Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower, Prickly longer continue to consume listed species
Ash and Marron Bacora, which has been including the Endangered St. Thomas
proposed for listing. Lidflower, Prickly Ash and Marron Bacora,
which has been proposed for listing.

Goat and sheep grazing would also to Goat and sheep grazing would also no longer
continue to potentially impact twenty-five continue to impact twenty-five Territorially
Territorially T&E listed plant species. T&E listed plant species.


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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Catego Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Wildlife Impacts Highest potential for adverse impacts from Lowest potential for adverse native wildlife
goat and sheep populations in the Park on impacts because goat and sheep populations
native wildlife and their associated habitats would be substantially reduced within the Park
would continue, and immigrants would be periodically
removed.

Native wildlife would continue to be Large numbers of native fauna, and their
adversely impacted because goats and associated habitats, including several native
sheep consume a very large number of bird, reptile and amphibian species and
native plants upon which a very large numerous insect and spider species would
number of native fauna including several benefit when goat and sheep populations are
bird, reptile and amphibian species and kept low or at zero.
numerous insect and spider species depend
for habitat.

Of particular concern are the varied native The cessation of goat and sheep grazing and
reptile and amphibian populations in the trampling in specific locales would also
Park and their associated links in the food greatly improve habitat for lizards, snakes,
and ecological web of the island. salamanders and insects that are dependent
upon the consumption of leaves, fruits and
berries for their survival.

The Park has listed over 232 common Bats, the only native mammal, would benefit
insect species, including 13 species of from an enhanced and protected habitat as
dragonflies and damselflies and over 1500 plant species recover under this alternative.
beetle species.


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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Catego Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Water Quality Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for major adverse water
Impacts goats and sheep would continue to reduce quality impacts from goats and sheep would
plant cover and greatly increase soil be reduced within three years of the
erosion, nutrient loading and sedimentation implementation of this alternative.
of streams and nearshore ocean water
where it can affect coral reef, sea grass and Reduced sedimentation and nutrient loading
mangrove ecosystems and associated would enhance water quality and increase the
marine fisheries, nurseries and relate oxygen available for photosynthesis.
communities.

Goat and sheep carcasses would continue Goat and sheep carcasses would readily
to decompose naturally on land. decompose on land after being treated with
lime.
Nutrient loading facilitates algal and bacterial The few (if any) animals buried at sea would
blooms that readily consume the oxygen not affect water quality, as they would be
necessary for photosynthesis eutrophicationn). weighted and deposited in open ocean a
minimum of one mile from shore.



Wetland, Saltpond Highest potential for adverse impacts to Lowest potential for adverse impacts to
and Floodplain wetlands and saltponds would continue as wetlands from goats and sheep would be
Impacts native flora and fauna change under the reduced within several years of
foraging and predation pressures of goats implementation of this alternative.
and sheep throughout the Park.

Goats and sheep would also continue to Goat and sheep removal from riparian areas
forage on red, black and white mangrove would improve riparian habitat for frogs,
seeds, propagules and seedlings, a salamanders & aquatic invertebrates.
protected species in the Virgin Islands.

There would also continue to occur Adverse impacts to wetlands and marine
increased sedimentation rates and nutrient environments would be reduced under this
loading into wetlands and marine alternative, as the native flora and fauna would
ecosystems under the no action alternative, no longer change under the foraging and
trampling pressures of goats and sheep
throughout the Park.

Saltponds would experience increased soil Extremely limited and important saltpond
deposition, nutrient loading and habitat would remain open for migratory and
accelerated forest encroachment, especially resident waterfowl.
by invasives, reducing migratory and
resident waterfowl and associated habitat.




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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Catego Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Park Operations
Impacts


Highest potential for adverse operational
affects from non-native goats and sheep on
the Park's administrative, resources
management, interpretation, law
enforcement and maintenance costs would
be expected to continue.

Under this alternative, NPS would continue
to animal-proof trash receptacles,
dumpsters and buildings at campgrounds,
day use sites, concession areas, park
overlooks, and employee housing areas.


In 2002, NPS contracted for the installation
of a 1-mile donkey-exclusion fence with
four barbed-wire strands around the
perimeter of the Cinnamon Bay
Campground at an estimated cost of
$67,000 that is not designed to also
exclude goats and sheep.


This alternative would have the lowest
potential for adverse operational affects
because non-native goat and sheep populations
would be greatly reduced throughout the Park
at all visitor use, administrative, cultural and
natural resources sites.

Under this alternative, the overall costs of
administration of the non-native wildlife
control program would be increased with the
implementation of contracts to remove exotic
wildlife ($60,000 with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection
Service / Wildlife Services Division).

Goat and sheep reduction program would
occur in three phases: 1) administration and
infrastructure acquisition and fencing; 2)
collection using baits, traps, dogs and contract
hunters; and 3) monitoring for remnant goats
and sheep, periodic goat and sheep removal,
resource education, community outreach,
record keeping and fence maintenance.

This program would necessitate an increase in
on-Park personnel, jeep or truck style vehicles
and all-terrain vehicles. Other methods of
transportation may also be used, such as
horses. Housing would utilize existing
structures whenever possible, including
government approved facilities on NPS owned
property. Temporary tent camps may also
need to be established to ensure efficient
operations in remote areas, such as boat-only
accessible anchorages and rough, road-less
terrain. These camps would be located in
areas already impacted by vegetation clearing
associated with construction of historic
buildings sites located in the Park's
backcountry.

Fences constructed to exclude animals from
some long-term monitoring plots. $60,000
contract with APHIS to control goats and
sheep and construct 2 to 3 miles of fence
where animals easily enter the Park.


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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Goats and Sheep Control Goats and Sheep Control
Catego Environmentally Preferred Alternative:
No Action Trapping, Shooting and Fencing


Cumulative
Impacts and
Conclusions


The cumulative impacts from this
alternative would have severe negative
consequences for National Park Service
lands, plants and wildlife.

Many native terrestrial plant, animal and
invertebrate species would be adversely
impacted under this alternative.

The greatest impact would be changes in
plant species composition and the
associated changes in native fauna,
including birds, reptiles, small mammals
and insect species; in particular, four of the
five bat species-St. John's only native
mammal-rely exclusively on vegetation for
food, shelter and habitat.
















Public (resident, visitor, and employee)
health and safety would continue to
deteriorate as picnic areas and cultural
ruins are overrun and vehicular collision
increase.

This alternative is inconsistent with the
National Park Service Organic Act, and the
Virgin Islands National Park General
Management Plan and Resources
Management Plan.

This alternative is not consistent with the
approved Coastal Zone Management Plan.


Alternative Two would result in a vigorous
reduction in non-native goats and sheep from
within the Park. This alternative would reduce
goat and sheep disturbance of native plant
communities within several years.

This would greatly reduce the numbers of
these exotic (introduced) quadrupeds, animals
that are known to facilitate the spread of
weedy species. Their removal would reduce
the impacts to the Park's native plant
communities by invasive species disturbance.

The lack of trampling and grazing in the
Park's plant communities would reduce
impacts to and facilitate the recovery of native
T&E species. The reduced disturbance would
allow natural regeneration of T&E via
germination of seeds beneath shrub and forest
canopies. Native seedlings would have
enhanced survival rates with fewer livestock
grazing on them.

The regeneration may also lead to the spread
of T&E species into surrounding plant
communities, and the continued recovery of
other disturbed plant communities throughout
the Park. Serious negative impacts to the
listed species including the Endangered St.
Thomas Lidflower, Prickly Ash and Marron
Bacora, which has been proposed for listing,
would be greatly reduced.

Health and sanitation impacts would
necessarily improve.



This alternative is consistent with the National
Park Service Organic Act, Virgin Islands
National Park General Management Plan, and
the Resources Management Plan.


This alternative is consistent with the approved
Coastal Zone Management Plan.


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V. CHAPTER V. COMPLIANCE WITH

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS


The proposed program for a reduction of non-native goats and sheep populations within Virgin Islands
National Park is consistent with the National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C.) "to conserve the
scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the same in such a
manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

(a) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) -
Occasionally, immobilization drugs would be used to sedate trapped goats and sheep. Currently, only one
drug (Telazol) is available to immobilize goats and sheep. Intramuscular injections of Telazol would be
administered by either a jab stick, blow gun or CO2 pistol. Immobilization drugs and drug delivery
equipment would be restricted to employees responsible for goat and sheep management; these
employees would complete specialized training as required by NPS-77. Immobilization drugs would be
stored in a locked safe and records would be maintained to include the date, amount used, purpose, and
signature of the user. Since Telazol is listed as a Class II substance, all guidelines for use and storage
specified by the Drug Enforcement Administration would be followed. The Park has also obtained
pesticide use approval through the Southeast Regional Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) and
the Washington IPM Office.

(b) Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA)(7 U.S.C. 136, as amended) and VI Endangered and
Indigenous Species Act of 1990 (Act No. 5665) Virgin Islands National Park provides habitat for
Endangered Hawksbill and Leatherback sea turtles at numerous beach areas along the north, east and
southern beaches. Endangered Roseate and Threatened Least Terns nest at several sites in the Park.
Habitat for Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower, Prickly Ash, and Marron Bacora (which has been
proposed for listing) are located at numerous sites throughout the Park. Grazing and trampling by goats
and sheep potentially impacts these listed species with extirpation. In order to comply with the ESA of
1973, the Park must protect endangered species and their habitats (PL 93-205). With release of Final EA,
NPS will initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see Appendix C).

Virgin Islands National Park also provides habitat for one Territorially Endangered and Threatened
animal species, the Slipperyback Skink and many other Territorial Endangered species include ground-
nesting species such as Bridled Quail Dove, Bahama Pintail Duck and West Indian Nighthawk, all of
which may suffer egg and chick depredation due to wild hogs. Grazing and trampling by goats and sheep
potentially impacts twenty-five Territorially Threatened and Endangered listed plant species with
extirpation (see Pages 35 and 36).

(c) Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (40 Stat 755) provided clear authority and direction for the
proposed action. With release of Final EA, NPS will initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (see Appendix C).

(d) Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 gives authority to remove injurious animals for the protection
of birds and other wildlife.

(e) Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1 {1916} et seq.) "Preserve, protect, develop and where
possible restore or enhance the resources of the nation's coastal zones" supports the removal of non-
native pests that damage the coastal zone and wildlife therein. With release of Final EA, NPS will

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initiate formal consultation with the Territory's Department of Planning and Natural Resources in
conformance with the Coastal Zone Management Act.

(f) General Management Plan Virgin Islands National Park, 1983 feral and exotic pests such as
non-native goats and sheep are identified as a threat to native fauna and flora and must be controlled.

(g) National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq,), Archeological Resources
Protection Act of 1979 (16 U.S.C. 470aa-11). With release of Final EA, NPS will initiate formal
consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office regarding effects on the Park's archeological
and cultural resources.

(h) National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4332, as amended). Title I of
NEPA require that Federal agencies plan and carry out their activities... "so as to protect and enhance
the quality of the environment. Such activities shall include those directed to controlling pollution
and enhancing the environment."

(i) Resource Management Plan Virgin Islands National Park, 1999 feral and exotic pests such as
non-native goats and sheep are identified as a threat to native fauna and flora and must be controlled.





































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VI. CHAPTER VI. CONSULTATION AND

COORDINATION


Personnel from the following agencies and organizations have been consulted or participated in the
formulation of this Environmental Assessment:

U. S. Department of the Interior

National Park Service
Carol DiSalvo Washington Office Integrated Pest Management
National Park Service
P.O. Box 37127
Washington, DC 20013-7127

Chris Furqueron Southeast Regional Integrated Pest Management
Southeast Regional Office
1924 Building, 100 Alabama St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

Jami Hammond Southeast Regional Environmental Coordinator
Southeast Regional Office
1924 Building, 100 Alabama St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

James Oland, Supervisor, Caribbean Field Office
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 510
Boqueron, PR 00622

U. S. Department of Agriculture

Animal Plant Health Inspection Service / National Wildlife Research Center
Frank Boyd State Director/Coordinator
Parker Hall, Wildlife Biologist
118 Extension Hall
Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5656

Government of the Virgin Islands

Ms. Claudette Lewis, DPNR State Historic Preservation Office
Cyril E. King Airport, 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802

Judy Pierce, Chief of Wildlife, DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802-1104


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Dr. Bethany Bradford, Coordinator of Veterinary Services on St. Thomas and St. John
Mr. Elvette Elliott, Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture (VIDA)
7944 Estate Dorothea
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802


Consultation with Local St. Johnian Neighbors and Former Park Residents

These individuals will be given an opportunity to comment on this Final document which will be made
available at two local libraries, two Park visitor centers and on the Park and Friends of the Virgin Islands
Internet sites. Or, they may request a copy of this Final plan after learning about it by reading a press
release in one of several local island newspapers.

We would also contact local St. Johnian residents who have requested a hunting permit. They would be
asked to participate as Volunteers-In Park (VIP) program in implementing this goat and sheep reduction
program. Island residents collectively possess much valuable information regarding goat and sheep
ecology, habitat, food and water preferences, mortality and seasonal movements. (Please see also
Community Outreach on page 22)

Goat hunting was unofficially "allowed" in the Park, to varying degrees, until approximately 1999, when
it was determined the VINP Enabling Legislation did not authorize hunting. For additional information
see page 21, Use of Field Volunteers.































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VIII. CHAPTER VIII. PLANNING TEAM /

PREPARERS


List of Preparers:

Jim Benedict, Natural Resources Management Specialist, Virgin Islands National Park
Thomas Kelley, Natural Resources Program Manager, Virgin Islands National Park
RalfH. Boulon, Jr., Chief, Resource Management, Virgin Islands National Park

Frank Boyd State Director/Coordinator
Parker Hall, Wildlife Biologist,
USDA / APHIS / NWRC / Wildlife Services
118 Extension Hall
Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5656


NPS Interdisciplinary Team:

Arthur Frederick, Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park
John King, former Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park
Jim Owens, former Acting Park Planner, Virgin Islands National Park
Judy Shafer, former Deputy Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park
Walt Keyes, former Engineer, Virgin Islands National Park
John Javor, former Facility Manager, Virgin Islands National Park
Steve Clark, Chief Ranger, Virgin Islands National Park
Paul Thomas, Chief of Education, Virgin Islands National Park
Elba Richardson, Concessions Manager, Virgin Islands National Park
Dottie Anderson, Administrative Officer, Virgin Islands National Park
Jim Petterson, former Geographic Information System Management Specialist, Virgin Islands NP
Ken Wild, Archeologist/CRPM, Virgin Islands National Park



















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IX. CHAPTER IX. REFERENCES CITED

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York Botanical Garden. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, Volume 78. Bronx, NY. 581
pages.

Alexander, W.D. 1870. On the crater of Haleakala, Island of Maui, Hawaiian group. American Journal
of Science 49(145) 43-48.

Anderson, S. J., and C. P. Stone. 1993. Snaring to control feral hogs (Sus scrofa) in a remote Hawaiian
rain forest. Biological Conservation 63(2):195-201.

American Veterinary Medicine Association, Animal Welfare Forum. 1996. The welfare of cats. Journal
of the American Veterinary Medicine Association 208(4): 497-527.

Baker, J. K., and D.W. Reeser. 1972. Goat management problems in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: a
history, analysis and management plan. National Park Service Natural Resource Report 2. 22 pages.

Barrett, R. H., and C. P. Stone. 1983. Hunting as a control method for wild pigs in Hawaii Volcanoes
National Park. Unpublished report for resources management, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 37 pages
+ appendices.

Barrett, R. H. 1984. Hog control methods in Hawaii. Techniques for controlling wild hogs in Great
Smoky Mountains National Park: Proceedings of a Workshop Jane Tate (editor). U. S. Department of
the Interior, National Park Service, Uplands Field Research Laboratory, Great Smoky Mountains National
Park. November 29-30, 1983, Research/Resources Management Report SER-72. Pages 38-39.

Boulon, RalfH. 1999. Reducing threats to eggs and hatchlings: In situ protection. Research and
Management Techniques for the Conservation of Sea Turtles. K. L. Eckert, K. A. Bjomdal, F. A. Abreu-
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Pages 169-174.

Bratton, Susan P. 1974b. An integrated ecological approach to the management of European wild boar
(Sus scrofa) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Management Report No. 3, Uplands Field
Research Laboratory, Southeast Region, NPS, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg,
Tennessee. 42 pages.

Bratton, Susan P. 1975. The effect of European wild boar (Sus scrofa) on the Gray Beech Forest in the
Great Smoky Mountains. Ecology 56:1356-1366.

Bratton, Susan P, M. E. Harmon, and P. S. White. 1982. Patterns of European wild boar rooting in the
Western Great Smoky Mountains. Castanea 47:230-242.

Brisbin, I. Lehr, Jr., and John J. Mayer. 2001. Problem pigs in a poke: a good pool of data. Science
294:1280- 1281.

Chambers Consultants and Planners. 1981. Final environmental statement feral animal removal program,
San Clemente Island, California. Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California. 50+ pages.


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Coblentz, Bruce E. 1974. Ecology, behavior and range relationships of the feral goat. Ph.D. Thesis.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 256 pages.

Coblentz, Bruce E. 1978. The effects of feral goats (Capra hircus) on island ecosystems. Biological
Conservation 13:279-286.

Coblentz, Bruce E. 1980. Effects of feral goats on the Santa Catalina Island ecosystem. The California
Islands. Proceedings of a multidisciplinary symposium. Dennis M. Power, editor). Santa Barbara
Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California. Page(s) 167-170.

Coblentz, Bruce E. 1983. Exotic animal influences in Virgin Islands National Park. Report to NPS, St.
John, Cruz Bay. 16 pages.

Coblentz, Bruce E., and Brenda A. Coblentz. 1985. Control of the Indian Mongoose Herpestes
auropunctatus on St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands. Biological Conservation 33:281-288.

Coblentz, Bruce E., and Brenda A. Coblentz. 1985. Reproduction and the annual fat cycle of the
mongoose on St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands. Journal of Mammalogy 66(3): 560-563.

Curry, C. 1970. Entomological checklist for the Virgin Islands Ecological Research Station and Virgin
Islands National Park Museum. Report to NPS. 25 pages.

DieterSpatz, Gunter, and D. Mueller-Dombois. 1973. The influence of feral goats on koa tree
reproduction in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Ecology 54(4): 870-876.

D.Ohashi, Tim J, and Sandford Schemnitz. 1987. Birth pattern of feral goats on Haleakala. 'Elepaio
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survey of selected viral and bacterial diseases of European wild hogs, Great Smoky Mountains National
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Caribbean life. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, FL. 227 pages.



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Rogers, Caroline. 1988. Recommendations for Long-term Assessment of Coral Reefs: U.S. National
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Singer, Francis J. 1981. Wild pig populations in the national parks. Environmental Management 5:
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Soule, M. E. 1990. The onslaught of alien species and other challenges in the coming decades.
Conservation Biology 4:233-239.

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Volcanoes National Park. Ecology 54: 870-876.

Spatz, G., and D. Mueller-Dombois. 1975. Succession patterns after pig digging in grassland
communities on Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Phytocoenologia 3 (2/3):346-373.


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and Game Commissioners. Page(s) 672 679.

Williamson, Michael J., and Michael R. Pelton. 1976. Some hematological parameters of European wild
hogs (Sus scrofa). Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science Volume 51(1): 25 28.

Woodbury, R., and P. Weaver. 1987. The vegetation of St. John and Hassel Island, U. S. Virgin Islands.
NPS Research/Resources Management Report, SER-83, St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 101 pages.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1992. Global Biodiversity: Status of the Earth's Living
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American Midland Naturalist 77 (2): 418-451.


























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XI. CHAPTER XI. APPENDICES




















































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APPENDIX A. List of Endangered Plants and Animals of the U. S. Virgin
Islands
Compiled by the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DPNR), the UVI Cooperative Extension Service,
Eleanor Gibney (Caneel Bay), Gary Ray (U. of Wisconsin) and William Mclean (UVI).


Scientific Name


PLANTS

Federal List
Buxaceae
Buxus vahlii


Rutaceae
Zanthoxyllum thomasianum
Myrtaceae
Calyptranthes thomasiana


Virgin Islands List
Agavaceae
Agave eggersiana
Aizoaceae
Cypselia humifusa
Aquifoliaceae
Ibex urbanii
I. sideroxyloides
Bromeliaceae
Tillandsia lineatispica
Cactaceae
Mammilaria nivosa
Opuntia triacantha
Celastraceae
Maytenus cymosa
Convolvulaceae
Operculina triquetra
Euphorbiaceae
Croton fishlocklii
Fabaceae
Erythrina eggersii
Galactia eggersii
Malpighiaceae
Malpighia woodburyana
M. infestissima (=pallens)
M. linearis
Malpighia sp.
Byrsonima sp.
Malvaceae
Psidium amplexicaule
Psidium sp.
Sida eggersii
Myrtaceae
Eugenia sp.


Common Name


Vahi's Boxwood


Prickly Ash

St. Thomas Lidflower


Egger's Agave



Urban's Holly
Central Amer. Oak


Pinon


Wooly Nipple


Egger's Cockspur
Egger's Galactia


Cowage Cherry
Stinging Bush


Distribution/Remarks


Endangered, St.X.- May be
Extinct


Endangered, St T., St .J.

Endangered, St. T., St. J.


St. X.


St. T., St. J.

St. J., Tortola
St. J.


Rare bromeliad, St. J., St. T

St. X, St. J, St. T, offshore cays
Buck Is. (St. X,), St. T.


St. X., St. T.

St. X., St. T. endemic

Recent St. J. sightings


St. X, St. J, St. T,
St. T., St. J.


St. T., St. J., offshore cays
St. X.
All VI
Similar to M. coccigera, St. J.
New Species, St. J.

St. J.
St. J., new species?
N. Offshore cays

Recent St. J. sightings


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Endangered Plants and Animals of the U. S. Virgin Islands (Cont.)


Olacaceae
Schoepfia schreberi
Orchidaceae
Brassavola cuccullata
Psychilis macconelliae
Encydia ciliare
E. cochleata
Habenana alata
Tolumnia (Oncidium) prionochila
T. variegatuni
Polystachya concrete
Ponthieva racemosa
Prescottia oligantha
P. stachyoides
Spiranthes torta
Tetrainicra canaliculata
T. canaliculata alba
Vanilla barbellata
Piperaceae
Peperomia myrtifolia
Polygonaceae
Coccoloba rugosa
Rubiaceae
Catesbaea melanocarpa
Machionia woodburyana
Sapotaceae
Manilkara bidentata
Solanaceae
Solanum mucronatuni
S. conocarpum
Urticaceae
Pilea richardii
Verbenaceae
Callicarpa ampla
Nashia inaguensis
Zygophyllaceae
Gualacum officinale


St.T., St.J., St.X.


Sandy Pt. Orchid
Christmas Orchid
Cockle-shell Orchid

Yellow Dancing Lady
White Dancing Lady








Vanilla Orchid

Myrtle-leaved Peperomia







Bulletwood





Richard's Clearweed

Capa Rosa

Lignum Vitae


St.T.
St.X.
St.T., St.J., St.X.
St.X.
St.T.
St. J, St.T.
St.T., St.J., St. X.
St.T., Virgin Gorda
St.T., St.J., Tortola
St.T., St.J., Tortola.
St.J.
St.T.
St.T., St.J., St. X.
End. subsp., Water Is.
St. T.

St.J., St.X


May be extinct in VI

St.X.
New St. J. sightings

St.T., St.J.

Confused taxonomy, St.T., St.J.
Rediscovered 1993, 2 indivs., St.J.

St.T.

Info. needs update
St.X.

W..I., High hort. demand


ANIMALS


Federal List
Chelonia mydas
Eretmochelys imbricata
Dermochelys coriacea
Pelecanus occidentalis
Falco peregrinus
Epicrates monensis granti
Ameiva polops
Sterna dougallii


Green turtle
Hawksbill turtle
Leatherback turtle
Brown pelican
Peregrine falcon
VI Tree boa
St. X. ground lizard
Roseate tern


Threatened, Resident, breeding
Endangered, Resident, breeding
Endangered, Migrant, breeding
Endangered, Resident, breeding
Endangered, Winter migrant
Endangered, Resident, breeding
Endangered, Resident, breeding
Threatened, migrant, breeding


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Endangered Plants and Animals of the U.S. Virgin Islands (Cont.)


Virgin Islands List
Mabuya inabouia
Otus nudipes newtom
Chordeiles gundlachii
Anthracothorax dominicus
Podiceps dominicus
Sterna antillarum
Phaethon lepturus
Ardea herodius
Casmerodius albus
Egretta thula
Nycticorax nycticorax
Ixobrychus exilis
Anas bahaniensis
Oxyura jamaicensis
Rallus longirostris
Fulica caribea
Charadrius alexandrinus
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
Puffinus Iherminieri
Aratinga pertinax
Columba leucocephala
Geotrygon mystacea
Myiarchus stolidus
Noctilio leporinus
Stenoderma rufum
Brachyphylla cavernarum
Order Antipatharia
Epinephelus itajara


Slipperyback skink
VI Screech owl
West Indian nighthawk
Antillean mango
Least grebe
Least tern
White-tailed tropicbird
Gt. blue heron
Great (common) egret
Snowy egret
Black-cr. night heron
Least bittern
Bahama duck
Ruddy duck
Clapper rail
Caribbean coot
Snowy plover
Willet
Audubon shearwater
Brown-throated parakeet
White-crowned pigeon
Bridled Quail dove
Stolid flycatcher
Fisherman bat
Red fruit bat
Cave bat
Black coral
Goliath Grouper


Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding?
Resident, breeding?
Resident, breeding?
Migrant, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding?
Resident, breeding
Peripheral resident
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding?
Resident, breeding
Migrant, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Resident, breeding
Marine benthic, high demand
Resident, breeding
Marine


The above list represents plants and animals occurring in the US Virgin Islands
which are protected by either the US Endangered Species Act of 1973 or the VI
Endangered and Indigenous Species Act of 1990 (Act No. 5665). This list is
promulgated under Act 5665, Section 104(g) and may be revised as new information
becomes available.




Roy E. Adams, Commissioner, DPNR
5 June 1991






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APPENDIX B.


Common Name

MAMMALS

Cat,

Cattle,

Deer, White-tail

Dog,

Donkey

Goat,

Horse

Pig,

Mongoose, Indian

Mouse, house

Rat, black

Rat, Norway

Sheep,

BIRDS

Bullfinch, L.Ant.

Fowl,

Parakeet, Brn-thr

Sparrow, English

AMPHIBIANS

Tree frog, Cuban

Tree Frog, Coqui

REPTILES

Iguana, green

Tortoise, redfoot


List of Introduced Animals to St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands

Area of When Introduced
Scientific Name Origin Introduced By


Felis catus

Bos taurus

Odocoileus virginianus

Canis familiaris

Equus asinus

Capra hircus

Equus caballus

Sus scrofa

Herpestes auropunctatus

Mus musculus

Rattus rattus

Rattus norvegicus

Ovis aries



Loxigilla noctis

Various sp.

I i, i ,, 1, pertinax

Passer us



Osteopilus septentrionalis

Eleutherodactylus Coqui



Iguana iguana

Geochelone carbonaria


Afr./SW Asia

Eurasia

U.S.

Eurasia

N. Africa

SW Asia

Eurasia

Eurasia

India

Mid E/Asia

SE Asia

SE Asia

Mid East



Lesser Ant.



Curacao

Eurasia



Cuba

Puerto Rico



S. America

S. America


?

?

1700's

?


1500's


1500's











1500's

1880's


1980's
?

?

?










1960's
?

1900's

1980's



1980's

1970's



<1500's

<1500's


Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Spaniards

Europeans

Spaniards

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans



Natural

Various

Unknown

Ship



Plant trade

Residents



Native Ams.

Native Ams.


SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE GOATS & SHEEP ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
JULY 2004 FINAL




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