Title: Final environmental assessment : sustained reduction plan for non-native wild hogs within Virgin Islands National Park
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Title: Final environmental assessment : sustained reduction plan for non-native wild hogs 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: 2003
 Subjects
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands -- Saint John -- Virgin Islands National Park
Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300649
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 Wild Hogs
Within
Virgin Islands National Park



DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
SOUTHEAST REGION


APRIL 2003










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

Comments and Availability
Comments on this Final Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild Hogs Within Virgin Islands National
Park Environmental Assessment should be postmarked by APRIL 21, 2003 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 viewing 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 would 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 Taino cultures have been located on St. John. A systematic and thorough
archeological survey of the entire island, however, would result in the discovery of hundreds of 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 potential impacts 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 wild hogs 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 resources.


Description of the Alternatives

Alternative 1 No Action: Maintain Current Level of Management

Under this alternative, no reduction efforts would be used on the non-native wild hogs 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. Hogs would continue to impact island
vegetation and wildlife including endemic and Federally and Territorially listed plant and animal species.

If left unchecked, hog populations would be expected to increase throughout the Park. In 1998, hogs
were found in two VINP watersheds, Reef and Lameshur. During the next three years they immigrated
into the Cinnamon and Maho watersheds of the Park. By August 2002, hogs were found in Hawksnest,
Caneel watersheds. From these new locations, hogs would readily move into adjacent watersheds,
causing irreparable damage to sensitive natural and cultural resources. Hogs also pose serious threats to
public health and safety. This alternative is inconsistent with Federal mandates to protect water, plant,
animal and cultural resources, visitor safety, as well as similar Territorial regulations.

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Alternative 2 Preferred Alternative: Reduce Wild Hogs Within VINP and Sustain a
Near-zero Population

The program goals for the Preferred Alternative include:

1) Substantially decrease the wild hog population throughout the Park to a near-zero level; and
2) Monitor and remove hogs periodically, and maintain fences indefinitely.

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

1) Administration, infrastructure acquisition and fencing;
2) Collection using baits, traps, dogs and contract hunters; and
3) Monitor for and removal of immigrant wild hogs, education, record keeping and fence maintenance.

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 wild hogs from Virgin
Islands National Park. Long-term monitoring and maintenance would sustain a near zero population in
watershed areas where eradication is unfeasible.


SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE WILD HOGS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
Al A.2
Alternative Wild Hogs Wild Hogs
Features Control Control
Preferred Alternative: Trapping,
No Action Shooting and Fencing


Wild Hogs No reduction strategy would be Substantially reduce hogs in Reef,
Reduction implemented. Lameshur, Maho and Cinnamon
Goals watersheds.

Monitor and remove immigrant hogs
periodically.


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 hogs;
indefinitely.










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 Wild Hogs Within VINP and Sustain a Near-zero
Population. This action would be accomplished through fencing, baiting, trapping, shooting and periodic
hog 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 wild hog
reduction. However, following initial reduction of non-native hogs, protection of irreplaceable Park
resources would be immediate.


Native Plant Communities

Alternative 1 Hogs would continue impacts on vegetation through rooting, accelerated soil
erosion, seed dissemination, understory removal, exotic plant proliferation, and trail creation.

Alternative 2 The reduction of hogs would have substantial positive effects on native plant
communities.


Rare and Listed Plants andAnimals

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

Alternative 2 The three listed plant species and five listed animal species and numerous rare
plants would all benefit from the reduction of hogs.


Non-native Plants

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

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


Native Island Fauna

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

Alternative 2 Hog reduction would remove direct competition and predation on many island
animal species.

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Non-native Island Fauna


Alternative 1 Without reducing non-native hogs, their populations would continue to increase in
the Park.

Alternative 2 Within three years, hog populations would be reduced within the Park.


Soil and Water Resources

Alternative 1 Non-native hog rooting and herbivory would continue to reduce plant cover and
greatly increase soil erosion and sedimentation of ephemeral streams, saltponds and ocean runoff.

Alternative 2 Reduction of hogs would greatly reduce soil disturbance, destruction of
cryptobiotic crusts, and lessen soil erosion, ephemeral streams, saltponds and ocean
sedimentation. Cyano-bacteria make up the majority of the micro-biotic crusts but lichens,
mosses, green algae, micro-fungi and bacteria are present ad well.


Cultural Resources

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

Alternative 2 A primary cause of impacts to archeological sites, hog populations would be
greatly reduced in approximately three years.


Human Uses

Alternative 1 All NPS areas prohibit hunting unless it is specifically authorized in the enabling
legislation. Human uses would be unchanged under this alternative. 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 historical sites. The scientific value of the natural and cultural
resources of the Park would decrease. Hogs may occasionally be dangerous to people when using
Park trails.

Alternative 2 Visitor use and access would be limited in some areas while hog reduction occurs
in selected areas. Reduction of hogs 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 hog owners to keep hogs at home; perhaps
assist with the control program implementation. Hogs would no longer serve as co-hosts with
native wildlife and livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases.






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TABLE OF CONTENTS



SUMMARY 3

. CHAPTER I. PURPOSE AND NEED 10

A. Introduction 10

B. Purpose and Need 10
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 Wild Hogs Control Alternatives 19

1. Non-native Wild Hogs Implementation Plan 19
a. Fence Research Exclosures 19
b. Fence Selected Areas of the Boundary 20
c. Use of Local Field Volunteers 20
d. Baiting 20
e. Traps and Snares 21
f Animal Control Agents 22
g. Tracking Dogs 22
h. Chemical Restraint and Radio-telemetry 22
i. Handling Captured Hogs 23
j. Capture and Disposition of Non-native Wildlife 23
k. Final Disposition 23
1. Use of By-products 23
m. Information and Education Actions 24
n. Ecological Research and Monitoring 24

2. Alternatives Considered but Eliminated from Detailed Analysis 24
a. Sequential Park-wide Reduction by Fenced-Zone Removal 24
b. Live Capture of Non-native Hogs and Relocation to Another Island 26
c. Use of Poison 26
d. Use of Contraceptives or Sterilization 26
e. Public Hunting on NPS Property 26
f. Biological Controls 26

3. Alternative 1. No Action, Continue Current Level of Management 27
4. Alternative 2. Reduce Wild Hogs Within VINP and Sustain a
Near-zero Population, Preferred Alternative 27

B. Environmentally Preferred Alternative 30

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III. CHAPTER HI. AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT 31

A. Natural Resources 31
Wetlands and Floodplains 31
Terrestrial Vegetation 32
Native Animals 34
Endangered and Threatened Animal Species 35
Threatened and Endangered Plant Species 36
Introduced Animals and Plants 37

B. Natural Resource Threats 40
Land Use and Boundary Issues 40
Visitation Issues 40
Threats to Endangered and Threatened Species 41
Non-native/Exotic Animal Impacts 42
Non-native Wild Hogs Impacts and Introductions 43
Biological Pollution (Exotic Plants) 49
Forest Recovery and Fragmentation 49
Garbage Disposal and Recycling 49

C. Cultural Resources 50
History 50
Archeological Resources 51
Historic Structures 53
Ethnographic Resources 54


IV. CHAPTER IV. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES 56

A. Non-native Wild Hogs Control Environmental Consequences 56

1. Alternative 1. No Action, Continue Current Level of Management 56
a. Air Quality Impacts 56
b. Scenic Value Impacts 56
c. Cultural Resource Impacts 56
d. Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts 56
e. Soil Impacts 57
f Threatened & Endangered Species Impacts 57
g. Vegetation Impacts 58
h. Wildlife Impacts 58
i. Water Quality Impacts 59
j. Wetland, Saltpond & Floodplain Impacts 59
k. Park Operations Impacts 59
1. Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions 59

2. Alternative 2. Reduce Wild Hogs Within VINP and Sustain a
Near-zero Population, Preferred Alternative 60
a. Air Quality Impacts 60
b. Scenic Value Impacts 60
c. Cultural Resource Impacts 61
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Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts
Soil Impacts
Threatened & Endangered Species Impacts
Vegetation Impacts
Wildlife Impacts
Water Quality Impacts
Wetland, Saltpond & Floodplain Impacts
Park Operations Impacts
Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions


B. Summary Table of Environmental Consequences


V. CHAPTER V. COMPLIANCE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND
REGULATIONS

VI. CHAPTER VI. CONSULTATION AND COORDINATION


VII. CHAPTER VII. PLANNING TEAM / PREPARERS

IIIV. CHAPTER IIIV. REFERENCES CITED


IX. CHAPTER IX. APPENDICES


A. List of Endangered Plants and Animals of the U.S. Virgin Islands
B. List of Introduced Animals to St. John Island, U.S. Virgin Islands
C. Consultation Letter from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


LIST OF FIGURES


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


LIST OF TABLES


1. Summary Table of Environmental Consequences















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I. CHAPTER I. PURPOSE AND NEED


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 Wild Hogs (Sus scrofa) within Virgin Islands National Park (VINP), St.
John, U. S. Virgin Islands. NPS would also be implementing a non-native goat and sheep sustained
reduction program (Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Goats and Sheep Within VINP EA, in
preparation, NPS 2003) during the same time period.

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 USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS)
Division, as lead agencies would conduct the reduction of non-native hogs 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); and Virgin Islands Department of Economic Development and Agriculture (VIDEDA);
would play an advisory role to plan and implement the reduction, mitigation and monitoring portions of
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 hogs. The
program goals include the reduction of hogs throughout the Park to zero or near zero, monitoring and
periodic removal to sustain this reduction. National Park Service guidelines for compliance with the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) require an analysis of potential effects of this proposed
activity on the affected environment. This Environmental Assessment reviews these potential impacts
and the actions that would be taken to prevent or mitigate any adverse effects.


I.B. PURPOSE AND NEED

The purpose of the proposed action is to undertake a control program for non-native wild hogs within
Virgin Islands National Park (the Park). By reducing their populations inside the Park, adverse impacts to
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visitors, residents, natural, cultural and aquatic resources would decrease. Collectively, wild hog
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 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).

But, it is the introduced species that are responsible for 39% 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 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 less susceptible than
continental species to the problems of habitat fragmentation caused by small reserve size. Therefore, by
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 wild hogs from the Park would be very difficult.

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

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"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 that are determined to be injurious to native flora and fauna.
Management of populations of exotic plant and animal species, up to and including eradication, would be
undertaken whenever such species threaten Park resources or public health. High priority would 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).

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 would be
determined through the Park's Resource Management Plan (NPS Management Policies 2001, Chapter 4,
and Page 11; and NPS 1999). 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
also active recovery efforts and that management should be done in an ecosystem context.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that 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
(Appendices A and C). The St. Thomas Lidflower and Prickly-ash Recovery Plans stipulate that rooting
and grazing by non-native wild hogs 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). Hogs also
depredate one Territorially Endangered animal species, the Slipperyback Skink, an endemic to the Park.
Other Territorial Endangered species include ground-nesting species such as Bridled Quail Dove, Bahama
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Pintail Duck and West Indian Nighthawk, all of which suffer egg and chick depredation due to hogs. The
USFWS determined that this proposed action will have no impact on listed species or migratory birds, in
fact, it will most likely greatly benefit them (see Appendix C).

National Park Service management also seeks to preserve and foster appreciation of cultural resources in
NPS's 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,
donkey, wild hog, domestic goat, domestic cow, domestic sheep, European boar, West Indian mongoose,
tree rat, Norway rat and domestic cat, domestic dog and house mouse. 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 hogs (Sus scrofa) are an ungulate species not native to North America or South
America; but to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, and the Malayan Islands. The term "non-native hog"
refers to domestic hogs that escape to survive in the wild, as well as their progeny. Christopher
Columbus first introduced European hogs into the West Indies in 1493. The Danes brought wild hogs to
St. John in 1718 when they colonized the island. Wild hogs have established breeding populations in
many areas and all habitat types of the Virgin Islands National Park. Currently in St. John, hogs are
predominately owned by one landowner adjacent to Centerline Road near Cruz Bay. These hogs are not
fenced off, so animals periodically wander into surrounding areas, including National Park lands, and
became feral.

The total non-native wild hog population on St, John is known to oscillate widely between climatic
episodes. During drought years, hog numbers have been estimated to be between 200 and 300. Under
normal rainfall years, numbers have been estimated to be as high as 800 animals; which impact
approximately 55% of Virgin Islands National Park. The proposed action is intended to address the
potential for hogs spreading into new areas, especially now that several populations are established on the
northern portion of the Park, mitigating current impacts, and sustaining a near-zero population to limit
future impacts.

Wild hogs have thrived in Reef and to a smaller degree in Lameshur watersheds since the Park was
established. The suspected origin into the Park was the Susannaberg area near the Public Works facility,
where even now hogs wander up Centerline Road and migrate down the L'Esperance Trail into Reef Bay.
While wild hogs have established breeding populations in these areas, none occurred elsewhere in the
Park.



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Currently, wild hogs inhabit four Park watersheds. The success of the wild hogs in populating the Park
can be attributed to the lack of natural predators, the prolific reproductive nature of the species, and the
fact that they are opportunistic omnivores. There are no practical methods to census wild hogs and the
population can fluctuate drastically with available food resources.

The effects of wild hogs on park resources are multifaceted and result from their movements, habitat
utilization and food habits (Ackerman et. al. 1978; Barrett and Stone '1983; Bratton 1974 and 1975). Of
greatest concern are the destructive effects hogs have on natural ecosystems and native components of
those ecosystems. Hog rooting behavior profoundly disrupts natural communities, individual species
populations, forest successional patterns and forest nutrient cycles. Rooting adjacent to small streams and
springs often results in high rates of soil erosion, which severely affects aquatic habitats. Rooting and
wallowing by hogs detrimentally affect the aesthetic and wilderness values of the Park.

Wild hogs have both direct and indirect effects on the flora of the Park variety of plant species, including
some that are rare, threatened, endangered or endemic to St. John Island are eaten, trampled or uprooted
by hogs (Bratton 1975). Hog rooting in dry evergreen woodlands, dry evergreen scrub, thorn and cactus
scrub, moist forest formations, early successional vegetation, and coastal wetlands may reduce understory
cover by as much as 95 percent of normal ground density, resulting in changes in forest structure and
composition.

Wild hogs negatively affect the fauna of the Park through predation, habitat alteration and competition for
food. Hogs may prey upon one Territorially endangered and threatened animal species, the Slipperyback
Skink (Mabuya inabouia). Areas uprooted by hogs undergo notable declines in small mammal and
reptile populations (Singer et. al. 1982). Wild hogs are in direct competition with other animals for
insects, earthworms and other invertebrates and compete with native species for other available food
resources. Hogs may consume the eggs, chicks and adults of such Territorially endangered species as the
Bridled Quail Dove, Bahama Pintail Duck, and the West Indian Nighthawk.

All Federally and territorially listed species require some level of protection and monitoring (see
Appendix A, List of Endangered Plants and Animals of the U.S. Virgin Islands). Wild hogs and European
boar are seriously threatening the sole, small remaining populations of the Endangered St. Thomas
Lidflower (Calyptranthes thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum), which has been
proposed for listing. Rooting and grazing by hogs was a factor in the decline of these species. Non-
native hogs potentially impact twenty-five territorially threatened and endangered listed plant species.

Wild hogs also serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases.
Hog cholera, swine brucellosis, trichinosis, foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, and pseudo-
rabies are all diseases that may be transmitted from wild hogs to livestock. A variety of arthropod,
protozoans, helmith parasites also have been found from the Park, including, ticks, lice, protozoa, kidney
worms, esophageal worms, stomach worms, intestinal worms, and lungworms which are common
parasites for both wild and domestic swine.

St. John Island contains a rich archeological record of the Taino 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 result in the discovery of hundreds of 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. Wild hog rooting has damaged a number of island sites, such as
Cinnamon and Reef bays. Hog rooting to a depth of three feet has been noted in a number of sites.

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Hog rooting 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 hog
rooting of archeological sites on the island would result in the loss of integrity, and ultimately loss of the
values which make the St. John Island 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. Rooting by hogs exposes
substantial sections of land to erosion by water and wind. Erosion and rooting cause disturbance to
archeological sites that have long been protected by vegetation.

The NPS officially curtailed illegal hog hunting in the late 1980's. Within about 3 years, interpreters and
visitors began to complain about "hog harassment" along the popular Reef Bay Trail. By 1995, extensive
damage from hog rooting had occurred along much of the 1.5-mile trail. Also by this time, many animals
were observed at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station facility, where hogs used to be very
rare.

Program Objectives: Park-wide Sustained Reduction. The NPS proposes to implement a wild hog
management program for Virgin Islands NP. The overall objective of the hog management program is to
manage the Park according to NPS mandates and guidelines. This can be accomplished by preventing
hogs from interfering with the natural processes and perpetuation of natural features and native species,
halting range expansion of hogs, and preventing the threat to public safety from hogs on trails 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 exotic pests from St. John Island. The
objectives for management of non-native wild hogs within Virgin Islands National Park, include:

1. Protect the native species and natural processes of the Park ecosystem by reducing the
impacts of wild hogs on these species and processes.

2. Protect critical habitat of rare, endangered, and endemic species, and reduce wild hog impacts
on identified areas that are particularly vulnerable to grazing and rooting.

3. Protect rare, endangered and endemic species, which are presently or potentially impacted by
activities of wild hogs.

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

5. Protect public health by monitoring wild hog populations and individual animals for possible
diseases communicable to humans, livestock or wildlife.

6. Minimize adverse effects of wild hogs, and control methods upon resources adjacent to the
Park.

7. Conserve archeological sites threatened by accelerated erosion by wild hog rooting.

8. Initiate conservation and restoration of soil resources damaged by the activities of wild hogs.


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9. Control and reduce the spread of invasive, non-native weeds caused by the activities of hogs.


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 over half (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 lands 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 headquarters; and approximately five acres at Wintberg for
administrative purposes.

Because of its internationally significant natural resources, Virgin Islands National Park was designated
an international biosphere reserve in 1976 and is one of the few biosphere reserves that has both marine
and terrestrial resources. The Park was included in the United Nation's 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 above sea
level) peak 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, building structures, terraces, rock walls and roads, and importing vegetation and
mammals. The plantation settlements took advantage of the labor of enslaved Africans. The last four
decades have brought considerable change on St. John through the development of vehicular
transportation and roads, resorts, and other tourist facilities.

For most of the year the temperatures are in the seventies and range from the mid-sixties in the winter
months (November-February) to highs in 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 the rainfall pattern shows an

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erratic distribution. It varies from a fraction of an inch in a dry month to as much as 18 inches. Unlike
other regions in the tropics, the Virgin Islands do not show marked climatic seasons except perhaps more
precipitation in the so-called rainy seasons (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 the higher lands more than the low.

In terms of visitor attractions, scenery, spectacular marine gardens and beaches are probably 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

0 50 100 150 200 250 300


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II. CHAPTER II. DESCRIPTION OF THE

ALTERNATIVES

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 g1 1ni i,, ,).

The alternatives detailed below were developed to focus on issues identified by resource specialists with
the NPS, wild hog eradication experts and other control experts, government regulatory agencies, and the
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 wild hogs within Virgin Islands National Park. Following a brief description of control
techniques, the alternatives for wild hogs are (1) no action, and (2) reduce wild hogs within VINP and
sustain a near-zero population, preferred alternative. The action would be accomplished through fencing,
baiting, trapping, shooting and periodic hog removal. The description of the environmentally preferred
alternative is located in the document after Alternative 2.

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 now. Chapter II.A.2.
contains a section that explains the rationale for dismissing other methods or alternatives from
consideration.


II.A. Non-native Wild Hogs Control Alternatives

II.A.1. Non-native Wild Ho2s Implementation Plan

This section describes available control and related techniques and methodologies for non-native wild hog
control in the Park, including fencing, shooting, baiting, trapping, snaring, dogs, chemical restraint and
radio-telemetry. Limited use of field volunteers for hog 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.

Fence Research Exclosures
Fencing is economical for small areas and, therefore, is directed toward fragile or unique habitats within
the Park. Currently, 26 special protection areas in VINP have been identified and remain unfenced. A
network of long-term ecological 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

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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 of these areas would provide an immediate protection solution and must be maintained to prevent
hog encroachments. Other endangered, rare or unique concentrations of plants or animals would be
identified for protection as warranted. The need for special protection fencing is dependent upon:

1. accurate identification and location of resources requiring protection
2. installation damage must be less than hog damage,
3. non-target wildlife movement must be unimpeded, and
4. maintenance must be guaranteed.

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 none to minimal.

Fence Selected Areas of the Boundary
Ungulate-proof fences would be considered for installation to restrict their access to Parklands
immediately adjacent to Herman Farm, L' Esperance and Catherineberg, where new animals can easily
reenter the Park. Other possible areas include portions of Leinster, Brown and Lameshur bays, the NPS
Range and Rams Head. Where necessary restricted-access, ungulate-proof gates would be installed and
maintained. During fence installation, the opportunity would be used to collect subsurface archeological
information on a relatively systematic basis by mapping and shovel-testing the post holes as they are dug
and before the posts have been inserted and holes covered over. Access to VINP gates are controlled
through the Law Enforcement and Maintenance divisions.

Installation of fence material would be conducted following consultation with hog farmers. Their
assistance and cooperation would be solicited and encouraged throughout the ongoing hog reduction
program. Enhanced community outreach would be an important and ongoing component, as well.

Use of Local Field Volunteers
The Volunteers-In Parks (VIP) program would possibly be used to involve a limited number of residents
to share their knowledge and hunting skills and labor to assist with specific hog collection activities.
Local knowledge would be gathered from island residents regarding trap design and manufacture and
placement, seasonality, timing and bait choice. This program responds to a cultural tradition that includes
a long history of hogs on the island and what is known archaeologically about enslaved Afro-Americans,
and others, supplementing their diets (at least in some areas of the Americas) through hunting, fishing,
and trapping.

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 strict guidelines established by the NPS and USDA Program Coordinators. VIP's
may be used to install and maintain fences near the VINP boundary.

Baiting
Baiting would take place with careful monitoring to ensure consumption by target species. Various small
bait stations would be established in each of the four watersheds: Maho, Reef, Lameshur and Cinnamon.

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They may or may not operate concurrently depending on available personnel and climatic conditions.
Temporary bait stations would be initially established within or near areas of high hog concentrations as
determined by track and scat data. No specific bait is considered ideal for wild hogs; therefore, traps
would be initially baited with shelled corn, although other baits may be tested. Water may be considered
for use as part of the bait scheme. As animal concentrations change and move within a watershed, bait
station locations would also change. Because hogs are very mobile between wet and dry seasons we
anticipate the use of relatively mobile bait stations. Hogs would not bait into an area but with bait, they
may become concentrated in an area.

During the bait station acclimation period, 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 and approximate reduction
percentage for the general area. Careful data gathering and record keeping would be supplemented with
photography.

Traps and Snares
Initially, traps and snares 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 hogs, including
single and multiple (corral) live traps, drop nets, and snares. Trap success is a function of natural food
availability, environmental conditions, hog 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 wild hogs 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 hogs in this program. 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.

Guidelines for trapping wild hogs include:
1. Trap inspection within 12 hours maximum,
2. Trap placement remote from visitors,
3. Plot trap locations on topographic maps using global positioning system (GPS),
4. Carcass disposition away from visitor access areas, and
5. Coordinate trapping efforts through the Resource Management office.

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.

Although trapping is an effective method of control and can account for the majority of hogs removed
from a Park, it has some limitations. For example, some animals may be "trap shy" and may not enter
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 and rugged terrain or without causing serious impacts to designated natural
areas. Finally, in terms of man-hours, trapping is very labor-intensive. Therefore, the most cost-effective
method for controlling wild hogs in the Park is a combination of trapping and shooting.

Live traps are the preferred method of capture; leg snares would be used in conjunction with independent
bait stations. Traps and leg snares would be inspected at maximum 12-hour intervals. Initial trapping
typically yield the highest ratio of animals collected over time, and this drops over time until the program
is no longer cost effective.


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Only if all else fails would neck snares be used. They would be constructed using slip-wire and secured
close to the ground along established corridors frequented by hogs 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. Capture and disposition ofnontarget wildlife is addressed in a separate section below.

Animal Control Agents
Wild hogs would be collected from lands within or immediately adjacent to four Park watersheds: Maho,
Reef, Lameshur and Cinnamon. However, hogs would possibly be collected from any Federally owned
land within the authorized Park boundary.

Trained and certified animal control agents would collect wild hogs 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 used to dispatch hogs. Firearms
used for this program would be equipped with telescopic scopes and silenced muzzles; their use would be
restricted to NPS property. Transportation of field personnel may include trucks, jeeps, horses, all terrain
vehicles and boats. Temporary tent camps may be established in remote areas.

All wildlife collection operations would be closely coordinated with Law Enforcement, Interpretation
Rangers, and Maintenance personnel to ensure maximum safety to residents and visitors. Direct
reduction activities would be well organized by NPS and USDA Program Coordinators. NPS law
enforcement personnel and others would ensure proper closure and visitor clearance from each area.
Personnel safety would be of greatest concern at all times. Each team 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.

Tracking Dogs
Use of well-trained and experienced tracking dogs can be extremely cost effective when seeking to
remove a small number of remaining, trap-shy individuals. Use of dogs would be considered for
humanely collecting individuals where other alternatives have failed. The removal of every possible hog
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 hog reduction program on an island or in a
mainland environment has relied upon the use of tracking dogs to locate the last remaining hog. Tracking
dogs are being used at Great Smoky Mountains, Hawaii Volcanoes and Channel Islands national parks to
locate the last hog in steep terrain, and in dense brush and forest. Only if a decision or the opportunity to
capture the "last hog" is made will VIIS use tracking ("baying") dogs, and only under the guidelines
stated above. They will only be used to locate hogs and not contact the hogs. As they will be under strict
control at all times, they will produce no impacts to ground-nesting birds. Dogs, prior to being
allowed in the Park, would be vaccinated for all common canine
diseases. Owners would be required to submit inoculation
documentation.

Chemical Restraint and Radio-telemetry
Because hogs are highly social animals, an animal equipped with a radio transmitter can lead field
personnel to remote locations where hogs congregate (Taylor and Katahira 1988; White and Garrott
1990). This method of locating animal concentrations in steep slopes and dense underbrush can be an
effective means to collect exotic hogs. Hogs used in this fashion are called Judas hogs. Before fitting an
adult hog 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 hogs for attaching a radio
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collar is through chemical restraint. Standard large-animal restraint drugs would be used to temporarily
sedate trapped wild hogs 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 wild hog reduction programs.

Telazol is a combination of tiletamine and zolazepam and would be used in conjunction with Rompun to
reduce nausea (Kreeger 1997). Swine are particularly susceptible to overheating and would be kept in the
shade with provisions for wetting them down as necessary (IWVS, 1991). Intramuscular 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 hogs would be collared in each watershed. Immobilization drugs and
drug delivery equipment would be restricted to employees responsible for hog 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; Kurz and Marchinton 1972; Kreeger 1997). At the very end of the
control program, the Judas hogs would be collected and Phase III monitoring would commence.

Handling Captured Hogs
The principle weapon of the hog is teeth. Immature hogs have sharp, needle-like deciduous teeth that
inflict nasty wounds that are septic and serious. Adult swine tear flesh easily. They have extremely
strong jaws capable of crushing bones. Boars also develop elongated canine teeth called tusks, which are
fearsome weapons capable of disemboweling a horse and certainly a person. The sow with a litter is a
formidable, menacing animal and should be approached with caution (Fowler 1978).

It is impossible to safely and humanely handle an unrestrained hog in a large enclosure, whether adult or
immature, without a squeeze chute or chemical sedatives. The hog is moved into a small pen by driving,
or enticing it into the small enclosure with feed, either individually or as a group (Birmingham 1983).

Capture and Disposition of Non-target Wildlife
The live capture and snare traps proposed for use in this program are relatively species specific.
Moreover, they are widely considered live traps, which means the majority of trapped animals and
especially the targeted species, 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. These methods are more expensive to obtain and
use, but are preferred over leg snares or kill traps, because they are more humane when used properly.
The nontarget wildlife that might become incidental targets includes the following non-native species:
white-tailed deer, goats, sheep and burros. These four exotic species have been selected for extensive
population reduction programs, albeit their NEPA compliance documentation has only recently began.
Nevertheless, few if any of these species are expected to be found in the traps or snares. Capture of
burros would be extremely rare and those would be released. Other non-native species would be
humanely collected.

Final Disposition
Biological data would be collected on all captured hogs. Collected hogs would be humanely euthanized
and disposed of by burying in a shallow grave or donated to a public agency. Burial would occur in a
shallow grave at least 50 yards from streams, visitor access areas, trails, roads, or buildings, and may

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include a small portion of lime. Lime accelerates the rate of decomposition in the warm, moist
subtropical weather. A 300-pound carcass often completely decomposes within 10 days. These
opportunities would be permitted, scheduled and controlled through the Program Coordinators.

Use of By-products
Financially and logistically, neither the Park nor Territorial wildlife agencies have sufficient resources to
transport live or dead hogs across rough terrain or through dense vegetation for any large distance.
Therefore, hogs trapped in backcountry areas would be humanely euthanized and expeditiously buried on
land. Persons participating as Volunteer-In Park's would possibly have an opportunity to keep a collected
animal for consumption.

Information and Education Actions
Public awareness regarding the wild hog reduction program would be promoted whenever possible. NPS
and USDA personnel would work with community leaders in an effort to maintain communication
avenues and resolve any problems.

There is also a need to convey information regarding wild hog management to Park visitors. Many
visitors are unaware that wild hogs occur in the Park, nor do they realize the devastating impact hogs have
on the ecosystems of the Park. Information and presentations in the form of posters, articles in the Park
newspaper, bulletin board fliers, exhibits, signs, brochures, and slide and video programs would be used
to address wild hog biology and management. A well-placed exclosure would be installed to show the
public the affect herbivores could have on vegetation.

NPS needs to continually work with hog owners to keep hogs at home; perhaps assist with the control
program implementation.

Ecological Research and Monitoring
Monitoring and assessment of key ecosystem components is an action that is included in Alternative 2.
Pre-reduction surveys for baseline data of hog 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 hogs.

During the bait station acclimation period, 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 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 disease status of wild hogs and long-term impacts to vegetation.
The presence and status of disease organisms in wild hogs 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 hog movement and to aid in developing control strategies. Long-term
monitoring involves the maintenance of permanent hog exclosures in areas containing long-term
vegetation data.

Research efforts would concentrate on the natural history, population dynamics, and impacts of wild hogs
on the Park ecosystem. Future research relating to wild hogs would be systematically identified and
conducted as needs are identified the prioritized. Some disease and parasitism investigations would also
be carried out. Research relating to wild hogs would provide information useful in refining control
techniques, population censusing, and habitat utilization modeling (Brisbin and Mayer 2001).

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

Sequential Park-wide Reduction by Fenced-Zone-Removal (Install Ungulate-proof Fences on
Parklands and Reduce Wild Hogs within the Fenced Areas). One method used to prevent re-
colonization of Parklands by wild hogs 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 hogs are joined to create larger hog-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 entirely impractical are cost, boundary
surveys, cultural impact mitigation, archaeology inventories and data recovery, resident and visitor
access, maintenance, and delay of available funds. Finally, the method would take over ten years to
implement and could be entirely compromised by the introduction of a single pregnant sow. The method
would be most effective in areas with few inholdings, a clear boundary, limited access and substantial
financial and maintenance resources.

Initially, the Park would be required to request funds by line item, which is a ten-year cycle. Next,
several hundred thousand dollars would be required for an updated boundary survey. Then, extensive
archaeological surveys and data collection would need to 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 within the authorized boundary 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.

Once the fences and gates were erected, however, and adequately maintained and the animals removed,
this alternative is the most effective in assuring that the Park remains protected from large non-native
animals. This is important if the public fails to restrain their livestock to their private lands. 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).

Boundary fencing has been an important management tool for controlling wild hogs 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 hog-proof
fences are inspected monthly and 30 miles of goat-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 hog-proof fence has been proposed at the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where
hogs have historically entered the park. It has been proposed that such a fence would impede wild hog
immigration into areas where hog 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

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would cost $2,160,000 to fence 60 miles on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands National Park in
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. Fence design must
also be considered in order to prohibit hog entry but minimally impede the natural ebb and flow of native
animals into and out of the Park. Finally, the fencing effort could be neutralized if people physically
reintroduced hogs back into controlled areas. Based on the Channel Islands estimate we conservatively
estimate the cost of installation and gate access to be $ 7.5 million dollars in 2003. Unfortunately, these
monies would not be available for several years, while impacts continue to increase. Moreover, the
impacts to vegetation, cultural and historical resources, visitor mobility and user degradation, tremendous
ongoing maintenance costs and ineffective method to permanently restrict hog encroachment.

Because hogs aggressively root, fencing designed to prevent hog 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 sow can soon repopulate a watershed
if inadvertently reintroduced.

Hog 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. Areas experiencing reductions would be closed to the
public temporarily. It is the goal of this program to complete this effort in a speedy, humane fashion to
reduce prolonged impacts to the island during the reduction campaign. 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.

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 Hogs and Relocation to Another Island. Non-native hogs, like all
animals wild or domestic, are susceptible to a wide range of infectious and parasitic diseases. While
some of these diseases are specific only to hogs, 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. Agencies considering actions that could increase the potential for
transmission of these diseases are highly discouraged from doing so. Therefore, this alternative has been
rejected.

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 hogs. Bait stations for hogs are too big
to restrict access for smaller animals or dogs, etc.

Use of Contraceptives or Sterilization. Contraception or sterilization could be relatively benign
methods to reduce non-native hogs from an area. Unfortunately, birth control technology is presently
inadequate to achieve reduction, or even control, of non-native hog populations. Currently, there are no
effective sterilization methods or contraceptives for non-native hogs. Most contraceptives are short-term
and require annual re-treatment. The methods are used in conjunction with eradication efforts. Where the
goal is not to remove every animal, the few sexually active animals readily repopulate an area and thwart
the expensive operation.

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Public Hunting on NPS Property. Allow hunting by members of the public, similar to hunting in
National Forests or on Territorial lands. VINP enabling legislation prohibits the Superintendent from
authorizing public hunting within the Park (36 CFR 2.2).

Recreational hunting can achieve control or reduction of animals that have a relatively low reproductive
potential. However, animals with high reproductive potentials, such as hogs and rabbits, are much more
difficult to control and require a well-focused, comprehensive and sustained effort by wildlife reduction
professionals.

Biological Controls. The use of biological controls, such as introduced hog predators, is incompatible
with NPS management policies.


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 wild hogs 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. Hogs would continue to impact island
vegetation and wildlife including endemic and Federally and Territorially listed plant and animal species.
Impacts to native plants and animals, and native plant and animal communities from hogs have been well
documented in the literature (Barrett and Stone 1983; Bratton 1974b; Griffin 1978; Singer and Ackerman
1981; Singer et. al. 1982 and 1984; and Tate 1984).

If left unchecked, hog populations would be expected to increase throughout the Park. In 1998, hogs
were found in only two watersheds, Reef and Lameshur. During the next three years, they immigrated
into the Cinnamon and Maho watersheds. From these new locations, hogs would readily move into
adjacent watersheds, causing irreparable damage to sensitive natural and cultural resources. Hogs also
pose serious 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. Last year, 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 hogs.


II.A.4. Alternative 2. Reduce Wild Ho2s within VINP and Sustain a Near-
zero Population, Preferred Alternative

The program goals for the Preferred Alternative include:

1) Substantially decrease the wild hog population throughout the Park to a near-zero level; and
2) Monitor and remove hogs periodically, and maintain fences indefinitely.

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Under this alternative, the non-native wild hogs would be controlled from within the boundaries of Virgin
Islands National Park. The goal would be to humanely and substantially reduce their population
throughout the Park and sustain the reduction through monitoring, periodic removals and fence
maintenance.

The National Park Service and the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) Division as lead cooperating
agencies would conduct the initial reduction of non-native hogs (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); and Virgin
Islands Department of Economic Development and Agriculture (VIDEDA); would play an advisory role
with various portions of the planning and implementation of the reduction, mitigation and monitoring
portions of the program. All personnel involved with this program would follow the mitigation measures
described in this document for the protection of resources.

The primary tools for hog collection would be live traps, shooting and snares. During the peak period of
the hog reduction program, it is estimated that an increase in personnel and vehicles on St. John Island.
They would be housed, to the extent possible, in government housing on NPS owned property.
Temporary tent camps may be established to facilitate operations in remote areas. Horses or all terrain
vehicles may be used for transportation.

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

Steps Required for Park-wide Wild Hog Sustained Reduction

Under this Alternative, the reduction program would occur in three phases:
1) Administration, infrastructure acquisition, and fencing;
2) Collection using baits, traps, dogs and contract hunters; and
3) Monitoring for remnant wild hogs, periodic hog removal, education, record keeping and fence
maintenance.

Phase I Administration, Infrastructure Acquisition and Fencing (Approximately 1 year)

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 and equipment, establish
adequate communications, construct live-traps, and fence especially vulnerable long-term monitoring
plots and begin selective fencing near limited areas of the boundary where hogs can easily reenter the
Park.

Consensus building would be established 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 Economic Development and Agriculture (VIDEDA). 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 St. John Rotary Club, and the Island
Administrator.

Fences would be constructed to exclude non-native animals from all long-term monitoring plots and
limited selective areas of the boundary where hogs can easily reenter the Park (Herman Farm, L'
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Esperance and Catherineberg). Because the origin of hogs into the four impacted watersheds is well
established from hogs constantly roaming portions of Centerline Road (see page 20), selective fencing
and possible gating would prevent future encroachments from this area.

Local non-government 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
educate the St. John community and island visitors about hogs and the ecological damage a small group
of hogs can inflict on a small, remote subtropical island. The community would be advised of the global
problems germane to introduced hogs as well as the potential economic loss to the U. S. Virgin Islands if
no action is taken to reduce their population.

Phase II Collection Using Baits, Traps, Dogs and Contract Hunters (2 to 3 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 new methods would be used later in Phase II as more hogs become trap-shy. At that
point, radio-telemetry and dogs may be employed to collect additional hogs. After a hog is collected
using a firearm, carcasses would be disposed of in a shallow grave after being treated with lime to
accelerate the rate of decomposition in a warm, moist subtropical environment (please see Final
Disposition (pages 23) and Use of By-products (page 24)). Fence installation would be completed in
areas designated for selective fencing while minimizing any damage to cultural sites and structures.

A relatively fast initial hog population reduction campaign is envisioned for each watershed. Due to
logistical factors, watersheds may be paired and worked simultaneously, e.g. Maho -- Cinnamon and Reef
-- Lameshur. Phase II would possible take approximately 2 to 3 years. Baiting in conjunction with
snares, single-capture and corral traps would be employed systematically throughout each watershed.
Areas of high hog concentrations would be targeted first. Hog 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 for Remnant Wild Hogs, Periodic Hog Removal, Education, Record
Keeping, and Fence Maintenance (Ongoing, Indefinitely)

This phase would be an indefinite period of searching the Park for hog sign. If hog sign was detected,
NPS law enforcement rangers or certified resources management personnel would either trap and/or
humanely dispatch the animals as described in Phase II. As hogs immigrate into the Park from private
lands, they would be tracked and reduced. Long-term ecological monitoring to assess ecosystem change
due to hog reduction would continue indefinitely.

Monitoring for hog sign would continue throughout the life of the program. The primary purpose of the
monitoring is to determine the presence or absence of hogs. Water sources, which are preferred habitat
for hogs, would be a focus of the monitoring efforts, in addition to historical locations of high population
densities.

The partnerships established during the NEPA process in Phase I would be supported, maintained and
revived as key personnel change. VINP Biological Technicians would monitor both the
"containment"(selective fencing) and "research exclosures" every 2 months. These technicians would
also monitor the four watersheds annually using transects and quadrats for hog sign. Monitoring would
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be particularly intensive in areas that previously had the highest hog concentration, as well as the bait
station areas. Detailed records would be documented from these areas and extend into an Excel exotic
mammal database.

NPS personnel using one or more of the previously described techniques would accomplish periodic
removal of hogs. NPS law enforcement and interpretation rangers, maintenance and resources
management personnel performing routine fieldwork would be provided with general "Exotic Species
Observation Sheets." These people would be instructed on the animals of particular concern and
importance of reporting any suspected sightings, sign or activity, and be routinely notified by resources
management personnel to submit any documented sighting as soon as possible. Resources management
would develop and maintain an exotic mammal database to maintain and analyze the data.



II.B. Environmentally Preferred Alternative

In accordance with Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, Alternative 2 is identified as
the environmentally preferred alternative. The environmentally preferred alternative is defined by CEQ
as the alternative that would promote the national environmental policy as expressed in NEPA's Section
101. Generally, this means the alternative that causes the least damage or most benefit 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 R, gi, 1i, I, i' ).

As considered in this EA, Alternative 2: Reduce wild hogs within VINP and sustain a near-zero
population, is the environmentally preferred alternative due to its restoration of natural conditions
throughout the Park over Alternative 1. Of the alternatives analyzed, 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 hogs inside the Park, adverse impacts to 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, hog populations pose a very large threat to the native
natural resources, long-term resource management programs of the Park, and visitor health and safety.

The Preferred Alternative would cause the least damage to the biological and physical environment and
best protect, preserve and enhance the Park's historic, cultural and natural resources. Consequently,
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 Wild Hogs; best respond to the issues identified
through public and agency scoping; and achieve the best balance of environmental, visitor experience,
public safety, economic and other factors.












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III. CHAPTER III. AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT


III.A. NATURAL RESOURCES

This section of the Environmental Assessment describes the 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 discussion of the affected environment is
not a complete description of the program area. The section portrays the significant conditions and trends
of the resources that may be affected by the proposed program or the no action alternative.

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 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 populations or their dynamics. Populations are undoubtedly
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 stream flow, 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
re-stabilize 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.

Mangrove habitats are the equivalent of salt marshes. They mostly occur as a coastal fringe of red
mangroves seaward of terrestrial uplands but can also be found as basin forests at the base of large
watersheds. Mangrove shorelines make up a little more than 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 (over 50 percent of all mangroves in the USVI have been destroyed during the past 50 years).
Mangroves are an important interface between terrestrial processes and marine habitats. They filter
sediment from upland runoff, thus maintaining water quality. They produce and 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. Many species of birds nest or roost 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 usually found 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 wave tossed coral rubble. This berm isolates the pond from the sea and usually becomes

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colonized by mangroves and other salt tolerant species. Salt ponds are very 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 such as soaking for medicinal purposes and collecting
salt for cooking. The salt deposits as the pond dries up during the dry season. The animal and plant life
associated with this ecosystem have not been well studied and the ecology of salt ponds is only partly
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.

Rooting by non-native hogs adjacent to small streams and springs often results in high rates of soil
erosion, which severely affects aquatic habitats. Rooting and wallowing by hogs detrimentally affect the
aesthetic and wilderness values of the Park. In searching for food and shelter, hogs 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. Hogs forage on seedlings of the three
mangrove species protected under V.I. law. Their rooting 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, spreading over nearly 90 percent
of the island. Large portions of the original forests of St. John were cleared for plantations during the late
1700s and early 1800s. Many, if not most, 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. Therefore, some of the native and endemic plant species have become
extinct, or nearly extinct, with their populations reduced to a few individuals (Acevedo-Rodriquez 1996).

The present vegetation exhibits differing degrees of revegetation, ranging from recently disturbed to late-
secondary successional forests, which may be as old as 100 years. Eleven vegetation types have been
mapped, 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 exotic floral
species. The tallest trees on the island grow along the banks of the intermittent streambeds.

Presently, the greatest threats to forest regeneration are human development and growing populations of
non-native hogs, goats and burros. Goats and burros 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

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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. Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez of the Smithsonian Institute discovered three species
new to St. John in 1992.

A network of long-term monitoring plots (Weaver 1999), 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 Natural Resources Conservation Service 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 hogs are
reduction in native species cover, density and biomass. Alien herbivores such as hogs 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 hogs rooting 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 hogs on St. John at the expense
of the islands' native flora. The presence of non-native hogs would only likely benefit these undesirable
species because exotic plants are widely dispersed through their feces.

Documented indirect effects of alien herbivores such as non-native hogs 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. Hogs 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 hogs are selective browsers, which means they select for their favorite foods, then only
browse them. Hogs 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.

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Native Animals
The only mammals native to St. John are bats. Three of the six native species of bats are protected under
the V.I. Endangered and Indigenous Species Act of 1990 (Act No. 5665). Some bat species are important
pollinators of many floral species on the island as well as important seed dispersal agents for many
species of fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Other species of bats consume vast quantities of insects,
including mosquitoes. Fish-eating bats are also present. 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, virtually
no data exist for bat abundance, locations of roosting or maternity colonies or threats to bats on St. John.

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. It is becoming apparent that this dig is revealing considerable information about
faunal assemblages on St. John before European colonization and demonstrating that the Taino Indians
lived a very different natural world from what we find today. These animals were apparently important
food sources for these Native American Indians. 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.

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.

The terrestrial reptiles and amphibians on St. John are quite varied. There are three native species of tree
frogs (Eleutherodactylus lentus, E. antillensis and E. cochranae) and one introduced species, the Cuban
Tree Frog (Osteopilus septrionalis), one introduced Marine Toad (Bufo marinus), two geckos
(Hemidactylus inabouia 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), the Puerto Rican Racer (Alsophis
portoricensis) and the Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya mabouya). Herpetological populations on St. John
have not been adequately inventoried or monitored. Species that occur on nearby islands may also occur
here but have not been observed and documented.

Catherine Curry made a checklist from insect species in 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 he started, approximately 75 species of beetles had been described for the VI. He has now
documented over 1500 species (several new species) and expects to find over 2000. Most of these species

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may be found in VINP, but would 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 very 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, 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.

Endangered and Threatened Animal Species
The Endangered Species Act (PL 93-205) requires that Federal agencies 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 species of whales,
as well as several dolphin species, may migrate through the Park. The endangered West Indian Manatee
had been recorded as being very rare around St. John, although it has been recently recorded (ca. 1990)
from West End, Tortola. These listed species, which 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 very 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 frequently
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 VIIS 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.

Wild hogs negatively affect the fauna of the Park through predation, habitat alteration and competition for
food. One Territorially endangered and threatened animal species, the Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya
inabouia), 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

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and chick depredation due to hogs. Areas uprooted by hogs undergo notable declines in small mammal
populations (Singer et. al. 1982). Wild hogs are in direct competition with small mammals 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 nationally 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).

There are two plant species Federally listed as endangered on St. John Island: Prickly Ash (Zanthoxyllum
thomasianum) and St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes thomasiana) and one species Marron Bacora
(Solanum conocarpum), which has been proposed for listing (USFWS 1988; see Appendix A) are
potentially impacted by non-native hogs. There are also twenty-five plant species territorially listed as
threatened and endangered on St. John potentially impacted by non-native hogs include: Cyposelia
humifuisa, 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 cllgorihi, Prescottia stachyoides, Tetramicra canaliculata, Myrtle-
leaved Peperomia (Peperomia myrtifolia), Machaonia woodburyana, Bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata),
and Solanum mucronatum. The non-native hogs, goats and burros on the island variously threaten each
of these. The federal listing proposal for these species identified non-native hogs, goats and burros as the
major cause of decline for each of these plant species. The primary causes of impact to these rare species
by non-native hogs, goats and burros are rooting, direct feeding and soil erosion.

Direct impacts to listed plant species would include herbivory of T&E plant species by non-native hogs
and the trampling, crushing and uprooting of listed plant species should non-native hogs walk, root or bed
down within listed plant occurrences. Depending on the number of individual hogs within an area, one to
many T&E plants may be grazed trampled or uprooted. Those occurrences that are found in areas of high
hog 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 extinction from continued predation, or
from large random disturbance events such as fire, hurricanes or drought.

Indirect effects to listed T&E plant species by non-native hogs 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.

All of the Federally and Territorially listed species require NPS to provide some level of protection and
monitoring. Direct impacts on Federal endangered species by exotic species include the rooting of Z

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thomasianum, C. thomasiana and S. conocarpum by non-native hogs. Non-native goats, sheep 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 the species is
speculative.

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 Introduced Animals to St. John, U.S. Virgin
Islands). Feral or wild mammals include the whitetail deer, burro, wild hog, domestic goat, domestic
cow, domestic sheep, European boar, West Indian mongoose, tree rat, Norway rat and domestic cat,
domestic 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, List of List of Introduced Animals to St.
John Island).

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 can 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.

Domestic cats originated from an ancestral wild species, the European and African Wild Cat (Felis
silvestris). The domestic 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 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 domestic cats on wildlife are difficult to quantify. However, a growing body of literature
strongly suggests that domestic cats are a very large factor in the mortality of small mammals, birds,

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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 domestic 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, 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, domestic 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 rats seeking meals at night do not depredate 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 now exaggerated populations of both non-
native opportunistic omnivore species must be controlled. 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
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 mongoose have devastated
reptile populations, some bird populations and continue to depredate the nests of the endangered

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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 mongooses 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 would
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.

Burros 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. Burros continue to enter campsites and
destroy tents and camping equipment in their efforts to locate food items. Resident and other visitors
have been bitten, threatened or chased by burros. Traffic safety becomes an issue when visitors stop to
look at or photograph burros on the road, thus impeding traffic and causing accidents.

Wild hog are seriously threatening the sole, small remaining populations of the endangered St. Thomas
Lidflower (Calyptranthes thomasianum) and Solanum conocarpum, which has been proposed for listing.
Domestic goatherds 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.




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III.B. NATURAL RESOURCE THREATS

This section 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 53% of the island is Federal land. The Park owns 2939 hectares (7,259 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 Authorizing legislation does
not provide for condemnation. Local zoning or Coastal Zone Management Act (CZM) protection has
often been inadequate because enforcement is inadequate. Virgin Islands National Park participates in
CZM or any permit review for construction or modification of land within or adjacent to Park boundaries.
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 watch for potential development.
Due to lack of eminent domain authority, the Park has to compete for NPS acquisition funds and/or must
work closely with groups like the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park and Trust for Public Lands who
can either purchase land and hold it until Park funds are available or purchase and donate land to the Park.

Development of private inholdings and land adjacent to the Park boundary and pressure to re-open and/or
pave old Danish cart roads within the Park represents a serious threat 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 by individuals 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 and reflects 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 Cruz Bay and Cinnamon Bay receive the highest concentration of use. Many tours are also taken
to the cultural site, Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

It is desirable to provide a variety of appropriate opportunities for visitors, from concession
operated/heavy use to primitive surroundings/light use. Tourist influx to the Park continues to increase.
Human carrying capacities were established in the 1983 GMP for Park facilities, anchorages, recreational
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beaches, Biosphere Reserve core areas, and human impacts to resources were reduced in creative ways.
These carrying capacities need to be reevaluated in light of the trends in visitation since 1983.
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 represents commercial use capacities which best
balances resource protection with a quality visitor experience. 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 costs to operate collection, and can submit proposals to compete for
the remaining 20%. In the three 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, dumpsters and new comfort stations.

The NPS officially curtailed illegal hog hunting in the late 1980's. Within about 3 years, interpreters and
visitors began to complain about "hog harassment" along the popular Reef Bay Trail. By 1995, extensive
damage from hog rooting had occurred along much of the 1.5-mile trail. Also by this time, many animals
were observed at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station facility, where hogs used to be very
rare. This facility is in the lower portion of the Lameshur watershed; the northern ridge forms the
southern ridge of the Reef bay watershed. The two watersheds are joined by a restricted-access jeep trail.
Both watersheds form the south-central portion of St. John.

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 wild hogs is
damaging the Calyptranthes population on Bordeaux Mountain. Non-native goats and burros 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 (Nellie & 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. Legal
harvesting of adult green turtles is seasonally permitted in adjacent waters of the British Virgin Islands.
Public education, involvement of volunteers with beach patrol programs and encouraging protection of

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the endangered and threatened sea 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 standings 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 formalized and continued.

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 and ground nesting birds as well as sea turtles.
Because of its high fecundity and large population, it is unrealistic to eliminate this predator from the
island. Attempts to eliminate mongoose from uninhabited islands considerably smaller than St. John (e.g.
Buck Island Reef National Monument, near St. Croix USVI) have been successful but expensive.
Eradications from small and uninhabited islands are more feasible than those a single pregnant female
would reestablish the population in just a few years. The only realistic management measure is to control
this species through intensive poison/removal at specific nesting beaches before the peak turtle nesting
season.

Non-native cats prey on birds, frogs and lizards, having very 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. Two local veterinarians, in conjunction with the St. John Animal
Care Center (ACC), have offered to sterilize cats and release them into feeding stations outside the Park.
The goal is to eliminate stray cats from the Park and reduce them to "a manageable" level elsewhere on
St. John. Stray cats are placed for adoption through the ACC. This has resulted in greatly reduced non-
native cat populations in the Park. This effort must be maintained, as the populations would expand again
as cats' reproduce and others wander into or are released in the Park.

Burros, hogs and goats 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 are predominantly concentrated along the
east and southeast boundary of the Park, and Reef and Fish bays. In the mid-1990's they began using
Ram's Head, Annaberg and Brown Bay extensively and the Park is currently preparing a goat reduction
plan EA. Hogs are centered around the Susannaberg landfill and have spread from there to Bordeaux


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Mountain, Cinnamon and Maho watersheds and Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Burros wander the entire
island. Young black mangrove saplings (a protected species) are one of their favorite foods.

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 has been seen around Cruz Bay. Audubon Society members are monitoring this
species and have attempted some reduction.

Non-native Wild Hogs Impacts and Introductions
Non-native Domestic Hogs (Sus scrofa) are an ungulate species not native to North America or South
America; but to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, Japan and the Mayalan Islands (Barrett 1984).
Christopher Columbus first brought domestic hogs or European hogs into the West Indies in 1493. The
term "non-native hog" refers to a wild hog that comes from domestic genetic stock, such as domestic
livestock that escape to survive in the wild, as well as their progeny. Wild and non-native hogs can
harbor various diseases, including pseudo-rabies, hog cholera, brucellosis, vesicular exanthema of swine,
trichinosis, and leptospirosis.

Although the maximum weight for a wild hog is 300 pounds, most male hogs in the Virgin Islands weight
about 125 pounds. Females weigh slightly less. Hogs are 3 V2 5 feet long and stand 2 3 feet at the
shoulder. Both sexes have 44 teeth including a well-developed set of canine teeth. The upper tusks act as
"whetstones" to keep sharp edges on the lower ones. Coat color varies from gray to black and most
piglets have longitudinal stripes until they are about four months old. Hogs have poor eyesight, but a
keen sense of smell and hearing. Hogs are usually nocturnal, but they will have some daytime activity.

Non-native wild hogs are generalist omnivores with a diet that changes seasonally according to
abundance of foods. Mast foods, such as acorns and berries, are important food items in the fall. Winter
diets typically comprise roots, bulbs and invertebrates that hogs find by rooting in seasonally moistened
soil. As soil dries during spring and summer, hog diets shift to green plants.

Hogs have high reproductive potential, and are considered the most prolific ungulate in the United States.
Sows can breed six or seven months of age, and can produce up to two litters per year with as many as 10
piglets in each litter. Hog piglets weigh about two pounds at birth. After three or four months, the piglets
are weaned and independent of the sow. Family groups usually break up once the young reach sexual
maturity, which is usually within a year of birth for males and females. Gestation is approximately 100 -
125 days and most litters have 3-8 piglets.

Hog populations can double annually if not limited by food or water availability. Hog populations
respond to changes in food availability and weather. Drought years can cause very large declines in
population numbers due to starvation and reduced reproduction, whereas heavy mast crops following
winters of high precipitation can allow hog populations to increase greatly (Coblentz 1978 and 1980,
Sterner 1990). Hogs generally require access to permanent water and abundant cover.

Wild hog numbers on St, John Island are known to oscillate widely between climatic episodes. During
drought years, hog numbers have been estimated to be between 200 and 300. Under normal rainfall
years, numbers have been estimated to be as high as 800 animals; which impact approximately 55% of
Virgin Islands National Park. The hog population would vary of the course of a year. Numbers normally
rise in the spring and summer when food is widely available and then fall dramatically in the fall and
winter when food becomes scarce and starvation becomes common place. These numbers are not


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surprising given that hogs have an extremely high reproductive potential. Conservatively, with plentiful
food, hogs can be expected to double their numbers at least twice a year.

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 wild hogs
degrade the sensitive natural and cultural environments. The amount of disturbance caused by hogs
varies by plant community depending upon access, shelter, water sources and food availability. Plant
communities providing adequate water, abundant food sources and shelter would incur the most use.

The Danes brought wild hogs, to St. John in the early 1700's. Wild hogs have established breeding
populations in many areas and all habitat types of the Virgin Islands National Park. Currently in St. John,
hogs are predominately owned by one landowner adjacent to Centerline Road near Cruz Bay. These hogs
are not fenced off, so individual animals periodically wander into surrounding areas, including National
Park lands, and became feral.

Wild hogs have thrived in Reef and to a smaller degree in Lameshur watersheds since the Park was
established in 1959. The suspected origin into the Park was the Susannaberg area near the Public Works
facility, where even now hogs wander up Centerline Road and migrate down the L'Esperance Trail into
Reef Bay. Popular and well-publicized hunts occurred during specific times of the year for a specific hog
roast celebration. These hunts were allowed by default by the Park until mid-1980. While wild hogs
have established breeding populations in these areas, none occurred elsewhere in the Park.

The NPS officially curtailed illegal hog hunting in the late 1980's. Within about 3 years, interpreters and
visitors began to complain about "hog harassment" along the popular Reef Bay Trail. By 1995, extensive
damage from hog rooting had occurred along much of the 1.5-mile trail. Also by this time, many animals
were observed at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station facility, where hogs used to be very
rare. This facility is in the lower portion of the Lameshur watershed; the northern ridge forms the
southern ridge of the Reef bay watershed. The two watersheds are joined by a restricted-access jeep trail.
Both watersheds form the south-central portion of St. John.

By 1998, visitors reported seeing hogs in the Cinnamon Bay watershed, a suspicion that was confirmed
later in the year. In 2001, a hog group was documented in the Maho watershed and the evidence indicates
they have been there for over two years. These two watersheds are located on the central portions of the
island's northern shore, and a large hill separates them. Centerline Road is a two-lane paved highway
separating the north and south portions of the island.

The Susanaberg area was probably where the hogs entered Reef Bay and eventually spread from there
into Lameshur. About 1 mile northeast of Susanaberg, in a depression between two hills along Centerline
Road, an NPS sign marks a public trail that winds one mile into the Cinnamon watershed and terminates
at the public campground. This trail is undoubtedly the origin of hogs into Cinnamon watershed. About
one-half mile east of the Cinnamon trailhead, Centerline road passes a steep embankment to the north.
This area basically connects with the upper portion of the Maho watershed and is probably where hogs
entered this watershed.

Documented direct effects on plant communities by alien herbivores including hogs include reduction in
native species cover, density and biomass. Alien herbivores and hogs 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.



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In searching for food and shelter, hogs 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. Where they intersect Park trails, these hog
trails can also lead visitors astray by creating their own trails. Hogs rooting on Park trails have caused
very large damage to trails, exacerbated erosion and affected visitor safety. They are presently affecting
$50,000 worth of repairs made to the Reef Bay Trail.

Documented indirect effects of alien herbivores and non-native hogs 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. Hogs 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 in North American forests.

In Tennessee, indirect effects associated with hogs included setting back or speeding up plant succession,
consumption of natural seed crops to the point of impeding reproduction, limiting species composition
and quantity of vegetation, encouraging erosion and physical damage to trees.

Disturbances caused by hog rooting 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 and hogs
on St. John at the expense of the island's native flora. The presence of hogs would only likely benefit
these undesirable species because exotic plants are widely dispersed through their feces.

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. 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 hog rooting would be
equally or more damaging. Recovery of soil crusts following the cessation of grazing and trampling has
also been noted.

Much of the ecological concern about hogs arises because they are opportunistic omnivores, eating
anything from grain to carrion. They kill and eat small vertebrates, but also feed on roots for much of the
year. They eat any plant species and do so by uprooting and denuding large areas. After eating most of
the uprooted vegetation, the hog often continues to dig with their large and powerful snout. After
wallowing in the newly exposed and cool earth and trampling in any water that may have collected in the
established wallow, the hog and her family move on. The associated digging activities in search of roots
causes disturbance to the soil. This can result in increased soil erosion and changes in forest understory
layer by killing tree seedlings and trampling herbaceous plants. Longer-term changes could include
changes in the overstory layer if tree recruitment is affected by killing young trees.


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The soil disturbance can also result in invasion by exotic plant species that possess ecological advantage
in disturbed habitats. In addition, the Reef Bay watershed contains long-term forest monitoring plots
established by the New York Botanical Garden in 1985. As of this time, by 1999 rooting activities of
hogs had greatly impacted approximately 14 percent of the subplots in the study site. Leaving the
environment in this way can make it impossible for new plants of the original species to grow. When
food is plentiful, as is roughly 80 percent of the island, breeding females compensate with an increased
litter size, as many as 10 young, and breed twice per year. Thus, a single gravid sow may easily establish
a breeding population in a new area.

The ecological impacts from introductions of non-native herbivores can be both drastic and immediate.
Hoofed herbivores impact native vegetation communities through their grazing and browsing activities,
which change 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 the impacted area, and eventually leading to a completely different and unnatural plant
community than existed before. For example, the most palatable and nutritious plants would 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 would be changed towards
one containing more thorny species with less total plant cover. The exact impact to a plant community
would depend on the feeding habits and habitat preferences of the herbivores, the herbivore population
size, and the length of time they occupy an area.

Currently, wild hogs inhabit most areas of the Park, but only a few areas have high concentrations of
animals. The success of the wild hogs in populating the Park can be attributed to the lack of natural
predators, the prolific reproductive nature of the species, and the fact that they are habitat generalists.
The number of wild hogs inhabiting the Park may be as high as 800 animals. There are no practical
methods to census wild hogs and the population can fluctuate drastically with available food resources.

The effects of wild hogs have on park resources are multifaceted and result from their movements, habitat
utilization and food habits. Of greatest concern to Park management are the destructive effects hogs have
on natural ecosystems and native components of those ecosystems. Because they have no sweat glands,
hogs wallow in wet, muddy areas to keep cool and rid themselves of parasites. Rooting by hogs
profoundly disrupts natural communities, individual species populations, forest successional patterns and
forest nutrient cycles. Rooting adjacent to small streams and springs often results in high rates of soil
erosion, which severely affects aquatic habitats. Rooting and wallowing by hogs detrimentally affect the
aesthetic and wilderness values of the Park.

Direct impacts to listed plant species would include herbivory of T&E plant species by non-native hogs
and the trampling, crushing and uprooting of listed plant species should non-native hogs walk, root or bed
down within listed plant occurrences. Depending on the number of individual hogs within an area, one to
many T&E plants may be grazed trampled or uprooted. Those occurrences that are found in areas of high
hog 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 extinction 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 hogs 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.

Wild hogs have both direct and indirect effects on the flora of the Park. A variety of plant species,
including many rare, threatened, endangered or endemic to St. John are eaten, trampled or uprooted by
hogs. Hog rooting in dry evergreen woodlands, dry evergreen scrub, thorn and cactus scrub, moist forest
formations, early successional vegetation, and coastal wetlands may reduce understory cover by as much
as 95 percent of normal ground density, resulting in changes in forest structure and composition. 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 (see Appendix A). 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.

Twenty-five territorially threatened and endangered listed plant species potentially impacted by non-
native hogs include: Cyposelia humifusa, Urban's Holly (Ilex urbanii), Central American Oak (Ilex
sideroxyloides), Pinion (Tillandsia lineatispica), Wooly Nipple (Mammilaria nivosa), Croton Jishlockii,
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 oligi,, li,, Prescottia stachyoides,
Tetramicra canaliculata, Myrtle-leaved Peperomia (Peperomia myrtifolia), Machaonia woodburyana,
Bulletwood (Manilkara bidentata), and Solanum mucronatum. Local extirpation of certain plants is
possible whenever hog damage is occurring (Bratton 1974a, 1974b, 1975, and 1977).

Wild hogs negatively affect the fauna of the Park through predation, habitat alteration and competition for
food. One territorially endangered and threatened animal species, the Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya
inabouia), an 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 would no
longer suffer egg and chick depredation due to hogs. Areas uprooted by hogs undergo notable declines in
small mammal populations (Singer et. al. 1982). Wild hogs are in direct competition with small
mammals for insects, earthworms and other invertebrates and also compete with native species for other
available food resources, especially hard mast.

Non-native hogs continue to have very 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 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 1500
beetle species, many of which are consumed by non-native hogs. Many invertebrate species may be lost
before researchers have catalogued them.

Presently, the greatest threats to forest regeneration are development and growing populations of non-
native hogs, goats and burros. Goats burros 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

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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.

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.

Wild Hogs Disease Issues. Wild hogs also serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and livestock for
infectious and parasitic diseases (New, Barton, Morris and Potgieter 1994). Hog cholera, swine
brucellosis, trichinosis, foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, and pseudo-rabies are all diseases
that may be transmitted from domestic goats to livestock. A variety of arthropod, protozoans, helmith
parasites also have been found from the Park, including, ticks, lice, protozoa, kidney worms, esophageal
worms, stomach worms, intestinal worms, and lungworms. These are common parasites for both wild
and domestic swine.

Non-native swine can be carriers of some diseases that humans can contract, including trichinosis and
brucellosis. Trichinosis is generally only a problem in confined livestock areas where hogs are fed the
remains of dead hogs, since the roundworm cysts are found in muscle tissue and must be ingested to be
transmitted to a different host. The only way non-native hogs would contract trichinosis would be
through consumption of dead hogs in that area.

Swine brucellosis is caused by a bacterium (Brucella suis), and is transmitted through oral contact with
aborted fetuses or the reproductive tracts of female hogs. It results in the abortion of a female's first litter
or two, after which time the animal ceases to exhibit any obvious symptoms. According to local experts,

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there is no evidence for the presence of brucellosis in livestock in the Virgin Islands, cattle are certified
"brucellosis free", and blood sera is collected from livestock periodically for testing brucellosis (Rollo
and Nellis, pers. comm.).

Any efforts by the NPS to reduce hog populations must take into consideration disease issues. It appears
that no serious public health hazards would occur if the public were allowed to butcher hogs. Brucellosis
is unlikely to be found in St. John hogs, and locals have already been hunting hogs in Park areas for
almost forty years. 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 hogs 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 hog rooting 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 and hogs
on St. John at the expense of the island's native flora. The presence of hogs 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 (hogs, goats, 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.

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

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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 exceeds 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. Hog 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 section 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 Hogs (Sus scrofa) are an ungulate species not native to North America or South
America; but to Europe, Asia, Northern Africa, Japan and the Malayan Islands (Barrett 1984).
Christopher Columbus first brought domestic hogs or European hogs into the West Indies in 1493. The
Danes brought wild hogs, to St. John in 1718 when they colonized the island. Wild hogs have established
breeding populations in many areas and all habitat types of the Virgin Islands National Park. Currently in
St. John, hogs are predominately owned by one landowner adjacent to Centerline Road near Cruz Bay.
These hogs are not fenced off, so individual animals periodically wander into surrounding areas,
including National Park lands, and became feral.

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.


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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 burro 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
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 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

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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.

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

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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.

Wild hog rooting has damaged a number of island sites. Hog rooting to a depth of three feet has been
noted in a number of sites. Hog rooting has destroyed the information potential of some shallow sites and
surface scatters. Rooting 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.

Non-native wild hogs damage irreplaceable archeological sites and degrade the scientific importance of
the sites located at Cinnamon and Reef bays. Damage to archeological sites by hogs would continue
essentially unabated. Hog rooting of 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
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

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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 was 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
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
boundary on St. John. Nine of them may 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 Preservation Office has
nominated two of them to 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 and rainfall to enter.
Consistent, constant removal of vegetation continues to be one of the major efforts in stabilizing major
Park structures.

Non-native wild hogs destroy irreplaceable historic sites and degrade the scientific importance of the sites
located at Cinnamon and Reef bays. Damage to historic sites by hogs continues essentially unabated.

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Hog rooting of historic sites in the Park 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.

Ethnographic Resources
The culture of island residents is important to understand and maintain. No 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 not just conducted for additional
income or trade, but as avenues to carry on community traditions and lifestyles. An expansion of craft
demonstrations, displays and an outlet for their sale may be desirable.

For example, hogs played an important role in the colonists and enslaved Africans culture for two
hundred years. To these residents, hogs were a source of food and clothing. The horns were used as
chipping tools, ornaments, headdresses, bow strings and for making fishing lines. Hogs were also an
important part of the folklore and the religion of island residents. Popular and well-publicized hunts
occurred during specific times of the year for a specific hog roast celebration. These hunts were allowed
by default by the Park until mid-1980.

There has been a local hog-hunting tradition on St. John for centuries (Olwig 1985). Such a cultural
tradition reflects the long history of hogs 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. Hog hunting in the Park in the mid-1990's before it was determined the
enabling legislation for the Park did not allow it.

NPS would contact former St. Johnian hunters and ask them to participate under the Volunteers-In Parks
(VIP) program in implementing this hog reduction program. We would be able to contact these
individuals, as we have their previous hunting permits on record (also see page 20, 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 discusses 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 and indirect 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 in distance.


IV.A. Non-native Wild Hogs Control


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

Wild hog populations have been increasing for the past several years as evidenced by the introduction of
hogs in Maho and Cinnamon watersheds in 1998, which were historically free of hogs. Therefore, all
impacts associated with the presence and proliferation of hogs would be expected to increase under this
alternative.

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

Scenic Value Impacts
Scenic values would decline under this alternative as non-native hogs eat, trample, crush and uproot
native flora and increasingly depredate native fauna. The aesthetics of the Park would be lessened due to
the reduction of native wildlife, reduction of plant cover, and damage to archeological and historical sites.
Consequently, there would be no impairment of scenic values as a result of the implementation of
Alternative 1.

Cultural Resource Impacts
Non-native hogs would continue to damage irreplaceable archeological resources and would degrade the
scientific importance of the St. John archeological record. Under this alternative, damage to
archeological and historic sites by hogs would continue essentially unabated. Continued hogs rooting of
archeological sites in the Park would 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 hog burrowing, vegetation grazing and exotic seed
dispersal continually impact the context of these resources, thereby compromising their scientific value.
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Consequently, there would be no impairment of cultural resources as a result of the implementation of
Alternative 1.

Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts
Under the no action alternative, existing socioeconomic conditions would continue on St. John Island,
with Park visitation continuing to increase. In many areas of the Park, visitation levels would remain
heavy except in remote backcountry areas. The quality of the visitor experience would be impacted by
the presence of non-native hogs and by the effects of hogs, which include evidence of hog rooting, the
occasional sighting of hogs, and continued impacts to native flora and fauna the public hopes to observe.
Hogs may occasionally be dangerous to people in certain situations. Park visitors and employees would
continue to be charged by wild hogs periodically while hiking Park trails.

The continued presence of hogs along trails maintained for public use in several watersheds may
necessitate temporarily closing the trails for public safety. This would result in fewer visitor services a
reduced visitor experience, as well as an increase in law enforcement efforts to maintain the closure.

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

Soil Impacts
Major soil impacts would continue and may readily increase under this alternative. Hog rooting 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, seagrass beds and associated marine
communities.

Over 82% of land is greater than thirty degrees in slope. Therefore, uprooted soils, which are typically
very thin, readily flow into the nearby valleys. Loss of this precious topsoil makes new or existing plant
growth more challenging, and may eventually impact and smother marine reefs and sea grass bed
communities. Slopes whose vegetation and soils have been upturned and tilled as a result of hogs rooting
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. Consequently, there would be no impairment of soils as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 1.

Threatened and Endangered Species Impacts
Non-native hogs are a potential threat to each of the 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 hog numbers changed. However, the potential for recovery of rare
plant species would be negligible even during those years when hog numbers are low. This is because the
hog populations are related to food availability; therefore, animals continue to immigrate into new
watersheds.

Direct impacts to listed plant species would include herbivory of T&E plant species by non-native hogs
and the trampling, crushing and uprooting of listed plant species should hogs walk, root or bed down
within listed plant occurrences. Depending on the number of individual hogs within an area, one to many
(ET) 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.

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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.

Under this alternative, VINP would fail to actively remove (or eliminate) species known to predate listed
(ET) species. In St. John, the listed species include the Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower (Calyptranthes
thomasiana), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum conocarpum),
which has been proposed for listing. Non-native hogs also potentially impact twenty-five territorially
threatened and endangered listed plant species.

Non-native hogs may also depredate one Territorially Endangered and Threatened animal species, the
Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya inabouia), an 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 due to hogs. Consequently, there would be no
impairment of threatened and endangered species as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Vegetation Impacts
Hogs are voracious browsers of vegetation and prefer native plants, which evolved in isolation from large
herbivores and lack defenses against ungulates. Hogs would continue to impact the native island
vegetation, including endemic and federally and territorially listed plant species. Hogs selectively root
plants and consumes them entirely. This causes topsoil loss and slower revegetation, often by invasive
species. When combined with indiscriminate seed dispersal, the entire floral species composition begins
to change as ground cover, understory, brush and finally canopy levels react to varying light and shade
patters, loss of selected species, and rapid introduction of invasives.

Impacts to native plants and associated floral communities by introduced alien herbivores have been well
documented in the literature. Similar impacts have been noted with regards to hogs. Documented
indirect effects of alien herbivores and hogs 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. Hogs 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.

Twenty-six long-term ecological monitoring sites (Weaver 1999) would continue to be destroyed or
potentially compromised by increasing hog populations and movement into new areas. Valuable
ecological data would continue to be lost. Consequently, there would be no impairment of vegetation as a
result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Wildlife Impacts
The non-native hog population would continue to fluctuate due to annual differences in weather. In years
with favorable precipitation, greater plant productivity would allow hog populations to expand to an
estimated 800 animals. As the hog populations increase, they would immigrate into new areas. This
occurred in the Maho and Cinnamon watersheds in 1998. If left unchecked, hogs would spread to all park
areas and impact wildlife and other resources throughout the park. Native wildlife would continue to be
adversely impacted by this action because hogs depredate very large numbers of native fauna, including
several native bird, reptile and amphibian species and numerous insect and spider species.



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Because herptofauna and invertebrates are small, often slow and readily available, they are particularly
susceptible to 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. There are
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 1500 beetle species. Many invertebrate
species may be lost before researchers have catalogued them. Consequently, there would be no
impairment of wildlife as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Water Quality Impacts
Major adverse water quality impacts would continue unabated or increase under this alternative. This
alternative would not implement any very large reductions in the non-native hog population. Hog rooting
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, sea grass bed and associated fishery,
nursery and related communities.

Slopes whose vegetation and soils have been upturned and tilled as a result of hogs rooting 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. High sedimentation rates with low watershed slope stability would be a primary concern
for decline in water quality for the island. Consequently, there would be no impairment of water quality
as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Wetland, Saltpond and Floodplain Impacts
Adverse impacts to wetland, saltpond and floodplain areas would continue under this alternative as the
native flora and fauna continue to change under the foraging and predation pressures of non-native hogs
throughout the Park. Increased sedimentation of the small, numerous saltponds may accelerate secondary
revegetation, thus eliminating their use by migratory and resident avifauna and other wildlife. Hogs
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
and Fish Bay under this alternative. Consequently, there would be no impairment of wetlands, saltponds
and floodplains as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Park Operations Impacts
Adverse operational affects from non-native hogs on the Park's administrative, resources management,
interpretation, law enforcement and maintenance costs would be expected to continue and increase.
Potential closure of public trails where visitors have been charged by hogs reduces visitor services and
increases Park operational costs. Under this alternative, NPS would continue to animal-proof trash
receptacles, dumpsters and buildings at the Cinnamon Bay Campground, day use sites, concession areas,
Park overlooks, and employee housing areas. Also in 2002, NPS has contracted for the construction of a
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 hogs. Consequently,
there would be no impairment of Park operations as a result of the implementation of Alternative 1.

Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions
The cumulative impacts from this alternative would have negative consequences for National Park
Service marine, cultural and terrestrial resources. 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

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mammals and insect species. These, in addition to decreased visitor services and experience, while Park
operational costs rise in response to a growing exotic hog population.

Health and sanitation impacts would continue to decline under this action. Increasing wild hog
populations would continue to serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and livestock for infectious and
parasitic diseases as when compared with the wild hog reduction alternative. Hog cholera, swine
brucellosis, trichinosis, foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, and pseudo-rabies are all diseases
that would continue to be transmitted from wild hogs to livestock more frequently than when compared to
all hog reduction alternatives. A variety of arthropod, protozoan, helmith parasites also has been found
from the Park, including, ticks, lice, protozoa, kidney worms, esophageal worms, stomach worms,
intestinal worms, and lungworms. These are common parasites for both wild and domestic swine.

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

This alternative is inconsistent with the approved Coastal Zone Management Plan supporting the removal of
non-native pests that damage the coastal zone and wildlife 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 hog
reduction program: including a Commercial Services Plan (NPS 2001); Vessel Management Plan (NPS
2003); and Installation of Moorings in VICRNM (NPS 2003).

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 Goats and Sheep (in preparation, NPS 2003). All of these
plans have similar objectives for reducing non-native animal populations within VINP. Consequently,
there would be no impairment due to cumulative impacts as a result of the implementation of Alternative
1.



IV.A.2. Alternative 2. Reduce Wild Hogs Within VINP and Sustain
a Near-zero Population, Preferred Alternative

The program goals for the Preferred Alternative would substantially decrease the hog population
throughout the Park, with periodic monitoring and hog removal and fence maintenance ongoing
indefinitely. Minor impacts associated with periodic monitoring, hog removal, and fence maintenance
would be well below the deleterious impacts from the present situation where hog populations are
expanding throughout the Park. Because Park-wide eradication is unfeasible, the next-best choice is to
dramatically reduce the hog population and sustain the reduction.

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

Scenic Value Impacts
This alternative would result in the most rapid reduction in number of non-native hogs and, therefore, the
least damage to natural, cultural and recreational resources through reduced hog depredations on Park

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sites. Scenic values would increase under this alternative because hogs would no longer be eating,
trampling, crushing and uprooting native flora and depredating native fauna. The aesthetics of the Park
would be greatly increased by additional native wildlife, plant cover, and increased protection of
archeological and historical sites. Marine, terrestrial and cultural resource values within the park and
entire island would be enhanced and protected. Consequently, there would be no impairment of scenic
values as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cultural Resource Impacts
Within three years of implementation, non-native hogs would no longer continue to damage irreplaceable
archeological sites and degrade the scientific importance of the St. John archeological record. This
alternative would result in the most rapid reduction of hogs and, therefore, the least continued damage to
cultural resources through hog depredations on archeological sites at Cinnamon and Reef bays. Hog
rooting through disturbance has already adversely impacted the integrity of some of the Park's National
Register-listed archeological sites.

Impacts to the island'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 hogs 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 that they avoid traffic over them whenever possible.
Campsites, fences and trap locations could be assessed in advance using shovel-testing for any cultural
resources concerns. Fence posts would all require test holes to make sure they weren't damaging
archeological resources. Consequently, there would be no impairment of cultural resources as a result of
the implementation of Alternative 2.

Socioeconomic/Visitor Use Impacts
The Preferred Alternative to conduct Park-wide reduction of non-native hogs 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. The long-term positive effects greatly outweigh the short-term effects. Visitor
use would possibly be slightly restricted on various portions of federal lands during hog collection
operations. Fences would be located to avoid crossing roads. We would not be installing any gates or
cattle guards, which would potentially impact resident and visitor movements. Under this alternative,
Park-wide reduction would be an intense effort over a relatively short period of 2 to 3 years.

Over the last ten years, the annual visitation to St. John Island averages approximately 555,000 visitors
per year. However, they would possibly be denied access to various public trails due to the presence of
aggressive hogs. Hog reduction personnel would contribute financially to the local economy through
purchases of goods and services, vehicle rental and equipment purchases.

The quality of the visitor experience would no longer be impacted by the presence of non-native hogs or
their impacts, which include evidence of rooting, occasional hog sighting and continued impacts to native
wildlife that public hopes to observe. Hogs would no longer be dangerous to people in certain situations.
Hogs would no longer charge visitors and employees while hiking Park trails. Park trails would also be
much safer due to lack of hog damage to the tread surface caused by hog rooting. Trail closures would be
unnecessary.

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

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Soil Impacts
Soil disturbing activities from non-native hogs would be reduced within three years of implementation of
this alternative. Substantial hog reductions from throughout the Park would eventually allow disturbed
areas to revegetate. New hog rooting areas would be prevented.

Eventually, erosion from previously disturbed sites would decline as revegetation occurs. As vegetation
cover increases, overall watershed conditions would continue to improve. As watershed conditions
improve, runoff within the watershed would be reduced and absorbed by vegetation. 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 and nearshore ocean waters where
it can affect coral reef, mangrove, seagrass bed ecosystems and adjacent fisheries, nurseries and
associated marine communities.

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 hogs are
reduced from the Park and use of the hunting trails is discontinued. These trails would be ephemeral and
not heavily used.

Trampling of the soil by field personnel 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 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 slow depending on
environmental factors. Consequently, there would be no impairment of soils as a result of the
implementation of Alternative 2.

Threatened and Endangered Species Impacts
Under Alternative Two, non-native hogs would be gradually reduced as a threat to each of the Federally
or Territorially listed Endangered and Threatened (T&E) plant and animal species found on St. John
Island (see Appendix A). Under this alternative, the threats to each of the listed species would be reduced
by the hogs reduction program, involving wildlife reduction experts to eliminate or substantially reduce
hogs from four watersheds within the Park. 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.

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


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- 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 thomasiana), Prickly Ash (Zanthroxyllum thomasianum) and Marron Bacora (Solanum
conocarpum), which has been proposed for listing. Non-native hogs would also no longer be impacting
twenty-five Territorially Threatened and Endangered listed plant species (Appendix A).

Non-native hogs would also no longer be depredating one Territorially Endangered and Threatened
animal species, the Slipperyback Skink (Mabuya inabouia). Other Territorial Endangered species include
ground-nesting species such as Bridled Quail Dove, Bahama Pintail Duck and West Indian Nighthawk,
all of which would no longer suffer egg and chick depredation due to hogs. Consequently, there would be
no impairment of threatened and endangered species as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Vegetation Impacts
Hogs are voracious browsers of vegetation and prefer native plants because these plants evolved in
isolation from large herbivores and lack defenses against ungulates. Hog impacts to the native island
vegetation, including endemic and federally and territorially listed plant species, would be reduced
substantially in Maho, Cinnamon, Reef and Lameshur watersheds. Plant communities would readily
benefit by seedling survival, increase of cover, frequency, and biomass of native plant species, increased
topsoil and water absorption.

Twenty-six long-term ecological monitoring sites (Weaver 1999) could potentially be permanently fenced
to exclude hog populations. Valuable ecological data would be saved. Additionally, despite the current
road and trail systems, the teams might create trails between adjacent watersheds. These trails would be
ephemeral and minimally used. Consequently, there would be no impairment of vegetation as a result of
the implementation of Alternative 2.

Wildlife Impacts
The non-native wild hog population, estimated at from 100 to 300 individual animals would be removed
from the Park over a two to three year period. The removal of hogs would have very beneficial effects on
island wildlife and fauna. Removal of hogs would reduce a direct mortality factor for invertebrates
during certain times of the year, since invertebrates are part of the hog's diet. Hogs would no longer
adversely impact wildlife in the Park by destruction of suitable habitat. The cessation of hogs rooting in
specific locales would also improve habitat for lizards, snakes, salamanders and insects. Hogs removal
from riparian areas would improve riparian habitat for frogs and aquatic invertebrates. The removal of
hogs rooting for other 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.

Physical hog reduction actions or methods would have slightly negative impacts on island wildlife and
fauna over the two or three year intensive-removal period. Hog reduction personnel would traverse steep
and densely vegetated slopes throughout the Park, and small number of wildlife species may be
frightened.

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 will 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.


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Consequently, there would be no impairment of wildlife as a result of the implementation of Alternative
2.

Water Quality Impacts
Major adverse water quality impacts from non-native hogs would be reduced within three years of the
implementation of this alternative. In the short run, hog carcasses can impact water quality depending on
the number (mass) of dead animals in a given location, decomposition rate, distance to surface water and
distance to groundwater.

Hog carcasses can release water quality affecting compounds into the water, including: nitrates, total
dissolved solids, chloride, and ammonium-nitrogen. The rate of these releases is dependent on the
decomposing environment. For instance, in anaerobic conditions (such as underwater or extremely moist
soil conditions) carcass decay is very slow. Release of these compounds from the carcass would be
prolonged with possibly elevated concentrations of these substances. In contrast, in well-drained
conditions a carcass can decompose rapidly, with little or no effect on groundwater.

To keep concentrations of these compounds within normal ranges would require carcass burial away from
water drainage or collection areas with poorly drained soils. The benefits of mineral and elemental
recycling and topsoil nourishment would be important to native plant communities. Consequently, there
would be no impairment of water quality as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Wetland, Saltpond and Floodplain Impacts
Major adverse wetlands and floodplain impacts from non-native hogs would be reduced within several
years of the implementation of this alternative. Adverse impacts to wetlands and saltponds would
essentially be abated under this alternative as the native flora and fauna recover with decreased foraging
and predation pressure of hogs throughout the Park.

High sedimentation rates with low watershed soil stability due to hog rooting would no longer be a
concern for decline in the quality of the island's wetland, saltpond and floodplain communities. Hogs
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 hog rooting would reduce rates of erosion and
sediment deposition in wetland communities at Cruz Bay, Mary's Creek, Haulover Bay, Newfound Bay,
Hurricane Hole, Coral Harbor and Fish Bay. Consequently, there would be no impairment of wetlands,
saltponds and floodplains as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Park Operations Impacts
This alternative would have the lowest potential for adverse operational affects because non-native hog
populations would be greatly reduced, and held to low levels, 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 contract personnel and vehicles. Other transportation methods may be used including but not
limited to horses, all terrain vehicles and boats. Housing would utilize existing structures whenever
possible, including government facilities. Temporary tent camps may be established in remote areas.

One-half to one and half-miles of fences would be constructed to restrict hog access to selected areas of
the Park boundary. Fence installation would be entirely by hand. The Park archeologist would monitor
any excavations for posts. Impacts associated with the installation of fences are very minimal compared
to the current impacts hogs are having on scenic values, cultural resources, public safety, soils, threatened

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and endangered species, vegetation, wildlife, water quality and wetlands. Installation of fence material
would be conducted following consultation with hog farmers. Their assistance and cooperation would be
solicited and encouraged throughout the ongoing hog reduction program. Enhanced community outreach
would be an important and ongoing component.

A substantial reduction in hog populations would improve the safety for interpretative rangers leading
guided Park hikes and eliminates a serious source of concern for the safety of their group. Maintenance
of Park trails due to hog damage would be greatly reduced. Concerns for archeological/historical sites
and required monitoring for damage will be greatly reduced. Consequently, there would be no
impairment of Park operations as a result of the implementation of Alternative 2.

Cumulative Impacts and Conclusions
Alternative Two would result in a vigorous reduction of non-native hogs from within the Park. This
alternative would reduce hog disturbance of native plant communities within several years. This would
greatly reduce the numbers of this exotic (introduced) quadruped, animals that are known to facilitate the
spread of weedy species. Their removal would reduce the impacts to the island's native plant
communities by invasive species disturbance. The lack of rooting in the island's plant communities
would reduce impact 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 hog 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 duration period of
time. Failure to maintain either component (high intensity or short duration) would result in a lower
probability of success. Ongoing monitoring, fence maintenance, scrupulous record keeping and periodic
removal (Phase III) would be a crucial component for sustained 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 hogs would be less likely to serve as co-hosts with native wildlife and
livestock for infectious and parasitic diseases. Hog cholera, swine brucellosis, trichinosis, foot and mouth
disease, African swine fever, and pseudo-rabies are all diseases that would be less likely to be transmitted
from feral hogs to livestock.

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




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

Other planning efforts recently completed or currently underway would not affect the Park's hog
reduction program: including a Commercial Services Plan (NPS 2001); Vessel Management Plan (NPS
2003); and Installation of Moorings in VICRNM (NPS 2003).

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 Goats and Sheep (in preparation, NPS 2003). All of these
plans have similar objectives for reducing non-native animal populations within VINP. Consequently,
there would be no impairment due to cumulative impacts as 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 wild hog control program within Virgin Islands National Park.
The alternatives include (1) no action, and (2) preferred alternative, reduction through trapping, shooting
and fencing.

Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Wild Hogs Control Wild Hogs Control
Category
Ca o Preferred Alternative: Trapping, Shooting
No Action 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 cover, and increased plant cover, and increased protection
damage to cultural sites, of cultural sites.


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


Socio-economic/ Highest potential for adverse impacts as Lowest potential for adverse impacts as hogs
Visitor Use Impacts hogs continue to charge or disrupt would no longer continue to charge visitors and
visitors and employees along maintained employees whenever hiking Park trails.
public hiking Park trails.

Restricted access when trails require Enhanced access and visitor experience
closure due to hog prevalence, throughout the park.

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


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


Soil Impacts Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for adverse impacts as soil
hogs continue to reduce plant cover and disturbing activities of hogs would be reduced
greatly increase soil erosion and within 3 years of implementation.
sedimentation of streams and nearshore
ocean water where it can affect coral reef Elimination would eventually allow disturbed
and other marine communities. areas to heal over with vegetation. No new hog
rooting areas would be established.


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

Numerous long-term ecological Numerous long-term ecological monitoring sites
monitoring sites would be inundated and would be entirely fenced and therefore protected
potentially destroyed by hog rooting and from all large non-native herbivores including
herbivory. hogs, goats, burros, sheep, and white-tailed deer.





































































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


Threatened/ Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for adverse affects as hogs
Endangered hogs continue to impact T&E plants and would no longer continue to impact T&E plants
Species Impacts animals protected under the Endangered and animals protected under the Endangered
(T&E) Species Act (ESA). Species Act (ESA).

In St. John, the listed species include the In St. John, hogs would no longer continue to
Endangered St. Thomas Lidflower, predate listed species including the Endangered
Prickly Ash and Marron Bacora, which St. Thomas Lidflower, Prickly Ash and Marron
has been proposed for listing. Bacora, which has been proposed for listing.

Hogs also potentially impact twenty-five Hogs would also no longer be impacting twenty-
territorially T&E listed plant species. five territorially T&E listed plant species.

Hogs may also depredate one Hogs would no longer continue to depredate one
Territorially T&E animal species, the Territorially T&E animal species, the
Slipperyback Skink, an endemic to the Slipperyback Skink, an endemic to the Park.
Park.

Other Territorial T&E species include Other Territorial T&E species include ground-
ground-nesting species such as Bridled nesting species such as Bridled Quail Dove,
Quail Dove, Bahama Pintail Duck and Bahama Pintail Duck and West Indian
West Indian Nighthawk, all of which Nighthawk, would no longer continue to suffer
may suffer egg and chick depredation egg and chick depredation due to hogs.
due to hogs.










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


Wildlife Impacts Highest potential for continued adverse Lowest potential for adverse native wildlife
impacts from hog populations on native impacts because hog populations would be
wildlife in the Park. substantially reduced within the Park and
immigrants would be periodically removed.

Native wildlife would continue to be Very large numbers of native fauna, including
adversely impacted because hogs several native bird, reptile and amphibian
depredate native fauna including several species and numerous insect and spider species
native birds, reptile and amphibian would benefit when hog populations are kept
species and numerous insect and spider low or at zero.
species.

Because herpto-fauna and invertebrates Hog impacts including depredation of eggs,
are small, often slow and readily chicks or adults, despoiling food, resting,
available, they are particularly nesting, or breeding habitat from shorebird,
susceptible to local extirpation from hog waterfowl, and other birds nesting on the ground
depredation. would decline.

Of particular concern are the varied Numerous species of reptiles, amphibians,
native reptile and amphibian populations spiders and insects would similarly benefit from
in the Park and their associated links in reduction of hog populations.
the food and ecological web of the
island.

The Park has listed over 232 common Hogs would also no longer continue to depredate
insect species, including 13 species of many birds and one reptile species that are
dragonflies and damselflies and over Locally Endangered by the Government of the
1500 beetle species. U. S. Virgin Islands.


Water Quality Highest potential for adverse affects as Lowest potential for major adverse water quality
Impacts hogs would continue to reduce plant impacts from hogs would be reduced within
cover and greatly increase soil erosion three years of the implementation of this
and sedimentation of streams and alternative.
nearshore ocean water where it can
affect coral reef, sea grass and mangrove Hog carcasses would readily decompose on land
ecosystems and associated marine after being treated with lime.
fisheries, nurseries and relate
communities.


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


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

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

There would also continue to occur Adverse impacts to wetlands would no longer
increased sedimentation rates into occur under this alternative as the native flora
wetlands under the no action alternative, and fauna would no longer change under the
foraging and predation pressures of hogs
throughout the Park.

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










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


Park Operations
Impacts


Adverse operational affects from non-
native hogs on the Park's administrative,
resources management, interpretation,
law enforcement and maintenance costs
would be expected to continue and
increase. Potential closure of public
trails where visitors have been charged
by hogs reduces visitor services and
increases Park operational costs.

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; and contracted for the
construction donkey-exclusion fence for
the perimeter of Cinnamon Bay
Campground, that is not designed to also
exclude hogs.


This alternative would have the lowest potential
for adverse operational affects because non-
native hog populations would be greatly
reduced, and held to low levels, 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).

Hog reduction program would occur in three
phases: 1) administration, infrastructure
acquisition and fencing; 2) collection using baits,
traps, dogs and contract hunters; and 3)
monitoring for remnant hogs, periodic hog
removal, education, record keeping and fence
maintenance.

This program would necessitate an increase in
on-Park contract personnel and vehicles. Other
transportation methods may be used including
but not limited to horses, all terrain vehicles and
boats. Housing would utilize existing structures
whenever possible, including government
facilities. Temporary tent camps may be
established in remote areas.

One-half to one and half-miles of fences would
be constructed to restrict hog access to selected
areas of the Park boundary where animals can
easily reenter the Park. Fence installation would
be entirely by hand. Installation of fence
material would be conducted following
consultation with hog farmers.

A substantial reduction in hog populations
would improve the safety for interpretative
rangers leading guided Park hikes and eliminates
a serious source of concern for the safety of their
group. Maintenance of Park trails due to hog
damage would be greatly reduced. Concerns for
archeo. /historical sites and required monitoring
for damage would be greatly reduced.


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Alternative 1 Alternative 2
II.A.3 II.A.4
Impact Wild Hogs Control Wild Hog s Control
Catego Preferred Alternative: Trapping, Shooting
No Action 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.

















Health and sanitation impacts would
continue to decline.

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


Alternative Two would result in a vigorous
reduction in non-native wild hogs from within
the Park. This alternative would reduce wild
hog 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 will reduce the impacts to the
island's native plant communities by invasive
species disturbance.

The lack of rooting and grazing in the island'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, 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 and the Virgin Islands
National Park General Management Plan and
Resources Management Plan.


This alternative is not consistent with the This alternative is consistent with the approved
approved Coastal Zone Management Plan. 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 wild hog 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 would leave them unimpared for the enjoyment of future generations."

(a) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)(7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.) Occasionally,
chemical restraint drugs would be used to sedate captured wild hogs. Intramuscular injections of Telazol
would be administered by a jab stick, blow gun or CO2 pistol. Chemical restraint drugs and delivery
equipment would be restricted to employees responsible for hog management; these employees would
complete a Wildlife Restraint and Mobilization Course of specialized training as required by NPS-77.
Chemical restraint 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 rooting by hogs
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 Draft EA, NPS
would 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 hogs. Grazing and rooting by hogs potentially
impacts twenty-five Territorially Threatened and Endangered listed plant species with extirpation.

(c) Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (40 Stat 755) provided clear authority and direction for the
proposed action. With release of Draft 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 Draft EA, NPS would
initiate formal consultation with the Territory's Department of Planning and Natural Resources in
conformance with the Coastal Zone Management Act.

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(f) General Management Plan Virgin Islands National Park, 1983 feral and exotic pests such as
non-native wild hogs 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-ll). With release of Draft EA, NPS would 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 wild hogs 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

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, Wildlife Services
Frank Boyd State Director/Coordinator
118 Extension Hall
Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5656

Government of the Virgin Islands

Ms. Claudette Lewis, Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR)
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
Mr. David Brewer, Archaeologist, DPNR, SHPO
Cyril E. King Airport, 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802

Judy Pierce, Chief of Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR)
Dr. David Nellis, DPNR Chief of Wildlife (Former) DPNR
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 Economic Development and Agriculture (DEDA)
7944 Estate Dorothea
St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. 00802


Consultation with Local St. Johnian Neighbors and Former Park Residents

These individuals would be given an opportunity to comment on this final document which would 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 former St. Johnian hunters and ask them to participate as Volunteers-In Park
(VIP) program in implementing this hog reduction program. There was hog hunting in the Park in the
recent past, until it was determined that the enabling legislation for the Park did not allow it. We would
be able to contact these individuals, as we have their previous hunting permits on record (also see page
20, Use of Local 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
USDA / APHIS / NWRC / Wildlife Services
118 Extension Hall
Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5656


NPS Interdisciplinary Team:

John King, Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park
Jim Owens, Acting Park Planner, Virgin Islands National Park
Judy Shafer, Deputy Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park
Walt Keyes, Engineer, Virgin Islands National Park
John Javor, 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
Ken Wild, Archeologist, Virgin Islands National Park


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National Park. Cruz Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. 50 pages.

Nellis, David W. 1982. Mongoose influence on the ecology of islands. Transactions of the Congress of
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Nellis, David W. and C.O.R. Everard. 1983. The biology of the mongoose in the Caribbean. Studies on
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Nellis, David W., and Vonnie Small. 1983. Mongoose predation on sea turtle eggs and nests. Biotropica
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Nellis, David W., Rebecca Rudman, and Ann B. Swanbeck. 1985. The behavior and ecology of feral
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Olwig, Karen Fog. 1985. Cultural adaptation and resistance on St. John: three centuries of Afro-
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Parsons, D. J., D. M. Graber, J. K. Agee, and J. van Wagtendonk. 1986. Natural fire management in
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Peine, John D, and Jane Allen Farmer. Date Unknown. Wild hog management program at Great Smoky
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Ray, G. 1990. Feral donkey impacts to native forests. Letter to NPS Resources Management Specialist.
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Seaman, George A., John E. Randall. 1962. The mongoose as a predator in the Virgin Islands. Journal
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Singer, Francis J. 1981. Wild pig populations in the national parks. Environmental Management 5:
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Singer, Francis J, and B. B. Ackerman. 1981. Food availability, reproduction, and condition of the
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Singer, Francis J., Wayne T. Swank and Edward E.C. Clebsch. 1984. Effects of wild pig rooting in a
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Sterner, J. David. 1993. Removing feral pigs from Santa Cruz Island, California. The Wild Pig in
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Stone, Charles P., and Lloyd L. Loope. 1987. Reducing negative effects of introduced animals on native
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Stone, Charles P., L. W. Cuddihy, and J. T. Tunison. 1992. Responses of Hawaiian ecosystems to
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85
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Weaver, Peter L. 1999. NPP tropical forest: Cinnamon Bay, U.S. Virgins Islands. Data set 1982-1993.
International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Rio Pedras, Puerto Rico.

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Wood, G.W., and R.A. Brenneman. 1980. Feral hog movements and habitat use in coastal South
Carolina. Journal of Wildlife Management 44:420-427.

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Resources. Chapman and Hall, London.

































86
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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


Sandy Pt. Orchid
Christmas Orchid
Cockle-shell Orchid

Yellow Dancing Lady
White Dancing Lady








Vanilla Orchid

Myrtle-leaved Peperomia


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.


Bulletwood


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

St.T.


Richard's Clearweed

Capa Rosa

Lignum Vitae


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


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

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


SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE WILD HOGS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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Endangered Plants and Animals of the U.S. Virgin Islands (Cont.)
Endangered, Resident, breeding
Endangered, Resident, breeding
Threatened, migrant, breeding






























































SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE WILD HOGS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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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


SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE WILD HOGS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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APPENDIX B.


Common Name

MAMMALS

Cat, domestic

Cattle, domestic

Deer, White-tail

Dog, domestic

Burro

Goat, domestic

Horse

Pig, domestic

Mongoose, Indian

Mouse, house

Rat, black

Rat Norway

Sheep, domestic

BIRDS

Bullfinch, L.Ant.

Fowl, domestic

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 domesticus



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

1880's












1960's



1900's

1980'



1980'

1970'



<1500

<1500


7

7



7

7










7

7

7

7


Natural

? Various

Unknown

s Ship



s Plant trade

s Residents



's Native Ams.

's Native Ams.


SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE WILD HOGS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Spaniards

Europeans

Spaniards

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans

Europeans









APPENDIX C. Consultation Letter from U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service





























































SUSTAINED REDUCTION PLAN FOR NON-NATIVE WILD HOGS ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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United States Department of the Interior


FISH AND WILDLIFE SER\ ICE
Boqueron Field Office
Carr. 301. KM 5.1. Bo. Corozo
PO. Box 491
Boqueron. PR 00622

July 15, 2002


Nir John 1
Superiidein
National Park Service
\ irgin Islands National Park
1300 Cruz Bay Creek
St. John, USVI 00830


Received

JUL 1 8 2002


Superintendent's Offlce
VIIS National Park







Re: Sustained Reduction Plan for Non-native Wild
Hogs within v virgin Islands National Park
St. John, USV[


Dear Mr. King:

Thank you for your letter of July 1, 2002. requesting comments regarding the above referenced
project. Our comments are pro, ided in accordance with the Endangered Species Act (Act) of
1973, as amended (87 Stat. 884, as amended; 16 U.S.C. 1531 t ssa.).

Based on a review of the information provided and that available in this office, we believe that
the proposed plan is not likely to adversely affect any threatened or endangered species under our
iuriAsdciion in the project area. Therefore, no further consultation is required. Nevertheless, if
the project is modified or if information on impacts to listed species becomes available this office
should be contacted concerning the need for the initiation of consultation under section 7 of the
Act. We concur with your determination that the implementation of the plan will result in
beneficial effects to federal', listed species within the park.



Sincerely.



James P. Oland
Field Supervisor


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