• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Background
 Management objectives
 Site description
 Critical threats and stakehold...
 Strategies
 Marine park office
 Action plans
 Monitoring and measuring succe...
 Key information and data gaps
 Financial resources
 Future planning needs
 A
 B
 C
 D
 E
 F
 H






Title: St. Croix East End Marine Park management plan
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300654/00001
 Material Information
Title: St. Croix East End Marine Park management plan
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Coastal Zone Management.
University of the Virgin Islands. ( Contributor )
Publisher: United States Virgin Islands. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Division of Coastal Zone Management.
Publication Date: 2002
 Subjects
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands -- Saint Croix -- East End Marine Park
Caribbean
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300654
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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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    List of Tables
        List of Tables 1
        List of Tables 2
    Background
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Management objectives
        Page 9
    Site description
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Critical threats and stakeholders
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Strategies
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Marine park office
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Action plans
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
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        Page 58
        Page 59
    Monitoring and measuring success
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Key information and data gaps
        Page 64
        Page 65
    Financial resources
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    Future planning needs
        Page 70
        Page 71
    A
        Page 72
        Page 73
    B
        Page 74
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    C
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    D
        Page 95
    E
        Page 96
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    F
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    H
        Page 111
Full Text




St. Croix East End Marine Park


Management Plan


Prepared by the Virgin Islands Program of The Nature Conservancy for:
Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural
Resources
Division of Coastal Zone Management
Commissioned by:
University of the Virgin Islands
July 18, 2002
















Note: This document was prepared by the Virgin Islands Program of The Nature
Conservancy as commissioned by the University of the Virgin Islands under the Division
of Coastal Zone Management's VI Marine Park Project (NOAA Award No.
NA07020513).

For bibliography purposes this document may be cited as:
The Nature Conservancy. 2002. St. Croix East End Marine Park Management Plan.
University of the Virgin Islands and Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
U.S.V.I., July 18, 2002.










CONTENTS
L ist of T ables an d F figures ..................................................................... ................ .. 4
List of A acronym s ..................... .............................................................. 5
1. BA CK GR OU N D .............. .. .............. ........ .. ....................... .... ............ 6
1.1 Reasons for Preparation of the Management Plan.............................................. 6
1.2 Wider MPA Management Context for the U.S.V.I. ......................................... 6
1.3 Legislative and Other Authority for Plan Preparation................ ............ 7
1.4 Process U sed for Plan Preparation................................. .......................... 7
2. M ANAGEM ENT OBJECTIVES ........................................ .......................... 9
2.1 O overall G oals for M anagem ent...................................................... .............. 9
2.2 Specific Management Objectives for Planning Period ...................................... 9
3. SIT E D E SC R IP T IO N .................................... ......................................... .............. 10
3.1 Geographic, Biogeographic, and Political Location...................................... 10
3.2 General Description of Coastal Ecosystems Associated with the East End of St.
C roix......................... .. ... ... ................. ........ .. ................. . 11
3.3 General Description of the Ecosystems Found Within the Boundaries of the
P ark .............. .. ........ .. ........ ................................................... 12
3.4 Site Boundaries and Use Zones ............................................... 14
4. CRITICAL THREATS AND STAKEHOLDERS .......................................... 17
4 .1 C critical T h reats ......................................................................... .................... 17
4.2 Stakeholder Diagrams ............. .... ........ ................. .............. 19
5. STRATEGIES ........... ...... .. .......... ...................... .. ............ .. 20
5.1 P priority Strategies............................ .............. ........................ ................ .. 20
6. M AR INE PARK OFFICE ............................................... ............................ 23
6.1 Site Leadership and Support ........................................ ......................... 23
6.2 Marine Park Advisory Committee ....................................................... 23
6.3 Site Constituency ............. ...... ............ .... .................. .. 23
7. A CTION PLA N S ......... ... ....................................... .. .... ........ .. .......... .. 25
7.1 Navigational/Boundary Marking ............................................ ........... 25
7.2 Enforcem ent ............. ........ .................. ...... ........ ..... ......... 28
7.3 Education & Outreach..................................................... .......................... 31
7.4 U se R regulation ................................. ............ ........................ ................ .. 34
7.5 Fisheries Liaison O office ....................................................... .............. 39
7.6 Mooring Buoys ............................................... .. 41
7.7 W ater Q quality ... .............. .................... ............ ........................ .................. 43
7 .8 Z on in g .................. ................................. .......... .......... ..... 4 8
7.9 R research & M onitoring................................................. ........... .............. 50
7.10 Marine Park Administration ................... .................... .............. 55
7.11 A action Plan Sum m ary................... ................................. .......................... 58
8. Monitoring and Measuring Success................... .. .................. .............. 60
8.1 Baseline D ata ...................................................... ........ 60
8.2 Suggested Monitoring Activities ........................................................ 61
8.3 Indicators of M arine Com munity Health................................. .................... 61
8.4 M ethods of M easurement ................................................. 62
9. KEY INFORMATION AND DATA GAPS ................................. .............. 64
9.1 Description of Priority Information Gaps ................................................. 64









9.2 Addressing the Information Gaps .............. ...... .......................... .......... 65
10. FINAN CIAL RESOURCES .............. ......................................................... 66
10.1 Funding Levels Required ................................ ........ .... ............ .. 66
10.2 C current Funding ........... .. .... ........ ...... .... ...... .. .... .. ............ 67
10.3 L ong-term Sustainable Funding................................................ .... .. .............. 68
11. FUTURE PLANNING NEEDS ............ ........ ........... .............. 70
11.1 Education and Outreach Program ........................ ......... .............. .. 70
11.2 U ser M anagem ent P lan .......................................................... ... ... .............. 70
11.3 Standard Operating Procedures............................. ................... 71
11.4 Emergency/Disaster Planning ............................ ........................71
Appendix A: An Introduction to the Five-S Framework for Site Conservation......... 72
Appendix B: Conservation Targets and Stresses: An Overview .............. .............. 74
Appendix C: Stakeholder Diagrams ................................................. 90
Appendix D: List of Threatened Species W within Park...................................... .... 95
A ppendix E : List of Contacts...................... .... ................. ................... .............. 96
Appendix F: Citations .......... ................................... .. 98
Appendix G: Marine Park Budget ................................... 102
Appendix H : M arine Park M ap ...................... ............................ ...................... ...... 111










List of Tables and Figures

Figure 1. St. Croix East End Marine Park Boundary................................................ 10
Table 1. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Navigational/Boundary
M parking Program ...................... ........ .. ........................ ............... ............. .... .. 28
Table 2. Requirements for Implementation of Navigational/Boundary Marking Program
............................................................................................................ 2 8
Table 3. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Enforcement Program... 31
Table 4. Requirements for Implementation of Enforcement Program ............................ 31
Table 5. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Education/Outreach
P ro g ra m ...................................... ... ...... ...... ............ ........... ................. 3 4
Table 6. Requirements for Implementation of Education and Outreach Program .......... 34
Table 7. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Regulatory Program...... 38
Table 8. Requirements for Implementation of Regulatory Program.............................. 38
Table 9. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Fisheries Liaison Office
P program ............................ .. .. ....... .. ...... .................. ........ ............. .... . 4 1
Table 10. Requirements for Implementation of Fisheries Liaison Office Program ......... 41
Table 11. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Mooring Buoy Program
............................................................................................................ 4 3
Table 12. Requirements for Implementation of Mooring Buoy Program .................... 43
Table 13. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Water Quality Program47
Table 14. Requirements for Implementation of Water Quality Program...................... 48
Table 15. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Resource Zone Marking Program...... 50
Table 16. Requirements for Implementation of Resource Zone Marking Program......... 50
Table 17. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Research & Monitoring Program....... 54
Table 18. Requirements for Implementation of Research and Monitoring Program ....... 55
Table 19. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Opening of East End Marine Park
O office .......................................... .. ........ .. ........ .... ......................... 57
Table 20. Requirements for Implementation of Opening of East End Marine Park Office
........................... ..................... ........... 57
Figure 2. Organizational Chart..................... ................................... ........................... 58
Table 21. Threats vs. Action Plans M atrix .............. ...... ......................... ........... 59
Table 22. Five-year Funding Need by Action Plan................. ............. ............. 67









List of Acronyms


APC Area of Particular Concern
APR Area for Preservation and Restoration
CDC Conservation Data Center
CFMC Caribbean Fisheries Management Council
CoE Corps of Engineers
CZM Coastal Zone Management
DA Department of Agriculture
DEE Division of Environmental Enforcement
DEP Division of Environmental Protection
DFW Division of Fish and Wildlife
DOL Department of Law
DPNR Department of Planning and Natural Resources
EEMP East End Marine Park
EEMPO East End Marine Park Office
FAC Fisheries Advisory Council
FAD Fish Aggregating Device
FKNMS Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
FLO Fisheries Liaison Office
GIS Geographical Information System
GPS Geographical Positioning System
IRF Island Resources Foundation
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources
MPA Marine Protected Area
NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NPS National Park Service
SEA St. Croix Environmental Association
SNA Significant Natural Area
TNC The Nature Conservancy
TOC The Ocean Conservancy
TPS Territorial Park System
USCG US Coast Guard
USFS US Forestry Service
USFWS US Fish and Wildlife Service
UVI University of Virgin Islands
VIMAS Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service
VIPD VI Police Department









1. BACKGROUND

1.1 Reasons for Preparation of the Management Plan

A Management Plan outlines the purposes and manner in which an area is to be used. It
sets the management objectives, policies, and strategies to achieve the stated objectives.
It also addresses the administrative structure, resource use, zoning, boundaries, financial
support, staff needs, and monitoring plans. A successful Management Plan provides Park
managers with a blueprint of how the Park will function, but will also be flexible and
allow for modifications to be made when deemed appropriate. During the planning
process of the Marine Park, specific issues were ientified that have shaped the design of
the Park. These issues range from current resource use, to activities that threaten the
Park, to types of research that should take place in the Park. The synthesis of these
issues, their complexities, and solutions, take the form of a Management Plan. The
Management Plan is a working document that should be updated periodically, and should
be used to actively and appropriately manage the Park, ultimately leading to the
sustainable use of coastal and marine resources. The management objectives outlined in
this Plan represent short term, measurable steps toward attaining this goal.

1.2 Wider MPA Management Context for the U.S.V.I.

This Management Plan is presented as an output of the VI Marine Park Project. The
project is an initiative of the Government of the U.S.V.I., implemented as part of the
National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs.

The US National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs was developed to guide the
sustainable use of coral reef ecosystems within the jurisdiction of the USA, including its
Territories and Commonwealths. Sustainable use simply means that coral reef
ecosystems should be used and managed in such a manner as to ensure the security of the
economic, cultural, social, and environmental values and benefits of such ecosystems in
perpetuity.

The overall goal of the VI Marine Park Project is to establish the objectives, policies, and
procedures for management of marine resources within the territorial waters of the
U.S.V.I., through the development of marine protected areas. The VI Marine Park
Project involves four main components:

* A Resource Description Report, prepared by Island Resource Foundation (IRF)
* A Socio-economic Assessment, prepared by Hinds, Unlimited
* A Management Framework for a System of Marine Protected Areas, prepared by
Lloyd Gardner of Environmental Support Services, LLC and
* A Management Plan for the East End Marine Park, St. Croix, prepared by The
Nature Conservancy (TNC).









1.3 Legislative and Other Authority for Plan Preparation

Under V.I. Code Annot. tit. 12, Section 903-906, the Virgin Islands Coastal Zone
Management Commission is charged with administering the Coastal Zone Program, and
is required to "prepare and submit to the legislature of the Virgin Islands for adoption any
additional plans, and undertake any studies it deems necessary and appropriate to better
accomplish the purposes, goals, and policies of this chapter" (see Sections 903(a)(1),
903(a)(5), 903(b), 903(b)(2), 903(b)(4), 903(b)(5), 903(b)(7), 903(b)(8), 903(b)(11),
904(a), 904(e), 904(d), and 906(c)).

In 1960, the Department of Interior completed a study for the Governor of the Virgin
Islands that recommended that the East End of St. Croix be designated as a Nature
Preserve. A series of similar designations have been made in the forty years since for the
land and waters of the East End of St. Croix, including:

* Designation as an Area of Particular Concern (APC) Planning Office 1979
* Designation as an Area for Preservation and Restoration (APR) Teytaud 1980
* Nomination as a Significant Natural Area (SNA) DCCA/Teytaud 1980
* Candidate for park within V.I. Territorial Park System plan VITPS/Alexander
1981
* Nomination as a candidate for National Marine Sanctuary status- 1982
* Recommended as a nulti-purpose park within proposed Territorial Park System -
VITPSPP/Island Resources Foundation 1991

Recently, the Division of Coastal Zone Management revisited the concept of a Territorial
Park System and is currently in the process of developing a "Management Framework for
the Marine Protected Areas of the United States Virgin Islands." As a part of this effort,
the Department of Planning and Natural Resources tasked the University of the Virgin
Islands to develop a Management Plan for marine parks within the U.S.V.I.. The
University of the Virgin Islands as required (or directed) by DPNR contracted The Nature
Conservancy to prepare a Management Plan for the East End of St. Croix. Additionally,
parallel efforts by other contractors are underway to assess the socioeconomic issues as
well as the status of the marine resources throughout all of the U.S.V.I..


1.4 Process Used for Plan Preparation

The U.S.V.I. chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was tasked with the creation of a
Management Plan for the proposed marine park at the East End of St. Croix. TNC used a
conservation framework known as Site Conservation Planning (SCP) that has been
successfully implemented at numerous TNC sites. This process relied heavily on
community expertise, with a series of community workshops held in September and
October of 2001 on St. Croix. The workshops were attended by representatives of the
Division of Coastal Zone Management, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division of
Environmental Protection, Conservation Data Center, National Park Service, The Ocean









Conservancy, Island Resources Foundation, St. Croix Fisheries Advisory Council, the
commercial fishing industry, dive operators, and UVI faculty and scientists. During these
workshops management strategies and Action Plans were developed. A brief description
of the process that guided the workshop activities can be found in Appendix A.









2. MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES

2.1 Overall Goals for Management

The Marine Park being developed will be a protected area managed mainly for the
sustainable use of natural ecosystems. However, within the Park, other objectives will
guide operations including: managing the area for ecosystem protection and tourism, and
managing the area for conservation of specific natural features. Ultimately, this
Management Plan should serve as a guide for Park operations and future activities to Park
managers and planners. The following goals were taken from IUCN's description of a
Managed Resource Protected Area (MRPA), and will be used as guidelines for
management of the Park:

* Protect and maintain the biological diversity and other natural values of the area
in the long term
* Promote sound management practices for sustainable production purposes
* Protect the natural resource base from being alienated for other land use purposes
that would be detrimental to the area's biological diversity
* Contribute to regional and national development

2.2 Specific Management Objectives for Planning
Period

The VI Government recognizes the value of the marine resources that surround the island
of St. Croix, and the challenges of minimizing degradation of the marine ecosystems. In
order to effectively ensure long-term protection and maintenance of these valuable
resources, as well as the sustainability of the products and services provided by such
resources, a Management Plan is required. Formal management of this Park aims to meet
the following objectives:

* Create a clearly defined park on the East End of St. Croix
* Create an infrastructure and support system that effectively manages the area
* Establish a Park that is accepted and used by both locals and tourists
* Promote understanding and increase local knowledge of the value of local marine
resources and the ultimate benefits of protecting them
* Provide an example for future parks in the U.S.V.I.

The emphasis on sustainability of marine resources is essential to the people of the
U.S.V.I., for both cultural and economic reasons. In addition to these management
objectives, all activities that have been given a medium to high priority, as outlined in the
strategy portion of this document, should be completed by the end of the first 5-year
period.









3. SITE DESCRIPTION

3.1 Geographic, Biogeographic, and Political Location

The St. Croix East End Marine Park (EEMP) is located at the East End of St. Croix in the
U.S.V.I. (Figure 1). Centrally located in the West Indies, the U.S.V.I. include three large
islands- St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas as well as about 50 small islets and cays.
Located at the eastern end of the Caribbean archipelago in the Greater Antilles, the
U.S.V.I. are home to about 100,000 residents, and host between 1 million and 2 million
visitors annually. St. Croix is the largest and most southern of the U.S.V.I's, with a land
area of approximately 84 miles2 (218 km2), and a population of more than 50,000.

Figure 1. St. Croix East End Marine Park Boundary


St. Croix was formed during the Upper Cretaceous period from volcaniclastic sediments
deposited on the seafloor. Because St. Croix is a relatively low-lying island, (highest
point is 1165 ft (355 meters)); and has lost large tracts of old-growth forested land, it
receives relatively low amounts of rainfall with an average of 40 inches (102 cm) per
year in the west, and 30 inches (76 cm) per year in the east (Mac et al. 1998). The wet
season is from June to November. The average mid-island temperature is 26 C, varying
only 3C to 50C seasonally (Mac et al. 1998). St. Croix has a higher number of endemic
animal and plant species than other islands in the area because it has been isolated from
Puerto Rico for a longer time, and may never have been connected to other islands of the


4


Sandy Point









Puerto Rican Bank (Mac et al. 1998). With a length of 23 miles (37 km), the coral reef
system that surrounds much of the island of St. Croix is one of the largest and most
developed in the Caribbean.

The EEMP surrounds the entire East End of the island. On the north shore the boundary
begins at the western border of Chenay Bay (170 45' 39" N, 640 40' 5"W) and extends
out to the 3-nautical mile territorial boundary (Figure 1). The Park extends around the
eastern tip of St. Croix, with the southern boundary extending to the western border of
Great Pond Bay (170 42' 51" N, 640 39' 52"W). The Park is within the jurisdiction of the
VI government, as it falls inside of the 3-nautical mile territorial boundary. The Buck
Island National Monument is nested within the Park and remains under the jurisdiction of
the Federal government. The land that borders the Park is entirely within the Coastal
Zone (First Tier); therefore, any development activity is subject to approval by the Virgin
Islands Coastal Zone Commission.


3.2 General Description of Coastal Ecosystems
Associated with the East End of St. Croix

Although this Management Plan addresses the marine resources surrounding the East End
of St. Croix, the land that borders the Park has a significant impact on those resources,
and has been considered throughout the planning process. The terrestrial environment of
the East End is dominated by xeric scrub, with western and northern facing slopes
dominated by dry forest remnants and stream gallery forests (Island Resources
Foundation 1993a). Three complete watersheds and the majority of two other major
watersheds drain into the Park.

From Chenay Bay to just west of Boiler Bay on the north shore, the coastline is generally
sandy. Similar coastline is found on the south shore from East End Bay to Great Pond
Bay. On the easternmost part of the north shore, the coastline is rocky and rugged due to
the dominant high-energy regime caused by the prevailing northeasterly wind and wave
direction (Island Resources Foundation 1993a). The easternmost beaches on the south
shore (East End, Isaac, and Jack) are important nesting grounds for two species of
endangered sea turtles: the green and hawksbill (Good, 1999; Mackay and Rebholz 1998,
1997).

The marine communities in the waters that surround the East End encompass a broad
spectrum of biodiversity (see Appendix H for SCMP-1). There is a relatively shallow
shelf (depth range = 0-230 feet (70 m)) that extends out about 2 miles (3.2 km) offshore
(Conservation Data Center, Bathymetric Map). The barrier reef system that protects the
shoreline on the East End actually extends west on the north shore to Coakley Bay, and
on the south shore to Halfpenny Bay.











3.3 General Description of the Ecosystems Found
Within the Boundaries of the Park

3.3.1 Coral reefs

Coral reefs are unique in that they are formed entirely by biological activity. The stony
structures that support the diverse assemblage of fishes and invertebrates are essentially
massive deposits of calcium carbonate produced by coral animals, with additional
calcium carbonate coming from calcareous algae, such as Halimeda spp. and other
calcium carbonate producing organisms (Knowlton and Jackson 2001). The waters
surrounding St. Croix are ideal for coral reef formation because of their warm
temperatures, relatively low nutrient levels, and high water clarity (Pinet 1996). Two of
the three major reef categories (atolls, barrier, and fringing) are represented in St. Croix,
with an extensive barrier reef surrounding much of the island, and a complex mosaic of
fringing reefs along most of the shoreline (Island Resources Foundation 1993b). Both of
these reefs types can be found in the Park (see Appendix H for SCMP-1). In fact, nearly
all of the coastline inside of the Park includes either linear reef structure or patch reefs,
with a great deal of reef structure concentrated off the northeastern shore. The barrier
reef is clearly viewed from shore, with a line of waves constantly crashing over the reef
crest. The characteristic structures of these reefs have changed over time, due to both
anthropogenic effects and their susceptibility to hurricane damage (Knowlton and
Jackson 2001). The zonation of reef types extends from the shoreline, beginning with
well-protected patch reefs and coral heads (see Appendix H for SCMP-1). The barrier
reef runs along the coastline less than 0.5 miles off shore, with a mosaic of patch reefs
scattered beyond the fore reef. These patch reefs are concentrated mostly on the
northeast shore of St. Croix (Island Resources Foundation 1993b). The linear reef is
present around the tip of the East End and continues around to Isaac Bay where the
barrier-like reef structures become less frequent in the western direction. A submerged
shallow platform known as Lang Bank, extends east from Point Udall, beyond the Park
boundaries approximately 11 miles. Lang Bank is characterized by hardbottom
gorgonian communities intermingled with patch reefs, sandy bottoms, and seagrass beds
(Island Resources Foundation 1993b). Very little habitat description is currently
available for Lang Bank, but efforts are underway to focus research activities at Lang
Bank, ultimately providing much needed information about those habitats.

3.3.2 Seagrass Beds

St. Croix has an extensive network of seagrass beds off much of the northeast and central
coastline as well as off the southern coast. These seagrass beds are primarily subtidal,
with some extending into the intertidal zone (Island Resources Foundation 1993b). They
are distributed throughout much of the Park, forming linkages to other marine
communities through movement of animals and export of large quantities of slowly
decaying organic matter. The seagrass beds provide habitat for diverse populations of
macroalgae, epiphytic diatoms, invertebrates, and juvenile fish (Island Resources









Foundation 1993b). Seagrass habitats serve a variety of functions, including trophic
support, refuge from predation, recruitment, provision of nursery areas, and waterfowl
habitat (Island Resources Foundation 1993b). Seagrass beds within the Park are
characterized by the habitat-forming turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum), manatee grass
(Syringodium filiforme), shoalgrass (Halodule spp.), and calcareous green algae
(Halimeda spp. and Penicillus spp.) (Island Resources Foundation 1993b).

3.3.3 Mangroves/Salt Ponds

St. Croix once had extensive mangrove communities along its shores. After the
destruction of more than 700 acres of wetland in Krause Lagoon, and the filling in of
other mangrove communities, there are only three prominent mangrove tracts remaining
(Island Resources Foundation 1993b). Great Pond is the only significant salt pond within
the EEMP; but both Altoona Lagoon and Salt River should receive similar consideration
in future planning efforts. Great Pond is approximately 118 acres (48 hectares) in size,
with a depth averaging 12-20 inches (30-50 cm) and is separated from the sea to the south
by a 0.6 mile (1 km) long baymouth bar, 82 to 330 feet (25 to 100 m) in width (Tobias
1998). An eroding headland to the east deposits sediments ranging from sand to cobble-
sized clasts on the bar (Bruce et al. 1989). Hurricane Hugo caused a shift in the
vegetation on the higher elevations of the bar, from manchineel trees and upland scrub to
thorn scrub, tan-tan, and sea grape (Knowles 1996). The exchange of seawater between
Great Pond and Great Pond Bay is limited to a narrow channel (approx. 13 ft (4 m) wide
and 5 ft (1.5 m) deep) at the southeastern corer of the pond (Tobias 1998). The salt
pond is bordered on the north, east, and west by mud flats (Tobias 1998).

3.3.4 Colonized pavement

Distributed throughout the remaining available habitat, wherever there is a sediment-free
substrate, are communities dominated by sponges and gorgonians (Hubbard 1989).
These communities typically have a less complex substrate with gentle slopes, a
moderate energy regime, and are found at greater depths (Hubbard 1989). Although the
structural heterogeneity that supports reef biodiversity is absent, these areas do provide
food, refuge, and much sought after space to numerous invertebrates and fishes (Pinet
1996). These communities provide linkages to surrounding marine communities, and
often provide corridors within which large schools of fish travel (Pinet 1996). According
to benthic habitat maps, these communities dominate the seafloor surrounding St. Croix.
However, future ground-truthing efforts will likely reveal more information about the
characteristics of these poorly studied habitats.

3.3.5 Sandy Beach

The sandy coastline that dominates the East End varies, depending on wind and wave
action. The most important beaches within the Park, in terms of habitat are East End,
Jack, and Isaac Bay. These beaches serve as nesting habitat for green and hawksbill sea
turtles year-round, with a peak nesting season between July and October (Good 1999;
Mackay and Rebholz 1998, 1997). Although other beach profiles within the Park are









amenable to sea turtle nesting, these beaches have remained the least disturbed by
anthropogenic effects, and continue to support a growing population of nesting turtles.
The lack of lighting and heavy development has helped to preserve this critical habitat.


3.4 Site Boundaries and Use Zones

The Park boundaries encompass an area of approximately 60 square miles (155 square
kilometers). The shoreline that borders the Park is approximately 17 miles (27
kilometers) long (see Appendix H for SCMP-1). In order to identify effective boundaries
for resource use zones, both workshop discussion and user-group input were considered.
Workshop participants agreed that marine reserves (i.e., no-take areas) were necessary in
certain areas, and also identified areas that should be open to general use. It is important
to note that great efforts have been made to avoid displacing resource users and further
input is necessary. The Park will have use-zones including: Open Fishing Area,
Recreational Area, No-Take Area, and Turtle Wildlife Preserve Area (see Chapter 7 for
zoning strategies).

3.4.1 Proposed Zone Descriptions

No-Take Areas, Turtle Wildlife Preserve Areas, and Recreational Areas are established to
ensure the protection of Park resources. Each of these zone types is designed to reduce
damage to resources and threats to environmental quality, while allowing uses that are
compatible with resource protection. The zones will protect habitats and species by
limiting consumptive and/or conflicting user activities, and allowing resources to evolve
in a natural state, with minimum human influence. Descriptions of each zoning category
are below:

No-Take Areas are designed to encompass large, contiguous diverse habitats. They are
intended to provide natural spawning, nursery, and permanent residence areas for the
replenishment and genetic protection of marine life, and to protect and preserve all
habitats and species; particularly those not protected by fisheries management
regulations. These zones are intended to protect areas that represent the full range of
diversity of resources and habitats found throughout the Park. Restricted activities will be
defined in future public input meetings.

Turtle Wildlife Preserve Areas are established to minimize disturbance to sensitive
wildlife populations and their habitats, to ensure protection and preservation of wildlife
resources in the Park. In particular, this designation will be applied to the primary turtle
nesting beaches and near shore resting areas. Regulations governing access are designed
to protect the endangered turtles and their habitat, while providing opportunities for
public use.

Recreational Areas are designed to provide areas for snorkeling, diving, and boating
while prohibiting any activities that would compromise the recreational values for which
the area may be designated. Restricted activities will be defined in future public input
meetings. Specified recreational opportunities may be protected, enhanced or restricted,









while preserving basic resource values of the area. No other uses are specifically
restricted with the exception general shipping (see Open Fishing Areas).

Open Fishing Areas are areas in which there are no restrictions on fishing, boating, and
diving activities. These areas are governed by all the rules and regulations pertaining to
commercial and recreational fishing in the Virgin Islands Code. These areas are
designated to monitor and evaluate the effects of resource zoning in the Park. Trawling
and general shipping are prohibited, as well as those activities inconsistent with the
Park's long-term conservation (e.g., mining and oil drilling).

3.4.2 Proposed Zoning Justification

Several factors determined where different resource use zones should be placed within
the Park. Workshop participants considered current resource use, presence of sensitive
marine habitat, connectivity between different habitat types, and presence of threatened
species as the primary factors when designating these areas. A more detailed explanation
of each zone type is below.

No-Take Areas: These areas are intended to protect the near shore environments
including: coastal mangrove stands, seagrass beds, lagoonal patch reefs, and barrier reef.
Protecting these areas will serve to preserve important habitat types that are fundamental
to the functionality of tropical marine ecosystems. These areas are used as nursery areas
for juvenile fish as well as provide structure in which diverse assemblages of species
reside and forage. In addition to biological values, areas such as seagrass beds and
mangrove stands serve as environmental filters of sediments and pollutants as well as
buffers to wave energy. Fishermen participating in the community workshops identified
the proposed No-Take Areas as light fishing areas and agreed that these areas would be
appropriate for a No-Take Area (Pers. comm. Thomas Daly, Gerson Martinez, Robert
McAuliffe, and Jose Sanchez).

Turtle Wildlife Preserve Area: This area is intended to protect nesting female sea
turtles that use East End Bay, Isaac Bay, and Jack Bay to lay their eggs. During their
nesting cycle, the female turtles are known t) use the waters adjacent to their nesting site
and have been found up to 1.5 miles from shore. This area will prohibit any activities
that disturb or potentially harm nesting turtles that are using these waters. Examples of
such activities include net fishing and jet skiing. Further analysis of potentially harmful
activities is necessary.

Recreational Areas: These areas are currently more heavily used for recreational
purposes. In addition to current resource use, these areas have been identified as
appropriate for catch and release fishing and bait fishing. Further public input will be
solicited to determine appropriate uses of these areas. The designation of these areas as
Recreational Areas also serves to concentrate recreational activities into areas where
access has already been established, which may negate the need to construct additional
access routes.









Open Fishing Areas: These areas comprise the majority of the EEMP. They have been
identified to clarify the function of the Park, and emphasize that only a small portion of
the Park limits fishing activities. In addition to commercial and recreational fishing,
recreational activities (i.e., boating, diving, snorkeling) will also be permitted.

It is important to note that specific zoning may be revised when Park managers review
Park monitoring data.









4. CRITICAL THREATS AND STAKEHOLDERS

4.1 Critical Threats

A "threat" is actually a combination of a stress and a source of stress. Critical threats are
those highly ranked threats that have an active source of stress. Highly ranked threats
that have an historical source are best thought of as persistent stresses, since the source
component is no longer active (The Nature Conservancy 2000). During the community
workshops, a group of 16 threats across all systems were identified and were combined
into three threat categories. Although a particular threat may be of great concern to one
system, if it does not affect several focal systems(see Appendix B) it will likely not come
out as a critical threat (The Nature Conservancy 2000). When considering the list of
threats developed during the planning process, it is important to recognize the potential
negative effects each threat may have in the future. Threats change over time, and it i
important to anticipate the potential negative impacts of certain activities, and consider
them when making management decisions and amendments to the Management Plan
(The Nature Conservancy 2000).

The three main threats that have negative impacts across several systems are:

* Incompatible Upland Development
* Recreation Impacts
* Incompatible Fishing Practices

These threats are actually compilations of related threats and activities that have similar
impacts, and would likely be abated using similar strategies. For example, recreation
impacts is a combination of diving and boating activities; and incompatible upland
development encompasses gut management, road development, commercial property
development, and housing development issues. A brief description of each main threat
follows. However, it should be noted that the problems associated with these threats are
complex and not easily understood, and are often focal issues for local and federal
legislative activities. Chapters 5 and 7 provide strategies and activities intended to
minimize the effects of these threats, and ensure continued health of the marine
communities within the Park.

4.1.1 Incompatible Upland Development

The main upland development activities that have negative impacts on marine
communities are land movement, resulting in increased erosion, and the loss of wetland
habitat through land reclamation. The removal of vegetation or the movement of soil
without appropriate stabilization (e.g., sediment traps, barrier walls, pavement) has the
potential to have extreme deleterious effects on nearshore marine communities. Both
seagrass and coral reef communities rely on high light levels (low turbidity), low nutrient
levels, and low sediment loads to persist long term (Pinet 1996). When soils are









destabilized by loss of vegetation, rates of erosion increase, thus leading to increases in
water turbidity, nutrient levels, and sediment loads.

Effects of high sediment loads can also have immediate negative effects on coral reef
colony survival due to suffocation by sediments. Nutrient increases (e.g., raw sewage
discharge) can cause long term shifts from seagrass and coral reef communities to
habitats dominated by ephemeral algae (Bell 1992, Lapointe 1997, Lapointe et al. 1994).
In high nutrient conditions, filamentous algae will out-compete the structurally and
ecologically important seagrass and coral reef communities (Lapointe et al. 1994). With
increases in erosion, an increase in known toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, and
agricultural run-off is inevitable. The loss of salt ponds and mangrove communities on
the East End to land development; that has directly or indirectly caused infilling, has
resulted in a loss of habitat for a diverse assemblage of fish, invertebrates, and birds;
many of which use these areas as nursery grounds before moving offshore to reefs and
deeper waters.

4.1.2 Recreation Impacts

Recreational activities may include, but are not limited to, boating, snorkeling, diving,
and swimming. Depending on both knowledge and skill, or the lack thereof, recreational
boaters and divers can have significant negative impacts on marine communities. In the
past ten years, there have been several studies examining the effects of diving and
snorkeling activities on coral reef systems. Divers are known to damage corals and other
marine organisms through direct physical contact with their hands, body, equipment, and
fins (Talge 1990, 1992; Rouphael and Inglis 1995, 1997). The cumulative effects of such
damage can cause substantial localized damage to reef communities (Garrabou et al.
1998; Hawkins et al. 1999; Plathong et al. 2000). Beyond the physical damage that
inexperienced divers may cause, the direct take of marine organisms (i.e., lobsters, conch,
shells, corals) adds to the negative impacts humans can have as underwater spectators.
Although the East End reefs are not heavily used by the diving/snorkeling community
currently, the potential for future use is high and such impacts are important to consider
in this Management Plan. Small boat impacts on benthic habitats include septic and oil
discharge, anchor damage, prop scars, groundings, and wildlife disturbance. A lack of
knowledge and experience increases the likelihood for damage to the marine
communities of concern by recreational boaters.

4.1.3 Incompatible Fishing Practices

Issues involving the effects of fishing are likely the most complex, as the types of fishing
and fishers determine the impact on marine communities. Methods employed by fishers
in St. Croix include trap-fishing, net-fishing line-fishing, spear-fishing, and diving for
lobster and conch. Fishers include full-time commercial fishers, part-time commercial
fishers, recreational fishers, seasonal fishers, weekend fishers, and illegal fishers (i.e.,
illegal residents and illegal commercial fishers). To add to the confusion, there is
currently a moratorium on new commercial fishing licenses until new regulations
defining commercial fishermen, as well as equipment and permitting issues, are









developed. The obvious effects of fishing are the direct removal of fish from the sea.
Depending on the type of fish, this can have different impacts on the marine community.
Removal of top predators can seriously disturb trophic dynamics, potentially causing an
imbalance in predator, prey, herbivore, and detritivore communities. Removal of
herbivorous fish can dramatically alter the balance between algal and coral communities.
During the workshop process, legal full-time commercial fishers were NOT identified as
the main source of this critical threat. In fact, it was noted, that many of these fishers
actively work to conserve the fish resources on St. Croix, in order to sustain the fishery
for future use. It was agreed that illegal fishing tends to cause the most damage.
However, certain less selective gear types tend to exacerbate these problems.

4.2 Stakeholder Diagrams

In examining the critical threats, it is also important to consider the major stakeholders
that contribute in both positive and negative ways. A stakeholder analysis is an integral
part of site planning, designed to insure that strategies are formulated with adequate
knowledge of the stakeholder situation issues surrounding the site. During the workshop
process, conceptual diagrams were created to explain the complex interactions that exist
between activities and stakeholders. These diagrams provide a broad range of
information regarding the relevant stakeholders and their effects on focal systems, thus
helping site planners to determine which stakeholders need to be most involved in
strategy implementation to achieve goals. A stakeholder-situation diagram is a mapping
exercise in which the relationships between the critical threat, the stakeholders, and the
forces that drive their behavior, are spatially represented and linked. These diagrams
provide a visualization of the direct and indirect relationships between stakeholders and
the critical threats, and the structure of influences motivating stakeholders (see Appendix
C for an explanation of the diagram format). The diagrams were developed in work
groups for the three main threats: Incompatible Upland Development, Incompatible
Fishing Practices, and Recreation Impacts (see Appendix C for diagrams).









5. STRATEGIES

5.1 Priority Strategies

The way we respond, or fail to respond, to the critical threats and persistent stresses, will
very likely be the single most important factor affecting the long-term viability of the
Park. The ultimate objective of a management strategy is to reduce the stresses that are
degrading and creating impairment (or have the potential to do so), and thus lowering the
viability of important communities, systems, and species (The Nature Conservancy
2000). Both restoration and threat abatement serve to improve the viability of such
entities. Strategies that build capacity, engage stakeholders, and/or promote policy
actions are also important in improving the viability of the marine communities of the
East End Marine Park.

In developing the course of action for this Park, several different types of strategies will
be used (see Chapter 7 for Action Plans associated with these strategies). Strategies that
focus on management of the area, more specifically the management entity, structure,
and responsibility, are addressed in the design of the Park. These strategies fall within
the category of Best Management Practices, and have been used in the implementation of
similar Marine Parks within the United States. Zoning strategies have been developed
that are designed to abate threats across the board, by managing commercial, recreational,
and scientific activities in a very direct manner. Designating specific areas for certain
activities addresses user conflicts, as well as serving to protect marine resources from
overuse. Restoration strategies will be employed that protect and manage wetlands, to
ensure continued viability as filters and nursery habitats. These strategies will take the
form of special initiatives that emphasize the importance of wetlands to both terrestrial
and marine communities. Monitoring and research strategies will help to support all
other activities by providing much needed information about the dynamics and status of
these fragile marine systems. Such strategies will serve as measures of success for the
Marine Park (see Chapter 8). Finally, threat-specific strategies that focus on critical
threats identified through the workshop process will contribute to a broad range of
activities, all designed to result in a successful marine park. The threat-specific strategies
addressed in this chapter are better described as management guidelines, and are meant to
provide rationale for Action Plans discussed in Chapter 7.

To begin, workshop participants focused on the critical threats identified previously, and
developed a list of potential strategies. The main issues highlighted during this process
were lack of enforcement due to lack of resources; lack of education about marine
resources and destructive activities; lack of appropriate regulations; and a strained
commercial fishing industry lacking necessary resources. Given these themes, the
strategies were then combined under the following strategy categories:

* Develop, adopt, and enforce development regulations
* Develop and implement a long-term education program
* Review/revise fishing regulatory program









Promote fishing shift from reefs to pelagic/highly migratory species and fishing
guide activities

The strategies developed can and should be expanded as time and resources allow. Those
highlighted in this Management Plan are intended to be the foundation of a diverse
portfolio of strategies and actions, leading to the successful implementation of the Park.

Strategy 1: Strictly enforce development regulations

When appropriate regulations are created and enforced, the regulatory system becomes an
effective tool that provides structure and stability to management efforts. Both
commercial and residential development, as well as road building, road improvement,
and gut maintenance, should be carefully reviewed when those activities affect the
associated fragile marine ecosystems. Permits granted for land movement and similar
activities should receive greater scrutiny within the area bordering the Park. Minimizing
the impacts of land development will decrease the devastating effects of erosion (i.e.,
increased sediment and nutrient loads) on seagrass and coral reef communities.
Additionally, careful review and appropriate enforcement of land development activities
that affect nearby wetlands (i.e., mangrove communities and salt ponds), should prevent
further loss of essential habitat for juvenile fish and wading birds.

Strategy 2: Develop and implement a long-term education program

Many of the threats identified during the planning process can be addressed through
education and outreach programs. The success of this Park relies heavily on community
participation and understanding of the ultimate goal, as well as how an individual's
actions directly impact the marine communities that surround St. Croix. Working with
community groups, dive shop operators, boaters, schools, fishers, tour operators,
hoteliers, and government agencies will help in gaining community support, as well as
distribute essential information throughout the community at all levels. With increased
information and education, decreases in garbage dumping, boating damage, diver damage
(i.e., fin damage), turtle poaching, and illegal fishing activities are expected. Such
educational programs can be developed and implemented by multiple government
agencies, as well as non-government organizations.

Strategy 3: Review/revise fishing regulatory program

Both historic and current fishing practices have a significant impact on the health of the
coral reefs and associated flora and fauna. Finding a balance between protecting and
preserving fishery resources for future use, as well as preserving fishing as a livelihood,
is critical to the success of the Park. Recent efforts by local fishers and government
officials to review and revise current fishing regulations for all territorial waters
surrounding St. Croix, have raised concerns among the fishing community. In making
changes, it is important to emphasize the ultimate goal, benefits, and likely outcome; in
order to generate support and avoid misunderstandings, and misplaced opposition. The
changes under consideration are positive, and help ensure that fish populations will thrive









in the very near future, as well as be available to future generations. New regulations,
coupled with effective enforcement, will decrease the likelihood of fish population
collapses and commercial and ecological extinction. This will, in turn, help to maintain
the balance of carnivorous and herbivorous fishes that control reef community structure
and composition.

Strategy 4: Promote fishing shift from reefs to pelagic/highly migratory
species and fishing guide activities

Promoting a fishing shift from fragile reef systems to pelagic species, such as dolphin
fish (i.e., Coryphaenidae spp.), that are known to reproduce and reach market size
relatively rapidly, will help to accomplish at least two goals. The obvious result would
be the reduction in fishing pressure on susceptible reef species. Reduction in fishing
pressure has at least two significant effects: (1) reduction in overall numbers of fish
removed; (2) reduction in reef damage from fishing gear (i.e., discarded traps, lines, and
nets). Herbivorous fish such as parrotfish and doctor fish (i.e., scarids and acanthurids)
make up large portions of the total catch in fish traps. Therefore, a reduction in the use of
fish traps will have a positive effect on herbivorous fish populations. Maintaining a
healthy herbivorous fish population is a key element in the effort to control algal growth
that otherwise threatens to overtake the coral reefs. Because some fishing methods used
are generally highly selective, commercial fishers are able to catch entire breeding
schools of parrotfish in one set (W. Tobias, pers. comm.), an increase in reef fish
biodiversity and abundance would likely occur with a reduction in fishing pressure.
Additionally, developing and promoting new fishing activities such as a recreational
guide fishery has the potential to open new markets for the fishing industry. A
recreational guide fishery could be developed in the coastal waters of St. Croix, focused
on such species as permit, snook, tarpon, and bonefish, thereby providing new jobs for
commercial fishermen displaced by Marine Park zoning.









6. MARINE PARK OFFICE

6.1 Site Leadership and Support

Currently, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources carries the responsibility
for the EEMP, with the Division of Coastal Zone Management playing the primary role.
Because the scope of activities within CZM is broad, as is their jurisdiction, it is
recommended that a separate unit be created for the management of this Park. For the
purposes of this Management Plan, this office has been named the East End Marine Park
Office (EEMPO). This office (or division) would be focused entirely on issues related to
the EEMP, and could eventually function similarly to Magens Bay Authority in St.
Thomas. In the beginning, the EEMPO will function through CZM. However, it is
important that the EEMPO function independently, thus ensuring focus entirely on Park
activities. CZM already plans to develop a new office that addresses marine areas of the
coastal zone, with the purpose being to implement the U.S. All Island Coral Reef
Initiative Strategy and U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Plan. This EEMPO should be under
the new office proposed by CZM, which eventually will expand to include all managed
areas, or serve as headquarters for the network of managed areas throughout the U.S.V.I..
The staff required to operate the EEMPO include: Park manager/director, field
biologistss, field assistantss, enforcement officers, licensing coordinator, education and
outreach personnel, and maintenance personnel. EEMPO staff would be responsible for
EEMP operations, enforcement of regulations, review of development activities as they
pertain to the Park, monitoring of public use, monitoring of biological communities,
education and outreach programs, and development of new Action Plans. Specific
EEMPO activities and responsibilities are described in Chapters 7 and 8.

6.2 Marine Park Advisory Committee

In addition to an independent EEMPO, the Marine Park Advisory Committee should
continue to be an active participant, by providing periodic consultation, evaluating
effectiveness, reviewing progress, approving work plans, and contributing to budget
plans. The composition of this committee is likely to change over time, but should
always include representatives from involved government agencies, local scientists; and
stakeholder groups such as fishermen, tour operators, boaters, hoteliers, and non-profit
organizations. It is critical that this committee represent the entire spectrum of
stakeholders in order for the Park to be successful. Stakeholder representatives serve to
keep the local population informed on current activities, as well as provide a different
perspective when developing Management Plans. Additionally, community involvement
will increase support and understanding of EEMPO activities.

6.3 Site Constituency

Including stakeholders from the beginning is critical to the success of the Park. The
objectives of public participation include:









* Inclusion of concerns and priorities of stakeholders in the management process
* Increase the cooperation of stakeholders in implementation of the plan
* Increase the sense of ownership of the plan and final result
* Increase the understanding of and commitment to the plan
* Provide access to local knowledge, resources, and assistance
* Increase the public and political support for the plan and associated activities

Getting stakeholders involved can be approached in several ways, including: one-on-one
meetings, small discussion groups or workshops, and public meetings (see 7.3 for
details). Continuous exchanges of information and ideas will help to increase the
likelihood that stakeholders will support plan efforts, and even more desirable, become
active participants in the process. Educating the public about how the plan was
developed, how it will affect them, when they will see results, and how it will ultimately
benefit them, should be a continuous activity in the first several years of plan
implementation. Providing such information engages the stakeholder groups, and will
increase overall local public support. This support will ultimately result in acceptance of
and adherence to the rules of the Park. Additionally, general environmental awareness
among all members of the community is necessary for success, and can be accomplished
through education and outreach efforts detailed previously. Different types of engaging
activities as well as educational materials are outlined in the Action Plans in Chapter 7.









7. ACTION PLANS

When considering Action Plans for a park, it is important to consider activities that will
produce high benefits with the greatest chance of success, and affordable costs.
Successful implementation depends on many variables, but the most critical involve
identifying the right person or institution to take responsibility to implement the strategy;
and awareness that the more complex the strategy or action, the more likely it is that
unanticipated events will affect the outcome. The actions outlined in this Management
Plan are a combination of Best Management Practices and those developed during
community workshops. They are intended to serve as the foundation for future related
actions that will contribute to the success of the Park.

The following Action Plans outline the process for implementing the Management Plan
strategies. The Action Plans are composed of several management strategies with
common management objectives, and present the initial outline of the steps required for
implementation. They provide an organized structure and process for implementing
management strategies, including a description of the activities required, institutions
involved, and requirements necessary for implementation. Detailed information
regarding restricted activities and required tasks must be developed for each strategy
prior to implementation. Further public input will be solicited to define the details of
park use and regulations.

Action Plans provide only preliminary implementation and funding guidelines, and their
parameters may change in the future. They present only the planned actions considered
necessary to address the threats confronting the East End Marine Park. Another
limitation relates to the timing, cost, funding, and personnel requirements for each plan.
Given the uncertainties in the planning stage, this information represents an estimate, as
more detailed information cannot be provided at this time. These estimates must be
refined closer to the time of strategy implementation.

7.1 Navigational/Boundary Marking

The strategies in this Action Plan are designed to establish effective navigational and
boundary marking system for boaters and other resource users within the Park. This is a
Best Management Practice that will establish a standardized system of signage to be used
throughout the Park. The Navigational/Boundary Marking Program is comprised of two
strategies. First, the Navigational Marking strategy will identify areas that require
navigational markings; as well as install the markers and develop a maintenance program.
Second, the Boundary Marking strategy will identify Park boundaries, install markers and
develop a maintenance program, using a geographic information system (GIS). The
locations of the navigational and boundary markers will be incorporated into GIS
database to be maintained by the Marine Park Office. Marking the reefs will minimize
the damage done to shallow-water resources throughout the Park. In addition,
implementation of the plan will facilitate enforcement action against damaging effects to
the Park, resulting from inappropriate boating or fishing activities and thereby address
Recreation Impacts, as a threat to the health of the management targets









7.1.1 Navigational Marking Strategy


Activity 1: Inventory and GeoReference Areas Requiring Navigational Markings.
Identify areas requiring navigational markings within the Park. A major component of
this activity will include the development of a GIS database of marker locations. This
activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed
in Year 1. This activity has a medium priority.

Activity 2: Implement Navigational Marking Program. Based on the results of
Activity 1, place markers within the Park. The type of anchor device used will be
determined by the substrate where the marker is placed. This activity will be
implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This
activity has a medium priority.

Activity 3: Develop Navigational Marker Maintenance Program. A marker
maintenance program will be developed and implemented to ensure the upkeep of the
navigational markers. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or
subcontracted, and completed in Year 1, and then be ongoing. This activity has a medium
priority.

7.1.2 Boundary Marking Strategy

Activity 1: Inventory and GeoReference Areas Requiring Boundary Markings.
Using GIS, identify Park boundaries. A major component of this activity will include the
development of a GIS database of marker locations. This activity will be implemented
by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This activity has a
high priority.

Activity 2: Implement Boundary Marking Program. Place markers along the
boundary of the Park at a spacing of 800 yards, or as determined by the Marine Park
Office. The type of anchor device used will be determined by the substrate where the
marker is placed. Signs will be placed on the beach at 100-yard intervals, or as
determined by the Marine Park Office, indicating that the offshore waters and beaches to
the high water mark (or vegetation line) are within the boundaries of the East End Marine
Park. Signs will also be placed along the roads. Signs will indicate any restrictions, per
resource use zones. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or
subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Develop Boundary Marker Maintenance Program. A marker
maintenance program will be developed and implemented to ensure the upkeep of the
boundary markers. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or
subcontracted, and completed in Year 1, and then be ongoing. This activity has a high
priority.









7.1.3 Implementation


Schedule. Table 2 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Navigational/Boundary Marking Program. Most activities in the strategy
are expected to be completed in Year 1. However, the maintenance of markers will be a
continuous process.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Navigational/Boundary Marking
Program are expected to be approximately $350,000 over five years. The bulk of these
costs are associated with the placement and maintenance of the markers throughout the
Park on both land and sea. The estimated cost of each activity is provided in Table 2.
Currently, no funds have been identified for the implementation of these strategies and
activities. See Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.

Personnel. It is estimated that the implementation of the Navigational/Boundary
Marking Program will require approximately 50 percent of two full-time Park
Maintenance staff positions (each position with an annual salary of $25,000, or $25,000
applied to this strategy). These staff positions will also be utilized in the implementation
and maintenance of the Zoning Marking Program and Mooring Buoy Program. For
budgeting purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has been added to each annual salary. The
benefits package covers employee health, vacation, sick, and retirement benefits.
Furthermore, a three percent annual increase in salary has been budgeted.

Equipment. The Navigational/Boundary Marking Program will require the use of a boat
for both implementation and maintenance. It is estimated that the Program will require
approximately 50 percent of the use of this boat after installation for maintenance
($50,000 total cost for boat, or $25,000 applied to this strategy). This boat will also be
utilized in the implementation and maintenance of the Zoning Marking Program and
Mooring Buoy Program. It is estimated that the program will require 60 boundary and
navigational buoys (for a total cost of $24,000 with installation, or $400 per buoy) and up
to 360 signs (for a total maximum cost of $36,000 with installation, or $100 per sign).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The effectiveness of the
Navigational/Boundary Marking Program will be evaluated based on how many proposed
markers are installed and maintained each year. Also, the success of the program will be
based on surveys indicating that Park users are aware of the Park boundaries (e.g. survey
takers able to identify park boundaries on a map), and based on the number of boat
groundings within the Park (e.g. the lower the number of boat groundings the higher the
effectiveness of the Navigational Marker Program).










Table 1. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Navigational/Boundary
Marking Program




0 O

Strategy/Activity F /
IZ, /0I I


Navigational Marking
Inventory and GeoReference Areas
Implement Navigational Marker Program
Develop Navigational Marker Maintenance Program
Boundary Marking
Inventory and GeoReference Areas
Implement Boundary Marker Program
Develop Boundary Marker Maintenance Program


Table 2. Requirements for Implementation of Navigational/Boundary


Marking Program


0

aaa-)
c6 -o -o


Strategy/Activity C /- o 4 G G o' 4

Navigational Marking 138 0.5
Inventory and GeoReference Areas High 1 No 10
Implement Navigational Marker Program High 1 No 42
Develop Navigational Marker Maintenance Program High 1-5 No 86
Boundary Marking 210 0.5
Inventory and GeoReference Areas High 1 No 10
Implement Boundary Marker Program High 1 No 78
Develop Boundary Marker Maintenance Program High 1-5 No 122



7.2 Enforcement

The primary law enforcement objective in the Park is to achieve resource protection by
gaining compliance with the Park regulations, and other Federal and Territorial statutes
that apply within the East End Marine Park. An enforcement program is one of the tools
available to managers of marine protected areas, and is a Best Management Practice.
This program can compliment other management programs, such as research and
education, and lead to increased levels of success. Successful enforcement will require
resource managers to commit to enforcement programs that are properly supervised and
funded. Combined with proper recruitment, training, equipment, policy, and guidelines,
these criteria form the basis of a professional law enforcement operation.

The enforcement philosophy should be that preventive enforcement is best achieved by
maintaining sufficient patrol presence within the Park to deter violations and by


X x
X x x
X x x


~-~


X a a A .. .









preventing, through education, inadvertent violations of the law. Successful enforcement
relies on frequent water patrols, and routine vessel boardings and inspections. Water
patrols will ensure that Park users are familiar with Park regulations, deter willful or
inadvertent violations of the law, and provide quick response to violations and/or
emergencies. Park officers should have the capability to investigate, document, and
assess Park fines.

The success of Park enforcement will depend on how well the enforcement entities on St.
Croix are coordinated. Because of limited resources at the Federal, Territorial and Park
level, enforcement assets must be targeted and used in an efficient and directed effort to
achieve compliance with existing and proposed regulations. The coordination of
enforcement assets will be an integral component of the management of the Park.
Interagency agreements among other enforcement entities on St. Croix should be
developed, including the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Coast
Guard, Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (Enforcement
Division) and the Virgin Islands Police Department.

This Action Plan contains only two strategies: the enforcement program and interagency
agreements. Implementation of this Action Plan addresses Incompatible Fishing
Practices as a threat to the health of the management targets.

7.2.1 Enforcement Program

Activity 1: Hire and Train Park Enforcement/Interpretive Officers. Given the need
to have a regular presence in the Park, including regular water patrols, it will be
necessary to hire at least four Enforcement/Interpretive Officers, one of whom should be
made a supervisor of the Enforcement Team. This will permit at least two
Enforcement/Interpretive Officers to be on duty seven days a week. Given their intimate
knowledge of the Park, the Marine Park Office should seek to hire qualified local
fishermen as Enforcement/Interpretive Officers. The Enforcement/Interpretive Officers
should receive training as Marine Park Enforcement Officers as well as Marine Park
Interpreters. Officers will be the primary contact and information source for Park users
and should be well versed in the goals and activities of the EEMP. This activity will be
implemented by the Marine Park Office, and completed in Year 1. This activity has a
high priority.

7.2.2 Interagency Agreements

Activity 1: Develop Interagency Agreements. An effective Park enforcement program
requires the establishment of interagency agreements with the various enforcement
entities in St. Croix. These agreements will set forth Federal, Territorial and Park
enforcement authority among all officers for enforcement within the Marine Park.
Interagency agreements should be established between the Marine Park Office and the
National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Coast Guard, Virgin Islands
Department of Planning and Natural Resources (Enforcement Division) and the Virgin
Islands Police Department. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office









in conjunction with the other agencies and completed in Year 1. This activity has a
medium priority.

Activity 2: Develop Standard Operating Procedures. This will increase the efficiency
and effectiveness of the enforcement efforts. It will establish coordination and
cooperation among agencies, and increase interagency communication by: scheduling
staff and equipment efficiently among agencies, developing a process for handling
violations, and standardizing radio communications. This activity will be implemented by
the Marine Park Office, in conjunction with the other agencies, and completed in Year 2.
This activity has a low priority.

Activity 3: Develop Standard Training Program. A training program should be
established to enable various enforcement agencies to educate each other about their
respective statutes and codes. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park
Office in conjunction with the other agencies, completed in Year 2, and then be ongoing.
This activity has a low priority.

7.2.3 Implementation

Schedule. Table 4 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Enforcement Program. Most activities in the strategy are expected to be
completed by Year 2. However, the Enforcement Program in the Park will be
continuous.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Enforcement Program are expected to
be approximately $1.2 million over five years. The bulk of these costs are associated
with the hiring and retention of Enforcement/Interpretive Officers for the Park. The
estimated cost of each activity is provided in Table 4. Currently, approximately half the
funds for the first two years have been identified for the implementation of these
strategies and activities. See Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.

Personnel. The implementation of the Enforcement Program will require four full-time
Enforcement/Interpretive Officer staff positions ($30,000 annual salary per officer and
$40,000 annual salary for the supervisor). This includes one Enforcement/Interpretive
Officer in a supervisory role. For budgeting purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has been
added to each annual salary. The benefits package covers employee health, vacation,
sick, and retirement benefits. Furthermore, a three percent annual increase in salary has
been budgeted.

Equipment. The Enforcement Program will require a high performance vessel with
trailer ($75,000) and vehicle ($25,000). Each Officer will have to be equipped with
enforcement gear ($6,000 total). Each Officer must be formally trained ($40,000 total).
Potentially, these Officers may be trained at the Florida Marine Patrol Law Enforcement
Academy and then participate in annual training programs.










Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. A system will have to be designed
to evaluate the effectiveness of the Enforcement Program. Evaluations will be done on a
monthly and annual basis. Evaluations should be based on the reduction of citations
issued for violations of Marine Park rules and regulations, which would indicate
increased knowledge of both the Marine Park and its rules and regulations.


Table 3. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Enforcement Program


4
Uf


Strategy/Activity /

Enforcement Program
Hire and Train MPA Enforcement/Interpretive Officers X
Interagency Agreements
Develop Interagency Agreements X x x x x x
Develop Standard Operating Procedures X x x x x x
Develop Standard Training Program X x x x x x


Table 4. Requirements for Implementation of Enforcement Program


0~


O t
/ /


"I
"I;
0
0

-0
a,2


0
SCo


Strategy/Activity

Enforcement Program 1,202 4
Hire and Train MPA Enforcement/Interpretive Officers High 1 Some 1,202
Interagency Agreements 20
Develop Interagency Agreements Medium 1 No 5
Develop Standard Operating Procedures Low 2 No 5
Develop Standard Training Program Low 2 No 10_



7.3 Education & Outreach

The diverse habitats, resources and unique setting of the East End Marine Park offer
opportunities for the interpretation of marine tropical environments. Education and
outreach strategies fall into two categories: community involvement/community program
strategies, and product development strategies. The first group includes education and
outreach strategies designed as interactive programs for user groups. Strategies that
result in the development of specific products, providing a mechanism for public
education and outreach, are included in the second group.













Education and outreach have been used as tools in resource protection throughout the
world. The goals of this Action Plan are: (1) to facilitate environmental education
opportunities for all segments of society, (2) to promote a holistic view of the Park
ecosystem as an interrelated and interdependent system of habitats, (3) to encourage and
promote a sense of user stewardship regarding the marine environment, and (4) to
promote the awareness of and support for the East End Marine Park. This will be done
through community partners in education, outreach, awareness, enforcement, and
management. Implementation of this Action Plan directly addresses Recreation Impacts
and Incompatible Fishing Practices as threats to the health of the management targets.

7.3.1 Community Involvement/Community Program

Activity 1: School Programs. The strategy will promote and support environmental
education in Territorial schools. Park staff will develop grade-appropriate environmental
education materials, provide natural resources field trips, and provide educators with
information regarding Park resources. While engaging in this activity, Park staff should
take advantage of the network of educators and institutions already in place. This activity
will be implemented by the Marine Park Office and completed in Year 2, and then be
ongoing. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: Special Events. Organize, support, and/or participate in special events that
allow for the exchange of Park information. Examples include a large-scale social event
to announce the Park's "Grand Opening," or designing and implementing a "Park
Awareness Week" designed to raise awareness of the Park, and generate a sense of
ownership for the resources of the Park. This activity will be implemented by the Marine
Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1, and then be ongoing. This
activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Public Forum. Establish a program to ensure public involvement throughout
St. Croix in Park activities, by holding public meetings and promoting Park awareness to
extracurricular groups. Park staff will make presentations, promoting dialogue between
Park staff and the public. This activity will enhance communication between Park staff
and the public, provide periodic public input, and provide an opportunity to educate the
public about current management issues. This activity will be implemented by the Marine
Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1, and then be ongoing. This
activity has a high priority.

7.3.2 Product Development

Activity 1: Printed Materials. Develop printed materials to inform the public about the
impact of their activities, both land and water-related, on the Park's resources and
environmental quality. Materials may include brochures, posters, newsletters, and
contributions to periodicals. Distribute materials in bulk to high interception locations,
such as marinas, dive shops, hotels, airports, tourism offices, and schools. This activity









will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year
1, and then be ongoing. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: Audio-Visual Materials. Develop audio-visual materials to educate the
public about the impact of their activities, both land and water-related, on the Park's
resources and environmental quality. Distribute materials to schools and other public
forums. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted,
and completed in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Public Service Announcements. Establish a program to promote the Park
goals and activities through public service announcements in St. Croix that present an
overview of the Park, its resources, and their ecological significance, for routine
distribution to radio, television and newspapers. This activity will be implemented by the
Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1, and then be ongoing.
This activity has a high priority.

7.3.3 Implementation

Schedule. Table 6 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Education and Outreach Program. A number of the activities in the
strategy are expected to be completed in Year 1. However, Program implementation will
be continuous.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Education and Outreach Program are
expected to be approximately $620,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are
associated with the hiring and retention of Education and Outreach Coordinator for the
Park and printing of Park Informational Materials. The estimated cost of each activity is
provided in Table 6. No funds have been identified to implement this Program. See
Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.

Personnel. The implementation of the Education and Outreach Program will require one
full time Education and Outreach Coordinator staff position ($30,000 annual salary).

Equipment. The Education and Outreach Program will require basic office equipment
(computer, furniture, etc) and supplies ($7,000).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The Education and Outreach
Program will be evaluated based on the development of printed materials, audio-visual
materials, and public service announcements. The Program will also be evaluated by
assessing:
The demand for information, products and programs;
The level of media exposure;
The level of awareness of target audiences (e.g., fishermen, children);
Public attitudes towards the Park;
Whether the level of compliance with zoning and regulatory provisions increases
or decreases.










Table 5. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Education/Outreach Program


0
AL


LLE


0


StrategyActivi-ty / /c1 /c

Community Involvement/Community Program
School Programs X x x x x x
Special Events X x x x x x
Public Forum X x x x x x
Product Development
Printed Materials X
Audio-Visual Materials X
PSAs X


Table 6. Requirements for Implementation of Education and Outreach Program


0
0
/ '
/ a
c


_/ 1
-Q
/jr


/?


N
o ~
o ~*
~-o ~*
I '- Q)


Strategy/Activity 4 / ~ o G

Community Involvement/Community Program 289 1
School Programs High 2-5 No 239
Special Events High 1-5 No 25
Public Forum Hi 1-5 No 25
Product Development 350
Printed Materials High 1-5 No 275
Audio-Visual Materials High 1 No 50
PSAs High 1-5 No 25



7.4 Use Regulation

The primary purpose of regulating activities affecting Park resources or characteristics is
to protect, preserve, and manage the area's conservation, ecological, recreational,
research, educational, historical, and aesthetic resources and characteristics. Another
purpose is to minimize conflicts among users of these resources.

The goals of this Action Plan are: (1) to establish a comprehensive and coordinated
regulatory program for the East End Marine Park to ensure the protection and use of the
Park resources in a manner that complements existing regulatory authorities; (2) to
facilitate all public and private uses of the Park that are consistent with the primary
objective of resource protection; and (3) to utilize systems of temporal and geographic
zoning that will ensure effective, site-specific resource protection, and user management.


rnkd. d. IA d. d


rnkd. d. IA d. d










The format of this Action Plan is unlike the others in this document. The Action Plan
outlines how management strategies should be incorporated into regulations that do not
yet exist. In other words, this section outlines proposed regulations specific to the Park
that represent Best Management Practices. Furthermore, implementation of this Action
Plan directly addresses Recreation Impacts, Incompatible Upland Development and
Incompatible Fishing Practices as threats to the health of the management targets.

7.4.1 Submerged Land Use

Activity 1: Dredging Prohibition. Upon review of existing code, this strategy will
prohibit any new dredge and fill activities within the Park. This activity will be
implemented by DPNR, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a low priority.

7.4.2 Recreation

Activity 1: Coral Touching. This strategy will protect coral communities from damage
by prohibiting coral touching in the Park. This activity will be implemented by DPNR
and completed after Year 1. This activity has a medium priority.

7.4.3 Boating

Activity 1: Boat Groundings. Upon review of existing code, a standard response plan
will be developed to address boat groundings throughout the Park. This activity will be
implemented by DPNR, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a medium priority.

Activity 2: Pollution Discharges. Upon review of existing code, this strategy will help
avoid further water quality degradation in the Park caused by boaters and live-aboards, by
requiring them to use holding tanks and prohibiting the discharge of substances, other
than finfish waste and exhaust, into nearshore waters. This activity will be implemented
by DPNR, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a low priority.

Activity 3: Special-use Permits. This strategy allows the issuance of Special-use
permits to conduct concession-type or commercial activities, including dive shops,
guided fishing, and guided tours, within the Park under certain conditions. Activities
conducted under Special-use Permits will be monitored, and permit conditions enforced.
Individuals and institutions conducting scientific research within the Park will also be
required to obtain Special-use permits. As a condition to conduct research in the Marine
Park, copies of all research products produced must be provided to the Marine Park
Office. Fees collected from the Special-use Permits will be used for operation of the
Marine Park. Initially, these fees will be run through DPNR's financial management
system. If an independent Park Authority is created, these fees would be run through the
Park Authority's central management structure. This activity will be implemented by
EEMPO in conjunction with DPNR, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a
medium priority.









Activity 4: Salvaging/Towing. This strategy will reduce damage to natural resources
resulting from improper vessel salvage methods by developing standard vessel salvage
procedures, including: obtaining a permit, notifying authorities, where appropriate,
having an authorized observer at the site or receiving permission to proceed, providing
operator training, and promoting the use of environmentally sound salvaging and towing
practices and techniques. This strategy will also address the removal of existing derelict
vessels within the Park. This activity will be implemented by DPNR and completed after
Year 1. This activity has a low priority.

Activity 5: Vessel Operations/Personal Watercraft Management. This strategy
addresses impacts to Park resources, and conflicts among users of the Park, resulting
from vessel operations-- including personal watercraft. This strategy requires the review
and revision, if necessary, of existing code to impose a number of restrictions, including:
a prohibition on the operation of vessels in a manner which injures coral, seagrasses and
hardbottom habitats throughout the Park; on operating vessels carelessly or recklessly; on
all vessels from operating at speeds greater than idle speed only; and requirements of no
wake in areas designated as "idle speed", no wake within 100 yards of residential
shorelines and stationary vessels, or within 100 feet of the red and white "divers down"
flag; no wake within 100 yards of navigational aids indicating shallow or emergent reefs;
as well as prohibitions on all vesselss from operating in such a manner as to injure, harass,
or cause disturbance to wading, roosting, or nesting birds or marine mammals. This
activity will be implemented by DPNR and completed after Year 1. This activity has a
medium priority.

7.4.4 Fishing

Activity 1: Review of Fishing Regulations. This strategy should provide for the review
of current VI fishing regulations, and the development of new fisheries regulations in the
Park. Regulations should be developed requiring the use of low-impact gear and methods
in the Park. Regulations restricting certain types of fishing may be developed. This
activity will be implemented by DPNR, Department of Law, National Park Service, and
the Fisheries Advisory Council, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a high
priority.

Activity 2: Licensing Program. This strategy should provide for the review of the
current licensing program, and the design and implementation of a new licensing
program, with separate licenses for recreational and commercial fisherman. In addition, it
will be necessary to determine the appropriate number of licenses for both recreational
and commercial fisherman that may be issued for use. This activity will be implemented
by DPNR and the Fisheries Advisory Council, and completed after Year 1. This activity
has a high priority.

7.4.5 Implementation

Schedule. Table 8 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Regulatory Program. All of these activities in the strategy are expected to









be completed by Year 2. However implementation and enforcement of the regulations
developed by the Program will be continuous.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Regulatory Program are expected to
be approximately $325,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are associated with
the hiring of contractors to perform a review of existing Virgin Islands code, the
development of new code for the Park, and the hiring of a Licensing Coordinator. The
estimated cost of each activity is provided in Table 8. While no funds have been
identified to implement this Program, the implementation of the proposed licensing
programs should generate sufficient funds to more than cover the cost of implementing
the licensing program, and provide funds to implement other unfunded strategies. See
Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.

Personnel. The implementation of the Regulatory Program will require one full-time
Licensing Coordinator staff position ($30,000 annual salary). The Licensing Coordinator
will be responsible for coordinating both the Special-use and fishing license permits for
the Park. For budgeting purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has been added to each
annual salary. The benefits package covers employee health, vacation, sick, and
retirement benefits. Furthermore, a three percent annual increase in salary has been
budgeted.

Equipment. The Licensing Coordinator will require basic office equipment (computer,
furniture, etc.) and supplies ($9,000).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The Regulatory Program will be
evaluated based on reduced impact to the biological systems within the Marine Park, as
measured in the Research and Monitoring Program. Also, the Regulatory Program will
be evaluated based on the revenue generated for the operation of the Marine Park, via the
Special-use Permitting.











Table 7. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Regulatory Program


0


Strategy/Activity 1s : / / / / / /


Submerged Land Use
Dredging Prohibition X x x x x
Dredging Regulation X x x x x
Recreation
Coral Touching X x x _____ x x
Boating
Boat Groundings X x x x x
Pollution Discharges X x x x x
Special-Use Permits x x X x x
Salvaging/Towing X x x x x
Vessel Onperations/PWC Mananement X x x X
Fishing
Review of Fishing Regulations X x x x x x
Licensing Program x x X x x x


Table 8. Requirements for Implementation of Regulatory


QU
-j


. ... i L .;_ ;. -


0
-0
0


Program


-Q)
a.,


Q 0


0


Strategy/Jctivity O L /

Submerged Land Use 10
Dredging Prohibition Low 2+ No 5
Dredging Regulation Low 2+ No 5
Recreation 5
Coral Touching Med 2+ No 5
Boating 156 0.5
Boat Groundings Med 2+ No 5
Pollution Discharges Low 2+ No 5
Special-Use Permits High 2+ No 136 0.5
Salvaging/Towing Low 2+ No 5
Vessel Operations/PWC Management Med 2+ No 5
Fishing 151 0.5
Review of Fishing Regulations High 2+ No 15
Licensing Program High 2+ No 136 0.5












7.5 Fisheries Liaison Office


Opening a Fisheries Liaison Office would help to support and promote a shift of
commercial fishing from reefs to pelagic/highly migratory species. Catch and release
fishing would help to minimize the damage to coral reefs and other marine resources,
resulting from incompatible fishing practices within the Park. The Fisheries Liaison
Office would focus on such activities as supporting the acquisition and deployment of
Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) outside of the Park, providing training to commercial
fisherman as fly fishing guides for catch and release, and identifying opportunities for
commercial fishermen.

This plan will further the Park's goal of protecting and managing the Park's natural
resources, by shifting fishing from sensitive marine habitats, specifically, coral reef
formations and the organisms that rely on them. Furthermore, this plan will provide real
economic benefits and options to the fishermen, who rely on the waters inside and
outside of the Park, for their economic livelihood. Implementation of this Action Plan
addresses Incompatible Fishing Practices as a threat to the health of the management
targets.

7.5.1 Promote Fishing Pressure Shift

Activity 1: Fisheries Liaison Office. Open a Fisheries Liaison Office, staffed with a
Fisheries Liaison Officer. Placement of the Fisheries Liaison Office will need to be
determined, but it is suggested that it and its staff be housed in the Department of
Planning and Natural Resources. The Fisheries Liaison Officer will be responsible for
coordinating its activities with appropriate Federal and Territorial agencies, and the
Fisheries Advisory Council. Such activities may include supporting the FAD program,
liaising with fishing cooperatives, training opportunities for commercial fishermen such
as long-line training, and pursuing opportunities for Virgin Island waters to be opened to
hand line fishing of sharks and swordfish. This activity will be implemented by DPNR
and completed in Year 1 and then be ongoing. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: FADs. Fish Aggregation Devices have been placed in the waters off of St.
Croix, outside of the East End Marine Park, successfully shifting fishing pressure away
from reefs within the Park. Installing more FADs would continue to aid in the shift of
fishing pressure away from reefs within the Park, to pelagic/highly migratory species that
are attracted to the FADs. A FAD maintenance program will be developed and
implemented to ensure the upkeep of the FADs. This activity will be implemented by the
Division of Fish and Wildlife, supported by the newly created Fisheries Liaison Office,
and completed in Year 1 and then be ongoing. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Fly Fishing Guide Training. Promoting fly fishing of catch and release fish,
such as bonefish, tarpon, permit and snook, has been demonstrated as an effective means









of shifting fishing pressure from reefs. Even more important, visiting fly fishermen are
willing to pay top dollar for knowledgeable guides. Providing fly fishing guide training
to commercial fishermen, who are already knowledgeable of the waters in the Park, and
actively promoting fly fishing of catch and release species, will provide alternative
income to commercial fishermen, and has even been demonstrated to replace full-time
commercial fishing in many instances. This activity will be implemented by the newly
created Fisheries Liaison Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This
activity has a high priority.

7.5.2 Implementation

Schedule. Table 10 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Fisheries Liaison Office Program. Most of these activities in the strategy
are expected to be completed by Year 1. However, the operation of the Fisheries Liaison
Office and introduction of FADs will be continuous.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Fisheries Liaison Office Program are
expected to be approximately $380,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are
associated with the hiring and retention of a Fisheries Liaison Officer staff position. The
estimated cost of each activity is provided in Table 10. See Appendix G for detailed
annual budgets.

Personnel. The implementation of the Regulatory Program will require one full-time
Fisheries Liaison Officer staff position ($40,000 annual salary). This position will be not
be placed in the East End Marine Park Office, but instead it is recommended that this
position be placed in IPNR. For budgeting purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has been
added to each annual salary. The benefits package covers employee health, vacation,
sick, and retirement benefits. Furthermore, a three percent annual increase in salary has
been budgeted.

Equipment. The Fisheries Liaison Officer will require basic office equipment
(computer, furniture, etc.) and supplies ($5,000). Other equipment needs include five
Fish Aggregation Devices (total cost of $25,000 over five years, including installation, or
$5,000 per Fish Aggregation Device).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The Fisheries Liaison Office
Program will be evaluated based on the staffing of the position, the number of FADs
placed in the waters around St. Croix, and the number of fishermen trained as fly fishing
guides as well as the number of fishermen active as fly fishing guides.









Table 9. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Fisheries Liaison Office
Program


0
Ar


0


I.~
14
,1


Strategy/Activirty ia / 4y C / /W 5 1i

Promote Fishing Pressure Shift
Fisheries Liaison Office X x x x x x
FADs X x x x x x
Fly Fishing Guide Training Program x X x x x

Table 10. Requirements for Implementation of Fisheries Liaison Office Program


Strategy/Activity


7.6 Mooring Buoys


Environmentally safe (i.e., single-point, no chain) mooring buoys have been shown to be
an effective management tool, when used to minimize the damage to coral reefs, and
other sensitive marine resources, resulting from careless and/or inappropriate anchoring
practices. This plan will establish a methodology for identifying areas appropriate for
locating mooring buoys, and managing boating activities near coral reefs to minimize
negative impacts.

In addition to minimizing anchor damage, the Mooring Buoy Program will also serve to
identify areas for certain activities. Specially marked (color-coded) buoys may be used to
identify General Mooring Areas, Research Areas, Recreational Diving Areas, and Fishing
Areas. These areas may also be identified through the boundary marking system, with
the ultimate goal being clearly defined and marked resource use zones. If implemented,
the use of Research, Diving, and Fishing buoys may require a permit issued by the
Marine Park Office.

The mooring buoy Action Plan will further the Park's goal of protecting and managing
the Park's natural resources; by minimizing the impact to sensitive marine habitats,
specifically coral reef formations, caused by the inappropriate use of anchors, and


d~~ d I m m









providing reasonable access to Park resources, consistent with the primary goal of
resource protection, and managing or restricting human activities where such activities
are found to have a detrimental impact on Park resources. Implementation of this Action
Plan addresses Recreation Impacts as a threat to the health of the management targets.

7.6.1 Mooring Buoy Program

Activity 1: Inventory and GeoReference Areas Requiring Mooring Buoys. Work in
conjunction with marinas, yacht clubs, dive shop operators, fishermen and other resource
users of the Park, to identify areas that require mooring buoys within the Park. A major
component of this activity will include the development of a GIS database of buoy
locations. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted,
and completed in Year 1. This activity has a medium priority.

Activity 2: Implement Mooring Buoy Program. Based on the results of Activity 1,
place mooring buoys within the Park. This activity will be implemented by the Marine
Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This activity has a medium
priority.

Activity 3: Develop Mooring Buoy Maintenance Program. A buoy maintenance
program will be developed and implemented to ensure the upkeep of the navigational
markers. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted,
and completed in Year 1 and then be ongoing. This activity has a medium priority.

7.6.2 Implementation

Schedule. Table 12 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Mooring Buoy Program. Most activities in the strategy are expected to be
completed in Year 1. However, the maintenance of the buoys will be a continuous
process.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Mooring Buoy Program are expected
to be approximately $195,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are associated
with the placement and maintenance of the buoys throughout the Park. The estimated
cost of each activity is provided in Table 12. Currently, no funds have been identified
for the implementation of these strategies and activities. See Appendix G for detailed
annual budgets.

Personnel. It is estimated that the implementation of the Mooring Buoy Program will
require approximately 25 percent of two full-time Park Maintenance staff positions (each
position with an annual salary of $25,000, or $12,500 as applied to this strategy). These
staff positions will also be utilized in the implementation and maintenance of the Zoning
Marking Program and Navigational/Boundary Marking Program. For budgeting
purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has been added to each annual salary. The benefits
package covers employee health, vacation, sick, and retirement benefits. Furthermore, a
three percent annual increase in salary has been budgeted.











Equipment. The Mooring Buoy Program will require the use of a boat for both
implementation and maintenance. It is estimated that the Program will require
approximately 25 percent of the use of this boat ($50,000 total cost for boat, or $12,500
as applied to this strategy). This boat will also be utilized in the implementation and
maintenance of the Zoning Marking Program and Navigational/Boundary Marking
Program. It is estimated that the program will require 100 mooring buoys (for a total cost
of $40,000 with installation, or $400 per buoy).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The effectiveness of the Mooring
Buoy Program will be evaluated based on how many mooring buoys are installed and
maintained each year. Also, the success of the program will be based on usage of the
mooring buoys and lack of anchor damage in the Park (as determined by the number of
citations issued for use of anchors restricted areas in the Park).


Table 11. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Mooring Buoy Program


O

Stratecy/Activity

Mooring Buoy Program
Inventory and GeoReference Areas Requiring Mooring Buoys X x x x
Implement Mooring Buoy Program X x x x
Develop Mooring Buoy Maintenance Program X x x x


Table 12. Requirements for Implementation of Mooring Buoy Program


0


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X
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LtartcLy/yrtiAviLy 0 4C C LO I k

Mooring Buoy Program 194 0.5
Inventory and GeoReference Areas Med 1 No 10
Implement Mooring Buoy Program Med 1 No 70
Develop Mooring Buoy Maintenance Program Med 1-5 No 114



7.7 Water Quality

Water quality has a critical role in maintaining Park resources. This plan addresses point
and non-point sources of pollution, in the hope of maintaining the chemical, physical, and
43


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04.4..r .;A4:.,:4...









biological integrity of the Park; including the maintenance of a balanced, indigenous
population of fish, corals, other invertebrates, and recreational activities in and on the
water.

This Action Plan's goals are the protection and improvement of Park water quality and
enhancement of living resources. The plan proposes many activities to achieve these
goals, such as reducing anthropogenic loading (wastewater and stormwater) to Park
waters, and water quality issues related to marinas and live-aboards, and hazardous
materials. It also addresses means of reducing development pressures on critical coastal
wetlands and watersheds that feed into the East End Marine Park, by developing a
"Comprehensive Coastal Wetland and Watershed Protection Plan for the East End of St.
Croix." This will be done through a coordinated effort of Federal, Territorial and local
non-governmental organizations. Implementation of this Action Plan addresses
Incompatible Upland Development, and Recreation Impacts as threats to the health of the
management targets.

7.7.1 Domestic Wastewater

Activity 1: Water Quality Standards. Upon reviewing current standards, this activity
will identify and evaluate indicators (biochemical and ecological measures to provide
early warning of widespread ecological problems) in each type of ecosystem. Examples
are C:N:P ratios (Carbon:Nitrogen:Phosphorus), alkaline phosphatase activity, and shifts
in community structure by habitat. These measures could be incorporated into the current
water quality monitoring program, and could provide the basis for resource-oriented
water quality standards (biocriteria) for the Park. This activity will be implemented by
the Division of Environmental Protection and completed after Year 1. This activity has a
high priority.

Activity 2: Resource Monitoring of Surface Discharges. Upon reviewing current
standards, this activity would help to evaluate environmental impacts of point source
discharges, by requiring all non-point permitted surface dischargers to develop resource-
monitoring programs within watersheds that drain into the Park. This activity may be
implemented by requiring resource monitoring when individual non-point source permits
come up for renewal, or new permits are issued. This activity will be implemented by the
Division of Environmental Protection and completed after Year 1. This activity has a
low priority.

7.7.2 Stormwater

Activity 1: Stormwater Permitting. Based on a review of existing stormwater
permitting, require that no development in watersheds that drain into the East End Marine
Park be exempted from the stormwater permitting process. This strategy would require
that the Virgin Islands ordinances cover all developments, with no exemptions from the
stormwater permitting process within the Park watersheds. This activity will be
implemented by DPNR and completed in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.









Activity 2: Stormwater Management (Guts, Roads, Etc.). Upon reviewing current
standards, enact and implement stormwater management ordinances and comprehensive
stormwater management master plans. This strategy would help to reduce stormwater
pollutant loading (sediment, toxics, and nutrients). Currently, there is little regulation of
stormwater runoff in the watersheds of the East End Marine Park. This activity will be
implemented by DPNR and completed in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Stormwater Retrofitting. Within the watersheds of the East End Marine
Park, identify and develop a plan for retrofitting stormwater hotspots using best
management practices, such as grass parking, swales, pollution control structures, and
detention/retention structures. Control stormwater runoff in areas handling toxic and
hazardous materials. This activity will be implemented by DPW and completed over five
years. This activity has a low priority.

7.7.3 Marinas & Live Aboards

Activity 1: Pollution Discharges. Reduce pollution discharges, such as sanitary wastes,
debris, and hydrocarbons from vessels operating in the Park, through enforcement and/or
a public education campaign. Establish the East End Marine Park, or portions of the
Park, as a No-Discharge Zone(s). Criteria for consideration as a No-Discharge Zone
include water circulation, concentration of boats in the area, percentage of boats with
Type I or II marine sanitation devices, and impacts on fishing and swimming areas.
Identify enforcement procedures and responsibilities. This activity will be implemented
by the Division of Environmental Protection in conjunction with the Marine Park Office,
and completed after Year 1. This activity has a low priority.

Activity 2: Marina Pumpout. Identify a facility within the Park to have a pump-out
station. This strategy will eliminate marina live-aboard vessels as a source of pollution in
the Park. Identify enforcement procedures and responsibilities. This activity will be
implemented by the Division of Environmental Protection in conjunction with the Marine
Park Office, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a low priority.

Activity 3: Marina Operations. Reduce pollution from marina operations within the
Park by establishing containment areas for boat maintenance, encouraging marina owners
to participate in environmentally-oriented organizations such as the International Marina
Institute, and encouraging marina owners to provide a user manual with local
environmental information. Within the Park, it would be required that containment areas
for boat maintenance, such as hull scraping and repainting, mechanical repairs, fueling,
and lubrication, would be paved and curbed. This activity will be implemented by the
Division of Environmental Protection and completed after Year 1. This activity has a
low priority.

7.7.4 Hazardous Materials

Activity 1: HAZMAT Response. Upon review of existing code, develop oil and
hazardous materials response programs for the Park. This strategy will reduce the









chances that a spill of oil or other hazardous materials will have a significant negative
impact on Park resources. Improve coordination among Federal and Territorial agencies
responding to spills. This activity will be implemented by the Division of Environmental
Protection in conjunction with the Marine Park Office and other Federal and Territorial
agencies, and completed after Year 1. This activity has a medium priority.

Activity 2: Spill Reporting. Establish a reporting system to ensure that all spills in and
near the Park are reported to Park managers. Establish a geo-referenced Park spills
database. This activity will be implemented by the Division of Environmental Protection
in conjunction with the Marine Park Office and other Federal and Territorial agencies,
and completed after Year 1. This activity has a low priority.

Activity 3: HAZMAT Handling. Conduct an assessment and inventory of hazardous
materials handling and use in and near the Park, including facilities, types and quantities
of materials, and transport/movement. Add information to GIS database. This activity
will be implemented by the Division of Environmental Protection in conjunction with the
Marine Park Office and other Federal and Territorial agencies, and completed after Year
1. This activity has a medium priority.

7.7.5 Watershed & Coastal Wetlands Protection

Activity 1: Development of a Comprehensive Coastal Wetland and Watershed
Protection Plan. Using a science and community based methodology, this activity will
identify those upland watersheds and coastal wetlands that are critical to protecting the
integrity of the waters of the Park. This should be undertaken as a coordinated effort
between Federal, Territorial and local non-governmental organizations. Critical upland
watersheds and coastal wetlands could then be protected via the use of conservation
easements and/or fee simple purchase. The Federal government makes available t> states
and territories funds for upland watershed and coastal wetland protection, via the Land
and Water Conservation Fund (L&WCF), the Forest Legacy Act (FLA), and the North
America Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). These funds may be used for the
purchase of conservation easements and/or fee simple purchase. As these funds often
require a local and/or private match, a coordinated effort with local conservation oriented
non-governmental organizations to raise matching funds is essential. This activity will be
implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed over five years.
This activity has a high priority.

7.7.6 Implementation

Schedule. Table 14 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Water Quality Program. All of these activities in the strategy are expected
to be completed by Year 2. However implementation and enforcement of the regulations
developed by the Program will be continuous.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Water Quality Program are expected
to be approximately $160,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are associated










with the hiring of contractors to perform a review of existing Virgin Islands code, and/or
develop new code or plans for the Park. The estimated cost of each activity is provided
in Table 14. See Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The Water Quality Program will be
evaluated based on the development (and implementation) of new codes and plans,
addressing the various water quality issues affecting the Park. The Program will also be
evaluated on water quality data collected (e.g., the higher the water quality, the higher the
effectiveness of the program).


Table 13. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Implementing Water Quality Program



4to
Strategy/Activity

Domestic Wastewater
Water Quality Standards X x x x x x
Resource Monitorina of Surface Discharaes X x x x x x
Stormwater
Stormwater Permitting X x x x x x
Stormwater Management (Guts, Roads, Etc.) X x x x x x
Stormwater Retrofittina X x x x x x
Marinas & Live Aboards
Pollution Discharges X x x x x x
Marina Pumpout X x x x x x
Marina Operations X x x x x x
Hazardous Materials
HAZMAT Response X x x x x x
Spill Reporting X x x x x x
HAZMAT Handling X x x x x x
Watershed & Coastal Wetlands Protection
Develop Comprehensive Plan x X x x x x









Table 14. Requirements for Implementation of Water Quality Program


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Strategy/Activity 0 i Le / /

Domestic Wastewater 20
Water Quality Standards High 2+ No 10
Resource Monitoring of Surface Discharaes Low 2+ No 10
Stormwater 60
Stormwater Permitting High 1 No 10
Stormwater Management (Guts, Roads, Etc.) High 1 No 25
Stormwater Retrofittina Low 1-5 No 25
Marinas & Live Aboards 15
Pollution Discharges Low 2+ No 5
Marina Pumpout Low 2+ No 5
Marina Operations Low 2+ No 5
Hazardous Materials 35
HAZMAT Response Med 2+ No 10
Spill Reporting Low 2+ No 5
HAZMAT Handling Med 2+ No 20
Watershed & Coastal Wetlands Protection 30
Develop Comprehensive Plan [ High 1-5 No 30



7.8 Zoning

Marine zoning is a management tool that has been used around the world to protect
sensitive marine resources from overuse, and to separate conflicting visitor uses. Marine
zoning is being implemented in the East End Marine Park to assist in the protection of
biological diversity of marine environments of the East End of St. Croix. In addition,
marine zoning will disperse uses of the resources to reduce user conflicts, and lessen the
concentrated impact to marine organisms on heavily used reefs. As a management tool,
marine zoning allows Park managers to focus the majority of their management efforts on
a small portion of the Park, while addressing water quality and habitat degradation in the
broader un-zoned portions of the area (see Appendix H for SCMP-1).

This plan outlines the process for establishing the zones and represents Best Management
Practices, as well as addressing Incompatible Fishing and Recreation Impacts as threats
to the health of the conservation targets.









7.8.1 Zoning Marking Strategy


Activity 1: Inventory and GeoReference Areas Requiring Zoning Boundary
Markings. Using GIS, identify zoning boundaries within the Park. A major component
of this activity will include the development of a GIS database of marker locations. This
activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed
in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: Implement Zoning Boundary Marking Program. Place markers along the
boundary of the marine zoning areas at a spacing of 800 yards, or as determined by the
Marine Park Office. The type of anchor device used will be determined by the substrate
where the marker is placed. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park
Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Develop Zoning Boundary Marker Maintenance Program. A marker
maintenance program will be developed and implemented to ensure the upkeep of the
boundary markers. This activity will be implemented by the Marine Park Office, or
subcontracted, and completed in Year 1, and then be ongoing. This activity has a high
priority.

7.8.2 Implementation

Schedule. Table 16 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Resource Zone Marking Program. Most activities in the strategy are
expected to be completed in Year 1. However the maintenance of the markers will be a
continuous process.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Resource Zone Marking Program are
expected to be approximately $150,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are
associated with the placement and maintenance of the markers throughout the Park. The
estimated cost of each activity is provided in Table 16. Currently, no funds have been
identified for the implementation of these strategies and activities. See Appendix G for
detailed annual budgets.

Personnel. It is estimated that the implementation of the Resource Zone Marking
Program will require approximately 25 percent of two full time Park Maintenance staff
positions (each position with an annual salary of $25,000, or $12,500 as applied to this
strategy). These staff positions will also be utilized in the implementation and
maintenance of the Mooring Buoy Program and Navigational/Boundary Marking
Program. For budgeting purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has been added to each
annual salary. The benefits package covers employee health, vacation, sick, and
retirement benefits. Furthermore, a three percent annual increase in salary has been
budgeted.

Equipment. The Resource Zone Marking Program will require the use of a boat for both
implementation and maintenance. It is estimated that the Program will require









approximately 25 percent of the use of this boat ($50,000 total cost for boat, or $12,500
as applied to this strategy). This boat will also be utilized in the implementation and
maintenance of the Mooring Buoy Program and Navigational/Boundary Marking
Program. It is estimated that the program will require 40 marking buoys (for a total cost
of $16,000 with installation, or $400 per buoy).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The effectiveness of the Resource
Zone Marking Program will be evaluated based on how many markers are installed and
maintained each year. Also, the success of the program will be based on surveys
indicating that Park users are aware of the Park Resource Zone boundaries (e.g., survey
takers able to identify park boundaries on a map) and based on the number of citations
made in the Park for Resource Zone violations.

Table 15. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Resource Zone Marking Program



Strategy/Activity

Resource Zone Marking Program
Inventory and GeoReference Areas X x
Implement Zoning Boundary Marking Program X x
Develop Zoning Marker Maintenance Program X x

Table 16. Requirements for Implementation of Resource Zone Marking Program


7.9 Research & Monitoring


Monitoring is essential to achieve the primary goal of resource protection. The purpose
of monitoring is to, first, establish a baseline of resources, processes, and functioning of
the ecosystem against which standards for resource protection can be measured; and
second, to assess the status and trends of the ecological resources. Monitoring provides a
50









means to anticipate future problems before they require expensive solutions. Although
Research and Monitoring should be considered as an Action Plan, monitoring efforts are
currently underway in association with this project. Because specific research and
monitoring activities will be employed to directly measure the success of the Marine
Park, they are addressed in a separate chapter. Therefore, the next section (Chapter 8)
identifies specific types of monitoring that should occur in addition to current efforts, as
well as general recommendations.

7.9.1 Biological Monitoring

Activity 1: Develop Biological Monitoring Protocol. This activity will establish a
monitoring protocol specific to the Marine Park, to ensure regular data collection
intervals and consistent methodologies. This protocol will include marine communities
to be monitored, as well as types of data to be collected. This protocol will also serve as
the guide for baseline data that must be collected on the date of, or prior to, Park
implementation. Because this activity is the foundation of success-measuring activities,
this activity should be completed during Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: Identify Biological Monitoring Sites. This activity will establish the
permanent monitoring sites that Park biologists will survey for marine community health.
Using GIS, these sites will be easy to locate and made available on general Marine Park
maps. This activity should be completed during Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Implement Biological Monitoring Program. This activity will
immediately follow the identification of monitoring sites. According to the monitoring
protocol that is developed, this activity will produce critical data about marine resources
within the Park. Data collection should begin immediately in order to establish baseline
data. Analysis of data collected will assist Park managers in determining the direction of
management practices. This activity should be completed during Year 1. This activity
has a high priority.

Activity 4: Review and Revise Management Practices. This activity will provide an
opportunity for Park managers to review analyzed data and determine whether
modifications to management practices are necessary. Park managers are responsible for
actively responding to changing ecological trends. These responses may range from
making changes in management practices and Park zoning, to sharing the successes of the
Park with the general public. This activity should be completed after Year 2. This
activity has medium priority.

7.9.2 Resource Use/User Monitoring

Activityl: Develop Resource Use/User Monitoring Protocol. This activity will
establish a monitoring protocol specific to the Marine Park that will ensure regular data
collection intervals and consistent methodologies. The purpose of this activity is to
characterize both the public response in both activities and perception to the
implementation of the Marine Park. This protocol will include zones to be monitored, as









well as types of data to be collected. This protocol will also serve as the guide for
baseline data that must be collected at the start of, or prior to, Park implementation.
Because this activity is the foundation of success measuring activities, this activity should
be completed during Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: Implement Resource Use/User Monitoring Program. According to the
monitoring protocol that is developed, this activity will produce critical data about
resource uses within the Park. Data collection should begin immediately in order to
establish baseline data. Analysis of data collected will assist Park managers in
determining the direction of management practices. This activity should be completed
during Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Review and Revise Management Practices. This activity will provide an
opportunity for Park managers to review analyzed data and determine whether
modifications to management practices are necessary. Park managers are responsible for
actively responding to changing resource-use trends. These responses may range from
making changes in management practices and Park zoning, to sharing the successes of the
Park with the general public. This activity should be completed after Year 2. This
activity has medium priority.

7.9.3 Fishing Activity Monitoring

Activity 1: Develop Fishing Activity Monitoring Protocol. This activity will establish
a monitoring protocol specific to the Marine Park that will ensure regular data collection
intervals and consistent methodologies. This protocol will include fishing methods to be
monitored as well as types of data to be collected. This protocol will also serve as the
guide for baseline data that must be collected at the start of, or prior to, Park
implementation. Because this activity is the foundation of success measuring activities,
this activity should be completed during Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

Activity 2: Implement Fishing Activity Monitoring Program. According to the
monitoring protocol that is developed, this activity will produce critical data about fishing
activities within the Park. Data collection should begin immediately in order to establish
baseline data. Analysis of data collected will assist Park managers in determining the
direction of management practices. This activity should be completed during Year 1.
This activity has a high priority.

Activity 3: Review and Revise Management Practices. This activity will provide an
opportunity for Park managers to review analyzed data and determine whether
modifications to management practices are necessary. Park managers are responsible for
actively responding to changing fishing trends. These responses may range from making
changes in management practices and Park zoning, to sharing the successes of the Park
with the general public. This activity should be completed after Year 2. This activity has
medium priority.









7.9.4 Marine Park Database


Activity 1: Develop Monitoring Database. This activity will establish a central
database system to be used by Park managers and scientists. The database system will be
designed to meet the needs of Park managers by keeping information in a central location
and increasing the efficiency of data analysis. This activity will be implemented by the
Marine Park Office, or subcontracted, and completed in Year 1. This activity has a high
priority.

Activity 2: Manage Monitoring Database. This activity will ensure regular data entry
and analysis of monitoring data collected by Park managers and scientists. Regular
management of this database is required to ensure the integrity and comprehensiveness of
information collected about the Marine Park. Managers will coordinate with researchers
given permission to work within the Park to ensure inclusion of all data being collected.
This activity will be implemented by the Park scientists, or subcontracted, and completed
in Year 1. This activity has a high priority.

7.9.5 Implementation

Schedule. Table 18 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Research and Monitoring Program. Most activities in the strategy are
expected to be completed in Year 1. However implementation of the various monitoring
program activities will be a continuous process.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Research and Monitoring Program
are expected to be approximately $700,000 over fve years. The bulk of these costs are
associated with the hiring of a Field Biologist and Assistant Field Biologist for the Park.
The estimated cost of each activity is provided in Table 18. Currently, approximately
half the funds have been identified for the implementation of these strategies and
activities in the first two years of the Management Plan. See Appendix G for detailed
annual budgets.

Personnel. The implementation of the Research and Monitoring Program will require
two full-time positions a Field Biologist ($40,000 annual salary) and an Assistant Field
Biologist ($25,000 annual salary). For budgeting purposes, a 38 percent benefit rate has
been added to each annual salary. The benefits package covers employee health,
vacation, sick, and retirement benefits. Furthermore, a three percent annual increase in
salary has been budgeted.

Equipment. The Research and Monitoring Program will require the full-time use of a
boat ($60,000) for implementation of the Program activities. The two full-time positions
will also require basic office equipment (i.e., computers, office furniture) and monitoring
equipment ($25,500).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The effectiveness of the Research
and Monitoring Program will be evaluated based on the establishment and quality of










baseline data, the collection of biological and resource use data, and the successful
development of a Marine Park database.


Table 17. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Research & Monitoring Program


Strategy/Activity ___ /Y s5

Biological Monitoring
Develop Biological Monitoring Protocol X x x x x
Identify Biological Monitoring Sites X x x x x
Implement Biological Monitoring Program X x x x x
Review & Revise Management Practices X x x x x
Resource Use/User Monitoring
Develop Resource Use Monitoring Protocol X x x x x
Implement Resource Use Monitoring Program X x x x x
Review & Revise Resource Use Mgmt Practices X x x x x
Fishing Activity Monitoring
Develop Fishing Activity Monitoring Protocol X x x x x
Implement Fishing Activity Monitoring Program X x x x x
Review & Revise Fishing Activity Mgmt Practices X x x x x
Marine Park Database
Develop Monitoring Database X x x x x
Manage Monitoring Database X x x x x


A J J H i J m m J


/










Table 18. Requirements for Implementation of Research and Monitoring Program


4L.--A- ....- IA L:-. .:A. -


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0
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Strategy/Activity 0 / 4 k /

Biological Monitoring 233 0.67
Develop Biological Monitoring Protocol High 1 Some 5
Identify Biological Monitoring Sites High 1 Some 5
Implement Biological Monitoring Program High 1 Some 213
Review & Revise Management Practices Med 2+ Some 10
Resource Use Monitoring Protocol 233 0.67
Develop Resource Use Monitoring Protocol High 1 Some 10
Implement Resource Use Monitoring Program High 1 Some 213
Review & Revise Resource Use Mgmt Practices Med 2+ Some 10
Fishing Activity Monitoring 233 0.67
Develop Fishing Activity Monitoring Protocol High 1 Some 10
Implement Fishing Activity Monitoring Program High 1 Some 213
Review & Revise Fishing Activity Mgmt Practices Med 2+ Some 10
Marine Park Database
Develop Monitoring Database High 1 Some
Manage Monitoring Database High 1 Some



7.10 Marine Park Administration

Effective Marine Park administration requires the hiring of a site manager, who will be
responsible for interpreting and implementing the Management Plan. The site manager
will be responsible for achieving management objectives through the efficient use of
funds, staff and equipment. He or she must lead the process of evaluating and re-
evaluating conservation needs, identifying and reconciling visitor use conflicts, defining
annual management objectives, revising annual budgets, and in selecting and managing
suitable staff Furthermore, the site manager should have a familiarity with and an
understanding of the East End Marine Park resources and an ability to communicate
effectively with local people and visitors. The site manager will also have the initial
responsibility of opening the new East End Marine Park Office, equipping the office, and
hiring staff.





7.10.1 Opening of East End Marine Park Office

Activity 1: Open East End Marine Park Office. Open an East End Marine Park Office,
staffed with a Marine Park Director and Administrative Assistant (Figure 2). It is









suggested that two different locations be considered for the physical placement of the
East End Marine Park Office. Both Cramer's Park and the old West Indies Lab have the
potential to serve as office space and/or laboratory space that is fundamental to the
functionality of the Park. There is a vacant, unused building of approximately 1,200
square feet located at Cramer's Park, suitable for remodeling as the East End Marine Park
Visitor's Center. Cramer's Park is a suitable location for the East End Marine Park
Visitor's Center, as it is located on U.S.V.I. government property, it is centrally located,
and Cramer's Park receives numerous visitors thereby permitting Marine Park staff to
interact with local residents and visitors alike on a regular basis. Interagency agreements
between DPNR and Housing, Parks and Recreation would need to be developed prior to
any activity by the Marine Park Office at Cramer's Park. It is suggested that interpretive
boards be placed at Cramer's Park, identifying the Park boundaries and use zones, the
rational for the Park, and identification of key species and systems that the Park is
designed to protect and enhance. It is further suggested that a dock be constructed at
Cramer's Park to allow for docking of Marine Park boats.

Initially, it is assumed that the financial management for East End Marine Park funds will
be provided by DPNR. This includes the financial management of any fees collected
under special use permits and fishing licenses. In the future, if an independent Park
Authority were created, this function would be centrally managed by the Park Authority
and not by the separate Territorial Park offices. It is also assumed that any funds
generated via user fees within the East End Marine Park would be applied towards the
management costs of the Park. Similarly, liability and property insurance for Marine
Park Office staff and equipment would be covered under the Virgin Islands government
policy. In the case of an independent Park Authority, this issue would have to be
reexamined. This activity will be implemented by DPNR and will be completed in Year
1. This activity has a high priority.

7.10.2 Implementation

Schedule. Table 20 lists the estimated time required to implement each strategy and
activity in the Marine Park Administration. Most activities in the strategy are expected to
be completed in Year 1. However, administration of the Park will be a continuous
process.

Costs. The costs associated with implementing the Marine Park Administration are
expected to be approximately $935,000 over five years. The bulk of these costs are
associated with the hiring and retention of a Marine Park Director and Administrative
Assistant and associated new office costs. The estimated cost of each activity is provided
in Table 20. Currently, funds have been identified for the implementation of these
strategies and activities. See Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.

Personnel. The implementation of the Marine Park Administration will require two full
time staff positions a Marine Park Director ($60,000 per year annual salary) and
Administrative Assistant ($30,000 per year annual salary). For budgeting purposes, a 38
percent benefit rate has been added to each annual salary. The benefits package covers









employee health, vacation, sick, and retirement benefits. Furthermore, a three percent
annual increase in salary has been budgeted.

Equipment. The Marine Park Administration will require the use of two vehicles
($50,000) and office equipment and furniture ($25,000) as well as remodeling of the
vacant office at Cramer Park ($50,000) and construction of a dock ($50,000).

Evaluating Program Effectiveness and Efficiency. The effectiveness of the Marine
Park Administration will be evaluated based on success of implementation of all before
mentioned strategies and activities.

Table 19. Agencies/Organizations Identified for Opening of East End Marine Park Office


Table 20. Requirements for Implementation of Opening of East End Marine Park Office


Strategy/Activity


Strategy/Activity U& M6/
Openiqo East End Marine Park Office
Open East End Marine Park Office









Figure 2. Organizational Chart


East End Marine Park Office


Marine Park Office Director


Field
Biologist


Assistant Assistant
nffricer Field Maintenance
Interpretation Biologist
Officer:
Field Maintenance


Enforcement &
Interpretation


Officer:
Enforcement &
Interpretation
Officer:
Enforcement &
Interpretation



7.11 Action Plan Summary

A simple matrix has been created in order to link the Action Plans developed within this
Management Plan, to the threats identified during community workshops. In addition to
threats linkages, certain Action Plans are also identified as Best Management Practices.
This matrix provides a quick reference to how threats have been addressed within this
Management Plan.











Table 21. Threats vs. Action Plans Matrix


-0






Incompatible Fishing X X X X X
Incompatible Development X X X
Recreational Impacts X X X X X X X
Best Management Practice X X X X X X X X









8. Monitoring and Measuring Success


Site evaluation and monitoring should be a continuous process, with regular reporting
intervals and a formal evaluation mechanism. All monitoring plans should include
acceptable limits of change. The monitoring program will provide managers with
fundamental information with which to make decisions, and will facilitate a flexible
approach, as well as a responsive management system. A comprehensive review by the
Park office, performed on at least a biannual basis, will help to ensure that
implementation is occurring as planned, and highlight needed revisions to management
procedures. In addition to internal review, an external team of reviewers can provide
important insights with more objectivity, and is highly recommended every 5 years.
Also, working in collaboration with university scientists will help fill in gaps in current
knowledge of the marine communities surrounding St. Croix. In addition to university
scientists, it is important to prioritize collaborations with other agencies in the U.S.V.I.
Many of the study parameters listed in this section will require such collaborations and
every effort to maximize resources will benefit the Marine Park. Site monitoring
activities will be guided by the following objectives:

* Establish a baseline within the respective use-zones within the Park, thus
providing a means for measuring success in the future
* Collect Park utilization data to be part of a social and cultural analyses and used
to modify and enhance park regulations and activities
* Collect biological data that are representative of the status and health of marine
organisms and their respective habitats
* Collect fisheries data that quantify fishing trends (i.e., fishing methods, species
caught, amount caught, etc.) within Park boundaries

8.1 Baseline Data

Current coral reef monitoring efforts by DPNR and the University of the Virgin Islands
are providing valuable information for planners and managers. As mandated by contract
with DPNR, reef monitoring in the area will be as outlined in Monitoring of Coral Reefs
in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ultimately, these data shall be incorporated into the final
Management Plan, and will help to provide necessary baseline data to evaluate the effects
of establishment of the Park. Currently, the monitoring plan calls for regular monitoring
of 10 sites around St. Croix. However, only one site at the East End (Jack/Isaac Bay) is
listed as a monitoring site, with a mention of possibly adding Great Pond Bay in the near
future. In order to quantify the success of the Park, as well as to develop a database
specific to the East End, it is critical to monitor additional sites within the Park. These
data will also help define acceptable limits of change. It is recommended that monitoring
proceed at the Jack/Isaac Bay site and the Great Pond Bay site, with at least two more
sites being added in the next monitoring cycle. Such baseline data are also necessary for
the other monitoring activities highlighted here (i.e., park use and fishing activities). As
discussed in Section 7.9.4, a Park Monitoring Database will be developed to store
baseline data as well as all data collected in the future.









8.2 Suggested Monitoring Activities


In addition to monitoring efforts discussed in Section 8.1, a list of monitoring activities
was developed during the community workshops in order to expand and improve the
information available to scientists and community members. This brainstorming of ideas
was meant to identify gaps in current information. The preliminary list (see below)
includes monitoring of seagrass and mangrove communities, in addition to the current
reef monitoring. These suggestions should be considered when Park managers develop
monitoring protocols (see Section 7.9). As new information is revealed, further additions
may be necessary.
* Begin regular monitoring of seagrass communities
* Begin regular monitoring of hardbottom communities
* Begin regular monitoring of mangrove communities
* Expand turtle nesting monitoring to include habitat utilization monitoring
* Develop reef fish monitoring program with dive operators and fishermen
* Characterize land use impacts (i.e., sedimentation rates)
* Characterize beach profiles (i.e., shoreline dynamics)
* Characterize current dynamics

8.3 Indicators of Marine Community Health

The following indicators/measures will help to provide a comprehensive description of
community health, and enable managers to respond quickly in the event of declining
conditions. Some of these indicators will be more difficult to incorporate into a
monitoring plan, and some will likely be part of other research efforts. Those that are
most feasible should be prioritized in order to maximize monitoring efforts, and are
identified here. Parameters listed describe the physical habitat found within the
respective community type, as well as the inhabitants in terms of densities, diversity, and
size.

* Indicates priority parameters
** Indicates critical parameters (i.e., parameters/indicators that should be monitored at
the minimum)

8.3.1 Mangrove Communities

Fish & Invertebrate density, diversity, and biomass**
Herbivorous fish density**
Predatory fish density**
Mangrove species distribution, abundance, and size*
Bird community composition**
Nutrient levels*
Sedimentation**









8.3.2 Seagrass Communities


Fish & Invertebrate density, diversity, and biomass**
Herbivorous fish density**
Nutrient levels*
Sedimentation**
Light attenuation**
Primary Productivity

8.3.4 Coral Reef Communities

Diadema density**
Elkhom coral recovery
Fish & Invertebrate density, diversity, and biomass**
Herbivorous fish density**
Predatory fish density**
Coral diseases **
Nutrient levels*
Sedimentation*
Light attenuation*
Live coral percent cover**
Macroalgal diversity and percent cover*

Because the list of parameters to be measured is extensive, it is necessary to consider
different methods of obtaining this information. The Marine Park Office will be
responsible for the collection and analyses of these data, but will likely not have the
resources to collect all the necessary data. The Marine Park Office should collaborate
with scientists that have research interests within the Park. That is, for each priority issue
to be addressed, scientists should work with Park managers to formulate specific
questions that are to be resolved through subsequent scientific investigations.

8.4 Methods of Measurement

Monitoring activities will be carried out by Park Field Biologists. In addition to these
personnel, monitoring may be subcontracted as the work requires. Previously developed
standardized methods of collection for the types of data described here, should be utilized
in order to maintain consistency and facilitate regional comparisons. Interagency
cooperation will increase the continuity of conservation and management efforts within
the U.S.V.I.. Coral Reef Monitoring Manual for the Caribbean and Western Atlantic,
developed by the U.S.V.I. National Park Service, in conjunction with regional experts
from different organizations, provides a thorough description of the methodologies and
issues related to long-term coral reef monitoring. This and similar documents should be
used by monitoring personnel, upon Department of Planning and Natural Resources
approval. Methods for long-term seagrass monitoring are available (see J. Zieman papers
for examples). Wherever standard methodologies are not available, an interagency
workgroup should develop appropriate methods to be applied regionally.










The timing and frequency of monitoring activities should be consistent with, or
complement, other regional monitoring efforts. In order to provide a complete
representation of community health and changing trends, monitoring data should be
collected twice per year. In the event of catastrophic changes such as a massive die-off,
monitoring frequency should be modified to fit the system of concern.

The process of determining monitoring site location should aim to meet the following
criteria/goals:

* Site is representative of community type
* If site is degraded, potential for recovery is high
* Site is easy to access and locate
* Control sites available meet same criteria

In order to provide the necessary comparisons and replications, it is critical that the same
sites are sampled every year. Furthermore, a range of site conditions should be
represented in the site portfolio. The monitoring manual developed by the National Park
Service recommends permanent sites for long-term monitoring, because they offer the
greatest amount of information, consistency, repeatability, and reliability. Regular
training of personnel will ensure consistency in data collection. Personnel should have
familiarity with the sites and issues within the Park, and be a permanent part of the Park
team.









9. KEY INFORMATION AND DATA GAPS

9.1 Description of Priority Information Gaps

In designing a Management Plan, planners must make decisions based on the information
available. Often this forces planners to make broad generalizations where information is
lacking, and to forecast the potential effects of future actions. In this situation, we have
relied upon the information available, as well as general information about the marine
communities that occupy the waters surrounding St. Croix. During the process, key data
that are lacking have been identified and, in some cases, plans to obtain them are already
in place. In order for this Management Plan and the resulting Park to be effective, more
information is required. This document should be viewed as a "living document" that
will grow and be modified as new information is revealed. This section will provide
guidance for further development of the Management Plan, by identifying areas that
require further information, as well as initiatives that need to be developed and expanded.
Although some of these data are already available for historical context and comparison,
updated information is needed in order for the Management Plan to be current and
effective. These information gaps have been organized in the following categories:
Scientific Data and Community and Resource Use Information.

* Indicates priority information needs
** Indicates critical information needs (i.e., information that must be obtained to make
management decisions)

Scientific Data:
* Water Nutrient Levels
* Expand Water Quality Monitoring Sites
* Sedimentation Rates**
* Air Quality
* Gut Characteristics-Description and Drainage Analysis
* Invertebrate Density and Diversity Surveys for: coral reefs, seagrass communities,
and mangrove communities**
* Fish Density and Diversity Surveys for: coral reefs, seagrass communities, and
mangrove communities**
* Macroalgae Abundance and Diversity Surveys for: coral reefs, seagrass
communities, and mangrove communities**
* Expand Benthic Monitoring Sites (including deeper reefs) **
* Larval Distribution and Recruitment Surveys*
* Fish Aggregation Site Surveys**
* Coral Recruitment and Growth Surveys
* Coral Disease Surveys**
* Benthic Community Maps (verified by field surveys)
* Restoration Feasibility Study*









Community and Resource Use Information:
* General Socioeconomic Analysis**
* Commercial and Recreational Fishing Trends**
* Tourism Trends
* Dive Operation Survey and Analysis**
* Boat Use Survey*
* Historic and Cultural Resource Analysis*

9.2 Addressing the Information Gaps

Because the gaps in information and scientific data are numerous, and the effort required
to address each one is significant, those that are most feasible and information rich should
be addressed first. In prioritizing information gathering activities, expansion of current
data collection activities is likely to be simpler and more cost effective than embarking on
new efforts. In several cases, similar activities are underway in St. Thomas and St. John,
allowing for collaboration and more readily available resources. Whenever possible,
sharing information, methodologies, and resources between islands should occur. It is
recommended that a comprehensive, multi-site, long-term, benthic community
monitoring program be implemented within the Marine Park. Data collected from these
efforts should be stored and maintained in the Marine Park database. This will provide
managers with the quantitative information required to protect and preserve the marine
resources in the Park. Furthermore, recognizing that the agencies involved suffer from a
shortage of staff and funding, efforts to identify alternative funds and staff to accomplish
these tasks are necessary. Interagency collaboration will increase the amount and quality
of information collected.









10. FINANCIAL RESOURCES

The East End Marine Park requires financial support to pay personnel, build and maintain
infrastructure, and manage natural resources. Lack of funds is a major impediment to the
creation and management of Marine Parks. Most governments recognize their
obligations to ensure sufficient resources are provided to achieve Management Plan
objectives, but government budgets are often taxed to meet existing needs, such as
schools, hospitals and other essentials. While it is important that the U.S.V.I.
government provide some level of long-term support to demonstrate its commitment to
the Marine Park, the trend is to allow protected area agencies to generate at least part of
their own revenue, especially from tourism. Once the East End Marine Park Office has
raised the money, it should be permitted to keep it for Park management. This will
reduce the U.S.V.I. government's cost of administering the East End Marine Park.

Outside of direct government funding, possible means of funding protected areas include:
* User Fees: This could include fees from divers, researchers, leases of moorings, and
sale of fishing licenses. Bonaire Marine Park in the Netherlands Antilles is almost
entirely funded by visitor fees.
* Environmental Trust Fund: This fund could be capitalized via a debt reduction
between States that can lead to the creation of trust funds as a condition for debt
forgiveness. This fund can also be capitalized via a tourism head tax. These trust
funds are usually national, or territorial, in nature. Usually, interest earned on the
principal is paid out from the trust to help cover the cost of administering a national,
or territorial, park system. For example, the Environmental Fund of Jamaica was
created via a debt-swap between the U.S. government and the Government of Jamaica
to help fund conservation work in Jamaica. In Belize, a $10 per tourist tax is paid
into the Protected Areas Conservation Trust to provide funds for the management of
Belize's protected areas.
* Create a Friends Organization: This can capitalize on the goodwill of visitors. This
can cover locals and tourists who want to help the Marine Park. The Friends
Organization can be incorporated as Non-Profit Organization, thereby making any
donations received tax deductible. The Friends of the National Park of St. John is an
excellent local example.

10.1 Funding Levels Required

The total five-year funding need for the East End Marine Park is approximately $5.0
million dollars. The annual operating expense is approximately $850,000, with the
exception of the first year with a budgeted operating expense of approximately $1.6
million. This includes a capital (equipment) need of approximately $360,000 in the first
year to purchase boats, vehicles, remodel the vacant Cramer Park building as the East
End Marine Park office, and build a dock as well as numerous contract fees to finalize
certain aspects of the Management Plan. See Appendix G for detailed annual budgets.









Table 22. Five-year Funding Need by Action Plan
Action Plan Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Total
Navigational/Boundary Marking $ 139,500 $ 50,535 $ 51,602 $ 52,700 $ 53,830 $348,167
Enforcement $ 369,400 $204,782 $210,325 $216,035 $221,916 $1,222,458
Education and Outreach $ 160,400 $117,642 $118,921 $120,239 $121,596 $638,798
Regulatory $ 75,400 $ 93,642 $ 49,922 $ 51,238 $ 52,596 $322,798
Fisheries Liaison Office $ 95,200 $ 68,856 $ 70,562 $ 72,319 $ 74,128 $381,065
Mooring Buoys $ 79,750 $ 27,768 $ 28,301 $ 28,850 $ 29,415 $194,084
Water Quality $ 90,000 $ 70,000 $160,000
Zoning $ 58,250 $ 21,768 $ 22,301 $ 22,850 $ 23,415 $148,584
Research and Monitoring $ 221,200 $122,891 $125,663 $128,519 $131,459 $729,732
Administration $ 319,200 $147,926 $151,764 $155,717 $159,788 $934,395
Total $1,608,300 $925,810 $829,361 $848,467 $868,143 $5,080,081


10.2 Current Funding

To date, approximately $800,000 has been identified for implementation of the East End
Marine Park Management Plan. This leaves a funding gap of approximately $4.2 million
over five years for the implementation of this Management Plan.

Approximately $400,000 has been identified for implementation of the first year of the
East End Marine Park Management Plan. It is expected that another approximately
$400,000 will be available for implementation of the second year of the East End Marine
Park Management Plan.

All of these funds are from a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is possible
that further funds may be identified for specific activities within other departments and
divisions of the Virgin Islands government, especially for implementation of the
Regulatory and Water Quality Action Plans.

Of the $4.2 million funding gap, it has been recommended that a number of the Action
Plans be implemented by other agencies. It is not known whether these agencies have the
funds available to implement. For example, it has been recommended that the
Regulatory Action Plan be implemented by DPNR for a total five-year cost of
approximately $323,000. It has been recommended that the Fisheries Liaison Office
Action Plan be implemented by the DPNR for a total five-year cost of approximately
$381,000. Finally, it has been recommended that the Water Quality Action Plan be
implemented by the Division of Environmental Protection, DPNR for a total five-year
cost of $160,000. These Action Plans total $860,000 over five-years, thereby reducing
the funds needed directly by the Marine Park Office to implement the Management Plan
to approximately $3.3 million. If these agencies do not have the funds to implement
these Action Plans, it would behoove the Marine Park Office to assist these agencies in
seeking funding for these Action Plans, otherwise the overall success and efficiency of
the Marine Park will be reduced.









Furthermore, there are some activities that have historically been undertaken by existing
DPNR agencies, with discreet funding sources, that could be used to implement the
recommended activities in this Management Plan. For example, the Division of Fish and
Wildlife has provided funds for the installation of mooring buoys throughout the
territory. Future DFW funds for this activity could be directed towards the installation of
mooring buoys in the Marine Park, thereby reducing some of the operating expenses for
the Marine Park Office.

10.3 Long-term Sustainable Funding

As outlined previously, long-term sustainable funding of the East End Marine Park
requires the development of a comprehensive user fee system to provide funding to
implement this Management Plan. This Management Plan has identified mooring buoy,
diver, research, and fishing license fees as potential long-term sources of sustainable
funding for the Marine Park. Again, it is important to state that any funds generated via
user fees within the Marine Park, remain available to the Marine Park for implementation
of the Management Plan. In the next sections, each user fee source will be analyzed for
its potential to generate long-term funding. The final section addresses the creation of a
Marine Park Fund, funded by a minimal tourism tax, to provide long-term sustainable
funding for the operation of the entire future U.S.V.I. Territorial Park System.

Mooring Buoys. It is estimated that there are approximately 50 privately owned
mooring buoys already in the East End Marine Park, all of which are located in the Yacht
Club Harbor. These mooring buoys were installed and are currently maintained by
private owners. Currently, these private owners pay an annual leasing fee to the
Department of Environmental Enforcement, with these fees going towards its operations.
It is recommended that for those buoys located in the Park, these funds would now be
directed towards the Marine Park Office for its operations.

It is estimated that it would be necessary to add another 100 mooring buoys to the East
End Marine Park. A survey should be conducted to determine an actual number of
additional mooring buoys required in the Park, based on need. The annual leasing fee for
a buoy, as well as related details, would be set after further public input.

Research Fees. It is estimated that approximately 10 marine research projects are
conducted within the Marine Park on an annual basis. The cost of a research permit
would be set after further public input.

Diver Fees. Currently, no dive shops operate within the Marine Park. This is due to the
lack of mooring buoys for divers as well as a lack of having identified suitable areas
within the Marine Park for diving. It is assumed that any mooring buoys put in
specifically for diving would be placed in areas identified as dive locations by dive shops.
It is further assumed that the dive shops would then lease these mooring buoys. These
leasing fees would be captured under the mooring buoy fee structure above.









Fishing Licenses. It is not recommended that separate fishing licenses be developed for
use in the Marine Park. Once the current fishing license program has been reviewed and
a new program has been adopted, it is recommended that some portion of the revenues
generated from the fishing Icense program be directed towards the operations of the East
End Marine Park. Until this review at the territorial level has occurred and a new
program developed, it is impossible to determine what funds might be generated from the
implementation of an annual territorial fishing license program that could then be
directed towards the operations of the East End Marine Park.

For example, according to the Sport Fish Restoration Act that currently provides funding
to the Division of Fish and Wildlife, any income from recreational fishing licenses must
be available either for administration of the fisheries agency administering the Sport Fish
grants (DFW) or for the enforcement of fishing regulations. It is recommended that some
portion of the revenues generated by recreational fishing licenses should be directed
towards the enforcement operations within the East End Marine Park. Again, at this
point in time, it is impossible to determine what funds might be generated from this.


Marine Park Fund. A tourist head tax directed towards an environmental trust fund,
collected from every visitor to the U.S.V.I., and with approximately 2.8 million visitors
per year, could generate millions per year. This would cover the annual operating cost of
implementing the East End Marine Park Management Plan as well as implementing
future Territorial Parks.









11. FUTURE PLANNING NEEDS


11.1 Education and Outreach Program

Throughout the planning process, the need for a comprehensive and effective educational
program was emphasized. This Management Plan outlines several specific types of
activities that provide a framework for the development of such a program (see Section
7.3). This Plan lays out the format (i.e., public forums, printed materials, public events,
etc.), however it does not address the specific content that should be included in the
various formats or a method for evaluating the effectiveness of such a program. In order
for these materials to be effective, the development of a formal Education and Outreach
Plan is necessary. Such development should begin immediately, and should be complete
at the time of Park implementation. This effort is intended to engage various user groups
and community members, by providing much needed information about how the Park
will affect and ultimately benefit the community of St. Croix. This initiative can be a
collaboration of interested institutions and community members, or be performed by an
independent contractor. Suggested subjects or themes to be addressed in the Education
and Outreach Program include:

* The uniqueness of the marine resources surrounding St. Croix
* Overview of the functionality of the system, with emphasis on the fragility of the
system
* Socioeconomic analysis developed through the Park System Project
* Funding available for implementation of this initiative
* The economic and cultural benefits gained by the implementation of this Plan
* Potential sites identified for the Marine Park System
* The potential outcomes of successful Park implementation
* Where are we headed without a formal Park System?

11.2 User Management Plan

Development of a formal User Management Plan is necessary to address potential
overuse and exploitation by recreational and commercial users. Recognizing that
resources are finite and cannot sustain unlimited use is key to successful Park use
management. Before a User Management Plan can be developed, a comprehensive
assessment of current user activities should be completed. The following activities occur
within Park boundaries currently:

* Commercial Fishing: Netting, trapping, hook and line, spear fishing, diving for
conch and lobster
* Recreational Fishing: Hook and line, spear fishing, diving for conch and lobster
* Diving: Both tour operators and private boats
* Snorkeling: Both tour operators and private boats
* Jet Skiing: Privately owned









* Wind Surfing: Both rented and privately owned
* Kayaking: Both rented and privately owned
* Sailing: Both rented and privately owned
* Motor Boating: Both rented and privately owned
* Anchoring: All boat types
* Beach Camping: Primarily local residents

The details of these activities need to be quantified and synthesized. It is likely that other
activities will be identified during this process. Data collected in the monitoring process
will be used to make decisions with regard to user-group activities. Once the socio-
economic analysis is completed, efforts to define acceptable limits of change, carrying
capacity, user volumes, and user satisfaction in terms of aesthetics and recreational value
should begin. These components of Park management can be developed, reviewed
periodically, and modified as appropriate. In the beginning of Park implementation, the
precautionary principle may be used. After the first two years of Park implementation,
Park use will be documented and decisions will be informed.

11.3 Standard Operating Procedures

This Management Plan addresses the issues and activities of the Marine Park Office in a
broad sense. In order for the Marine Park Office to operate in an efficient and consistent
manner, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) must be developed. These SOPs will
serve as a reference for all activities conducted by Park staff. They should anticipate
events related to user/visitor conflicts as well as protocols for data collection, storage, and
analyses. SOPs function to provide the details of daily operations and should be
developed during, or prior to, the implementation of the Marine Park.


11.4 Emergency/Disaster Planning

Disaster planning is fundamental to the functionality of the Marine Park. This Plan
outlines specific activities that address events such as hazardous material spills.
However, other types of emergencies and disasters are not covered within this Plan. A
formal Emergency/Disaster Plan is necessary, and should be developed during, or prior
to, the implementation phase of the EEMP. Such a plan should be incorporated into the
Final Management Plan for the EEMP. Suggested subjects include:

* Chain of command
* Event- specific protocols
* Decision-making guidelines
* Staff responsibilities during and after an event
* Damage assessment protocol
* Equipment logistics (i.e., usage, storage, recovery)
* Interagency coordination (Federal and Territorial)
* Financial requirements










Appendix A: An Introduction to the Five-S
Framework! for Site Conservation

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Process
To achieve the goal of long-term sustained
conservation at important sites throughout
the globe, The Nature Conservancy and its
partners employ an integrated conservation i i
process comprised of four fundamental
components:

Setting priorities through Kr
ecoregional planning ucc STr:a e-i
Developing strategies to conserve
conservation areas through site
conservation planning
Taking direct conservation action -
Measuring conservation success

For developing strategies at conservation areas where TNC takes action directly or
through partnerships, the 5-S Framework of Site Conservation Planning is used. This
methodology provides a well-tested conceptual model to develop effective strategies that
achieve tangible conservation results.
The Five-S Framework
The 5-S approach focuses upon the
following components: Systems 4-- Stresses 4- Sources

Threat
S Systems Restoration Abatement
* Stresses \ /
* Sources of Stress S s Strategies
* Strategies
S Sues Meares Biodiversity Health
* Success Measures
Threat Status & Abatement
Conservation Capacity
Systems are the conservation targets and
supporting ecological processes that will
be the focus for Site Conservation Planning and measuring conservation success. Targets
include species (imperiled, endangered, declining, rare or of special concern), major
groupings of species (e.g. globally significant species aggregations), ecological
communities (groupings of co-occurring species), and ecological systems. Ecological
systems are assemblages of communities that occur together on the landscape, are linked
by environmental processes, and form a robust, cohesive, and distinguishable unit on the


1 The term "Five-S refers to the five elements of the framework used by The Nature Conservancy in Site
Conservation Planning; those five elements begin with letter "S" in English (systems, stresses, sources, strategies, and
success).









ground. Systems are chosen to represent all the biodiversity at the site including
terrestrial, freshwater, and marine biodiversity.

Once targets are identified, the Viability, or ecological integrity, of each target is
assessed at the site according to three criteria: Size, Condition, and Landscape Context.
Size reflects the area or abundance of the conservation target such as the area covered
by an ecological community or ecosystem, or the population size of a species-level target.
Condition is a measure that integrates composition, structure and biotic interactions of a
particular target. Landscape Context is an integrated measure of the dominant
environmental regimes (e.g., fire, flood) and the connectivity of habitat patches and the
access/availability of the target to vital resources needed for long-term survival and
reproduction.

Stresses, the second "S", are the types of destruction or degradation affecting
conservation targets and reducing their viability. The damage may occur directly to a
target, or indirectly to an ecological process important to sustaining the target.

Sources of Stress are the causes or agents of destruction or degradation. These are the
human activities, typically uses of land, water or other natural resources, which cause
stresses. Each stress has at least one source and stresses often have multiple sources. The
Conservancy's approach is to focus upon those proximate sources of stress that can be
abated with practical strategies. Some sources of stress are on-going or "active"; others
may be historical. With historical sources, the stresses can persist even in the absence of
an active source, such as disruptions to a wetland's hydrology, that persist long after the
drainage of the wetland has ceased.

The assessment of Systems, Stresses, and Sources of stress leads to a listing of critical
threats for a conservation area. Threats are a combination of a source and the stress it
causes to a system. Critical threats are those with the greatest impact upon the targets at a
conservation area, and their priority is determined through the application of the Site
Conservation Planning/Measures of Success methodology.

Based on the identified critical threats, site-planning teams have developed conservation
Strategies. Strategies are the broad action paths necessary to abate critical threats aid
enhance the viability of conservation targets. Strategies have two broad objectives:

* Threat abatement: eliminate active sources of stress (subsequent reduction in stress
and increase in viability)
* Ecological Management and Restoration: directly eliminate stress and enhance
viability.

Having identified priority strategies, Action Plans were developed to accomplish the
strategies. It should be emphasized that TNC provided a format in which workshop
participants could play an active role in the development of this Management Plan.
Much of the content of this Management Plan is a direct product of the efforts of
workshop participants.









Appendix B: Conservation Targets and Stresses:
An Overview

Identify main conservation targets

In order to conserve and manage environmental resources, it is important to first identify
and understand the important community types and species that characterize the area of
concern. This includes an understanding of the natural processes that maintain these
entities, providing the basis for all subsequent steps in site planning. During community
workshops, a list of species and community types was compiled using the following
category types as a guideline.

Ecological communities: Groupings of co-occurring species, as defined at the finest
operational level of a community classification hierarchy.

Spatial assemblages of ecological communities or systems: Communities may be
aggregated into dynamic assemblages or complexes that (1) occur together on the
landscape; (2) are linked by ecological processes, underling environmental features (e.g.,
soils, geology, topography), or environmental gradients (e.g., elevation, precipitation,
temperature); and (3) form a robust, cohesive, and distinguishable unit on the ground.

Species: Types of species targets include:
Imperiled and endangered native species
Species of special concern due to vulnerability, declining trends, disjunct
distributions, or endemic status within a region
Focal species, including keystone species, wide-ranging (regional) species, and
umbrella species
Major groupings of species that share common natural processes or have similar
conservation requirements
Globally significant examples of species aggregations

The purpose of identifying these 'targets' in site planning is to guide strategic planning at
the site. It is important that these focal targets represent and capture the species and
communities that are fundamental to ecosystem function at the site. It is important to
note that the overall goal should be an ecosystem that is resilient to disturbance. An
ecosystem with an intact trophic structure and redundance in ecological function will be
able to withstand the effects of hurricanes and other natural events (i.e., disease
outbreaks). Whereas, an ecosystem missing important components such as a healthy
predator or herbivore population will be much more likely to collapse in response to
natural disturbances. Striving for this balance in marine communities should be the
theme when considering each component of a particular ecosystem and will ideally
provide an "insurance policy" for potential disasters. The systems and species of concern
for the EEMP are listed below. General descriptions and rationale for including them as
focal targets can be found in the following section.









Management Targets


Sea Turtles
Parrot Fish
Aggregating Fish Predators
Seagrass Communities
Mangroves/Salt Ponds
Coral Reefs

Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are unique on this list of systems and species of concern in that the category
only represents two species. While historically, sea turtles were of great economic
importance as a food source, their place as a staple in the diet of Caribbean islanders has
been lost due to dramatic declines in sea turtle populations. Sea turtle populations around
the world have experienced these dramatic losses, and as a group are considered close to
extinction. International treaties as well as local, provincial, and national laws provide
protection to sea turtles. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 prohibits killing, harming,
and harassment of six species of turtles, including the species that inhabit the beaches and
waters of St. Croix. Although sea turtles spend only a small portion of their life cycle on
beaches, their time there is critical to the survival of future generations of sea turtles.
Both the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
use the beaches on the East End of St. Croix for nesting grounds. Researchers
monitoring turtle nesting at East End Bay, Isaac Bay, and Jack Bay have recently seen an
increase in the number of green turtles coming to nest, while hawksbill numbers continue
to decline (see MacKay and Rebholz studies).

Because researchers are generally limited to data collected during nesting very little is
known about the life cycle of sea turtles. Their migration patterns and routes continue to
be a mystery, and often scientists must rely on chance encounters to fill in these gaps in
knowledge. Identifying where turtles reside when they are not nesting and mating
continues to be the goal of many research efforts. It is known however, that turtles tend
to mate near their nesting beaches, as well as demonstrate fidelity to the beaches from
which they hatched. This is important when considering actions taken that aim to
conserve turtle populations. Female turtles will nest several times during nesting season,
often returning to the same beach every time. Observations have revealed that nesting
turtles remain within one mile of the beach that they are nesting on (Z. Hillis-Starr pers.
comm.). Because this is such a critical time in the turtle's life history, great efforts
should be made to protect turtles from disturbance and injury, both in and out of the
water. Known anthropogenic stresses to nesting turtles include: turtle poaching, egg
poaching, nest crushing via vehicles driving over nests, and predation by introduced
species (i.e., mongoose and dogs).

Four key factors which can be controlled by effective management are critical to the
long-term preservation of nesting turtles on St. Croix:









First, eliminate vehicular traffic on nesting beaches. Limiting access to the East End
beaches, will effectively abate this destructive threat. Illegal roads continue to provide
easy beach access, and efforts to block these roads has only been marginally successful.

Second, identify the beaches as important nesting habitat for sea turtles using clearly
marked signs. Providing this information to the public will help them take an active role
in ensuring the future existence of a nesting population on St. Croix, by leasing their
dogs and avoiding the area during peak nesting periods.

Third, set aside waters that extend from nesting beaches as marine reserves in order to
minimize disturbance during nesting and mating periods. Because these activities occur
year-round, it is important that these be permanent reserves, and not seasonal as it has
been suggested by some.

Fourth, increase the level of monitoring and enforcement to deter both poaching of
turtles and their eggs. As well, reduce or eliminate lighting near nesting beaches.
Current monitoring activities seem to be minimizing the amount of poaching, as well as
potentially deterring the use of East End beaches for illegal activities such as drug
smuggling (Good 1999).

Parrot Fish

Parrot fish in the family Scaridae, along with tangs and doctor fish in the family
Acanthuridae, are the two most important herbivorous fish families on Caribbean reefs in
terms of density, biomass, and impact on the macrophyte community. We have chosen
parrot fish as a target species for conservation because of the important role they play in
the ecological community, and because they are under strong fishing pressure in the
U.S.V.I., as well as the rest of the Caribbean. Although Acanthurids experience similar
intense fishing pressures, and have been suggested to play an equally important role in
structuring reef communities; the focus of this conservation target will be parrot fish,
because diversity in this group is an order of magnitude greater. Critically, though, all
conservation strategies proposed for the preservation of parrot fish will equally protect
surgeon fish, as they are designed to protect habitat, and not to limit take of specific
species. Since Acanthurids are sympatric with parrot fish, we will assume that efforts
taken to protect parrot fish will also protect Acanthurids in a similar manner.

Parrot fish are ecologically and economically important for a variety of reasons. First,
they are a primary fish sought by local fisherman for sale at local markets. Second,
encounters with these impressive, and often colorful fish are the focus of many eco-
tourism dives/snorkels; most sponsored by large hotels, resorts and local merchants,
which bring much needed money into the local economy. Third, parrot fish play an
integral yet often overlooked, role in maintaining the structure of important, shallow-
water communities. For example, it has been suggested by many studies that by
suppressing the abundance of fast-growing algae, herbivorous fish indirectly facilitate the
persistence of coral reefs. Conservation of these fish will thus benefit the local economy
in a variety of ways, and likely facilitate the persistence of important, shallow-water reef









communities. However, like any effective conservation plan, the management design for
the long-term preservation of these fishes must be based on an accurate understanding of
the animal's life history.

The parrot fish species, which inhabit the shallow waters of St. Croix, range in size from
the four-foot rainbow to the six-inch green blotch, and can be found primarily in three
habitats: reefs, seagrasses and mangroves. The dominant and most common parrot fish in
coral reef communities include: stoplight (Sparisoma viride), queen (Scarus vetula),
midnight blue (Scarus coelestinus), red-band (Sparisoma aurofrenatum), princess (Scarus
taeniopterus), and at times blue (Scarus coeruleus) and rainbow (Scarus guacamaia)
parrot fish. However, it should be noted that due to various trends in fishing and
environmental disturbances, these fish are not present in great abundance in the waters
surrounding St. Croix. Many of these same species can be found during the day, foraging
on algae and turtle grass in nearby flats. These species return to the reef at night
however, for protection from predators. Again, although this is their habitat, certain
species of parrot fish may presently be difficult to locate in St. Croix waters due to
reductions in the population. Those species that live almost exclusively in seagrass
habitat include: bucktooth (Sparisoma radians), striped &carus croicensis), green blotch
(Sparisoma atomarium), redtail (Sparisoma chrysopterum), redfin (Sparisoma
rubripinne), and the blue lip (Cryptotomus roseus). However, studies conducted by the
V.I. Division of Fish and Wildlife have only identified bucktooth parrot fish in significant
numbers (W. Tobias, pers. comm.). Mangrove communities, although not primary
habitats for adult parrots, are important nursery grounds for many parrots including
rainbows, blues, queens, and striped. Successful conservation of parrot fish must then
incorporate preservation of not only coral reef and seagrass habitats for adult fish, but
also mangrove communities, which act as critical nursery areas for vulnerable juvenile
stages. In essence, conservation efforts must take on a landscape level approach.

Parrot fish are unique among all reef fishes in their ability to consume fleshy as well as
heavily calcified algae. In addition, a variety of parrot fish (e.g., red-band, stoplight, red-
finned queen, striped, and especially the bucktooth) will consume seagrasses which are
both epiphitized and unepiphitized. Parrot fish as a group display considerable plasticity
in their diets of macrophytes, and are usually large in population size and, at times, in
individual biomass. For these reasons it is not surprising that a variety of scientific
studies have pointed to their keystone role as important top-down agents, affecting the
distribution and abundance of seagrass and macroalgae across flats and coral reef
communities.

Three key factors which can be controlled by effective human management are critical to
the long-term preservation of parrot fish on St. Croix:

First: Permanent no-take zones which incorporate large tracts (km x km) of barrier reef,
patch reef, and fore reef must be established. For future planning, it is critical that the
deep fore reef area also be included, as this contains most of the large fish that contribute
a disproportionate amount of gametes to spawning aggregations. These no-take zones
must also incorporate seagrass habitats used by various species of parrot fish as foraging









and resident areas. Too many no-take zones have failed by just protecting the reef.
Intermingled in these areas should be take zones, which allow for commercial and
recreational fishing.

Second: There needs to be a strong effort to conserve the critical nursery habitats
described above (seagrass and mangrove habitats). Without such efforts, the juvenile life
stage of these fish will soon become a bottleneck in their population numbers.

Third: Educational outreach to local fishermen, discussing the benefits of no-take areas
to the long-term preservation of their historic fisheries and coral reef communities, must
be a constant and never-ending goal. Without their support, little in regards to
conservation can be accomplished. It must be emphasized again and again the
importance of co-dependency of species in these near-shore habitats. The potential for
declines at one trophic level to cascade up, down and sideways in the food web, i.e., the
propagation of negative effects throughout this community, is high in this intensely
interconnected system. Coral reefs buffer the island from the intense wave action of
storms and hurricanes, facilitate seagrass and mangrove communities, increase fish
production, and increase tourism and thus increase influx of money into the local
economy; but they cannot persist without preserving herbivorous fish populations.
Conserving fish species, such as parrot fish, is thus critical in conserving the entire near-
shore marine system.

Aggregating Fish Predators

In this document, the phrase "aggregating fish predators" does not refer to fish that feed
in groups; rather the term refers to large piscivorous fish which are solitary hunters, but
must gather in large aggregations to effectively reproduce. Aggregating fish predators
refer primarily to two families cf reef fish, the snappers Lutjanidae, and the groupers or
sea basses Serranidae. Some examples of large sea basses that historically inhabited St.
Croix include the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), coneys (Epinephelus fulvus),
red hinds (Epinephelus guttatus), rock hinds (Epinephelus adscensionis), tiger groupers
(Mycteroperca tigris), and graysbys (Epinephelus cruentatus). Unfortunately, the
likelihood of encountering mature adults of any of these species has decreased due to a
variety of stresses, both current and historical. Both the Nassau and tiger grouper
fisheries are locally extinct (W. Tobias pers. comm.). Examples of abundant and large
snappers include mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis), school masters (Lutjanus apodus),
mangrove or gray snappers (Lutjanus griseus), lane snappers (Lutjanus synagris), cubera
(Lutjanus cyanopterus) and yellow-tail snappers (Ocyurus chrysurus).

Snappers and groupers are ecologically and economically important for a variety of
reasons. First, they are the primary fish sought by local fisherman for sale at both local
and regional scales. Groupers and snappers, unlike many others fished locally in St.
Croix (e.g., parrot fish, squirrel fish, and surgeon fish), are in high demand in off-island
markets (e.g., continental U.S.), bring a higher price per pound, and thus suffer from
increased fishing pressure. However, due to reduced stocks, neither grouper nor snapper
have been exported from the Virgin Islands in over 20 years (W. Tobias pers. comm.).









Second, snappers and groupers are prized game fish for many tourists fishing in the
waters off St. Croix. Third, encounters with these impressive fish are often the focus of
eco-tourism dives, sponsored by large hotels, resorts and local merchants; which bring
much needed money into the local economy. Fourth, snappers and groupers play an
integral role in maintaining the structure of important, shallow-water communities. For
example, it has been suggested by correlation and lab studies that predators, by
suppressing the densities of plant-eating fish, indirectly facilitate the persistence of
important macrophyte habitats (e.g., seagrasses and patches of calcium-rich, macroalgae)
(Hay 1981, 1984, 1985). Conservation of these fish will thus benefit the local economy
in a variety of ways and likely facilitate the persistence of important, shallow-water plant
communities. However, like any effective conservation plan, the management design for
the long-term preservation of these fishes must be based on accurate understanding of the
animal's life history.

During the day, adult groupers and snappers are typically found associated with complex
biogenic structure on the barrier reef or on nearby patch reefs. The depth range of
groupers is routinely greater than snappers, as they are distributed from the shallow parts
of the back reef (10-30m) to the deeper reaches (100-300m) of the fore reef. Adult
snappers typically inhabit shallow areas of the barrier and patch reefs but, unlike
groupers, are also found in abundance in mangrove creeks and in shallow waters near
biogenic (rocks, caves, and blue holes), or artificial (peers, marinas, and docks)
structures. This differentiation in habitat use may in part be due to the ability of many
species of snappers to endure a much greater variation in salinity (Layman papers, Ray et
al. 2000). For example, small adult and juvenile grey, schoolmaster, and cubera snappers
can often be found in waters with 5-10 ppt salinity, an almost 70% reduction in the
normal salinity of marine waters (Layman and Silliman in press, Layman et al. 2001). At
night, both groupers and snappers leave the structural refuge of the reef and other habitats
(e.g., mangrove roots, docks, and rocky shores) and fan out over adjacent seagrass beds
and sand flats to feed on smaller fish and invertebrates.

Relatively little is known about the life-history of juvenile and young-of-the-year
snappers and groupers. Importantly, what is definitive is that these fish do not use the
barrier or patch reefs as nursery habitats. Instead, mangroves (e.g., grey, schoolmaster,
and cubera snappers), shallow-water sand flats, rocky shores (many groupers), seagrasses
and algal beds (e.g., juvenile Nassau groupers are thought to home to red algal Laurencia
beds), have been shown routinely to be the nursery grounds of aggregating fish predators
(Layman et al. 2001, Layman and Silliman in press). Transplant and tethering
experiments of juvenile fish onto the reef complex demonstrate that predation rates are
far too high and intense for these areas to act as nurseries. Successful conservation of
these large aggregating predators must then incorporate preservation of not only barrier
and patch reef habitats for adult fish, but also seagrass, mangrove, and other communities
which act as critical nursery areas for vulnerable juvenile stages. In essence,
conservation efforts must take on a landscape level approach.

Besides a spatial, habitat-based conservation strategy, a successful Management Plan for
these fish must also include temporal protection of fish populations during aggregated









spawning events. These events often taken place in the fore reef area where gametes can
be dispersed into fast moving currents and, historically, were thought to attract up to
10,000 fish (Ray et al. 2000). Today's estimates suggest that those numbers have
dwindled by an order of magnitude for most aggregations, to around 1,000 fish (Ray et al.
2000). In most cases, known aggregation sites have gone extinct due to over fishing. For
example, the aggregation of Nassau groupers off the East End of St. Croix, once thought
to number in the thousands, is now ecologically extinct. Similar documented accounts
and stories abound in Florida and the Bahamas (Ray et al. 2000). These aggregations
represent key bottlenecks in the life histories of these fish. Essentially, they provide the
seed for future generations and must be thought of as the "suppliers" which sustain near-
shore fishery operations. During these aggregations, the usually coy and solitary
snappers and groupers are particularly social and undeterred or frightened by typically
threatening activities, which usually result in evasive escape behavior. Divers may return
again and again to the school to spear unwary fish and drag them wounded to the surface,
with no apparent effect on the rest of the school. Without legal protection and
enforcement of protection during these critical stages, spearing can reduce fish
populations by 90% in a few days, in what would normally take tens of years using
conventional methods (Ray et al. 2000, B. Silliman pers. comm.). The critical point here
is that making known fish aggregation sites off limits to fishing during aggregation times
-- (typically 2-3 days every month for three months a year; but this varies from species to
species)-- preserves the supply of fish to the region for generations to come. This is
particularly applicable to the management of U.S.V.I. marine fisheries, as recent studies
using the chemistry of fish otoliths (i.e., ear bones) to trace the origin of juvenile fish,
suggest that up to 50% of bluehead wrasse, Thalassoma bifasciatum, recruits on St. Croix
are self-recruiting; that is, they originate from spawning events on St. Croix (Swearer et
al. 1999).

The area of fish conservation has long been chided by community and ecosystem
ecologists for its attempts to conserve species solely by regulating yearly catch and size
limits. This method alone has proven time and time again to be painfully ineffective at
conserving or revitalizing depleted fish populations. What has been recommended
instead is an integrated natural history and community level ecology approach combined
with active management of fish extraction for commercial sale. This approach results in:
(1) decreased fishing pressure on stressed fish populations and (2) conservation of critical
habitat and life-history events, which often represent extremely vulnerable stages in the
ontogeny of these ecologically and economically important fish.

Four key factors which can be controlled by effective human management are critical to
the long-term preservation of snapper and grouper populations on St. Croix:

First: Permanent no-take zones must be established that provide refuge over a large
enough spatial scale to theoretically incorporate, using modeling and fish counts in the
literature, at least 1,000 adult fish of the targeted species. Because this goal is often too
difficult to accomplish, no-take zones which incorporate large tracts (km x km) of barrier
reef, patch reef, and fore reef must be established. For future planning, it is critical that
this deep fore reef area be included in the no-take zones as this contains most of the large









fish, which contribute a disproportionate amount of gametes to spawning aggregations.
These no-take zones must also incorporate seagrass, sand flat and mangrove habitats,
which are used by adult snappers and groupers as foraging areas at night. Too many no-
take zones have failed by just protecting the reef. Intermingled in these areas should be
take zones, which allow for commercial and recreational fishing.

Second: There needs to be a strong effort to conserve the critical nursery habitats
described above. Without such efforts, the juvenile life stage of these fish will soon
become a bottleneck in their population numbers.

Third: Spawning aggregations must be located and designated as no-take areas with
proper enforcement. Again, enforcement here is critical. One slip in the large, no-take
zone means a few fish are lost in the day; me slip at this bottleneck, aggregating period
could completely eliminate the effective reproduction population of the fish.

Fourth: Educational outreach to local fisherman discussing the benefits of no-take areas
and protection of breeding aggregations to the long-term preservation of their historic
fisheries must be a constant and never-ending goal. Without their support, little in
regards to conservation can be accomplished.

Seagrass Communities

Tropical seagrass communities are among the most productive ecosystems in the world,
and are home to a wide variety of fish and invertebrate life. Within the S.C.E.E.M.P,
seagrass communities are overwhelmingly dominated by the turtle grass, Thalassia
testudinum, with manatee grass, Syringodium filiforme, and shoal grass, Halodule
wrightii, being primarily minor constituents, though at times reaching high densities,
especially in areas of high disturbance (e.g., on sandy shoals). These grass-dominated
habitats are found in relatively clear, shallow water (-.5-10m) in both small (10x10m)
and expansive (1000xl000m) beds behind the barrier reef, which buffers them from
intense physical disturbance by dissipating the energy of incoming waves. The substrate
of these communities is comprised of carbonate sand and fine organic matter, which is
product of both autogenic (in situ production) and allogenic (trapping of suspended
particles) processes. Overall, seagrass communities comprise greater than 65% of the
benthic habitat between the shoreline and barrier reef within the EEMP.

Seagrass communities provide a great deal of ecosystem services, which are important
both in ecological and economic contexts. For example, seagrass systems are important
nursery habitats for a great many fish and invertebrate species, buffer coral reefs from
land-based nutrient fluxes by taking-up and fixing large amounts of inorganic nitrogen
and phosphorus. Also, through their massive root network, they stabilize sediment,
thereby preventing large-scale erosion of shoreline and life-threatening sedimentation of
nearby coral reefs. Perhaps, most important of all, seagrasses act as "foundation
species", i.e., the persistence of the entire community rests on the persistence of
seagrasses. Their loss from areas is associated with rapid declines of commercially and
ecologically valuable species and overall community function. Essentially seagrasses,









via their biogenic structure, ameliorate environmental stresses (e.g., biotic predation;
and abiotic wave disturbance), that would otherwise lead to the local extinction of the
great majority of associated flora and fauna. Thus, by focusing conservation efforts on
this foundation species, the end result will likely be the preservation of a great number of
obligately dependent, symbiotic organisms.

Seagrass systems are home to a great diversity of marine life. Representatives of all
major marine invertebrate phyla can be found in this habitat. For example, four of the
five classes of the phylum Echinodermata (Ophiuroids brittle stars, Asteroids sea
stars, Echinoids urchins and sea biscuits, and Holothuroids sea cucumbers) depend on
seagrasses for both food (directly and indirectly) and shelter. Urchins (e.g., West Indian
sea egg and the variegated urchin) are easily the most conspicuous echinoderms in these
communities; as they graze, at times in great numbers, on the habitat-forming seagrasses.
Brittle stars are some of the most abundant in terms of density and biomass, although
they are less visible because they reside in the upper layers of the sediment. Worms in
the phyla annelida, platyhelminthes, nematoda, and nemertea, along with shelled
molluscs in the class gastropoda and bivalvia, burrowing shrimps (Upogebidae and
Stomatopoda) and crabs (Xanthidae) in the supra-phylum crustacea, also inhabit the
sediments of seagrasses. They feed on detritus produced by the grasses and associated
macro- and microalgae, or on organisms that depend on these items as a primary food
source. Epifaunal invertebrates are equally abundant and diverse, and include seagrass
anemones, chitons, snails, crabs (Portunids e.g., the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus),
shrimp, small lobsters (Panularis argus), amphipods, isopods, deposit-feeding sea stars
(i.e., the cushion star, Oreastar reticulatus), octopus, some corals (e.g., Porites spp.,
Siderastrea radians), and various sponges. Importantly, seagrass habitats are the primary
residents of the gastropod Strombus gigas, the Queen Conch. These large conchs (up to
30 cm in shell length) feed on seagrasses and associated epiphytes through direct radular
contact and utilize seagrass habitats as refuge from predation during early life stages (1-3
years) (Abbot and Morris 1995). Without seagrass beds, S. gigas looses its primary food
resources, as well as its protection from shell-crushing predators.

Fish also utilize seagrass habitats to a large extent. Small herbivorous fish such as the
buck-tooth parrot and pin fish live in seagrass habitats year round, feeding again on
seagrasses directly, and their associated epibiont community (algae and small encrusting
organisms such as forams). Juveniles of economically and ecologically important reef
fish (e.g., Haemulids grunts, Serranids groupers, and Lutjanids snappers), also rely
on seagrass communities for food and shelter during the early stages of their lives (see
Layman et al. 2000). Adults of these fish are usually not seen in seagrasses during the
day, as they hover around the reef for protection. At night though, many of these adult
fish migrate from the reef and fan out over the seagrasses to forage on the epifaunal
community described above (small fish and invertebrates). Studies have shown that both
epifaunal biomass and diversity is greater in seagrasses in comparison to nearby
sandflats, which strongly suggests that seagrasses serve as a foundation species for
resident organisms and a vital energy source for nearby coral reef fish communities
(Peterson 1991).









Four key factors which can be controlled by effective human management are critical to
the long-term preservation of seagrass systems:

First, run-off from terrestrial systems must be mitigated by best management practices,
as both sediment and nutrient loads associated with increases in erosion result in seagrass
decline. Increased sediment loads smother beds and block growth-limiting irradiance
from penetrating to the benthos, while increased nutrients shift the balance of power in
grass beds from rooted angiosperms to ephemeral algae, which overgrow, shade, and
eventually kill-off the underlying seagrasses.

Second, nutrient loads from point sources such as storm-water run-off and municipal
sewage must be curtailed as these high nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the system will
lead to rapid overgrowth of seagrasses by fast growing algae.

Third, seagrasses are obligately dependent on other nearby marine communities for
persistence. Coral reefs protect grass beds from the scouring effects of oceanic waves
and currents, while mangroves filter out harmful sediments and nutrients which
contribute to the deterioration of seagrass habitats. Without putting seagrass conservation
into a landscape level context, i.e., linking its preservation with the conservation of
nearby communities, its long-term preservation will be in jeopardy.

Fourth, many recent studies have shown that seagrass growth and persistence is greatly
enhanced by the presence of herbivorous fish, many of which are the focus of intense
commercial fishing efforts (i.e., parrot and surgeon fish) (see Valentine and Heck papers).
These fish, by preferentially grazing down fast-growing epiphytic algae, indirectly
facilitate seagrass growth by consuming their competitive dominant. Even in the face of
increased nutrient loading, recent research has shown that consumers may compensate for
increased algal growth with increased consumption and secondary growth. This suggests
that herbivorous fish in seagrass communities will naturally mitigate, to some extent, the
deleterious effects of increased nutrient input from anthropogenic sources. However,
they must be there to do so. Therefore, a key component to seagrass conservation is
effective fisheries management. Understanding food web linkages and strength of
consumer interactions should therefore not be ignored for the long-term management and
conservation of seagrass communities.

Mangroves/Salt Ponds

Mangrove communities, like seagrasses, are among the most productive in the world and
are home to a wide variety of fish and invertebrate life. Within the EEMP, mangrove
communities are overwhelmingly dominated by red (Rhizophora mangle), and black
(Avicennia germinans), mangroves with white mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa),
buttonwood trees (Conocarpus erectus), mangrove ferns (Arcosticum aureum), salt marsh
spike-grass (Distichilus spicata), and salt marsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), being
relatively minor components. These tree-dominated systems are found in the intertidal
zone at gently sloping coastal margins, relatively buffered from extreme wave action.
Most of the mangrove species within the EEMP occur in Great Pond, the salt pond









associated with Great Pond Bay. Wave protection is provided at times by the barrier reef,
but on St. Croix, this service is primarily furnished by semi-enclosed, coastal
embayments. The distribution of tree species is somewhat segregated across the
intertidal zone, with red mangroves dominating the lower- and mid-intertidal zones and
blacks, the higher reaches (on the north, east, and south). Red mangrove islets are fDund
in the southeastern portion of the pond (Tobias 1998). Both the red and black mangrove
zones are flooded daily by the tides. Buttonwoods and white mangroves are found at the
extreme, upper intertidal area, which is normally flooded only once or twice a month.
Ferns and grasses are fugitive species and found only in disturbed areas in the upper
reaches of the wetland. Competition for light, as is the case for terrestrial systems, is
thought to exclude grass species from tree-dominated areas.

Mangrove communities provide critical services to both human and marine life.
First: By trapping land-derived sediments, mangroves buffer seagrass and coral reef
habitats from the harmful effects of increased deposition.

Second: By taking-up land-derived nutrients in groundwater and overland-flow,
mangroves decrease nitrogen and phosphorus loading in the near-by water column,
protecting seagrasses and coral reefs from potential overgrowth by fast-growing,
ephemeral algae.

Third: Mangroves buffer human development and natural terrestrial communities from
physical disturbance caused by storms and hurricanes. Wetland trees absorb large
amounts of storm-induced wave and wind stress, while mangrove sediments act as
sponges as the sea level rises, mitigating flood damage.

Fourth: With their massive prop roots, red mangroves act as "foundation species" for a
variety of economically and ecologically important fish (e.g., snappers, groupers, parrot
fish, and bonefish), and invertebrate species (e.g., oysters, shrimp, spiny lobsters, and
blue crabs). Essentially, prop roots provide a structurally complex habitat, which buffers
associated fauna from intense consumer pressure. Without mangroves, most of the
associated species cannot persist in the remaining shallow-water habitat, as predation
intensity is too high. Importantly, most of the fish that utilize mangrove roots for
protection are juveniles. Fish which commonly use the entire reach of mangrove creeks
as nursery habitats (which encompasses a wide range of salinities, 10-35 ppt.), include:
the mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis), school masters (Lutjanus apodus), mangrove or
gray snappers (Lutjanus griseus), lane snappers (Lutjanus synagris), cubera snappers
(Lutjanus cyanopterus), the yellow fin majarra or Bahamian shad (Eucinostomus
melanopterus), and the mottled (Eucinostomus lefroyi) and slender majarra
(Eucinostomus jonesi), which are the primary food for important mangrove-creek/ bite
gamefish such as barracudas (Sphyraena barracuda), bonefish (Albula vulpes), permit
(Trachinotus falcatus), and tarpon (Megalops atlanticus). Fish which use the high-
salinity (28-35 ppt.), mouth and lower-reach areas of mangrove creeks as nursery habitats
include a number of reef fish such as sergeant majors, and beaugregory, cocoa, and three-
spot damsel fish (family: Pomacentridae); doctor fish, surgeon fish, and blue tang
(family: Acanthuridae); rainbow, queen, striped, and redband parrot fish (family:









Scaridae); margates, sailors choice, blue-striped, french, small mouth and striped grunts
(family: Haemulidae); hogfish, and blue-headed and slippery dick wrasses (family:
Labridae); and, at times, sea basses, such as the nassau (Epinephelus striatus) and black
grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci) (see Layman papers).

Fifth: Because mangroves house many juvenile fish and invertebrate species, they are
important foraging areas for adult fishes. These fish include sharks, rays, morays and
snake eels, needlefish; and the economically important groupers, snappers, grunts,
barracudas, jacks, tarpon, bonefish, and permit. Failure to conserve mangrove habitat
thus represents not only loss of critical fish nurseries, with the likely result being
decreased adult fish densities and diversity in nearby coral reef and seagrass habitats, but
also loss of important foraging areas for adult fish, with resulting decreased fish yields in
local commercial fisheries. Successful management of these foundation species will
likely result in positive effects on nearby coral reef and seagrass communities, increasing
overall fish diversity, production, and biomass.

Sixth: Besides acting as critical habitats for a wide variety of fish, mangroves support a
great diversity of invertebrate life, encompassing representatives of all major marine
invertebrate phyla. These animals live both within, around and attached to the complex
network of prop roots in the creek. The fouling community that attaches to mangrove
roots is similar in composition and distribution to the assemblage of intertidal organisms
on rocky shores. Brown (phylum Phaeophyta), green (phylum Chlorophyta), and red
(phylum Rhodophyta) algae, as well as various sponges (phylum Porifera), tunicates
(phylum Urochordata), anemones (phylum Cnidaria), and bryozoans (phylum
Ecotprotca), form a dense community on the lower portion of red mangrove roots, which
are rarely exposed to air (Layman et al. 2000). Dominating the mid- and upper-intertidal
root areas, that are exposed daily by the ebbing tide, are mangrove oysters qsognomom
spp.), star and ribbed barnacles (Balanus and Chthalamus spp.), various gastropods (e.g.,
oyster drills Urosalphinx spp.; the mangrove periwinkle Littorina angulifera, and the
Caribbean coffee-bean snail Melampus coffeus), and aboreal sesarmid and grapsid crabs
(see Layman et al. 2000). Mobile animals, which utilize prop root and creek bed areas
for foraging and protection, include the commercially important spiny lobster (Panularis
argus) and queen conch (Strombus gigas), as well as octopus (Octopus spp.), infaunal
bivalves (e.g., Codakia spp. and Chione spp. clams), echinoderms (urchins, sea
cucumbers, cushion stars, and brittle stars), corals (e.g., starlet Siderastrea radians and
finger coral Porites porites), sponges, tunicates, and worms in the phyla annelida,
platyhelminthes, nematoda, and nemertea. Without the protection of mangrove prop
roots, many of these invertebrates would go locally extinct due to predation, or lack of
suitable, stable substrate. Many studies have shown that both epifaunal biomass and
diversity are greater in mangrove habitats in comparison to nearby sandflats (see Layman
and Silliman in press, Ray et al. 2000), which strongly suggests that mangroves serve as a
foundation species for resident organisms, and a vital energy source for nearby coral reef
fish communities. A proactive role of wetland and salt pond management must occur to
increase the wildlife and fisheries habitat of these degraded coastal ecosystems.









The following are five key factors which can be controlled by effective management, and
are critical to the long-term preservation of mangrove communities:

First: Since suitable mangrove habitat is relatively rare on St. Croix (-10% of the
shoreline is mangrove), habitats currently occupied by mangroves, or that have the
potential to be occupied by mangroves, should be conserved.

Second: Not only should a policy of "no net-loss of marine wetlands be instituted", but
an active policy of restoring wetlands that have deteriorated due to garbage dumping,
terrestrial run-off, and/or human development, should be initiated. For example, the
building of the largest oil refinery in the Western Hemisphere (the Hess refinery) on St.
Croix, resulted in the loss of the largest mangrove complex on the island, and the largest
flamingo rookery in the Caribbean. A positive, proactive attempt should be made to
coordinate an active restoration of equal amounts of mangrove wetlands on other parts of
the island which involves joint cooperation (financial and person hours) between industry
(Hess), conservation (TNC), public (schools and volunteers), and governmental agencies
(DPNR, EPA, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Such an operation would bring
positive publicity to everyone and result in broadening community support for marine
conservation on St. Croix. Because mangrove restoration can be completed without
having to be underwater, efforts to restore mangroves (planting of seedlings, digging of
new creeks, and removal of garbage) can involve a great many people of all ages. The
opportunity to initiate such efforts should not be overlooked. Additional steps to
conserve existing mangrove wetlands need to include: (1) removal of all garbage from
wetland areas, (2) prohibition of future dumping, with sign postings and legal
enforcement, (3) establishment of a greater network of creeks through use of construction
equipment to restore areas filled in by human-induced sedimentation, and (4) active
planting activities of mangrove propagules, to accelerate re-colonization of restored and
degraded habitats.

Third: Any roads, partial bridges, culverts which block or partially block flow in
mangrove creeks, no matter the size, should immediately be replaced by bridges which
expand the entire width of the creek. Such efforts in the Bahamas on Andros Island have
proven to immediately increase tidal flow and, over a few months to years, increase fish
diversity and biomass, as the deep-water habitats in the mangrove wetland expand (C.
Layman and B. Silliman pers. comm.).

Fourth: Although mangroves themselves likely benefit from increased sediment and
nutrient loading, run-off from terrestrial systems must be mitigated by best management
practices (i.e., buffer zones 10's of meters of terrestrial vegetation between mangroves
and residential and/or agricultural development) as both increased sediment and nutrient
loads result in die-offs of important flora and fauna that live symbiotically with
mangroves. Increased sediment loads block growth-limiting irradiance from penetrating
to the benthos (killing seagrasses and other algae), while increased nutrients promote
blooms of ephemeral algae. As a result of these blooms, the increased respiration
demand at night and during decay, yields critically low dissolved oxygen concentrations,
which kills off resident fish and invertebrate populations. Increased nutrient loads also









shift the balance of power in the grass beds of mangrove creeks from rooted angiosperms
to ephemeral algae, which overgrow, shade, and eventually kill-off the underlying
seagrasses. Importantly, this scenario seems to be occurring at the present moment in the
mangrove creeks of Great Pond, as excess nutrients potentially from agricultural run-off
are leading to massive blooms of harmful alga on the mangrove benthos.

Fifth: Nutrient loads from point sources, such as storm-water run-off and municipal
sewage, must be curtailed, as these high nitrogen and phosphorus inputs create the same
dire consequences for mangrove flora and fauna. Reductions in both point and non-point
nutrient loads reaching mangroves are critical to mangrove survival, yet is rarely
addressed because mangrove trees actually benefit from increased nutrient inputs.
Indeed, some managers even suggest that nutrient loads are not a threat to mangrove
communities because of these reasons. However, conservation of these habitats requires
not only policies that facilitate and promote growth of the foundation tree species, but
also those which enhance production and persistence of associated fauna. Eutrophication
and increased sediment loads does not meet both criteria.

Coral Reefs

Tropical reefs dominated by hermatypic (i.e., reef-building) corals are ecologically and
economically among the most important habitats in shallow-water marine systems. They
are, however, also some of the most threatened, due to anthropogenic-induced stresses of
incompatible fishing practices, sedimentation, and eutrophication. Active conservation
strategies are thus needed to ensure long-term persistence of these communities and
continuance of important ecosystem services they provide.

Although relative percent cover of corals may change between and among reef habitats
and reef types, the dominant reef-building corals on St. Croix reefs and on those in most
of the Caribbean include elkhom (Acropora palmata) and staghom (Acropora
cervicornes) coral, and various species of brain (iploria spp.), lettuce (4garacia spp.),
finger (Porites spp.), star (Montastrea spp.), and starlet (Siderastrea spp.) corals.
Recently (within the last twenty years), however, there has been an intense decline in the
abundance of these hard corals corresponding with a dramatic increase in the cover of
macroalgae, gorgonians (e.g., sea whips, sea rods, and sea plumes) and fire corals
(Millipora spp.). This shift las been suggested to be caused by, but is not limited to, the
separate and interactive effects of: (1) disease e.g., white-band and black-band, (2)
over-fishing of herbivorous fish primarily parrot and surgeon fish, (3) the die-off of the
super-abundant, herbivorous urchin, Diadema antillerum, (4) increased nutrient run-off
from both point and non-point sources, (5) increased sedimentation due to increased run-
off on developed coastlines, (6) anchor and prop scarring, (7) physical mistreatment by
recreational and commercial divers e.g., dynamite and cyanide capture of reef fish sold
in pet shops, and (8) decreased mangrove abundance, which buffer corals from the
harmful effects of sedimentation and eutrophication.

Coral reefs provide a number of important ecosystem services to both the ecological and
human community. First, they buffer seagrass, mangrove and land-based human









development from both routine and intense (hurricane and storm induced surges) wave
action by absorbing large amounts of energy as waves propagate over their surface.
Second, coral reefs are a critical foundation species and, as such, act as hosts to a great
variety of marine invertebrate and fish species. Commercially important fish which
depend on the reef habitat as refuge from predation include for example: seabasses:
Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci), coneys
(Epinephelus fulvus), red hinds (Epinephelus guttatus), rock hinds (Epinephelus
adscensionis), tiger groupers (Mycteroperca tigris), and graysbys (Epinephelus
cruentatus); snappers: mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis), school masters (Lutjanus
apodus), lane snappers (Lutjanus synagris), cubera (Lutjanus cyanopterus) and yellow-
tail snappers (Ocyurus chrysurus); and parrot fish: stoplight (Sparisoma viride), queen
(Scarus vetula) midnight blue (Scarus coelestinus), red-band (Sparisoma aurofrenatum),
princess (Scarus taeniopterus), and at times blue (Scarus coeruleus) and rainbow (Scarus
guacamaia) parrot fish. The commercially important spiny lobster, Panularis argus, also
finds refuge in the crevices of the reef. Algal and invertebrate species which depend on
the coral-built reef number in the thousands and include species of all major marine phyla
of animals and plants. Loss of coral reef habitat from areas is associated with rapid
declines of commercially and ecologically valuable species and overall community
function. Essentially corals, via their biogenic structure, ameliorate environmental
stresses (e.g., biotic predation; and abiotic wave disturbance) that would otherwise
lead to the local extinction of the majority of associated flora and fauna. Thus, by
focusing conservation efforts on this foundation species, the end result will likely be the
preservation of a great number of obligately dependent, symbiotic organisms.

Because recent studies have shown that both near-shore and far off reefs are subjected to
similar stresses (in regards to stress type and magnitude) associated with land-derived
eutrophication and sedimentation, we recommend that the same management strategies
be applied to both wave-protected and wave-exposed reefs on St. Croix. Five key factors
that can be controlled by effective management are critical to the long-term preservation
of coral reef systems:

First, run-off from terrestrial systems must be mitigated by best management practices
(e.g., establishment of brush/ tree buffer zone -10m wide at terrestrial borders of marine
habitats, or sediment traps at construction sites) as both sediment and nutrient loads
associated with increases in erosion result in coral reef decline. Heavy sediment loads
smother corals (i.e., decrease rates of gas exchange and ability of corals to feed) and
block growth-limiting irradiance from reaching their symbiotic algae, while increased
nutrients shift the balance of power from hard corals to ephemeral macrophytes, which
overgrow, shade, and eventually kill-off the underlying coral colonies.

Second, nutrient loads from point sources such as storm-water run-off and municipal
sewage must be curtailed as these high nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the system will
lead to rapid overgrowth of coral reefs by fast growing algae.

Third, coral reefs are obligately dependent on nearby marine communities for
persistence. Both mangroves and seagrasses filter out harmful sediments and nutrients









which contribute to the deterioration of reef habitats dominated by corals. Without
putting reef conservation into a landscape level context, i.e., linking its preservation with
the conservation of nearby communities, its long-term preservation will be in jeopardy.

Fourth, many recent studies have shown that coral growth and persistence are greatly
enhanced by the presence of herbivorous fish, many of which are the focus of intense
commercial fishing efforts (i.e., parrot and surgeon fish). These fish, by preferentially
grazing down fast-growing epiphytic algae, indirectly facilitate reef growth by
consuming their competitive dominant. Even in the face of increased nutrient loading,
recent research has shown that consumers may compensate for increased algal growth
with increased consumption and secondary growth. This suggests that herbivorous fish
in coral reef communities will naturally mitigate, to some extent, the deleterious effects
of increased nutrient input from anthropogenic sources. However, they must be there to
do so. Therefore, a key component to reef conservation is effective fisheries
management. Understanding food web linkages and strength of consumer interactions
should therefore not be ignored for the long-term management and conservation of coral
reef communities.

Fifth, for the same reasons that herbivorous fish facilitate coral abundance, reef growth
and persistence is also greatly enhanced by the presence of the herbivorous, long-spined
sea urchin, Diadema antillerum (Edmunds and Carpenter 2001). Although this species
now looks to be recovering from its drastic die-off two decades ago, management
practices may be helpful in promoting its return. Although none are known at the present
time, this option should be actively pursued in the coming years, as current research is
addressing management possibilities and the return of Diadema to reefs could drastically
alter the current bleak state of algal dominance.









Appendix C: Stakeholder Diagrams


These diagrams were developed during community workshops held during the fall of
2001. They were created to explain complex interactions that exist between activities and
stakeholders. The relationships between a critical threat, the stakeholders, and the forces
that drive stakeholder behavior are spatially represented and linked. An explanation of
the diagram components is below.

The components of a stakeholder-situation diagram:

A. A single critical threat is the foundation of a diagram and comes from the SCP
prioritized list.

B. One or more direct activities create the critical threat.

C. Stakeholders are social actors who can have a direct or an indirect significant
and specific stake in a given territory or a set or natural resources. Direct
stakeholders engage in direct activities; indirect stakeholders engage in indirect
activities.

D. Motivations are the reasons for stakeholders to engage in activities.

E. Indirect activities influence the likelihood or magnitude of direct activities, other
indirect activities and/or motivations.

F. Controlling forces influence the likelihood or magnitude of direct activities,
indirect activities or motivations but, although controlling forces are ultimately
the result of stakeholders and their activities, these are usually not known or
specified.

Arrows link activities, stakeholders, motivations and controlling forces to each other.
These arrows represent directional, dynamic cause-and-effect relationships among
stakeholder-situation diagram components. The dynamic cause-and-effect relationships
represented by the arrows are contribution and influence.

1. A contribution is a relationship that determines how much a particular stakeholder
may be contributing to a particular activity that is contributing to a critical threat. In
these stakeholder- situation diagrams a contribution relationship exists:

* from a direct activity to the critical threat;

* from a direct stakeholder to a direct activity;

* from an indirect stakeholder to an indirect activity.








2. An influence is a relationship that modifies a contribution or modifies another
influence. In these stakeholder-situation diagrams an influence relationship exists:

* from a motivation to a direct or an indirect stakeholder;

* from an indirect activity to an arrow connecting a direct stakeholder and a direct
activity, or an indirect stakeholder and an indirect activity.

Diagram Key


Threat


O


Direct Activity

Motive

Direct Stakeholder


Indirect Activity

Indirect Stakeholder

Control/Influence/Gatekeeper









Threat: Incompatible Upland Development


K-> Income


Income/
Cut cost


-MOMW
r177"actors -1


416MO--


Residential, public, and",
private building







Threat: Recreation Impacts


Personal
Use


FuFun


/


I.


Trash/Debri


, -Die S p


rrno kr.v









Threat: Incompatible Fishing Practices


eed Sel
and/or
Family


Suppleme
Income


0-777
^^^eekend/Part-tm


Commercialk.
17isherumen 71


Commercial^_
F^--isemen~i^


Air


Income
_G
^^^^^^^^


Pr-me
rm en^^


W MOeken/Par-tim
Fishermeln^^^









Appendix D: List of Threatened Species Within
Park

E = Endangered
T = Threatened


US Endangered Species Act of 1973

Common Name Scientific Name Status

Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis E
Green Turtle Chelonia mydas E,T
Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata E
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae E
Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea E
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus E
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii T


VI Endangered and Indigenous Species Act of 1990 (Act No. 5665)
Common Name Scientific Name Status
Antillean Mango Anthracothorax dominicus E
Bahama Duck Anas bahamensis E
Black Coral Order Antipatharia E
Black Crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax E
Caribbean Coot Fulica caribea E
Clapper Rail Rallus longirostris E
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodius E
Great Egret Casmerodius albus E
Jewfish/Goliath Grouper Epinephelus itajara E
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis E
Least Grebe Podiceps dominicus E
Least Tern Sterna antillarum E
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis E
Snowy Egret Egretta thula E
Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus E
West Indian Nighthawk Chordeiles gundlachii E
White-crowned Pigeon Columba leucocephala E
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus E
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus E










Appendix E: List of Contacts

This list includes the names of individuals and their associated institutions that
participated in workshops for the East End Marine Park.
Rafe Boulon Rafael Llanos, Jr.
Chief, Division of Resource Management St. Croix Resident
V.I. National Park P.O. Box 547
1300 Cruz Bay Creek Christiansted, VI 00821
St. John, VI 00830


Dr. William Coles
Environmental Education, Chief
Division of Fish & Wildlife
Lagoon St. Complex, Rm. 203
Frederiksted, VI 00840

Thomas Daly
St. Croix Fisheries Advisory Council
P.O. Box 1382
Kingshill, VI 00851-1382


Olasee Davis
Natural Resources Specialist
UVI-CES
RR#2, Box 10,000
Kingshill, VI 00850

Dr. Barry Devine
Chief Scientist
UVI-ECC/CDC
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802-9990

Nick Drayton
Caribbean Ecosystem Manager
The Ocean Conservancy
P.O. Box 1287
Cruz Bay, VI 00831

Lloyd Gardner
Manager,Environmental Support Services,
LLC.
P.O. Box 305031
St. Thomas, VI 00803-5031


Gerson Martinez
Chairman, Fisheries Advisory Council
121 Clifton Hill
P.O. Box 5254
Kingshill, VI 00851

Robert McAuliffe
President
Fishermen's United Services Cooperative of
St. Croix
P.O. Box 1599
Christiansted, VI 00821
Dr. Rick Nemeth
Director
UVI-CMES
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802-9990

Michelle Pugh
Dive Experience
P.O. Box 4254
Christiansted, VI 00822


Bill Rohring
Coastal NPS Coordinator
DPNR-CZM
CEK Airport, Terminal Bldg., Fl. 2
St. Thomas, VI 00802

Jose Sanchez
Fisherman
P.O. Box 457
Kingshill, VI 00850









Zandy Hillis-Starr
Chief of Natural Resources
2100 Church St., #100
Christiansted, VI 00820

Janice Hodge
Director
DPNR-CZM
CEK Airport, Terminal Bldg., Fl. 2
St. Thomas, VI 00802

Aaron Hutchins
Environmental Engineer, Supervisor
Water Pollution Systems
Division of Environmental Protection
#45 Mars Hill
Frederiksted, VI 00840

Dr. Barbara Kojis
Director
Division of Fish and Wildlife
6291 Estate Nazareth 101
St. Thomas, VI 00802


Marcia Taylor
UVI-VIMAS
P.O. Box 10,000
Kingshill, VI 00850

Dr. Toby Tobias
Fisheries Biologist 1I
DPNR-DFW
Lagoon St. Complex, Rm. 203
Frederiksted, VI 00840

Stephanie Wear
Protected Area Specialist
The Nature Conservancy
52 Estate Little Princess
P.O. Box 1066
Christiansted, VI 00821

Robert Weary
Director
The Nature Conservancy
52 Estate Little Princess
P.O. Box 1066
Christiansted, VI 00821









Appendix F: Citations

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Alexander, J. (1981). Virgin Islands Park System (Draft), Department of Conservation
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Bell, P. (1992). Eutrophication and coral reefs: Some examples in the Great Barrier Reef
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Bruce, G.L., J.B. Harkness, J.S. Hewlett, M.S. Hill, D.K. Hubbard, T. McGovem, C.C.
Reed and H.H. Roberts. (1989). Sedimentary environments of Great Pond Bay,
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Geology and Ecology of Some Marine and Terrestrial Environments, St. Croix,
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Edmunds, P. J. and R. C. Carpenter (2001). Recovery ofDiadema antillarum reduces
macroalgal cover and increases abundance of juvenile corals on a Caribbean reef.
PNAS 98(9): 5067-5071.

Ellison, A. M. and E. J. Farnsworth (2001). Mangrove Communities. Marine Community
Ecology. M. D. Bertness, S. D. Gaines and M. E. Hay. Sunderland, MA, Sinauer
Associates, Inc.: 423-444.

Island Resources Foundation (1991). Virgin Islands Territorial Park System Planning
Project and Hurricane Hugo Coastal Resources Damage and Recovery
Assessment.

Island Resources Foundation (1993a). The East End Area of Particular Concern (APC)
and Area of Preservation and Restoration (APR), VI Department of Planning and
Natural Resources, Division of Coastal Zone Management: 45.

Island Resources Foundation. (1993b). St. Croix Coral Reef System Area of Particular
Concern (APC) and Area of Preservation and Restoration (APR), VI Department
of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Coastal Zone Management: 66.

Garabou, J., E. Sala, et al. (1998). The impact of diving on rocky sublittoral communities:
a case study of a bryozoan population. Conservation Biology 12: 302-312.

Good, C. (1999). A Conservation Plan for Protecting Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches at the
East End of St. Croix. Coastal Environmental Management Program. Durham,
NC, Duke University: 41.

Hawkins, J. P., C. M. Roberts, et al. (1999). Effects of recreational scuba diving on
Caribbean coral and fish communities. Conservation Biology 13: 888-897.










Hay, M. E. (1981). Herbivory, algal distribution, and the maintenance of between-habitat
diversity on a tropical fringing reef. Amer. Nat. 118: 520-540.

Hay, M. E. (1984). Predictable spatial escapes from herbivory: how do these affect the
evolution of herbivore resistance in tropical marine communities? Oecologia 64:
396-407.

Hay, M. E. (1985). Spatial patterns of herbivore impact and their importance in
maintaining algal species richness. Proc. Fifth Int. Coral Reef Congr. 4: 29-34.

Hubbard, D. (1989). The shelf-edge reefs of Davis and Cane Bays, Northwestern St.
Croix. In: Terrestrial and Marine Geology of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Special Publication No. 8. West Indies Laboratory, Teague Bay, St. Croix,
U.S.V.I.: 1-8.

Knowles, W.C. (1996). Wildlife use of saltwater wetlands on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin
Islands. Final Report, Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 261
pp.

Knowlton, N. and J. Jackson (2001). The Ecology of Coral Reefs. In: Marine
Community Ecology. Eds. M. Bertness, S. Gaines, & M. Hay. Sinauer
Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA.: 395-422.

Lapointe, B. (1997). Nutrient thresholds for bottom-up control of macroalgal blooms on
coral reefs in Jamaica and southeast Florida. Limnol. Oceanogr. 42:1119-1131.

Lapointe, B., D. Tomasko, and W. Matzie (1994). Eutrophication and trophic state
classification of seagrass communities in the Florida Keys. Bull. Mar. Sci. 54(3):
696-717.

Layman, C., A. Arrison, and B. R. Silliman (2001). Community composition predicts
restoration success in mangrove creeks on Andros Island, Bahamas. In review.
Conservation Biology.

Layman, C. and B. Silliman (In press). Preliminary survey and diet analysis of juvenile
fishes of an estuarine creek on Andros Island, Bahamas. Bull. Mar. Sci.

Mac, M. J., P.A. Opler, C.E. Puckett Haeker, P.D. Doran (1998). Caribbean Islands.
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Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. 1-2: 315-349.

Mackay, A. and J. Rebholz (1995). 1995 Sea Turtle Activity Survey. St. Croix, U.S.V.I.,
Department of Planning and Natural Resources: 6.




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