Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Sandy Point meant to be wildlife refuge
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300919/00097
 Material Information
Title: Sandy Point meant to be wildlife refuge
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: March 10, 1995
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00097
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
March 10, 1995 17


Sandy Point meant


to be wildlife refuge


Ever so often. you bur Sandy
Point in thdmedia.
Sandy Point is considered by
many people a remote ae because
of its physical features which
courage criminal activity.
Recently a series of crime have
takn place in the area. including
rape. homicide, vehicle theft and
the breaking in of homes ar the
wildlife refuge.
Law enforcement bad gone
above and beyond to combat crimes
in the Sandy Point am but mcrest
staffing and bding levels = not
adequate to aure people's saety
when visiting the refuge.
Tmditnonally. Sandy Point has
been rgrded as a public beach for
recreation aivides. Although it Is
a wildlife refuge. public pressures
ar ireasing t develop reetion
facilities, which are not compatible
with the wildlife irege system
In 1979. Sandy Point wa desig-
nated by the Planning Offe an
Area of Pittlar Concer on o fe
18 Significant Natural Aes in he
Virgin Ilalnda.
Early in 1994. former Oov.
Alexander Parelly signed the APCs
no law. The Westend Sandy Point
Salt Pond of Frederiksted on St.
Croix is the largest pond in he Vir-
gi Islands. about 500 acres of wie-
land.
Wid this h ecosystem thee are
398 acres called the Sandy Point
National Wildlife Refuge managed
by the federal government
In 1984. this refuge was estab-
lished to protect migratory aquatic
bids. such as the tare West Inti
Flamingo. native and rare plant
and animals such as the native
ecko, white-tail deer. and other
wildlife.
The primary protection is eared
toward the endangered teatherbck
sea turtle, the largest known pop-
lation within the United States'
jurisdiction.
Historically. the whole
southshore of St. Croix. as far as
Jack and asuc Bay, was once popu-
lated by sea trtes. Old-imers will
tell you thousands of sea turtles
used to come up on the soudohore
beaches of St. Croix to lay their
eggs.
During this time, people would
catch the sea turtles and at them.
Thus, a tradition was created by
Crucians which was part of the
Indians' culture for hundreds of
years in these islands.
As time went on. the population
of sea turtles on SL Croix began to
decrease because of habitats
destruction or alteration and the
over-exploration by human beings.
Today. Sandy Point is only one
of 13 significant nesting site* in the
world and a-lesadig research pro-
ject of leatherbaclk sea turtles
worldwide.
This project puts St. Croix on
the map as a significant scientific
research area not just for


Olasee
Davis
Our
e rthrmnt


leatherback seas unes but fr other
unexplored areas of St. Croix




water fish. shrimp, shellfish and
crab. The aea is also popular for
both nos fis thing and commercial
fishing.
The Federal Coastal Barrier
Improvement Act of 1990 estab-
lished reas in he Virgin Islands as
part of the Coastal Barrier
Resources system, which includes
the Sandy Point area.
The purpose of the act was to
halt development in low-lying areas
subject o natural disaster, to stop
wasteful federal expenditures in
eo mara and to protect valuabl
natural resources from being
destroyed by unwise economic
development.
Besides marine life in the area.
Sandy Point l has an archeologi-
cal ite.
A portion of the Aklis archeo-
Jogical site is located within the
refuge boundary. This site is listed
in the National Register of Histoic
Sites and is considered of major
archeologica importance. Artifacts
and other materials indicate human
occupation dating back as early as
400 A.D.
The cure conflict between the
public and refuge is the s of the
beach for any type of recreation
activities. The purpose of purhas-
ing Sandy Poin was to ... con-
serv fish or wildlife which a list-
ed as endangered secis or threat-
ened species or plants . ." 16
U.S.C. 1534 (Endangered Species
Act of 1973).
The public use of the refuge
could adversely impact wildlife
habitat if n regulated properly.
To me. the problem of Sandy
Point Wildlife Refuge is a public
relationship issue. Most of the pub-
lic is environmentally ignorant
about what a refuge ecosystem is or
bow it functions.
Refuge administrators must
leam a little public relations if they
want to get support from the people
of the Virgin Islands.
Next week. I will address how
the public can participate in having
a say in the Sandy Point Wildlife
Refuge.

Oltsee Oavis. who holds a max-
tar ofscience degree in range man-
aemep M and forestry ecology. is a
St. Croix ecologist. activist and
writer.




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