Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: St. Croix firm's environmental sensitivity has given new life to Krause Lagoon
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300919/00142
 Material Information
Title: St. Croix firm's environmental sensitivity has given new life to Krause Lagoon
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: September 13, 1996
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Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00142
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
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16 Th News, FrdySeptembe13,1 Environment



St. Croix firm's environmental sensitivity


has given new life to Krause Lagoon


Recently, St Croix Eaviron ma-
tal Association board members
were invited by the St Croix Alu-
mina Corp. o discuss evironmen-
tal issues surrounding the plant.
Warren Pedesen, a native of St.
Croix and the plant manager, gave
us a brief history of the company, a
tour of the surrounding wetlands
nd red mud areas.
I have returned twice to speak
with Pedersen about the mangrove
forest and marine environment As
an ecologist, a impressed to see
such a good stand of mangrove,
particularly the red mangrove for-
st in f, the south shore has the
best stand of red mangrove on St.
Croix and all right next to an
industrial plant
One would assume that every-
thing around an industrial complex
would die. But often times, we
make judgments based on emotion
rather than on scientific facts when
it comes to protecting the coviron
meat
The Krause Lagoon, where St.
Croix Alumina ad Hess Oil Refin-
ery are located, once had the
biggest mangove forest in the Vir-
gin Islands. lhis rwas a biologi-
cal Garden of Eden with diverse
aquatic, terrestrial, and wildlife
species.
George A. Seaman, a native naat
ralist once called the south shore
Knuse Lagoon the "Virgin Islands
Everglade." He described the
lagoon as "a sea, sand and man-


Okasee
Davis
Our



grove wilderness of such ecological
value and nostalgic beauty that it
could tae your breath away."
'Here in the evening," Seaman
wrote "when the crameaux and
mullet were jumping, when the
clapper rails and willets filled the
rosy sky with their haunting cries,
when a long line of ducks scooped
in for their late drink of fresh water,
when everywhere, it seemed great,
gray and while and brown kaloo
crabs were appearing from their
holes to feed, and an early bat was
caught in midair by a lone and
deadly pigeon hawk in one of
nature's most dramatic exhibition
- you just knew and felt that this
place was something very special,
for, did not he last flamingo known
in the Virgin Islands come home
here? And what have we swapped it
for? Must I tell you? No folks. It's
loo sd story torepea"
From his description, it is clear
hat we have lost a wildlife treasure
due to development However, we
cannot undo what is already done.
The destruction of the Krause
Lagoon brought irreversible envi-
ronmental change, as well as the


demise of the local fisheries pro-
ductivity.
Nonetheless, this offshore area
continues today to provide a valu-
able habitat, including scagrass
beds, a mangrove forces, nd n off-
shore dredge-spoil islet, which has
become refuge for SL Coix's rare
ground lizard, red cocoa plum, and
a variety of wildlife
How is it that wildlife and a
healthy mangrove forest still exist
off Ihe south shore of St. Coix Alu-
mina Company today?
During te late 1960sand 1970s,
Harvey Aluminum Corp., later
known as Martin Maretta Almina,
decided to plant mangrove plants in
the dredge channel where the high
ships load and unload materials.
This planting of mangrove was
done by local school children.
Also, many other areas around
the industrial plant were planted
with mangroves and other species
of plants. Aiding the health of the
red mangrove forces was a series of
cooling ponds designed to prevent
foreign particles from entering the
mangrov forestetary.
Once in the 1970s, red mud dust
was a problem. Today, the red mud
forms a had crunch on the surface
where the wind cannot blow it
away. Another plus for the St.
Croix Alumina Plant is its good
maintenance of the plan The com-
pany follows EPA standards strict-
ly.
Pedersen and his staff are con-


(Krause Lagoon was) a
sea, sand and mangrove
wilderness of such eco-
logical value and nostal*
gic beauty that It could
take your breath away.
-George A. Seaman
SL Crs rinruratu

scious of their fragile environment,
knowing that a good public rela-
ionship is important for a strnger
economy. Believe me, you can feel
his spirit when be talks and shows
you around the plan
St Croix Alumina has proved
that an industry can coexist with
wildlife, once the company does its
part to maintain and protect the
environment. There are so many
things the St. Croix Alumina com-
pany has done for the community
that may not be well known. To
learn more about the company,
schools and other groups ar invited
to St. Croix Alumina mangrove for-
est weand. Contact the company at
772-7601.
Olas Davi who holds a ms-
ter of science degree in range ma-
a nt and foresy ecogC is a
St. Croix ecologist, activist and
write.




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