Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Students observe beaches at Sandy Point on St. Croix
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Title: Students observe beaches at Sandy Point on St. Croix
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: March 12, 1999
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Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00245
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
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22 Island Life The Daily News. Friday, March 12. 199


Students observe beaches at Sandy Point on St. Croix


This fourth column of Monica
iMarin and Loni Frabet's research
project continues with the observa-
tion of the young scientists at the
south coast ofSt. Croix.
"Sandy Point comprised two of
the beaches included in our study.
By comparing the west sand south-
cm beach sections of Shady Point.
we were immediately mindful of
some sharp contrasts. The western
beach area is postcard perfect
beach of breathtaking beauty. Vasti
expanses of bright, fine. clean
white sand give way to crystalline
clear bluish-green water with a
Lonstant rolling current.
At landward extent of the wide
beach is a thick carpet of vibrantly
healthy vegetation, a verdant jewel
in the golden crown of beach that
bedecks this national treasure and
wildlife sanctuary. The south side.
however, reveals a very different
beach situation. With a much
sparser blanket ofsand, sand that is
neither as white nor as fine in tex-
ture. the south beach has far more
rocks, shells, and seaweed deposit-
ed along the shore The beach is
not nearly so wide and a stronger
current Is at work along this rocki-
er coastline. The water here was
stirred up. and the beach lacks
much of the beauty and appeal to
be found at the adjacent west
beach.
In the course of our investlga-
tion. we discovered two noteworthy
runoffs. which flow through the


Williams Delight and Carlton
areas. One of theso. Cane Gut,
meets the sea at the Carlton
Estuary where it gives the appear-
ance of a murky, greenish pond.
Large quantities of trash and
decaying vegetation, along with a
disgustingly foul odor. assault all
the senses at once. It is clear from
residue in the surrounding sand
that the containing pond at gut's
end flows freely into the sea when
it rains.
The Carlton Estuary Beach is
absolutely lacking in appeal and
seems to be practically devoid of
life. Large numbers of dead man-
grove are present and the water.
which has a weird brown tint.
seems to be unusually still, almost
stagnant. The whole beach is lay-
cred in rock and is heavily eroded
This picture is similar to that of
Mint Gut, whose outlet to the sea is
between the airport and Carlton
The runoff situation at the Mint
Gut site seemed far more ominous
and disturbing, however, than that
found at Cane Out.
The fecal coliform count tested
at the Mini Gut site was far higher
than that of Cane Gut. and the gen-
eral color of the runoff is dark
brown with lines of purple The
seawater itself where it mixes with
the Mint Gut effluent appeared to
be brown, yellow, and green. An
odor of human waste mixed with
odd chemical smells permeates the
air. In the shallows along the shore.


i nB^ dump clearly plays role in bthe sad
0I sta tc of enviosmental affairs
along the island's southwestern
Davis shore. On one of the days we were
pre=ons monitoring and collecting
Our dat fbr this project, we observed a
imnk track pumping raw sewage to
Environment a underground at the Anguilla
dump.
It was the expressed opinion of
we observed various coral heads. #ic tank truck driver that the gov-
mostly dead. while others evi- ernmcnt does Dot have effective
denced stages of disease and and efficient means of cleaning
advanced decay, this liquid waste being dumped.
In the brain corals, the crenula- and that much of this sewage ulti-
tions and lobes were eaten away mately finds its way into our
and permeated with hollows. The octansnd groundwater The burn-
overall visual impact of this site ing of garbage at the Anguilla site,
was the most frightful and horrify. along with the periodic dump fires
ing of any we observed in our of mysterious origin. contribute
study. Off the coast here. we not only to air pollution (and life
observed fishermen diving for threatening asthma attacks for all
conch and lobsters. This gut. like those so afflicted who live down-
Canc. flows freely during times of wind). but also to very high water
rain, suggesting that this may not temperatures at the adjacent shore-
be a safe and suitable area for line.
catching food. At both Cane Gut The temperatures recorded here
and Mini Gut, there is ample evi- were by far the highest of any we
dence of once thriving stands of tested. Increased water tcmpera-
mangroves. formerly effective lures, in addition to being disrup-
sieves, now choked on an outflow tive to marine life. provide an ideal
of sewage, human waste. and trash environment for the growth of bac-
of every type. tcria. Thermal pollution, when the
Both of these gits seem to cvi- runoff is clean water is environ-
dence the worst consequencesofill mentally disruptive; when the out-
managed or non-existent waste flow has percolated through the
treatment. open sewer lines, and garbage, sewage, and chemical
inadequately functioning and poor. stew of the Anguilla dump. it could
ly conceived seplic tanks and leach be disastrous. Near the Anguilla
fields. The over burdened Anguilla site. we discovered a large pond-


like runoff adjacent to a stand of
seemingly healthy mangroves,
The water tested positive high
lel of fcal colifomm. Trash and
metal scrap littered the pond edges
and the nearby road. On various
days. we were at this site we
observed families with children
come to collect cans or just to
explore the beach. The sight of
barefoot children running and frol-
icking in this most unsanitary
place. oblivious to the potential
dangers underfoot and around
them was most disturbing indeed.
It seems imperative that people
(especially parents) become more
aware of the dangers and possible
hazards to be found at this stw, and
lscewherc where the hand of man
has despoiled our island environ-
ment,.
Airport Beach, a place often
used for swimming. camping and
fishing had the highest level of
mercury content among any of the
waters we tested. This beach, while
not exhibiting significant erosion.
does seem notable for the numer-
ous deposits to tar in its off-color
beach sand."
The research continues next
week.
This article reflects thke view of
0la0se Davis. u St. Coix ecoto-
gisl. uctivis and writer who has a
master of since degree in nSriw
management and forestry ecology




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