Title: STENAPA update
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100100/00011
 Material Information
Title: STENAPA update
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Publisher: St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation
Place of Publication: Gallow Bay, St Eustatius, N.A.
Publication Date: April 2006
Copyright Date: 2010
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100100
Volume ID: VID00011
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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April 2006

I Newsletter 1/2006


Annual Report Highlights


STENAPA's Annual Report was
published this month and con-
tains information about opera-
tional, legislative and institutional
arrangements of St Eustatius Na-
tional Parks Foundation during
2005. Points of interest include
the following:

The Board of STENAPA was com-
prised of seven permanent mem-
bers and one dive centre repre-
sentative during the majority of
2005. The Board held 13 meet-
ings during the year. Additional
representatives from government
and fishermen were again invited
tojoin the Board.

Eachyear, the Board of St
Eustatius National Parks com-
piles a set of management
objectives. A total of 26 of the
27 objectives were partly or

The new volunteer pro-
gramme that started at the
beginning of 2003 continues
to be organised through
Working Abroad A total of 25
volunteers came from around
the world to assist on trail main-
tenance, botanical garden devel-
opment, marine park mainte-
nance, and turtle conservation.

In the Marine Park, the number
of registered divers increased in
2005 by 23%. The majority of
divers came from the USA, fol-
lowed by Holland, Britain, France
and Switzerland. The majority of
divers purchased annual dive
passes. The number of visiting
yachts was recorded as 411 a

decrease of 1 I% from 2004 to
2005. The majority of yacht
captains were from the USA,
followed by UK, Netherlands,
France and Germany.

The activities of the Sea Turtle
Conservation Programme
were extended due to assis-
tance from volunteers and a
full time turtle programme
coordi nator.

The number of registered
visitors to the Quill National
Park in 2005 decreased by
about 2 %. Trail improve-
ments focused on the Crater
Trail and Round the Mountain
Trail. The number of goats

continues to cause a negative
impact through grazing.

Development in the Botanical
Gardens continued so that all
the Gardens of Phase I have
now been completed, includ-
ing a Sensory Garden, Palm
Garden and Lookout Garden.
Many improvements were
made to infrastructure, such
as re-painting of pavilion and
house, and replacement of
the power supply.

Research and monitoring in
the Parks included a conch
and lobster population
study, Corallita phenological
studyand geological study.
Research reports are avail-
able for those interested.

Highlights of the education
programme included
monthly school presenta-
tions at all schools, including
a turtle outreach pro-
gramme, two sessions of
Snorkel Club with 10 chil-
dren participating, a nd com-
mencement of the second
group of Junior Ra ngers.

Considerable time and en-
ergywere placed on pub-
lo: -lucation and informa-
rl:-n -bout nature conser-
:rl:n and park activities.

Collaboration amongst
protected areas of the
Netherlands Antilles in-
creased dramatically with
the development of a new
umbrella organisation, the
Dutch Caribbean Nature
Alliance (DCNA). Opportu-
nities have already been
created for shared projects
and resources. The DCNA
played a major role in I obby-
ing for the substantial finan-
cial support through gra nts
from Stichting Doen, Nether-
lands Postcode Lotteryvia
IUCN and Ministry of BZK.

The Annual Report can be
downloaded as a pdf file via
wwwstatiaparklorg. Or
come to review it at the Na-
tional Park office.

Inside this Publication

Annual Report

Turtle Conservation
Project and 2005

STENAPA's Facelift

Corallita Research
Project Update

Nicole Esteban in the

Eco-bags Update

Special points of

Turtles: Contact the office if you
want to see a turtle nesting!

Quill Guide dHikes with Rang-
ers: Available for groups

Botanical Garden. Open from
sunrise to sunset. Great for fam-
ily picnics and BBQs

h- S Eusatis: Ntioal ad MrinePark an Botnicl Gaden


Statia Sea Turtle Conservation Programme 2005

In 2005, the St Eustatius Sea Turtle Con-
servation Programme completed its
fourth successful year of monitoring, re-
search and education activities; there
follows a summary of the Programme's
principal findings for the year.

The nesting season ran from 29 March -
I October; leatherbacks nesting from
March -June, hawksbills from May-
September and green turtles from July -
October. A total of 28 nests were re-
corded for the season; 11 leatherback, 15
green turtle and 2 hawksbill. Zeelandia
Beach remained the primary nesting
beach for all three species of turtle, with
minimal nesting reported from Turtle
Beach and Kay Bay.
Nightly patrols were conducted on Zee-
landia Beach from 18 April 20 October;
165 patrols were completed, totalling
over 1,000 hours of monitoring. All tur-
tles observed were tagged with external
flipper tags, and for leatherbacks, internal
PIT tags were also applied. Eight turtles
were encountered during patrols; three
leatherbacks and five green turtles. One
green turtle was encountered with an
old tag that had originally been applied
in August 2002; this was the project's first
record of a returning (remigra nt) turtle.
All nest locations were marked for inclu-
sion in a study of survivorship and hatch-
ing success; these were checked daily for
signs of disturbance, predation or hatch-
ling emergence. Two of the 28 marked
nests were lost during incubation; one
leatherback nest was washed away in
extremely high tides, and one green tur-
tle nest was buried under a cliff fall.
Leatherback nests had very low hatching
success compared to hawksbill and
green turtles; 3.5%, compared to 41.4%
and 76.8%, respectively. One reason for
this difference was possibly the fact that
leatherback eggs were laid much deeper
than either green or hawksbill turtles and
were more likely to be inundated by wa-
ter, which killed the developing embryos.
Also, all but one leatherback nest was
laid close to the public access area on
Zeelandia Beach, which was the site of
continued illegal sand mining in 2005.
The removal of sand adds to the natural
erosion of the beach, creating problems
for any nests laid in that area. Only one
nest was relocated; during a night patrol,
eggs from a green turtle nest were ob-
served in a bank being washed away by

high tides. The nest was relocated to
another section of the beach away from
the erosion zone; the relocation process
did not appear to adversely affect the
eggs for hatching success was calculated
as 76.4%.

One of the major achievements of 2005
was the successful implementation of the
Sea Turtle Satellite Tracking Project,
funded by the Dutch Caribbean Nature
Alliance. This research was an inter-island
collaboration of STENAPA and the Na-
ture Foundation St Maarten. Dr Robert
van Dam was the lead biologist, provid-
ing expertise and training in satellite te-
lemetry methodology. The research
aimed to identify migration pathways
and foraging grounds of hawksbill and
green turtles nesting on Statia and St
Maarten. In addition, it was hoped to use
the project as a means of engaging the
public in marine conservation issues.
Although only two transmitters were
deployed on nesting females, one on a
green turtle from Statia in September, the
second on a hawks bill from St Maarten in
October, the project produced some in-
teresting results. The hawksbill showed

fairly typical migratory behaviour, travel-
ling 330km to St John, US Virgin Islands,
a straight-line distance of 175km from
her release site on St Maarten. In con-
trast, the green turtle displayed very un-
usual behaviour; she did not undergo
any significant migration, remaining in
the near-shore waters less than 5km from
the release site on Zeelandia Beach
throughout the two-month tracking pe-
riod. This is possibly the first record of
such behaviour for an adult green turtle
female, and will be studied further during
additional tracking studies in 2006. The
project results were presented at the 26h
International Sea Turtle Symposium held
on Crete in April 2006.

The education component of the project
focused primarily on the island schools.
Students were given presentations about
satellite telemetry and invited to partici-
pate in two competitions. For the "Name
the Turtle" competition students were
asked to draw a picture of a turtle, write
a story about their migration or make a
model turtle out of recyclable materials.
106 entries were received; three winners
were selected and they won various
prizes, including the opportunity to
choose the name for one of the transmit-
tered turtles. A similar competition was
held on St Maarten, and received over
200 entries. The green turtle was given
the name "Miss Shellie" and the hawksbill
was called "Arch/'. All the competition
entries were displayed as part of an ex-
hibit at the public library, featuring a map
that was regularly updated with the loca-
tion of each turtle. The "Where's the Tur-
tle?" competition asked people to guess
where they thought the turtles would
migrate to and how far they would swim.
Over 250 students participated, and four
winners were announced; one guessing
the exact distance that "Archy" travelled
from St Maarten to the Virgin Islands.

Several different community activities
were conducted as part of the Pro-
gramme in 2005. A puppet show was
organised for Iocal schools, to teach stu-
dents about threats to turtles, how they
could be avoi ded and what they could
do to help. Presentations were also
given at t he Auxiliary Home and the
Methodist church.
Beach erosion continues to be a signifi-
cant problem on Zeelandia Beach; this is
compounded byillegal sand mini ng ac-
tivities that occur at the northern end of
the beach. Five large cliff falls were re-
ported during the nesting season, high-
lighting the need for an extensive ero-
sion study to monitor the problem. An-
other area of concern is the qua ntity of
garbage on the nesting beach, most of
which is coming from the Smith's Gut
landfill site. Regular clean-ups conducted
on Zeelandia Beach gathered more than
12 truck loads of rubbish bags, in addi-
tion to a fri dge, large rope, fishing net
and car batteries.

Following the success of the Programme
in 2005, research and monitoring activi-
ties will continue to develop in 2006,
when it has been financed by USONA.

Page 2

Newsletter 1/2006

STENAPA's Facelift

STENAPA's new expanded office at Gal-
lows Bay is nearing completion. A lease
was signed between STENAPA and the
Island Government, allowing the original
property to be extended i n or der to e n-
able expansion of the National Park facili-

The garden area on the south side of the
current facility is being cha nged to incor-
porate a public area with picnic tables
and facilities for small gatherings and
activities, such as the Snorkel Club and
Junior Ra nger Club.

A new building has been constructed to
house bathroom facilities, including two
toilets and two showers for public c use.
There will be a small charge to cover wa-
ter usage. A new visitor's entrance givi ng
direct access to these facilities is also un-
der construction.

A new building to the north side of the
property will provide facilities for a work-
shop and equipment stora ge. A covered
area will provide shade for maintenance
of the Marine Park patrol boat and other

STENAPA will conti nue to maintain the
Tompi Hill Head Trail to Upper Town.

The final part of the construction has
been to enlarge the current wooden
building under the existing roof for an
improved visitor's centre, including sou-
venir sales and a meeting area. There will
also be two administrative offices.

Construction and improvements were
funded bya three-year gra nt from Sticht-
ing Doen.

Other Changes

Not only has the office undergone a face-
lift, STENAPA staff have also been fitted
with a smart new uniform. The uniform
consists of dark blue shorts or trousers
and a shirt embroi dered with STENAPA's

We are pleased to announce Ca rlton van
Putten has joined STENAPA as part-time
Assistant Ranger in the Botanical Garden.
This post is funded bythe Prins Bernhard
Culture Fund until end 2006. Welcome

Corallita Research Project Update by Pieter Ketner and Joris Ernst, Researchers

The earliest recording of Corallita on
Statia is from 1907 by the botanist Bod-
ingh in his 'Flora of the West Indies',
where he mentioned the species was
found in a garden in Ora njestad. This
immediately poses the question: "Why
has it taken so long before the plant be-
came a pest?" This is very difficult for
ecologists to answer. During our stay in
November 2005 we asked several people
if they could remember when Corallita
started growing profusely and became a
pest. Several answered'some 15-20
years ago'. Historically this seems to coin-
cide with a thorough change of land use,
as many agricultural practices were aban-
doned. This might have induced the
rapid growth of Corallita.

Another intriguing question is the way
the plant propagates. Is it mainly by
seeds or vegetative bystem cuttings, root
cuttings or tubers? We looked for seed-

lings during our stay but onlyfound one
on a heap of soil in town. We never
found a seedling under a parent plant,
where it is dark and humid. The seeds
lying there decompose rapidly or get
infested byfungi or eaten by insects.
However, the tubers form a menace. In a
heavily Corallita-infested area we dug
I m2 up to 35cm deep and collected 280
tubers of various sizes, more than Ikg.
Stem and root cuttings also seem a way
of dispersal. Branches root at the knots as
soon as they touch the surface and can
form thick mats of biomass. It is often
mentioned in literature that animals dis-
perse the plant from one site to another,
but there is no proof so far. If they do eat
seeds, it is possible that the (winged nut)
seed is not digested and is disposed with
the faeces in a not-yet-i nfested area.
Cows and goats have been observed
eating Corallita leaves but in low qua n-



tity. Cow dung is collected and checked
for the presence of viable seeds. The dry
season is interesting for observation. We
want to know how long the plants will
continue to grow and flower. Soon we
will know more about the growing cycle
and will keepyou informed.

PieterandJoris will be in Statia from 25
Mayto 5June. f you're interestedin
attending a public talk, please contact
the TENVAPA office

St Eustatius: National and Marine
Parks and Botanical Gardens

....... r.

National Parks Office
Gallocvs Bay
St. EustatiLu, Netherlands Antilles
Phone/Fax 599-318-2884
Email: semp@goldenrocknet.com

STENAPA is an environmental not-for-profit foundation on St Eustatius
and was established in 1988. The objectives of STENAPA are to upkeep
the natural environment, to preserve and protect endangered or en-
demic species (flora and fauna) and to educate the community about
the importance of the protection of the natural environment.

Areas of responsibility include management of the marine park, the na-
tional parks and the Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens. STENAPA is
legally delegated by the Island Council to manage these protected ar-

Vice President:

Irving Brown
Ronnie Courtar
Jana Mason
Jessica Berkel

Next edition of STENAPA Update available soon with articles on:

* New education programme 'the Waste Watchers',
* Artificial reef sunk for fishermen thanks to Statia Terminal
* Corallita is so famous that a song has been made!

Nicole Esteban in the Netherlands

Eco-bags Update

Some of our most endangered wildlife
and habitats are one step closer to safety
following the announcement by Minister
Pechtold of the Dutch Ministry of King-
dom Affairs (BZK) of a Euro 11 million
grant for nature conservation in the
Dutch Caribbean. The money from the
Dutch government will go to the Dutch
Caribbean Nature Alliance, a n umbrella
organisation formed last year to give a
united voice to conservationists on the
six islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao,
Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten.
'Our coral reefs, mangroves and tropical
forests contain the richest biodiversity in
the Kingdom of the Netherlands,' says
Kalli De Meyer, the DCNA's executive

director. 'In the past, our efforts to safe-
guard these amazing habitats have been
severely hampered by a lack of depend-
able funding. 'We are overjoyed that the
Dutch Government has decided to step
in with financial support which we des-
perately need. This demonstrates the
spirit of unityand support which lies at
the heart of the DCNA and which we
hope to foster between the islands in the
coming years.'
The funds, which will be released over a
ten-year period, will be used to create a
Conservation Trust Fund that will eventu-
ally generate enough interest to cover
the operational running costs of all the
parks. It is anticipated that revenues from
the Trust Fund will start supporting op-
erational costs of STENAPA from 201 7.
The new grant is another boost for
DCNA that was set up in February 2005.
The organisation has now turned its at-
tentions to fundraising, securing long-
term financing a nd build ng mana ge-
ment capacity in all the parks. Letitia
Buth, director of the Central Government
Department of Nature and the Environ-
ment (MINA): 'We are pleased that Minis-
ter Pechtold realises the urgent need for
long term investment in nature conserva-
tion in our islands.'

STENAPA's plastic bag campaign is com-
ing to an end and most activities are now
complete. Around 3,000 eco-bags were
received in January, some pre-printed,
others having a pocket sewn on by is-
landers in response to radio requests for
help. A new eco-bag radio jingle has
been aired since February. Violet (Tutti)
Busby distributed bags to most areas of
town, assisted by our new volunteer Han-
nah Madden. In addition to the two bags
received by each house old, every
schoolchild has received one extra bag.
Extra bags are available on sale at the
National Park office.

Photo: Seventh Day Adventist school


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