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YEAR 2007 - CRP Project #2002C (Caribbean)

Project #2002C
Marine Debris Removal &
Monitoring Effort at Cas Cay

St. Thomas, US Virgin Island

Map of project location
Map of project location

Project name:   Marine Debris Removal and Monitoring Effort at Cas Cay – Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary  
Project number:   2001C  
Project status:   Complete  
Grant Administrator:   Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)  
Grantee:   University of the Virgin Islands  
Project location:   St. Thomas, US Virgin Island  
Grant period:   Jan 1, 2021 – April 30, 2021  
Grant amount:   $31,677  
Land Ownership:   Public, USVI DPNR  
Lat/Long:   18° 19.00; 64° 52.50  
Types of Habitat:   Mangrove lagoon, seagrass beds  
Project leader:   Dr. Nasseer Idrisi
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
#2 John Brewer’s Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802

Species Benefiting From Restoration:
   • Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
   • Commercially important marine organisms

Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
Approximately 721 acres

Project Summary:
The Cas Cay – Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary is found in the southeast region of St. Thomas, USVI and covers an area of 3 km2 (Figure 1). This project will spearhead a cleanup effort of the Mangrove Lagoon and monitor environemental quality of the mangrove stand. The monitoring study is important in setting a baseline data set reflecting conditions necessary for mangrove restoration and growth. Prior efforts to restore mangrove stands have failed in St. Croix and St. John, in these cases no baseline environmental conditions were measured, thus indicating the necessity of environmental quality measurements. This project will serve as a model to mangrove restoration in the USVI, and integrates debris removal with generation of baseline data for mangrove restoration and public education.
Debris removal will be conducted four times during the year. Concurrent with the cleanup activity, we will collect environmental data and water samples for nutrient, lead concentrations, and hydrocarbon concentrations. Environmental data will be collected from three sites along a gradient from heaviest impact (near the Bavonni garbage dump) to Cas Cay (least impact). Volunteers will come from local Fishermen’s Association, Friends of the Park, VI Ecotours, and the Environmental Association of St. Thomas. The debris loads will be quantified to determine areas most impacted and to gauge cleanup effort effectiveness. Newly established Rhizophora mangle propagules will be surveyed at the sites during the sampling periods to determine how and where the system is developing. Data collected during this period will be shared with interested agencies such as DPNR.

Project Objectives:
The main objective of this work is debris removal to allow for future restoration efforts in the Mangrove Lagoon Marine Reserve and other sites in the USVI. Cleanup activities will be conducted at four times during the year and environmental quality will be measured during each cleanup event. To assess success of the debris removal project, we will measure environmental variables to determine habitat quality at areas of percieved heavy impact and areas of lighter impact. Concerned environmental/community organizations will participate in cleanup efforts. Volunteers will participate in environmental quality monitoring as a means to educate the public on scientific methods for environmental quality assessments for restoration efforts.

Click on photo to enlarge

Field work - click to enlarge
Field work

Field work - click to enlarge
Field work

Field work - click to enlarge
Field work

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NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

University of the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas Fishermen’s Association (STFA)

Environmental Association of St. Thomas (EAST)

Friends of the Park

VI Ecotours

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
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