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Maps Display Key Areas for Human Activities in Marine Reserve

Maps and geospatial data are now available for the St. Thomas East End Reserve (STEER) Coastal Use Mapping Project. The maps, created using a participatory GIS mapping method that involves local users of the area, stakeholders, and resource managers, showcase the dominant and general use patterns for the marine reserves, also known as the STEER. The maps and data include information about 23 recreational, commercial, extractive and non-extractive uses of relevance for the reserve and current marine management. Additional mapping products include stakeholders’ preferred use areas for various types of moorings.

The maps contribute to our understanding of the interaction between humans and environment, important for addressing issues such as pollution, coastal development, and resource management. The maps also clearly highlight marine areas valued by society.

This is the first effort to use the MPA center methodology to conduct participatory mapping workshops of human uses in the Caribbean. The reserve’s Coastal Use Mapping Project is a partnership of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and the St. Thomas East End Reserve Advisory Committee.

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=8007

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