Home > Explore Data & Reports > An integrated environmental assessment of the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)

Citation:

Pait, A.S., S.I. Hartwell, L.J. Bauer, D.A. Apeti, and A.L. Mason. 2016. An integrated environmental assessment of the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 202. Silver Spring, MD. 219 pp. http://dx.doi.org/10.7289/V5/TM-NOS-NCCOS-202

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum

Description

The St. Thomas East End Reserves, or STEER, is a collection of Marine Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries (MRWS) located on the southeastern end of the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. With an area of approximately 9.6 km2 , the STEER contains extensive mangroves and seagrass beds, along with coral reefs, lagoons and cays. Within the surrounding watershed are numerous marinas and hotels/resorts, a landfill serving both St. Thomas and St. John, an EPA Superfund site, residential areas with individual sewage treatment systems, and in the nearshore environment live-aboard and derelict boats, all of which can be sources of pollution to the STEER. Discussions with environmental managers from the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) at a meeting in 2009 highlighted the STEER as a priority area. It was noted during these discussions that the input of pollutants to the STEER, many from land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) were thought to be impacting the health of the natural resources living there. DPNR managers also noted there were significant data and information gaps, particularly in terms of the chemical contaminants present, their concentrations, effects, along with the overall health of the biological communities within the STEER. To address these needs, NOAA/NCCOS’ Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA) worked with DPNR and other local partners to design a project that was subsequently funded by NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), to develop an integrated chemical and biological characterization of the STEER. Partners in the project included the USVI DPNR Divisions of Coastal Zone Management, Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental Protection, along with the University of the Virgin Islands, and The Nature Conservancy.

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