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Preliminary Work in St. Thomas, USVI to Characterize Chemical Contaminants Completed

The St. Thomas East End Reserve or STEER, in the US Virgin Islands, is a collection of marine reserves and wildlife sanctuaries located on the eastern end of the island. Within the STEER, there are a variety of land use and maritime activities that have the potential to impact the natural ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Recently, scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science in cooperation with local partners, collected sediments as part of a preliminary effort to characterize contaminant related issues that may exist in the STEER. In addition, a passive sampler was installed to concentrate water soluble contaminants entering the STEER. During the trip, a presentation was also made before the STEER Core Planning Group which is developing a management plan for this valuable reserve. The presentation and subsequent discussions focused on characterization and management needs related to land-based sources of pollution, and how these issues could be addressed through the collaborative work (chemical contaminants, bioeffects, and biogeography) being planned.

Finally, a presentation was made on the NCCOS integrated coral reef assessment framework at the Tenth Virgin Islands Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference in St. Thomas. The sampling during the trip was made possible by the generous help provided by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources Divisions of Coastal Zone Management, Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental Enforcement, along with the University of the Virgin Islands, The Nature Conservancy, and Virgin Islands Ecotours.

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