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Maps Display Key Areas for Human Activities in Marine Reserve

Published on: 11/20/2012
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology
Region(s) of Study: Waterbodies

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 thatinvolves local users of the area, stakeholders, and resource managers, showcase the dominantand general use patterns for the marine reserves, also known as the STEER. The maps and datainclude information about 23 recreational, commercial, extractive and non-extractiveuses of relevance for the reserve and current marine management. Additional mapping productsinclude 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 resourcemanagement. The maps also clearly highlight marine areas valued by society.

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

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