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Scientists Assess Contaminants, Fish Populations in Salt River Bay, St. Croix

Published on: 09/25/2018
NCCOS scientists Ian Hartwell and Tony Pait retrieve PONAR sediment grab from Salt River Bay, St. Croix, USVI.

NCCOS scientists Ian Hartwell and Tony Pait retrieve PONAR sediment grab from Salt River Bay, St. Croix, USVI. Credit: NOAA.

Earlier this month, NCCOS scientists and their partners completed fieldwork in St. Croix’s Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve to determine the overall health of the bay.

The researchers from NCCOS, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and the National Park Service collected sediment samples from the bay, which they will analyze for chemical contaminants and biomarkers (measurable indicators of abnormality), and worked to characterize the community of organisms that live in the soft sea bottom. The team also deployed fish traps in the mangroves to characterize the juvenile fish community, and captured and implanted moray eels with coded acoustic transmitters as part of an ongoing effort to track the movement of fish within the bay.

Together, these assessments will provide managers of the bay with a measure of the system’s overall health, along with data that can help inform plans to address threats to its natural resources.

For more information, contact Ian.Hartwell@noaa.gov, Matt.Kendall@noaa.gov, or Tony.Pait@noaa.gov.

NCCOS scientist Matt Kendall prepares a fish trap for deployment in Salt River Bay, St. Croix, USVI.

NCCOS scientist Matt Kendall prepares a fish trap for deployment in Salt River Bay, St. Croix, USVI. Credit: NOAA.

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