Project Plan Rare Pride Campaign St. Croix us virgin Islands The Campaign’s Flagship Species: Leatherback Sea Turtle Karisma M. Elien



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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/.

Project Plan

Rare Pride Campaign

St. Croix

US Virgin Islands






The Campaign’s Flagship Species: Leatherback Sea Turtle
Karisma M. Elien

St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA)

US Virgin Islands

August 2006


Rare Diploma in Conservation Education

University of Kent at Canterbury, United Kingdom

Kent Cohort VI

Contents


Foreword 4

Chapter 1: Site Background Summary 4

Physical Region 5

Socio-economic Characteristics of Site 6

Main Factors Affecting the Site 7

Conservation Issues 8

Biodiversity 8

Conservation History 8

Chapter 2: Stakeholder Matrix 9

Summary of Stakeholder Meeting: 11



Chapter 3: Concept Model 13

Concept Model Narrative Summary 14



Chapter 4: Summary of Survey Questionnaire Research Data 15

Survey Design and Method 15

Survey Results 16

Q6 – Q13: Media Information 19

Cross tabulation by location shows the following: 24

Sea Turtle Questions 25

Littering Questions: 32

A Cross Tab of Cloth Grocery Bag Use with Age Shows the Following: 33

However, There Was a Difference in Gender: 34

A cross tab with gender shows: 35

Fishing regulation questions 37

Cross tabs of the survey 37

Environmental Awareness questions 40

Control Questions 42



Q32. 42

Chapter 5: Flagship Species 43

Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) 43

Status: Endangered - throughout its range 43

Taxonomy
Class: Reptilia 43

Species Description 43



Chapter 6: Work Plan 45

Summary of Objectives and Activities 45

Objectives: 45

Objective 1: Fishing Regulations 45

Objective 2: Litter 45

Objective 3: Sea Turtles 46

Objective 4: Pride and Public Outreach Activities 46

Activity List 48



Activity 1: Law Booklet 48

Activity 2: Community Talks 49

Activity 3: One Airing of an Interview on Topics TV talk show 50

Activity 4: SEA Campaign Newspaper Column 51

Activity 10: Costume of flagship species 52

Activity 11: School visits 53

Activity 12: Poster 54

Activity 13: Sea Turtle float at Carnival 55

Activity 14: Popular Song and School Song 56

Activity 15: Costume Visits at Sporting Events 57

Activity 16: SEA Junior Club 58

Activity 17: School Visit 58

Activity 20: Outdoors Activity Booklet 59

Activity 21: Poetry Readings and Booklet 60

Activity 22: Photography Exhibition and Auction 61

Activity 23: Video 62

Chapter 7: Monitoring Plan 63

Objective 1: Fishing Regulations 63



Monitoring Strategy: Measure changes over time in attitudes towards fishing regulations. 63

Objective 2: Litter 63

Objective 3: Sea Turtles 64

Monitoring Strategy: Measure changes over time in knowledge and attitude about Leatherback Sea Turtles. 64

Objective Group D: Pride and Public Outreach Activities 64



Monitoring strategy: Measure changes over time in attitude and behaviour change regarding the environment. 64

Chapter 8: Project Timeline 65

References 66

Acknowledgements 67

APPENDICES 68

Appendix 1: Island Biodiversity 68




Foreword
One of the most serious threats to sustainable economic growth in the Caribbean is the increasing degradation of the region’s natural ecosystems and a coexisting deterioration in the quality of life for Caribbean people. The task of reversing this unfortunate trend requires better knowledge and understanding of the region’s unique environmental problems and the development of suitable technologies and public policies to lessen and even prevent negative impacts on our delicate resource base.
Chapter 1: Site Background Summary
St. Croix, at 84 square miles is the largest of the 4 islands in the territory of the US Virgin Islands, purchased from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. This “American Paradise” offers a richly diverse ecosystem, which is highly attractive to conservationists and business developers alike. World-class beaches, crystal clear waters, breathtaking views, a natural harbor with a great historical significance serve to attract visitors to the “American Paradise”.
An introduction of ideas and coastal development projects have been both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it has contributed to the economic benefits from growth and development that include increase in income and improved standard of living. In opposition, less desirable by-products of this trend are evidence of the degradation of ecosystems, the depletion of natural resources and the problems of community development. As a consequence, there is a serious tug of war going on in St. Croix between those who want to see greater economic strength through more growth and development and those who want to ensure that precious natural resources are protected from further damage.
Yet in exploring the islands, there is a great sense of loss when one sees example after example of dead salt pounds, damaged and diseased coral reefs, diminishing rain forest, destroyed mangrove lagoons, soil erosion, etc. Although a vital part of the ecosystems, which attract visitors and investors alike, these resources nonetheless have fallen victim to development. The coastal zone is not simply important it is the essential resource that makes the island what it is today: Petroleum refining, major port activities, as well as breeding grounds for endangered species like the Hawksbill Sea turtle, Leatherbacks Sea turtle and the Green Sea turtle, and the Brown pelican are some of the diverse demands made of coastal resources. It is evident that the coastal zone is literally the lifeline of the island. From providing seawater for the desalination plants, to the ports from which most food and goods enter the island, to providing the resource base for tourism industry, the coastal zone performs an indispensable function to the people of the St. Croix and the Virgin Islands and serves as a resource of vast economic and recreation value.

The Physical Site


The lands at Southgate are notable for their diversity of habitats and numbers of biotic species. The central environmental asset is Southgate Pond, of about 44 acres, which cycles annually between its “aquatic phase” and its “dry phase”. In the aquatic phase the pond serves as a sanctuary for large numbers of water birds that nest and feed in and around the pond. In its dry phase the barren pond bottom supports a large colony of ground nesting birds. Both man-made and natural impacts have interfered with much of its functional role as wildlife habitat. In recent years, more species of birds have been recorded as utilizing Southgate Pond than any other site on St. Croix. The abundance of birds utilizing Southgate remains high when there is sufficient water during the yearly cycle. Southgate pond continues to be an important duck habitat and is the most important habitat among coastal ponds for both the resident White-cheeked Pintail and the migratory winter resident Blue-winged Teal. When sea conditions permit, which is common, this provides an excellent introduction to the diverse tropical marine flora and fauna to be found locally.
Physical Region
The entire island is 27 miles east to west and 7 miles north to south. The geography is an uplifted ocean floor comprised of volcanic sedimentation. The highest elevation is approximately 1000 ft. The topography is rolling terrain. The island is 73 square miles comprising of 42,000 square acres of tropical climate. It has an, annual rainfall of 47.5 inches and an average temperature of 80F.

Socio-economic Characteristics of Site


The human population is approximately 50,000. The island is comprised of two main communities of Christiansted (20,000) and Frederiksted (15,000). The population of the Virgin Islands is 76% black, 13% white, 1% Asian, 6% other and 3.5% mixed. While 81% of the population is of West Indian background only 49% were born in the Virgin Islands. The remaining 32% were born elsewhere in the Caribbean. Residents originally from the US Mainland make up 13% of the population and Puerto Ricans make up 4%. The remaining 2% is a mixture of immigrants from across the world including the Middle East, India and Asia. English is the predominant language and is the official language of the government and the public schools.
Tourism is the primary economic activity, accounting for 80% of gross domestic product and employment. The island normally hosts 1 million visitors a year. The manufacturing sector consists of petroleum refining, textiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and watch assembly. The agricultural sector is small, with most food being imported. International business and financial services are small but growing components of the economy. St. Croix is home to HOVENSA, one of the worlds largest oil refineries. HOVENSA is a limited liability company owned and operated by Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp. (HOVIC), a division of U.S.-based Hess Corporation, and Petroleos de Venezuela, SA, the national oil company of Venezuela.
St. Croix is also home to the Cruzan Rum Distillery, makers of Cruzan Rum. The Cruzan Rum Distillery was founded in 1760, and for many years used locally grown sugar cane to produce single "dark" style rum. The distillery now imports sugar cane molasses from other Caribbean islands, primarily from the Dominican Republic. In recent years Cruzan Rum, along with Bacardi from Puerto Rico and Gosling's from Bermuda, has also contributed to the resurgence of "single barrel" super-premium rum.

Main Factors Affecting the Site


The island continues to be threatened by inappropriate and insensitive coastal and upland development, and unsuitable recreational activities, such as:


  • spear fishing, and over-fishing in marine protected areas

  • driving vehicles on the sand (where turtles lay eggs)

  • extensive littering by beachgoers

Lack of a widespread solid waste plan for the island that contributes to the abundance of coastal and roadside trash and litter and the raw sewage outflows and bypasses continue to dump millions of gallons per day into coastal waters. Non-point source pollution and invasive plant and animal species also contribute to the general decline of coastal waters, surrounding coral reef communities and land and salt pond based habitats. It is important to note that naturally occurring hurricane and tropical storms have also been the cause of significant habitat loss and degradation.


The island, up to the last generation, has supported the traditional use of coastal waters for fishing which has lead to over fishing. A recent (in the last 20 years+/-) cultural occurrence has been the holiday and weekend use of the beaches for extended camping experiences this causes a great deal of litter and practice of spear fishing and net fishing as a sport around marine protected areas. There is also clear cutting of littoral woodlands which is caused by developers or landowners this causes erosion.

Conservation Issues


Biodiversity
There are many endangered plant and animal species in this area including the Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles, the Brown pelican, Vanilla orchid and many others (see appendix 1).
Conservation History
Several locations on the island are protected by conservation easements and other properties are protected by inclusion is the East End Marine Park managed by the US Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources and federal owned and managed properties of the National Parks |Service and National Wildlife Refuge System. The St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) has successfully completed many conservation projects on the island. The programs include replanting and restoration of critical mangrove habitats in several estuaries, the establishment of the 100 acre Southgate Coastal Reserve and the sponsorship and planning of the 12thannual 3-day ecological fair for over 1000 students to observe and participate in meaning environmental education activities. Island wide, The Nature Conservancy and the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge contribute significantly to the responsible stewardship and management of critical habitat. The annual Ecological Fair, specialized field days discovering salt pond habitats and shoreline habitats are conducted on a regular basis for the public and private schools on the island. The St. Croix Environmental Association regularly sponsors a variety of programs available to the community on such varied topics of star gazing, bioluminescence night diving, beach walks, bird watching, turtle nesting and hatchling watches, snorkel tours and hikes which support our ongoing mission to raise awareness in the community about vital natural resources and conservation methods.

Chapter 2: Stakeholder Matrix




No

Participant/ Stakeholder Organisation/Affiliation

Sector:

(Private, NGO, Government, Individual, Education etc.)



Name

Key Issues of organization/
person

Stakeholder’s Contribution

Stakeholder’s Interest/Motive




 




 

 

(what the stakeholder may bring to the meeting)

(what the meeting can give to stakeholder)

1

Environmental Manager

Hovensa


(Oil refinery)


Private


D.Watter

Hovensa Oil Refinery

Conflict resolution

Private sector


potential for knowledge in water; air quality; soil; energy; land reclamation; coast lands; and solid-, hazardous-, and toxic-waste disposal.

Alternatives in maintaining company’s environmental protection. Where they ensure adherence to the laws that keep the soil, water, and air clean.

2

University

of the


Virgin Islands

College


Research Center

M.Taylor

University Research Center

Knowledge and supported research in the marine field.

Share knowledge and research on the islands current marine issues.

3

Department

Of

planning



and

natural resources


Government



S. Curtis

conflict resolution, government endorsement

Provide up-to-date information on environmental protection laws of the Government of the US Virgin Islands, and those mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Gain and support information on compliance programs, general services and resources managed and administered by other USVI Division of Environmental Protection Agencies


4

Department

Of

planning



and

natural resources


Marine


(Government)

Law Enforcement



B. Magras

Law enforcement

Knowledge in law enforcement in the area, destructive fishing and coastal issues.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce issues surrounding marine laws.

5

Department

Of

Agriculture


Government



D. Howlett

Forestry Specialist

Knowledge in law enforcement in the area, Agriculture.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce Agriculture problems.

6

Virgin Islands

Waste Management Authority



Government



S. Saunders

conflict resolution, government endorsement

knowledge on proper management of solid and hazardous wastes. Also community and agencies compliances/laws.

Voluntary compliance and participation in project by sharing waste management practices and by providing information technical assistance and compliance assurance activities.


7

Virgin Islands

Coastal Zone Management



Governement

A.Edwards

Program Developer

Manager of government Marine protected area. Knowledge in marine laws and environmental issues.

Sharing information on the importance of coral reef and marine protected areas in the VI. Also information on the islands environmental heritage, culture identity and economy .

Summary of Stakeholder Meeting:


They were fewer members involved in my in house stakeholder meeting due to the negative reaction from the community when they were told that certain companies would be present. The interaction between local fishermen and most conservation agencies at the current moment on the island is not a very pleasant one due to the increase of the Marine protected areas that are being developed on island. Also at the time of the stakeholder meeting not that many agencies themselves where available to take part due to traveling to conferences. I did however hold separate stakeholder meeting within each community i.e. Fishermen, Agriculture and the housing community.


No

Participant/ Stakeholder Organisation/Affiliation

Sector:

(Private, NGO, Government, Individual, Education etc.)



Name

Key Issues of organization/
person

Stakeholder’s Contribution

Stakeholder’s Interest/Motive




 




 

 

(what the stakeholder may bring to the meeting)

(what the meeting can give to stakeholder)

8

Fishermen

Community




Private


Cruz De Rosario, Jose O


Marine protected

Areas


potential for knowledge in water; air quality; soil; energy; land reclamation; coast lands; personal feeling about MP.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce issues surrounding marine laws.

9

Fishermen

Community




Private


Pico Del Rosario, Jose E

Net fishing

potential for knowledge in water; air quality; soil; energy; land reclamation; coast lands; personal feeling about MP.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce issues surrounding marine laws.

10

Fishermen

Community




Private

Padro Gonzales

Marine protected

Areas


potential for knowledge in water; air quality; soil; energy; land reclamation; coast lands; personal feeling about MP.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce issues surrounding marine laws.

11

Fishermen

Community




Private


Luciano

Rios


Marine protected

Areas


potential for knowledge in water; air quality; soil; energy; land reclamation; coast lands; personal feeling about MP.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce issues surrounding marine laws.

12

Department

Of

Agriculture



Farm owner



Henry

Schuster


Forestry Specialist

Knowledge in law in the Agriculture and former Commissioner of the St. Croix agriculture department.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce Agriculture problems.

13

Agriculture

Farm Owner



Henry

Martin


Private agriculture

Support in issues of agriculture living.

Support and cooperation in finding ways to reduce Agriculture problems

14

Virgin Island

Water Gut Housing Community



Community meeting



WG

Housing Community



Coastal community

Voice of coastal community which deals with litter, water pollution and air pollution

Better understanding of the communities needs to help stop the littering and water pollution. There is also a need to understand the communities overall understanding on the current environmental and conservation issues.


Notes: The Housing Community meeting held at the Water Gut Community center. The meeting was organized by hosing manager Annelle Knight after sharing with her the problems I was having bring the community together with the organization she deiced to give me an hour time to hold a stake holder meeting with in the community. They were 16 individuals involved in the community stakeholder meeting.
Chapter 3: Concept Model

Concept Model Narrative Summary


The Coastal ecosystem around the island of St. Croix, our targeted condition, is a tropical ecosystem. In addition to the coast line beauty and its value as a food source, coastal ecosystems serve as a natural filtration system. It maintains marine water quality by filtering pollutants from inland freshwater systems. Coastal ecosystems also store and cycle nutrients and help protect shorelines from erosion and storms. Mangroves, wetlands, and seagrass beds filter or degrade toxic pollutants, absorb nutrient inputs, and help control pathogen populations.
The interaction between of the above-mentioned ecosystem is being destroyed by destructive fishing practices, development, and shipping traffic in and out of the territory. The habitat within and around the targeted area has both plant life and animal life.
They are several points around the coastal line of St.Croix that hosts the largest nesting population of Leatherback Sea turtles in the United States, and the threatened Green Turtle and the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle uses some many of the beaches for nesting. The unique ecosystem of beach, littoral woodlands, dry scrub plant communities, and wetlands that provide habitat to many other important species are threatened due to residential and industrial developments along the coast and the shipping trade in and out of the territory.
Due to poor economy and the competitive lifestyle of being a fishermen in such an economy destructive fishing due to the lack of knowledge and poor enforcements has caused threat to the habitats within these areas. Residential and industrial development near the coastal line has lead to sewage and sediment run off directly entering the water. This has resulted in continuing loss of surrounding habitat.
Chapter 4: Summary of Survey Questionnaire Research Data
Survey Design and Method
Building on the results of the stakeholders meetings and the focus group discussions, draft SMART objectives were formed around the following themes:


  • Littering

  • Sea turtles

  • Fishing regulations

These three areas were used to form relevant survey questions.


Six volunteers helped administer the survey from May 23rd to June 3rd, 2006. Training was held on May 20th to prepare them. From a population of 50,000, a total of 381 surveys were collected, with 355 being accepted as valid (so the results of the survey have a with a confidence level of 95 and confidence interval of 5). The surveys were administered in the Christiansted areas, mid island and the Frederiksted town. One of the volunteers also covered the Hispanic community.
Volunteers were given 60 surveys to complete and were supposed to administer 20 surveys per day, for three days, this was the initial time frame for the completion of the survey. Due to lack of community participation and transportation, some of the volunteers were unable to complete the survey in the period given. Out of 381 surveys, 26 surveys were not accepted due to incompletion of answers and listing multiple answers to a one-answer question were some of the issues that I encountered with the surveys overall. I am confident that the survey does represent the overall community.
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