Degradation of the british virgin islands quotes from the ndp manifesto



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ENVIRONMENTAL 

DEGRADATION OF THE 

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

QUOTES FROM THE NDP MANIFESTO:

An NDP Government will:

“Be a leader on 

the protection of the environment”

“ Manage & protect the coastal zone & 

its fragile ecosystem”



There are moments in the life of every community when 

critical choices must be made, fundamental statements 

of character and aspirations are proclaimed and a 

course for the future is charted”

“Our children represent our hopes and dreams for 

the future”

GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

1. ISLAND EROSION / SEDIMENTATION

2. EUTROPHICATION

3. POOR WATER QUALITY

4. LOSS / DECLINE OF NATURAL 

RESOURCES

5. LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY / NO CONCERN

FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

6. INVASIVE SPECIES

7. UNSUSTAINABLE TOURISM



Island erosion & 

sedimentation

BEFORE

AFTER

Loss of beaches due to 

erosion

Unsightly appearance of one of the 

BVI’s “pristine beaches” – Brewer’s 

Bay after a heavy rainfall

Illegal beach 

activity –

causes loss 

of beach

Josiah’s Bay

Roads are cut without any 

mitigation measures – causes 

landslides, unsightly run-off in 

the water

Eutrophication

When nutrients are discharged or transported to the sea their inherent 



characteristics as plant nutrients affect and modify the structure and 

function of the ecosystem. The response to nutrient enrichment is called 

Eutrophication.

The main causes of Eutrophication are:

natural run-off of nutrients from the soil and the weathering of 



rocks 

run-off of inorganic fertilizer (containing nitrates and 



phosphates) 

run-off of manure from farms (containing nitrates, phosphates 



and ammonia) 

run-off from erosion (following mining, construction work or poor 



land use) 

discharge of detergents (containing phosphates) 



discharge of partially treated or untreated sewage (containing 

nitrates and phosphates) 

THE RESULTS LOOK LIKE THESE MARINAS…….


Nanny Cay, Virgin Gorda 

Yacht Harbour & Road 

Harbour are just a few of the 

areas where one can visibly 

see how poor the water 

quality is….How would you 



feel if your child

accidentally fell in 

here????

Water may a appear to be a 

pretty blue/green color in the 

photos but you can’t see the 

bottom.  

POOR WATER QUALITY

NANNY CAY

AREAS IN RED 

INDICATE

LEVELS ARE 

UNACCEPTABLE



Total Coliform: 



63% of the time 

are above the 

limits



Nitrates: 70% of 



the time are 

above limits



Phosphates:67% 



of the time are 

above limits

(Total coliform, nitrate & phosphates highlighted in yellow, are 3 basic parameters to 

test water quality. )


BRANDYWINE BAY

AREAS IN RED INDICATE

LEVELS ARE 

UNACCEPTABLE

Total Coliform: 33% of the 

time are above limits

Nitrates: 75% of the time 

are above limits

Phosphates:75% of the 

time are above limits

(Total coliform, nitrate & 

phosphates highlighted in 

yellow, are 3 basic parameters 

to test water quality. )

TRELLIS BAY

AREAS IN RED 

INDICATE

LEVELS ARE 

UNACCEPTABLE

Total Coliform:  



61% of the time are 

above the limits

Nitrates:78%  of 



the time are above 

limits


Phosphates: 67% 

of the time are 

above limits



(Total coliform, nitrate & phosphates highlighted in yellow, are 3 basic parameters to test water quality. )

LONG BAY BEEF 

ISLAND

AREAS IN RED 

INDICATE

LEVELS ARE 

UNACCEPTABLE

Total Coliform: 24% 

of the time are 

above the limits

Nitrates:  84% of the 

time are above limits

Phosphates:60% of 

the time are above 

limits

(Total coliform, nitrate & phosphates highlighted in yellow, are 3 basic parameters to 



test water quality. )

Loss / decline of natural resources

AREAS THAT ONCE LOOKED LIKE THIS:

The Dogs

Long Bay

East end

NOW LOOK LIKE THIS:

North Shore Tortola

East End

Pockwood Pond

SPECIES

COMMON NAME

CLASSIFICATION

[1]

Acacia anegadensis

Pokemeboy

CR

Aetobatus narinari

Spotted Eagle Ray 

DD

Anolis roosevelti

Culebra Island Giant Anole

Roosevelt's giant anole

CR

Balistes vetula

Queen Triggerfish 

VU

Calyptranthes kiaerskovii

None

CR

Calyptranthes thomasiana



Thomas' Lidflower

EN

Carcharhinus leucas

Bull Shark 

LR/nt


Carcharhinus limbatus

Blacktip Shark LR/nt



Carcharhinus longimanus

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

LR/nt

Caretta caretta

Loggerhead

EN

Charadrius melodus

Piping Plover

VU

Chelonia mydas

Green Turtle

EN

Cordia rupicola

None


CR

Cyclura pinguis

Anegada Rock Iguana

CR

Dendrocygna arborea

Black-billed Wood-duck

VU

Dermatolepis inermis

Marbled Grouper

VU

Dermochelys coriacea

Leatherback

CR

Epinephelus itajara

Jewfish  

CR

Epinephelus striatus

Nassau Grouper 

EN

Eretmochelys imbricata

Hawksbill Turtle 

CR

Fulica caribaea

Caribbean Coot

LR/nt

Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger Shark 

LR/nt

Globicephala macrorhynchus

Pacific Pilot Whale

Short-finned Pilot Whale 

LR/cd


Grampus griseus

Russo’s Dolphin 

DD

Guaiacum officinale

Commoner Lignum Vitae 

EN

Isurus oxyrinchus

Shortfin Mako

LR/ nt

Lachnolaimus maximus

Hogfish VU



Lagenodelphis hosei

Fraser's Dolphin

DD

Leptocereus quadricostatus

Sebucan


CR

Lutjanus analis

Mutton Snapper

VU

Lutjanus cyanopterus

Cubera Snapper

VU

Machaonia woodburyana

CR

Maytenus cymosa

Caribbean Mayten

EN

Metastelma anegadense

CR

Negaprion brevirostris

Lemon Shark

LR/ nt

Peltophryne lemur 

Puerto Rican Crested Toad VU



Prionace glauca

Blue Shark

LR/nt

Rhincodon typus

Whale Shark

VU

Scarus guacamaia

Rainbow Parrotfish

VU

Sphyrna lewini

Scalloped Hammerhead 

LR/nt

Sphyrna mokarran

Great Hammerhead

DD

[1]


EX-Extinct

EW-Extinct in the wild

CR-Critically Endangered

EN-Endangered

VU-Vulnerable

NT-Near Threatened

LC- Least Concern

DD-Data Deficient

LR/nt-Lower risk / near threatened

LR/cd –Lower Risk / Conservation Dependent

Sphyrna zygaena

Smooth Hammerhead

LR/nt

Steno bredanensis

Rough-toothed Dolphin 

DD

Thunnus obesus

Bigeye Tuna VU



Thunnus thynnus

Northern Bluefin Tuna

DD

Trichechus manatus

West Indian manatee

VU

Zanthoxylum thomasianum

St Thomas Prickly-ash 

EN

Loss of Biodiversity



IUCN’S REDLIST OF 

ENDANGERED SPECIES OF 

THE BVI (2004)



SPECIES

TYPE

COMMON NAME



Aspergillus



Coral Disease

Aspergillosis Disease (Sea Fans)



Bufo marinus



Amphibian

Cane Toad



Canis familiaris



Mammal

Domestic Dog



Capra hircus



Mammal

Goat



Casuarina equisetifolia



Tree

Whistling Pine



Eichhornia crassipes



Plant

Water hyacinth



Eleutherodactylus coqui



Amphibian

Coqui Frog



Equus asinus



Mammal

Donkey



Felis catus



Mammal

Domestic Cat



Hemidactylus mabouia



Reptile

House Gecko



Herpestes auropunctatus



Mammal

Small Indian Mongoose



Leucaena leucocephala



Tree

Acacia palida



Macronellicoccus hirsutus



Invertebrate

Hibiscus Mealybug



Mangifera indica



Plant

No common name



Melaleuca quinquenervia



Tree

Paper Bark Tree



Micropterus salmoides



Fish

Bass



Mus musculus



Mammal

House Mouse



Osteopilus septentrionalis



Amphibian

Cuban Tree Frog



Ovis aries



Mammal

Sheep



Paracoccus marginatus



Invertebrate

Papaya Mealybug



Paratrechina longicorni



Invertebrate

No common name



Passer domesticus



Bird

House Sparrow



Phormidium corallyticum



Coral Disease

Black Band Disease (Coral)



Prosopis juliflora



Plant

Mexican Thorn



Rattus norvegicus



Mammal

Brown Rat



Rattus rattus



Mammal

Black Rat



Senna multijuga



Plant

No common name



Solenopsis invicta



Invertebrate

Fire ant



Sus scrofa



Mammal

Pig



Tabebuia heterophylla



Plant

White Cedar



Unknown



Coral Disease

Dark Spot Disease 



Unknown



Coral Disease

Yellow Band Disease 



Unknown



Coral Disease

White Plague



Unknown



Coral disease

White Band Disease 



Unknown



Coral Disease

White Pox

I

N

V

A

S

I

V

E

&

N

O

N

-

N

A

T

I

V

E

S

P

E

C

I

E

S

Many of 

these 

species are 

threatening

native 

species or 

threatening 

the habitats 

of native 

species

• Unsustainable tourism

BRANDYWINE BAY

Results from beach 

renourishment:

• Loss of 10% seagrass 

habitat with more loss in 

the future as sediments 

smother seagrasses

• Loss of viable 

commercial fish 

(juveniles) 

• Poor water clarity

• Sedimentation

• 80% Mortality rate of 

hawksbill hatchlings due 

to close proximity of 

road (Dec. ‘04)



BEFORE

AFTER

SCRUB ISLAND DEVELOPMENT

• Loss of salt 



pond (natural 

drainage)

• Loss of 



mangroves

• Loss of turtle 



nesting beaches

• Alteration of 



water flow 

• More boat traffic

• Loss of coral 

reef


TRELLIS BAY

Results from poor 

drainage:

• Loss of seagrass 

habitat with more loss 

in the future as 

sediments smother 

seagrasses

• Loss of viable 

commercial fish 

(juveniles) 

• Poor water clarity

• Loss of beach

• Poor  access

• Sedimentation 


• This development impacts every major habitat 

in “Nature’s Little Secret” (Seagrass beds, coral 

reefs, mangroves, juvenile fishery habitats, salt 

ponds, beaches, bird habitats, etc., etc., 



BEEF ISLAND DEVELOPMENT

Ecological Value

Ecological Value

Study of Hans Creek 1996 

Study of Hans Creek 1996 

-

-

1998

1998

Study concluded Hans Creek is of major importance 

as a  fish nursery area for commercially important 

species of high economic value and a feeder zone for 

fish which then leave for fishing grounds in the Virgin 

Islands

Sixty two (62) different species of fish; compared to 

other areas in the BVI & adjacent territories, juvenile 

fish abundance two to three times greater in the 

Hans Creek area. For example: Compared to two 

other sites in the BVI Hans Creek contributed 82% of 

yellowtail (

Ocyurus chrysurus

), 82% of lane snapper 

(

Lutjanus synagris

) and 53 % of 

L. apodus

.

Every development plan has an environmentally 

friendly alternative…too bad those plans are NEVER

considered !!!

DEVELOPMENT IN EAST END

A

B

B

B

B

B

D

E

C

C

C

C

F

A. Loss of seagrass habitat including commercial fish (juvenile)

B. Loss of mangrove habitats

C. Loss of bird habitats

D. Loss of wetland area 

E. Poor drainage

F. Sedimentation

Destruction of this 

wetland / mangrove 

area  for 

development leaves 

this area vulnerable 

to natural disasters. 

In the mean time, it 

provides the bay 

with beautiful views 

of sedimentation & 

erosion!

Is this really considered 

improvement??

Or what about this? 

Apparently, it’s not that 

important that numerous 

colonies of birds have lost 

their habitat…permanently. 

Who is going to want to put their multi-million dollar yacht where 

the mangroves are disappearing???

Paraquita Bay July 2005

Tourists coming from the airport would see this and wonder what 

was going on.  How could dirt just be dumped into the sea? Isn’t 

that illegal???

ROAD 

HARBOUR 

DEVELOPMENT

Physical and economic 

development is possible 

without environmental 

degradation. However, at 

this point something 

needs to be done now to 

reverse the damage seen 

now.  (i.e. better drainage 

systems, sewage 

treatment plants, zoning, 

 

habitat restoration plans, 

etc., etc.)

(because of 

illegal 

reclamation)

THEN

NOW

THE FUTURE

These are only a few of the 

areas where there is 

environmental degradation. 

Other areas of concern 

include:

Loss of natural coastal 



protection

Air quality

Natural disasters (the 

impact on degraded areas)

Effects on human health 



Abandoned / derelict 

vehicles & boats

The list could go on and on but until someone takes 

notice, the BVI will be seen as 

“Nature’s Biggest Embarrassment” not 

“Nature’s Little Secret”

Document Outline

  • ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
  • Island erosion & sedimentation
  • Eutrophication
  • BRANDYWINE BAY
  • SCRUB ISLAND DEVELOPMENT
  • TRELLIS BAY
  • BEEF ISLAND DEVELOPMENT
  • Ecological Value Study of Hans Creek 1996 -1998
  • DEVELOPMENT IN EAST END


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