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Virgin Islands' Coral Reef Management Priorities

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					U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS




                           UNITED STATES
                                                         USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




                           VIRGIN ISLANDS’
                      CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES

                                                    I
                                     UNITED STATES
                                     VIRGIN ISLANDS’
                   CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES




The Territory of the United States Virgin Islands and NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. 2010. United States Virgin Islands’s
Coral Reef Management Priorities. Silver Spring, MD: NOAA.

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program would like to thank all those involved in the process to identify and publish the coral
reef management priorities for the United States Virgin Islands. The commitment, time and effort invested in this process is greatly
appreciated. These priorities will play an important role in defining NOAA’s partnership with the jurisdiction to work towards coral reef
conservation. Special thanks to Zhe Liu for graphic design and Lauren Chhay for photo support.

Cover Photo: A Red Hind ducks into a crevice in a reef off the coast of St. John, USVI. Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography Branch
CONTENTS
 2   INTRODUCTION



 4   SECTION ONE: SCOPE, DEVELOPMENT AND PRIORITIZATION PROCESS



 7   SECTION TWO: STRATEGIC CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES



15   SECTION THREE: PRIORITY SITES



18   SECTION FOUR: LINKAGES TO NOAA’S NATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES



27   APPENDIX ONE: PRIORITY SETTING PROCESS PARTICIPANTS



29   APPENDIX TWO: CONTEXT



31   APPENDIX THREE: CONTEXT PRELIMINARY IDENTIFICATION OF CAPACITY
     GAPS AND OTHER BARRIERS TO IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIORITIES
                                                                          USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




33   BIBLIOGRAPHY: OF CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION
     DOCUMENTS FOR USVI BY AGENCY




                                                                      1
    INTRODUCTION
    The purpose of this Priority Setting document is to articulate a set of
    strategic coral reef management priorities developed in consensus
    by the coral reef managers in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). NOAA
    will use this document in conjunction with its 2010–2015 Coral Reef
    Conservation Program National Goals and Objectives (available
    at www.coralreef.noaa.gov) to direct its investment in activities
    in each jurisdiction through grants, cooperative agreements and
    internal funding. NOAA will also make the document available to
    other potential funders (NGOs, federal partners, etc.) and encourage
    leveraging and new or expanded partnerships to build common coral
    reef conservation goals.



    The work presented here is being guided by            This priority setting process stems from an
    the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program              external review of NOAA CRCP conducted
    (NOAA CRCP) as part of an ongoing effort              in 2007 to independently assess how
    to develop place-based, local coral reef              effectively the program has met its goals.
    management priorities in each of the seven            The review included recommendations for
    U.S. state and territorial coral reef jurisdictions   future improvements. In response to the
    (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the                  review, NOAA CRCP developed a “Roadmap
    Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Hawai‘i,           for the Future,” laying out new principles and
    Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)        priorities. A key part of this new Roadmap
    and conduct capacity assessments to identify          includes developing management priorities
    the support needed to accomplish those                for each and all of the coral reef jurisdictions
    priorities. The first step in this effort has         and conducting capacity assessments to
    been to work with the core group of coral             achieve these priorities. NOAA CRCP is
    reef managers (local, place-based) in each            providing support to the jurisdictions to
    jurisdiction to articulate a set of strategic         coordinate with the broader management
    coral reef management priorities. The second,         community in each place to determine these
    and next, step will be to complete a capacity         strategic goals and objectives for each state
    needs assessment that helps each state and            and territory.
    territory address these priorities.



2
      This Priority Setting document is divided into the following sections:




                 1                                          2
                                                Strategic Coral Reef Management
                                                Priorities: This section presents
Scope, Development and Prioritization           the entire framework of goals and
Process: This section details the process       objectives developed and agreed
by which the priority goals and objectives      upon by the core group during this
were reached, including the preparation for     process. In this section, the Priority
the workshop, work done at the workshop         Goals and Objectives are highlighted.
and post workshop refinement.                   These are the top priorities for
                                                management action as agreed upon
                                                by the core managers group.




                 3                                          4
                                                Linkages to NOAA’s National
Priority Sites: This section lists priority     Goals and Objectives: This section
sites for application of the Priority           describes how the local jurisdiction
Goals and Objectives. It also describes         management priorities align
the process by which the sites were             with NOAA CRCP’s priorities and
determined at the workshop.                     direction forward.
                                                                                             USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




                                                                                         3
    SECTION ONE:
    SCOPE,
    DEVELOPMENT
    AND PRIORITIZATION
    PROCESS
    This document captures the final set of        management bodies and geographic
    priorities agreed upon by the core managers    localities. Appendix Two presents a summary
    as a result of the priority setting workshop   of the Situation Analysis’ findings.
    and the subsequent review and revision
    process by the advisors. The core managers     The Situation Analysis was augmented by a
    group is defined as the “place- based” coral   series of interviews that captured managers’
    reef managers who are directly responsible     working perceptions of management goals as
    for managing the coral reef ecosystem          they are stated in management documents.
    in a particular geographic location. The       Taken together, this information formed the
    managers as well as those who were             basis for the workshop discussions by offering
    asked to participate in the initial analysis   an initial set of goal areas to consider.
    and review of this document are listed in
    Appendix One.                                  During the interviews with the core coral
                                                   reef managers and management advisors in
    In preparation for the workshop, previously    the USVI, facilitators identified challenges to
    identified goals and objectives were taken     and current deficiencies in achieving stated
    from current management documents              goals and objectives, noting specific capacity
    and presented in the Situation Analysis.       gaps that likely will need attention. This
    The Situation Analysis was a preparatory       information will serve as the starting point
    document that summarized: coral                for the capacity assessment, to be completed
    reef threats, condition and trends; key        in the following year. It is summarized in
    management issues; and key agencies’           Appendix Three.
    management goals ahead of meetings
    and interviews. Its primary purpose was        Workshop participants worked from the
    to compile and consolidate available           Situation Analysis and interview findings to
    management documents from various              develop specific and time-bound goals and



4
During the priority setting workshop, core managers met in small groups to identify goals and specific actions to implement
the priority goals. Photo Credit: Dana Wusinich-Mendez, NOAA CRCP




objectives to address each of these need                      set of goals and objectives as developed by
areas. Participants were asked to develop                     the core group as well as the priority actions.
goals and objectives for the coral reefs for all              The priority actions are those goals and
of the USVI, rather than for each workshop                    objectives the core group identified
participant’s local managed area.                             through a voting process as those that
                                                              require immediate attention over the
For the purpose of this exercise, the following               short term. These Priority Goals and
definitions were used:                                        Objectives will guide NOAA CRCP funding
                                                              allocations for management activities. The
                                                              NOAA CRCP understands and respects the
   Goals are defined as the highest-level
                                                              flexibility required by coral reef managers
      result the jurisdiction seeks to achieve
                                                              in implementing complex conservation and
      (e.g., stable, sustainable coral reef
                                                              management programs. Should the partners
      ecosystems) in the next five to seven
                                                              seek funding for projects related to off-
      years.
                                                              priority issues (either in the comprehensive
                                                              framework of goals and objectives in this
                                                                                                                                  USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




   Objectives are defined as the                              document or a new emerging issue not
      environmental, social and institutional                 reflected in this document) it will need to
      outcomes the jurisdiction must                          be fully explained why the requested
      achieve to reach the end goal.                          funding is most appropriate for the off-
      Objectives are generally actionable                     priority work versus efforts to address the
      within a three- to five-year time frame.                priority Goals and Objectives identified
                                                              through this process.
This document presents the comprehensive



                                                                                                                              5
    SECTION ONE: SCOPE, DEVELOPMENT AND PRIORITIZATION PROCESS




 During the priority setting workshop, managers worked to develop and apply criteria for the identifcation of priority coral reef sites.
 Photo Credit: Dana Wusinich-Mendez, NOAA CRCP




                                                                                          laws.
                The Priority Goals and Objectives are
                                                                                     ■ Reduce fishing impacts on critical
                highlighted in magenta/bold and magenta/
                                                                                       stocks that most directly affect the
                italic font, respectively. The attendees
                                                                                       health and resilience of the reef
                selected the priority actions during the
                                                                                       ecosystem.
                workshop and through an online vote that
                occurred after the workshop.                                         ■ Manage for resilience to climate
                                                                                       change and related effects, including
                The top five Priority Goals as identified by the                       impact of elevated sea temperature;
                workshop participants are:                                             sea level rise; acidification and
                                                                                       calcium carbonate dissolution;
                     ■ Reduce impacts to coral reef
                                                                                       hurricane intensity/frequency and
                       ecosystems by reducing terrestrial
                                                                                       sedimentation to promote recovery of
                       sediment and pollutant inputs and
                                                                                       reefs from previous events.
                       improving water quality.
                     ■ Develop and implement a
                       comprehensive education and
                       outreach program to create buy-
                       in and build public support for an
                       effective coral reef conservation
                       program that targets resource users,
                       general public and decision-makers.
                     ■ Increase the ability to effectively
                       enforce existing rules, regulations and



6
SECTION TWO:
STRATEGIC CORAL
REEF MANAGEMENT
PRIORITIES
This section presents the entire framework of      1.2 Develop and apply USVI-specific
goals and objectives developed and agreed              best management practices and
upon by the core managers group during this            adaptive management plans as
process. In this section, the Priority Goals and       necessary throughout the territory (e.g.,
Objectives are highlighted in magenta/bold             installation of culverts, catch basins,
and magenta/italic font, respectively. These           vegetative buffers, etc.).
are the top priorities for management action
                                                   1.3 Support the development and
as agreed upon by the core managers group.
                                                       implementation of new and stricter
These Priority Goals and Objectives will
                                                       development permit conditions that
guide funding allocations for management
                                                       include strong mitigation actions,
activities. Off-priority goals and objectives
                                                       avoidance, minimization of impacts
are shown in plain text.
                                                       and compensation. Conditions should
                                                       also give consideration to cumulative
GOAL 1: Reduce impacts to coral reef                   impacts of stressors, including existing
ecosystems by reducing terrestrial                     and expected development, and other
                                                       stressors.
sediment and pollutant inputs and
improving water quality.                           1.4 Ensure that the necessary and
                                                       consistent regulatory and
                                                       programmatic framework exists and
                                                                                                       USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




Objectives:
                                                       is enforced to implement watershed
   1.1 Define and identify priority watersheds         management strategies necessary to
       and develop management plans,                   protect coral ecosystems.
       stormwater plans and restoration
       project that reduce the effects of          1.5 Determine effects of contaminants
       contaminants and poor water quality             and poor water quality on reef
       on reef resources.                              resources and develop and apply
                                                       best management practices as



                                                                                                   7
    SECTION TWO: STRATEGIC CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES




 Turf algae overgrows coral off the coast of St. John. Increased   Coastal development often results in sediment runoff into coral
 nutrients from runoff upset the balance between coral and algae   ecosystems; sediment can carry a range of pollutants and can
 on a reef. Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography Branch           itself smother coral. Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography
                                                                   Branch




                         necessary. Understand water quality                       information and known best
                         status and trends resulting from land-                    management practices to mitigate
                         based sources of pollution so that                        impacts on water quality. Present this
                         best practices can be formulated and                      in a manner suitable for the audience
                         applied in priority areas.                                type.
                   1.6 Develop coral reef-specific water                     1.9 Support the establishment of a policy
                       quality standards and identify                            that requires “no net loss” of any
                       threshold values that can be                              additional natural coastal features
                       incorporated into the permit process                      that would reduce and retain runoff,
                       and marine management in general.                         including coastal ponds, mangrove
                                                                                 systems, etc.
                   1.7 Build partnerships among local,
                       state, federal and nongovernmental                    1.10 Support an upgrade to the sewage
                       entities to identify, leverage and                         infrastructure to increase capacity
                       apply financial and other resources                        of processing plants, improve the
                       to facilitate improved coastal and                         collection and delivery system and
                       upland watershed management.                               upgrade individual/household
                                                                                  Individual Septic Disposal Systems
                   1.8 Support a well-informed decision-
                                                                                  (ISDS).
                       making process for granting
                       construction permits, ensuring                        1.11 Develop stormwater management
                       that decision-makers and permit-                           plans for each area of jurisdiction in
                       review staff have access to technical                      the USVI.



8
Education activities, such as VIP tours during research cruises, help increase buy-in and support for coral conservation by decision-
makers. Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography Branch




    1.12 Provide education and outreach to                              and measure their understanding of
         upper level leadership (DPNR, public                           the effect of human impacts, such as
         works, other commissions) and                                  overfishing, pollution, etc., on this value.
         government house, legislators, CZM
                                                                   2.2 Ensure public support for resource
         Commission, etc., on the economic
                                                                       management actions by hosting
         value of coral reef resources and the
                                                                       conferences, workshops and making
         importance of reducing impacts of
                                                                       school presentations. This outreach
         land-based sources of pollution on
                                                                       program should enable stewardship at
         them.
                                                                       all levels of society to affect long-term
                                                                       behavioral change.
GOAL 2: Develop and implement a
                                                                   a. Develop communication strategies
comprehensive education and outreach                                  and tools and identify priority target
program to create buy-in and build                                    audiences.
                                                                                                                                            USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




public support for an effective coral                              b.   Support programs that connect
reef conservation program that targets                                  youth classroom experience with
                                                                        field experience. Build from existing
resource users, general public and
                                                                        programs and curricula such as the
decision-makers.                                                        Math & Environmental Science Academy
                                                                        and the proposed Reef Rangers.
Objectives:
                                                                   c.   Create opportunities to keep coral reef
   2.1 Convey the importance and economic                               stewards who were nurtured in the
       value of the reef to key constituencies

                                                                                                                                        9
SECTION TWO: STRATEGIC CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES



                   youth programs engaged in coral reef         3.6 To create separation between
                   conservation, policy and advocacy (e.g.,         enforcement officials and resource
                   internships, university curriculum, and          users, consider bringing in outside
                   coral scholarships).                             enforcement presence (e.g.,
                                                                    exchanges, temporary assignments,
               2.3 Emphasize transfer of information and
                                                                    etc.) to focus on priority enforcement
                   research findings to the general public,
                                                                    issues.
                   developers and decision-makers.
                                                                3.7 Provide training along with education
            GOAL 3: Increase the ability to                         and field materials to enforcement
                                                                    officers.
            effectively enforce existing rules,
                                                                3.8 Develop and implement outreach and
            regulations and laws.
                                                                    education strategies in partnership
                                                                    with other agencies and programs
            Objectives:
                                                                    to work with user groups to increase
               3.1 Maintain sufficient law enforcement              compliance and reduce the need for
                   staff and enforce regulations on                 enforcement.
                   priority rules and regulations, such
                                                                3.9 Work with user groups to promote
                   as development practices, permit
                                                                    public support and compliance
                   conditions, MPA regulations and
                                                                    through workshops, orientations,
                   fisheries regulations.
                                                                    provision of reporting hotlines and
               3.2 Develop and provide incentive                    service as interpretive guides.
                   mechanisms for enforcement programs
                   and enforcement officers to keep
                   existing staff and attract new staff.      GOAL 4: Reduce fishing impacts on
                                                              critical stocks that most directly affect
                                                              the health and resilience of the reef
               3.3 Provide cross training between science
                   and management departments and             ecosystem.
                   enforcement officers to increase
                   enforcement capacity and enable cross-     Objectives for Licensed Fisheries
                   enforcement of existing regulations.       (Commercial):

               3.4 Determine the success of existing            4.1 Reduce fishing effort on prioritized
                   enforcement efforts and management               key coral reef associated species or
                   measures that are already in place to            functional groups (e.g., herbivores,
                   build on what works. This includes               juveniles, apex predators, etc.).
                   the determination of success for             4.2 Reduce the use of inappropriate gear
                   compatible regulations established in            and fishing in MPAs by strengthening
                   state waters and the territory’s ability         local enforcement and through
                   to enforce them. This may also include           educational efforts.
                   a gap assessment to determine where
                                                                4.3 Improve commercial fisheries record-
                   enforcement is currently directed
                                                                    keeping and fisher compliance by
                   compared to issues presented in this
                                                                    developing and implementing an
                   document.
                                                                    effective mechanism to improve the
               3.5 Inform and educate judicial and                  current data-gathering process.
                   legislative decision-makers to increase
                   support for law enforcement actions.

10
Derelict fish traps and nets contribute to negative impacts from fishing in the jurisdiction. Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA
Biogeography Branch



   4.4 Clarify jurisdictional-specific fishery                 Objectives for Unlicensed (Recreational)
       management responsibilities and                         Fisheries:
       collaborate to ensure effective
                                                                  4.8 Obtain the necessary information to
       implementation.
                                                                      understand the impacts of recreational
   4.5 Improve understanding of the current                           fisheries in the USVI.
       status of fisheries resources and
                                                                  4.9 Continue to develop and implement
       patterns of fishing effort through
                                                                      a recreational license program with
       collaboration with local and federal
                                                                      associated legislation for recreational
       researchers pursuing management-
                                                                      fishing regulations and clear
       driven fisheries science.
                                                                      requirements and authorities for
   4.6 Build comparative USVI fisheries                               monitoring and enforcement.
       health trend data through studies that
                                                                  4.10 Incorporate a mandated sampling
       identify behaviors of present fishery
                                                                       program to gauge the status of
       status and trends within the USVI
                                                                       recreational fisheries.
       and throughout the region, including
       studies comparing managed areas
                                                                                                                              USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




       to unmanaged areas and managed                          Objectives for All Fisheries (Licensed and
       stocks to similar unmanaged stocks.                     Unlicensed):
   4.7 Develop and implement effective                            4.11 Understand ecological connectivity
       strategies created and enforced by                              through dispersal of eggs and larvae
       fishers to identify, understand and                             to identify key sources and sinks; assess
       apply fisheries self-management                                 connectivity between existing and
       practices                                                       potential MPAs and between spawning
                                                                       aggregations and juvenile habitat to
                                                                       identify resilient areas for protection.

                                                                                                                         11
 SECTION TWO: STRATEGIC CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES



                4.12 Support the effective implementation        g.   Physiological tolerances and predicted
                     of marine protected areas (MPAs).                shifts in species distributions.
                4.13 Assess the effectiveness of MPAs in         h. Currents; distribution patterns and
                     meeting their stated management                source of stressors; distribution and
                     goals.                                         sources of seed.
                4.14 Understand the social impacts of            i.   Thresholds for stressors (i.e., sediment,
                    legislation and regulatory actions on             pollutants, temps, etc.) above which
                    the fishing community and identify                health/resiliency of holobiont becomes
                    alternatives to mitigate the negative             compromised.
                    impacts of these actions.
                                                                 j.   Short- and long-term effects of stressors
                4.15 Develop and implement enhanced                   on coral reef ecosystem (as a whole and
                     tools to preserve and restore fisheries          ecosystem function).
                     resources.
                                                                 5.2 Identify areas of high resilience and
                                                                     sources of juveniles/recruits of coral
            GOAL 5: Manage for resilience to                         species for additional protection.
            climate change and related effects,                  5.3 Create and implement a coordinated
            including impact of elevated sea                         response and restoration strategy for
            temperature; sea level rise; acidification               physical disturbances (i.e., storms,
                                                                     vessel impacts, etc.) to increase recovery
            and calcium carbonate dissolution;
                                                                     of affected coral reef ecosystems.
            hurricane intensity/frequency and                        Identify means of communication with
            sedimentation to promote recovery of                     managers in neighboring islands to
                                                                     alert of disturbance events, leverage
            reefs from previous events.
                                                                     resources, etc.
            Objectives:                                          5.4 Develop and incorporate into
                                                                     management/regulatory strategies coral
                5.1 Support more research on and better
                                                                     reef ecosystem water quality standards.
                    understanding of the following issues
                    that are priorities for USVI given this      5.5 Provide training opportunities to
                    management goal:                                 coral reef managers to increase their
                                                                     understanding of the impacts of climate
                a. Coral diseases (understanding of the
                                                                     change on coral reef ecosystems;
                   holobiont and dynamics of the health
                                                                     the predicted range and uncertainty
                   gradient in the holobiont, etiology).
                                                                     of changes that will occur; and
                b.   Relationship between bleaching and              management strategies, tools and
                     disease.                                        technologies to assess risk and mitigate
                c.   Coral resistance to bleaching and               adverse impacts of climate change and
                     disease.                                        related stressors (includes training a
                                                                     coordinated response team).
                d.   Cumulative effects of multiple stressors.
                                                                 5.6 Consider closing areas when bleaching
                e.   Resilience following global, regional and       and disease or hurricane damages are
                     local stressors.                                extensive to allow for the recovery of
                f.   Possible effects of climate change on           reef areas. (In the Florida Keys National
                     coral reefs and associated ecosystems.          Marine Sanctuary, areas have been



12
This Symmetrical Brain Coral head was unable to recover from a coral bleaching event and subsequently died.
Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography Branch




        closed to the public when bleaching                 GOAL 6: Improve and enable
        has been severe.)                                   coordination and communication
   5.7 Create a mechanism to incorporate                    among USVI Coral Reef Practitioners.
       knowledge into management action
       and policy (i.e., MPAs, closures, permit             Objectives:
       conditions, etc.).
                                                                6.1 Implement and strengthen the VI Coral
   5.8 Establish and maintain a contingency                         Reef Advisory Group (VICRAG) as a
       fund to respond to severe bleaching                          mechanism for improved cooperation
       events.                                                      and collaborative action to conserve
   5.9 Develop a detection and reporting                            and manage the coral reef ecosystems
       program to involve citizens in                               of the USVI.
       detecting bleaching events as well as                    6.2 Develop and implement specific
       other disturbances, such as pollution,                       mechanisms to enable improved
       storm damage and groundings.                                 communications between the
   5.10 Create and implement a mechanism                            coral reef science and coral reef
                                                                                                                     USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




        to increase communication between                           management communities in the USVI
        regional resource managers                                  and to provide current science-based
        (PR, Culebra, BVI, etc.) to alert                           information and recommendations for
        to disturbance events, leverage                             management action.
        resources, etc.                                         6.3 Develop and implement specific
                                                                    mechanisms to enable improved
                                                                    cooperation between permitting
                                                                    authorities at the local, territorial and



                                                                                                                13
 SECTION TWO: STRATEGIC CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES



                    federal government levels to minimize      7.6 Develop a USVI ballast water policy to
                    development impacts to the coral reef          reduce negative impacts to coral reef
                    ecosystems of the USVI.                        systems.
                                                               7.7 Support effective implementation of
            GOAL 7: Reduce other sources of                        existing and developing Clean Marina
                                                                   and Blue Flag programs for the USVI to
            marine pollution and human impacts
                                                                   encourage clean and environmentally
            from areas that are most critical to coral             compatible marinas, boating activities
            reef protection and resilience.                        and coastal resource use.

            Objectives:                                      GOAL 8: Protect against, prepare for
               7.1 Work with the territorial government      and control/manage invasive species.
                   and the private sector to install and
                   maintain vessel pumpout systems that      Objectives:
                   are available and easily accessible for
                                                               8.1 Research and compile lessons-learned
                   recreational vessels. (Access federal
                                                                   from affected locations (impacts,
                   funds through the Clean Vessel Act
                                                                   methods, etc.).
                   and Boating Infrastructure Grant.)
                                                               8.2 Monitor and predict possible
               7.2 Reduce marine debris and coastal
                                                                   distribution and movement (includes
                   debris by both implementing
                                                                   predictive modeling based on lessons-
                   strategies to reduce the production
                                                                   learned from other areas).
                   of debris and by implementing debris
                   clean-up activities.                        8.3 Monitor effects of invasive species,
                                                                   such as Lionfish.
               7.3 Reduce boat and anchor damage
                   to coral reefs by installing and            8.4 Prepare, implement and fund a
                   maintaining mooring buoys,                      response strategy, including standard
                   navigational aids and markers.                  operating procedures for invasive
                                                                   species (defines how agencies, public,
               7.4 Provide education and outreach to
                                                                   etc., react and respond).
                   promote use of and compliance with
                   vessel pumpout systems, mooring             8.5 Generate incentives to encourage
                   buoys, navigational aids and markers            public/resource user identification and
                   and to reduce the production of                 removal of invasive species.
                   marine and coastal debris.
                                                               8.6 Encourage/establish regional work
               7.5 Prepare for vessel groundings and oil           groups to identify patterns of spread
                   spills. Develop standard operating              and distribution; communicate
                   procedures for responding to                    lessons-learned; control species
                   disasters that include specific roles           movement.
                   for law enforcement and resource
                   management employees that are
                   consistent with existing guidance
                   and procedures for oil spills and other
                   hazards and grounding response
                   programs.




14
SECTION THREE:
PRIORITY SITES
In order to effectively manage the               important to selecting priority geographic
implementation of the above goals and            areas. For the most important criteria,
objectives, workshop participants identified     participants could vote on a scale of one to
high priority geographic areas to apply          six (six being highest). For the least important
these goals and objectives. These areas          criteria, participants could vote on a scale of
represent a ridge-to-reef approach to coral      one to four (four being highest). The group
reef management and include both coral           agreed to the following weights, listed in
reef habitat and associated watershed areas.     order of priority:
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) provided a
                                                     ■ Management effectiveness: voting
presentation of relevant geospatial data at
                                                       scale of one to six
the workshop that gave the core managers
the information that was needed to develop           ■ Ability to achieve priority goals and
and apply the following selection criteria:            objectives from workshop: voting
                                                       scale of one to five
   ■ Ability to achieve priority goals and
     objectives from workshop.                       ■ Biological value: voting scale of one to
                                                       four
   ■ Biological value: irreplaceability,
     uniqueness and abundance.                       ■ Degree of risk and threat: voting scale
                                                       of one to four
   ■ Degree of risk & threat: fishing, land-
     based sources of pollution, water
                                                 Participants then identified potential priority
     quality, climate change, marine
                                                 sites in the USVI for coral reef conservation.
     pollution, human impacts and
                                                 This was done using a cumulative brainstorm
     invasive species.
                                                 exercise, wherein each participant identified
   ■ Management effectiveness: existing          all of the coral reef sites that they wanted
     LAS/management function, capacity,          the group to consider. Sixteen sites
     support (community, agency, users),         were identified by the core managers
                                                                                                               USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




     political will, etc.                        for consideration as priority sites. Each
                                                 participant was then asked to apply the four
Once the criteria were agreed upon,              weighted criteria to each site.
participants applied weights to each, defining   The sites were then arrayed by their total
which criteria are most important to least       score from highest to lowest. Table 1 includes
important. This allowed the participants         a full list of sites and their rank. The final list is
to define the criteria they felt were most       below. The top four priority sites identified by




                                                                                                          15
 SECTION THREE: LINKAGES TO NOAA’S NATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES




 The Coral Bay watershed on St. John, USVI. Photo Credit: Dana Wusinich-Mendez, NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal
 Resource Management




              the participants are:                                      performance measures. The development
                                                                         of these strategies will be a participatory
                  ■ Fish Bay, St. John
                                                                         process that includes placed-based managers
                  ■ Coral Bay, St. John                                  and decision-makers as well as stakeholders.
                  ■ St. Thomas East End Reserve
                                                                         In addition to this priority setting document,
                  ■ St. Croix East End Marine Park                       there are a number of well-established, local
                                                                         management plans and programs in place
              In each of these places, a local action strategy           that are focused, at least in part, on managing
              (LAS) for coral reef conservation will be                  and conserving coral reefs. The experiences of
              developed. Each of these plans will provide                these programs and the individuals who run
              a roadmap of action to address key issues                  them have provided an essential component
              and remedy specific threats regarding the                  to the development of this document. These
              health of the specific coral reefs. It will focus          programs have been and will continue to
              on important, solvable issues and detail                   be critical to coral reef management and
              specific actions targeted at the causes of the             conservation.
              threats as well as provide necessary guidance
              on how the actions will be implemented
              and evaluated. The written plan will include:
              threats analysis; clearly framed goals
              and objectives; actions that are aimed at
              addressing and reducing threats; assessment
              of required resources; implementation
              timeline; and an evaluation process, including




16
Table 1. Priority Site Selection


                        Site                   Total Votes
                (in order of priority)
                    Fish Bay, STJ                  68
                    Coral Bay, STJ                 67
                        STEER                      66
                      STXEEMP                      65
                   Salt River, STX                 64
                     Botany Bay                    63
                  Magens Bay, STT                  63
                 Hawksnest Bay STJ                 62
                   STX Linear Reef                 60
                  Haulover Bay, STJ                58
                 Offshore Cays, STT                55
                   NW Shore, STX                   52
           Mid-shelf Reef, STJ; Bikini Strip       50
         Mesophotic Reef, STT (Deep Reef )         48
             Vessup Bay/East End, STT              45
             South Industrial Area, STX            44




                                                                  USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




                                                             17
     SECTION FOUR:
     LINKAGES TO
     NOAA’S NATIONAL
     GOALS AND
     OBJECTIVES
     This table shows how USVI’s Priority Goals and Objectives correlate to NOAA CRCP’s
     National Goals and Objectives for coral reef conservation. This table was developed after
     the USVI Coral Reef Management Priority Setting Process was complete to explicitly identify
     potential partnerships between the managers in USVI and NOAA CRCP. Addressing both
     local jurisdictional priorities and national goals and objectives will increase efficiency and
     leveraging of the resources available for coral reef conservation. NOAA CRCP will use this table
     to inform future investments in coral reef conservation in USVI.




     Elkhorn coral, listed as ‘Threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act in 2006, can be found in USVI’s waters. Photo
     Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography Branch

18
                                                                                                  Explanation of
 USVI’s Priority Goals            NOAA’s National Goals and Objectives for                         Correlation
   and Objectives                         Coral Reef Conservation                                  (as needed)

GOAL 1: REDUCE IMPACTS TO CORAL REEF ECOSYSTEMS BY REDUCING TERRESTRIAL SEDIMENT AND POLLUTANT INPUTS AND
IMPROVING WATER QUALITY.


                                 LBSP Objective 1.1: Identify and prioritize those
                                 coral reef ecosystems and associated watersheds,
                                 within each jurisdiction, that will benefit the most from
 Objective 1.1: Define and       implementing management conservation strategies to
 identify priority watersheds    reduce land-based sources of pollution.
 and develop management
 plans that reduce the           LBSP Objective 1.3: Implement watershed                        No explanation needed.
 effects of contaminants and     management plans and relevant Local Action Strategies
 poor water quality on reef      (LAS) within priority coral reef ecosystems and associated
 resources.                      watersheds to improve water quality and enhance coral reef
                                 ecosystem resilience. Where needed, develop (or update)
                                 watershed management plans that incorporate coral reef
                                 protection measures.




 Objective 1.2: Develop and      LBSP Objective 1.3: Implement watershed                      The implementation of
 apply USVI-specific best        management plans and relevant Local Action Strategies        watershed management
 management practices and        (LAS) within priority coral reef ecosystems and associated   plans and LASs includes
 adaptive management plans       watersheds to improve water quality and enhance coral reef   the development and
 as necessary throughout the     ecosystem resilience. Where needed, develop (or update)      application of best
 territory (e.g., installation   watershed management plans that incorporate coral reef       management practices
 of culverts, catch basins,      protection measures.                                         (BMPs) to improve water
 vegetative buffers, etc.).                                                                   quality.



 Objective 1.3: Support
 the development and
 implementation of new and                                                                    The development of stronger
 stricter development permit                                                                  conditions and requirements
 conditions that include                                                                      on local development
                                 LBSP Objective 3.3: Support or help develop
                                                                                                                                   USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




 strong mitigation actions,                                                                   permits that are aligned
                                 intergovernmental mechanisms (appropriately designed for
 avoidance, minimization of                                                                   with federal regulatory
                                 each jurisdiction) to promote effective local management
 impacts and compensation.                                                                    guidelines will enable better
                                 actions and decisions.
 Conditions should also give                                                                  coordination between
 consideration to cumulative                                                                  local and federal agencies
 impacts of stressors,                                                                        and improve development
 including existing and                                                                       decision-making processes.
 expected development, and
 other stressors.



                                                                                                                              19
 SECTION FOUR: LINKAGES TO NOAA’S NATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES


                                                                                                        Explanation of
     USVI’s Priority Goals            NOAA’s National Goals and Objectives for                           Correlation
       and Objectives                         Coral Reef Conservation                                    (as needed)



     Objective 1.4: Ensure
     that the necessary and
     consistent regulatory and       LBSP Objective 3.4: Ensure that the necessary and consistent
     programmatic framework          regulatory and programmatic framework exists and is
                                                                                                      No explanation needed.
     exists and is enforced to       enforced to implement watershed management strategies
     implement watershed             necessary to protect coral ecosystems.
     management strategies
     necessary to protect coral
     ecosystems.



  GOAL 2: COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH PROGRAM TO CREATE BUY-IN AND BUILD PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR AN
  EFFECTIVE CORAL REEF CONSERVATION PROGRAM THAT TARGETS RESOURCE USERS, GENERAL PUBLIC AND DECISION-MAKERS.




                                                                                                    The USVI identified two
                                     Fishing Impacts Objective 4.4: Obtain socioeconomic and
                                                                                                    social science priorities in
                                     human dimension data to inform jurisdiction-specific
                                                                                                    this objective. The first is
                                     education and communication strategies and initiatives and
                                                                                                    to measure and convey
                                     monitor program outcomes.
                                                                                                    economic value of coral reef
     Objective 2.1: Convey                                                                          ecosystems. The next is to
                                     Climate Objective 2.3: Characterize socioeconomic effects
     the importance and                                                                             assess the understanding
                                     of climate change impacts on coral reef ecosystems to
     economic value of the                                                                          of key constituencies
                                     identify vulnerable reef-dependent human communities and
     reef to key constituencies                                                                     of the effect of human-
                                     understand the impacts to these communities.
     and measure their                                                                              induced impacts to the
     understanding of the effect                                                                    reef and therefore how
                                     LBSP Objective 3.5: Increase public and political awareness
     of human impacts, such as                                                                      these impacts affect the
                                     and understanding of the ecological and socioeconomic
     overfishing, pollution, etc.,                                                                  economic value of coral
                                     impacts of land-based pollution on coral reef resources
     on this value.                                                                                 reef ecosystems. Key
                                     to promote better stewardship and informed decisions
                                                                                                    constituencies include
                                     regarding activities in watersheds that may adversely impact
                                                                                                    policy makers, the voters
                                     coral reef ecosystems.
                                                                                                    that support them and
                                                                                                    relevant stakeholder
                                                                                                    groups.




20
                                            NOAA’s National Goals and                   Explanation of Correlation
  USVI’s Priority Goals and
                                             Objectives for Coral Reef                        (as needed)
         Objectives
                                                  Conservation

Objective 2.2: Ensure public support
for resource management actions
by hosting conferences, workshops
and making school presentations.          Fishing Impacts Objective 4.1: Develop
This outreach program should enable       curricula incorporating locally relevant
stewardship at all levels of society to   lessons plans about coral reef ecosystems
affect long-term behavioral change.       and fisheries management that meets
                                          current state and national standards.
    •	   Develop communication
         strategies and tools and         Fishing Impacts Objective 4.3: Develop        This objective calls for the
         identify priority target         targeted, locally relevant outreach and       development of a multifaceted
         audiences.                       communication strategies to increase          coral reef outreach and education
    •	   Support programs that            community understanding and support           program that includes informal
         connect youth classroom          for regulations to protect key coral reef     education such as conferences,
         experience with field            ecosystem species/functional groups and       workshops, presentations and
         experience. Build from           expanded use of marine protected areas        broad outreach efforts as well
         existing programs and            (MPAs).                                       as formal education with the
         curricula such as the Math                                                     introduction of new programs and
         & Environmental Science          LBSP Objective 3.5: Increase public and       curricula in the USVI school system
         Academy and the proposed         political awareness and understanding of      and the University of the Virgin
         Reef Rangers.                    the ecological and socioeconomic impacts      Islands.
                                          of land-based pollution on coral reef
    •	   Create opportunities to keep     resources to promote better stewardship
         coral reef stewards who          and informed decisions regarding activities
         were nurtured in the youth       in watersheds that may adversely impact
         programs engaged in coral        coral reef ecosystems.
         reef conservation, policy and
         advocacy (e.g., internships,
         university curriculum, and
         coral scholarships).




                                                                                        Emphasis on the need to improve
                                          Fishing Impacts Objective 4.2: Develop
                                                                                        the transfer of information from
                                                                                                                                   USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




                                          and implement effective strategies and
                                                                                        the science community to policy-
Objective 2.3: Emphasize transfer of      tools to improve communication between
                                                                                        makers as called for in the Fishing
information and research findings to      scientists, managers and policy makers on
                                                                                        Impacts objective, but also to the
the general public, developers and        best management practices to protect key
                                                                                        general public and stakeholder
decision-makers.                          coral reef ecosystem species and functional
                                                                                        groups that are impacting the reef
                                          groups.
                                                                                        resources such as developers.




                                                                                                                              21
 SECTION FOUR: LINKAGES TO NOAA’S NATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES


                                                  NOAA’s National Goals and                             Explanation of
     USVI’s Priority Goals and
                                                   Objectives for Coral Reef                             Correlation
            Objectives
                                                        Conservation                                     (as needed)
     GOAL 3: INCREASE THE ABILITY TO EFFECTIVELY ENFORCE EXISTING RULES, REGULATIONS AND LAWS.

                                                                                                The USVI currently suffers
                                                                                                from a significant deficit in the
                                              Fishing Impacts Objective 3.2: Strengthen local
                                                                                                number of qualified and capable
                                              agency and community capacity for effective
                                                                                                enforcement staff that are able to
                                              and consistent enforcement of regulations or
                                                                                                dedicate their time to coral reef
                                              behaviors that reduce impacts of fishing on
                                                                                                and coastal and marine resource
                                              coral reef ecosystems.
                                                                                                issues such as the enforcement
      Objective 3.1: Maintain sufficient                                                        of MPAs, fisheries regulations and
                                              LBSP Objective 3.1: Ensure that coral reef
      law enforcement staff and enforce                                                         compliance with development
                                              jurisdictions have adequate resources
      regulations on priority rules and                                                         permit conditions and regulations.
                                              and capacity to develop and implement
      regulations, such as development                                                          Existing enforcement staff in the
                                              management plans, assess water quality
      practices, permit conditions,                                                             Department of Planning and
                                              and coral reef ecosystem condition, enforce
      MPA regulations and fisheries                                                             Natural Resources are often forced
                                              regulations and evaluate performance.
      regulations.                                                                              to focus on homeland security
                                                                                                and public safety issues. The
                                              LBSP Objective 3.4: Ensure that the necessary
                                                                                                development of strong natural
                                              and consistent regulatory and programmatic
                                                                                                resource management legislation
                                              framework exists and is enforced to implement
                                                                                                and regulations is rendered
                                              watershed management strategies necessary
                                                                                                ineffective if the enforcement
                                              to protect coral ecosystems.
                                                                                                capability to support compliance
                                                                                                is insufficient.


      Objective 3.2: Develop and
      provide incentive mechanisms
                                                                   none
      for enforcement programs and                                                                                 none
      enforcement officers to keep
      existing staff and attract new staff.



                                              Fishing Impacts Objective 3.2: Strengthen local
                                              agency and community capacity for effective
                                              and consistent enforcement of regulations or
      Objective 3.3: Provide cross
                                              behaviors that reduce impacts of fishing on
      training between science and
                                              coral reef ecosystems.
      management departments and
                                                                                                      No explanation needed.
      enforcement officers to increase
                                              LBSP Objective 3.1: Ensure that coral reef
      enforcement capacity and enable
                                              jurisdictions have adequate resources
      cross-enforcement of existing
                                              and capacity to develop and implement
      regulations.
                                              management plans, assess water quality
                                              and coral reef ecosystem condition, enforce
                                              regulations and evaluate performance.




22
                                                                                                     Explanation of
USVI’s Priority Goals and           NOAA’s National Goals and Objectives
                                                                                                      Correlation
       Objectives                      for Coral Reef Conservation
                                                                                                      (as needed)
GOAL 4: REDUCE FISHING IMPACTS ON CRITICAL STOCKS THAT MOST DIRECTLY AFFECT THE HEALTH AND RESILIENCE OF THE REEF
ECOSYSTEM.




 Objective 4.1: Reduce fishing      Fishing Impacts Objective 1.2: Prioritize key coral reef
 effort on prioritized key          associated species or functional groups (e.g.,
                                                                                               The USVI specifically calls for a
 coral reef associated species      herbivores, apex predators, etc.) on which to focus
                                                                                               reduction in fishing effort on key
 or functional groups (e.g.,        management, research and monitoring activities
                                                                                               species and functional groups.
 herbivores, juveniles, apex        for each jurisdiction or managed area.
 predators, etc.).




                                    Fishing Impacts Objective 2.4: Work with relevant
 Objective 4.2: Reduce the use of
                                    agencies, offices, and communities to create,
 inappropriate gear and fishing
                                    implement, and improve the management of MPAs
 in MPAs by strengthening local                                                                    No explanation needed.
                                    that protect key coral reef ecosystem components
 enforcement and educational
                                    and functions.
 efforts.




 Objective 4.3: Improve
 commercial fisheries               Fishing Impacts Objective 1.4: Obtain necessary            The USVI objective identifies the
                                                                                                                                         USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




 record keeping and fisher          information on fishing effort in U.S. coral reef           need for a specific mechanism
 compliance by developing           ecosystems by measuring fishing intensity, fishing         to collect data identified in
 and implementing an effective      mortality, frequency, area coverage, community             the national Fishing Impacts
 mechanism to improve the           dependence, etc., to inform management activities.         objective 1.4.
 current data-gathering process.




                                                                                                                                    23
SECTION FOUR: LINKAGES TO NOAA’S NATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES



                                                 NOAA’s National Goals and
     USVI’s Priority Goals and                                                                   Explanation of Correlation
                                                  Objectives for Coral Reef
            Objectives                                                                                 (as needed)
                                                       Conservation


                                            Fishing Impacts Objective 1.4: Obtain necessary
     Objective 4.8: Obtain the necessary    information on fishing effort in U.S. coral reef     The USVI specifically identifies the
     information to understand the          ecosystems by measuring fishing intensity,           need to obtain information on
     impacts of recreational fisheries in   fishing mortality, frequency, area coverage,         recreational fishing efforts in the
     the USVI.                              community dependence, etc., to inform                USVI.
                                            management activities.



                                            Fishing Impacts Objective 2.1: Identify,
                                            characterize and rank priority areas for
                                            protection within each jurisdiction, including
     Objective 4.11: Understand             (but not limited to):
     ecological connectivity through            •	   spawning sites, nursery habitats or
     dispersal of eggs and larvae to                 other
                                                                                                 The USVI emphasizes the need
     identify key sources and sinks,
                                                •	   areas critical to particular life-history   to not only identify priority
     assess connectivity between
                                                                                                 areas but to also understand the
     existing and potential MPAs and            •	   stages
                                                                                                 connectivity between them.
     between spawning aggregations              •	   biodiversity hotspots
     and juvenile habitat to identify
                                                •	   areas with greatest resilience or
     resilient areas for protection.
                                                     potential

                                                •	   for restoring resilience

                                                •	   areas facing the greatest threats


     Objective 4.11: Understand
     ecological connectivity through
                                            Fishing Impacts Objective 2.4: Work with
     dispersal of eggs and larvae to
                                            relevant agencies, offices and communities
     identify key sources and sinks,
                                            to create, implement and improve the
     assess connectivity between                                                                         No explanation needed.
                                            management of MPAs that protect key coral reef
     existing and potential MPAs and
                                            ecosystem components and functions.
     between spawning aggregations
     and juvenile habitat to identify
     resilient areas for protection.




                                            Fishing Impacts Objective 2.5: Conduct
     Objective 4.13: Assess the             biological and socioeconomic research and
     effectiveness of MPAs in meeting       monitoring to assess the performance of MPAs                 No explanation needed.
     their stated goal.                     with respect to protection and restoration of key
                                            coral reef ecosystem components and functions.




24
                                                NOAA’s National Goals and
    USVI’s Priority Goals and                                                              Explanation of Correlation
                                                 Objectives for Coral Reef
           Objectives                                                                            (as needed)
                                                      Conservation
GOAL 5: MANAGE FOR RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND RELATED EFFECTS, INCLUDING IMPACT OF ELEVATED SEA
TEMPERATURE; SEA LEVEL RISE; ACIDIFICATION AND CALCIUM CARBONATE DISSOLUTION; HURRICANE INTENSITY/FREQUENCY AND
SEDIMENTATION TO PROMOTE RECOVERY OF REEFS FROM PREVIOUS EVENTS.


 Objective 5.1: Support more research
 on and better understanding of the
 following issues. These are priorities for
 USVI given this management goal and
 objectives:

    •	    Coral	diseases	(understanding	
          of the holobiont and dynamics
          of the health gradient in the
          holobiont, etiology).

    •	    Relationship	between	bleaching	
          and disease.

    •	    Coral	resistance	to	bleaching	
          and disease.

    •	    Cumulative	effects	of	multiple	
                                              Climate Change Objective 2.2: Characterize
          stressors.
                                              the responses of coral reef ecosystems       The USVI Climate Change objective
    •	    Resilience	following	global,	       and their related components to climate      5.2 covers many different research
          regional and local stressors.       change and ocean acidification to separate   questions. The only area of overlap
                                              impacts from climate change and ocean        with the NOAA CRCP National
    •	    Possible	effects	of	climate	
                                              acidification from impacts of other          Goals and Objectives is research
          change on coral reefs and
                                              environmental threats and to test the        on the response of coral reef
          associated ecosystems.
                                              effectiveness of management actions.         ecosystems to climate change.
    •	    Physiological	tolerances	and	
          predicted shifts in species
          distributions.

    •	    Currents;	distribution	patterns	
          and source of stressors;
          distribution and sources of seed.

    •	    Thresholds	for	stressors	(i.e.,	
                                                                                                                                      USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




          sediment, pollutants, temps,
          etc.) above which health/
          resiliency of holobiont becomes
          compromised.

    •	    Short-	and	long-term	effects	
          of stressors on coral reef
          ecosystem (as a whole and
          ecosystem function).




                                                                                                                                 25
 SECTION FOUR: LINKAGES TO NOAA’S NATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES


                                                   NOAA’s National Goals and
     USVI’s Priority Goals and                                                                 Explanation of Correlation
                                                    Objectives for Coral Reef
            Objectives                                                                               (as needed)
                                                         Conservation

                                               Climate Change Objective 2.4: Promote
                                               conservation of coral reef ecosystems
                                               through identification of areas that are
     Objective 5.2: Identify areas of
                                               potentially resilient to climate change and
     high resilience and source of
                                               vulnerable areas where actions are likely to        No explanation needed.
     juveniles/recruits of coral species for
                                               increase resilience. Encourage and promote
     additional protection.
                                               management actions necessary to avoid or
                                               minimize impacts and spread the risk due to
                                               climate change and ocean acidification.



                                               Climate Change Objective 1.3: Develop
                                               and implement climate related crisis
     Objective 5.3: Create and implement       response plans in all U.S. coral reef
     a coordinated response and                jurisdictions to provide a framework
     restoration strategy for disturbances     for early warning, communication,
                                                                                                   No explanation needed.
     (i.e., storms, vessel impacts, etc.) to   monitoring, research and management
     increase resistance to and recovery       response to protect coral reef ecosystems
     of affected coral reef ecosystem.         from acute events such as coral bleaching,
                                               infectious disease outbreaks, tropical
                                               storm impacts and major rainfall events.




     Objective 5.4: Develop and
     incorporate into management/
                                                                    none                                   none
     regulatory strategies coral reef
     ecosystem water quality standards.




     Objective 5.5: Provide training
     opportunities to coral reef managers
     to increase their understanding of        Climate Change Objective 1.1: Provide
     the impacts of climate change on          training opportunities to coral reef managers
     coral reef ecosystem; the predicted       to increase their understanding of the
     range and uncertainty of changes          impacts of climate change, the predicted
                                                                                                   No explanation needed.
     that will occur; and management           range and uncertainty of changes that will
     strategies, tools and technologies        occur and management strategies that
     to assess risk and mitigate adverse       address the impacts of climate change.
     impacts of climate change and
     related stressors (includes training a
     coordinated response team).




26
APPENDIX ONE:
PRIORITY SETTING
PROCESS PARTICIPANTS
Core Group: place-based managers of                      Lisamarie Carrubba, NOAA Fisheries–
specific area of coral reef.                                Protected Resources
                                                         Julie Wright, USDA–NRCS
Each member of this group was invited to attend
                                                         J.P. Oriol, DPNR–CZM
the workshop, to partake in an interview prior
to the workshop and to participate in document           Alexandra Holecheck, DPNR
revisions.                                               Carol Burke, SEA
                                                         Paul Chakroff, SEA
      Workshop Attendees:
                                                         Roberto Tapia, DPNR–DEE
      Norman Williams, DPNR–CZM
                                                         Howard Forbes, DPNR–DEE
      Paige Rothenberger, DPNR–CZM/EEMP
                                                         Kent Bernier, DPNR–DEP
      Zandy Hillis-Star, DOI–NPS
      Anita Nibbs, DPNR–EP                         Science Advisors: members of the scientific
      Mark Hardgrove, DOI–NPS                      community with specific expertise in issues
                                                   relating to USVI coral reefs.
      January Murray, DPNR–DFW
      Erinn Muller, DOI-NPS
                                                   Each member of this group was invited to review
                                                   documents in preparation of the workshop, as
      Absent from Workshop:                        well as drafts of the Priority Setting Document.
      Rafe Boulon, DOI–NPS
      Joel Tutein, DOI–NPS                               Kemit Lewis, DPNR–CZM (NB: now with The
      Caroline Rogers, DOI–USGS                             Nature Conservancy)
      Toby Tobias, DPNR–DFW                              Rick Nemeth, University of the Virgin Islands
                                                         Marcia Taylor, University of the Virgin Islands
Advisors: managers of jurisdictions and
                                                         Tyler Smith, University of the Virgin Islands
populations impacting USVI coral reefs.
                                                         Lloyd Gardner, University of the Virgin
Each member of this group was invited to partake            Islands
                                                                                                                USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




in an interview prior to the workshop and to             Barry Devine, Coral Bay Community Council
participate in document revisions.
                                                         Simon Pittman, NOAA–NCCOS
                                                         Jeff Miller, NPS–Virgin Islands National Park
      Graciela Garcia-Moliner, Caribbean Fishery
                                                         James Byrne, The Nature Conservancy
         Management Council
                                                         Jeanne Brown, The Nature Conservancy
      Jennifer Moore, NOAA Fisheries–Protected
                                                         Aaron Hutchins, The Nature Conservancy
         Resources



                                                                                                           27
 A Foureye Butterflyfish forages on a reef off the coast of St. John, USVI. Photo Credit: NCCOS CCMA Biogeography Branch




        Claudia Lombard, US Fish and Wildlife Service–
            Division of Refuges (Sandy Point, Green Cay)
        Beverly Yoshioka, US Fish and Wildlife Service–
            Division of Ecological Services
        Sean Griffin, NOAA Fisheries–Restoration Center
        Juan Agar, NOAA Fisheries–Southeast Fisheries
            Science Center
        Ron Hill, NOAA Fisheries–Southeast Fisheries
            Science Center
        Manuel Valdes-Pizzini, Puerto Rico Sea Grant
            College Program




28
APPENDIX TWO:
CONTEXT
The Situation Analysis is a preparatory document     of the importance of, threats to, and impacts of
that summarizes coral reef threats, condition        human activities on the coral reef ecosystem.
and trends; key management issues; and key           The opportunities for this are varied and include
agencies’ management goals. As an initial            classroom visits, public snorkel clinics, signage
step in the priority setting process, it was used    and hotel and cruise ship points of entry.
ahead of meetings and interviews to provide a
reference point and boundary for priority setting    Recreational Use refers to reducing the impacts
discussions with coral reef managers in USVI. The    of recreational use on coral reef resources, such
documents that make up the basis of this analysis    as practicing proper snorkeling and SCUBA
were identified during interviews with coral reef    diving techniques, following boating regulations,
managers in USVI and via a desk review of existing   enforcing beach use prohibitions, etc. Another
management plans from those agencies that are        aspect of this issue is access to and promotion of
responsible for or affect USVI’s coral management.   appropriate recreational uses in coastal areas.
The coral reef managers interviewed for this
study were identified by the NOAA CRCP team          Maintaining Natural and Functional Integrity
with input from the NOAA CRCP point of contact       of Habitats is an issue shared by all agencies
in USVI and included NOAA National Marine            reviewed. However, the purpose for this varies
Fisheries Service (NMFS)/Southeast Regional          by agency and includes protection of ecological
Office, NOAA NMFS/Caribbean Field Office,            integrity for aesthetic value, commercial value,
Caribbean Fishery Management Council, National       and for the benefit of future generations. Goods
Park Service/Virgin Islands National Park and Buck   and services of ecosystems are also valued as
Island National Marine Monument, US Fish and         they provide shoreline protection against natural
Wildlife Service, US Department of Agriculture–      disasters, natural filtering of sediment, habitat
Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA–        for endangered species, fisheries resources and
NRCS), Department of Planning and Natural            educational opportunities.
Resources (DPNR)–Division of Environmental
Protection, DPNR–Division of Coastal Zone            Fishing encompasses issues related to fish stocks,
Management, DPNR–Division of Fish and Wildlife,      impacts on fisheries and coral reef fish habitat
DPNR–Division of Environmental Enforcement,          from gear and overfishing, enforcement of fishing
and St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA).       regulations, reducing user conflicts, and education
                                                     about all aspects of fishing—impacts, gear
The Situation Analysis identified the following      restrictions, open/closed seasons, etc. A great
                                                                                                                  USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




issue areas—which reflect both specific threats      deal of emphasis is placed on socioeconomic
as well as tools to mitigate threats—as those        impacts of fisheries restrictions as well as the need
that were most commonly referred to in the           for greater cooperation among stakeholders.
documents reviewed. These results are listed in no   Impacts of Construction/Land-Based Sources
particular order.                                    of Pollution (LBSP) refers to any development
                                                     that has the potential to affect the marine
Education and Outreach refers to the need to         environment. This includes any upland
educate all users, both residents and visitors,      development, marine dredging and marina



                                                                                                             29
     construction. LBSP are most commonly the              pollution, this issue was mentioned in a general
     result of construction, such as runoff and            fashion, often as simply as “reducing pollution.”
     discharge from developed areas. The need to           However, two CZM documents were more precise
     reduce anthropogenic stresses is generally            and mentioned wastewater management and
     referenced in a few documents; however,               sewage disposal.
     specific goals are not delineated.
                                                           Community Support refers to the need for the
     Recent American Recovery and Reinvestment             community to accept management decisions if
     Act (ARRA) funding from NOAA has been granted         they are to be successful. This involves public
     for the implementation of best management             meetings for input, public review of draft
     practices in three watersheds (Coral Bay and          documents, community members involved in core
     Fish Bay on St. John and East End Bay on St.          planning teams, etc. This issue was only brought
     Croix) with the intention of reducing LBSP.           up by CZM, SEA and TNC.
     A comprehensive monitoring program has
     been developed to monitor the terrestrial and
     marine components of these projects. Results
     should encourage identification of the most
     effective BMPs and implementation of BMPs
     in other watersheds. Success of BMPs in these
     watersheds may also encourage compliance by
     future construction projects.

     Based on the literature reviewed for this
     document, other important goal areas for coral
     reef management in the USVI are issue-areas
     related to the following:

     Economic Development is mentioned exclusively
     in CZM documents and refers to the growth of the
     nature-based economy in the USVI. This means
     encouraging profit-making opportunities based
     on nature as the product while managing related
     impacts. This also refers to the need for an East
     End Marine Park that can sustain itself financially
     through user fees and other financial mechanisms.

     Enforcement and Management Presence does
     not currently deter individuals or groups from
     carrying out prohibited actions. This is addressed
     in the reviewed documents by emphasizing the
     need for a solid enforcement structure, increased
     cooperation and greater consistency.

     Maintained or Improved Water Quality was
     mentioned several times and almost always
     in the same statement as land-based sources
     of pollution. Similar to land-based sources of



30
APPENDIX THREE:
PRELIMINARY IDENTIFICATION
OF CAPACITY GAPS AND
OTHER BARRIERS TO
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
PRIORITIES
During the interviews with coral reef managers        CONSTITUENCIES
in the USVI, facilitators worked to understand
the working relationship between managers
and management documents. Facilitators
                                                      Premise:
noted and identified challenges to and current
                                                      To achieve success, a core of well-informed
deficiencies in achieving stated goals and
                                                      and supportive constituencies comprised of
objectives, noting specific capacity gaps that
                                                      stakeholders in both the private sector and
likely will need attention.
                                                      government agencies must actively support the
                                                      program.
The Coastal Resources Center at the University
of Rhode Island developed and applied
common tools for comparative assessments of           Measures:
coastal ecosystem governance. This approach              1.   The user groups who are affected by your
involves three categories, phrased as key                     program understand and support the
statements, for enabling conditions that allow                goals, strategies and targets.
an initiative to successfully execute a sustained
plan of action designed to influence the course          2.   There is public support for your program.
of events in an ecosystem.                               3.   The institutions that assist in implementing
                                                              your program, or the institutions that
The three categories are: constituencies,                     are affected by the plan, understand and
commitment and capacity. This baseline will also              support it.
identify the immediate capacity gaps that are
                                                                                                                  USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




directly related to implementing this strategic
approach. These gaps will be explored further, and    Results:
a capacity assessment will be completed in phase II
of this effort, beginning in fiscal year 2010.        Comments taken during this portion of the survey
                                                      indicate there is a wide range of constituencies
                                                      affected by coral reef management and
                                                      conservation. There was a larger, more identifiable




                                                                                                             31
     constituency base in protected areas. Outside of        existing political, social and economic conditions
     these areas, it was more difficult to identify clear    rather than technical input, scientific knowledge or
     user groups who are affected by reef managers           existing regulations or a clear rationale.
     outside of very broad-based categories such as
     tourists. Outside of protected areas, creating an
                                                             CAPACITY
     informed and supportive constituency has been
     difficult because in many instances there isn’t a
     plan to build a constituency around. Respondents        Premise:
     noted that the constituency is fragmented and
     shared many different viewpoints.                       To achieve success, it is necessary for sufficient
                                                             capacity be present within the institutions
                                                             responsible for the program to implement its
     COMMITMENT
                                                             policies and plan of action.

     Premise:
                                                             Measures:
     To achieve success, it is necessary that the               1.   Your program possesses the human
     delegated authorities have expressed commitment                 resources to implement its plan of action.
     to the policies of a program and to the allocation of
                                                                2.   Your program possesses the institutional
     financial resources required for long-term program
                                                                     resources (equipment, materials, etc.) to
     implementation.
                                                                     implement its plan of action.

                                                                3.   There are internal or external barriers to
     Measures:
                                                                     successfully implement plan of action.
        1.   The appropriate level of government has                 What are these?
             formally approved the plan of action.

        2.   The government provided the program             Results:
             with the authorities it needs to successfully
             implement its plan of action.                   There were consistent indications that the
                                                             jurisdiction lacks the range and depth of capacity
        3.   Sufficient financial resources have been
                                                             to adequately manage the resource. This was
             committed to fully implement the program
                                                             compounded by the high rate of turnover at all
             over the long-term.
                                                             levels of government as well as with the important
                                                             constituencies such as hotel managers and
     Results:                                                construction foremen. Although there is access to
                                                             equipment, there is a strong need for additional
     Due to a lack of planning (i.e., no comprehensive       assets as well as a more efficient means for
     planning or zoning at the local and island-wide         maintaining equipment.
     scales) it is difficult to comment on the formal
     approval and adoption of plans. It was regularly        This initial assessment will be followed by a
     noted, however, that this lack of planning affects      more detailed assessment and analysis that will
     many aspects of resource management: water              focus on capacity gaps in relation to the specific
     supply, waste, resource use, enforcement, etc.          management goals and objectives that were
     Political will was regularly and consistently           finalized by the priority setting process.
     mentioned as an impediment to successful reef
     management. Further, it was also noted that
     the decision-making process is often driven by



32
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CORAL
REEF MANAGEMENT AND
CONSERVATION DOCUMENTS
FOR USVI BY AGENCY
Caribbean Fisheries Management                      Hinds, Unlimited. Socio-Economic Assessment
Council                                             of Marine Resource Utilization in the U.S. Virgin
                                                    Islands. 2003. University of the Virgin Islands and
Caribbean Fishery Management Council. Fishery       Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
management Plan, Regulatory Impact Review, and
Final Environmental Impact Statement for Corals     Lloyd Gardner. Management Framework for a
and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates of     System of Marine Protected Areas for the U.S.
Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.   Virgin Islands. University of the Virgin Islands and
1994                                                Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
                                                    USVI, September 24, 2002.
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the
Generic Essential Fish Habitat Amendment to Reef    DPNR, Division of Coastal Zone Management.
Fish Fishery Management Plan. 2004.                 United States Virgin Islands Local Action Strategy.
                                                    2005.
Amendment Number 1 to the Fishery
Management Plan for Corals and Reef Associated      DPNR Division of Coastal Zone
Plants and Invertebrates of Puerto Rico and the     Management St. Croix East End Marine
United States Virgin Islands for Establishing a
                                                    Park
Marine Conservation District Including Regulatory
Impact Review and Initial Regulatory Flexibility
                                                    The Nature Conservancy. St. Croix East End Marine
Analysis and a Final Supplemental Environmental
                                                    Park Management Plan. University of the Virgin
Impact Statement. 2005
                                                    Islands and Department of Planning and Natural
                                                    Resources. U.S.V.I., July 18, 2002.
DPNR Division of Coastal Zone
Management                                          Stratenomics V.I., LLC. St. Croix East End Marine
                                                    Park Sustainable Funding Strategy. University of
                                                                                                                USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




DPNR Division of Coastal Zone Management.           the Virgin Islands and Department of Planning and
About CZM: Program Goals. Czm.dpnr.gov.vi           Natural Resources. 2007.

Department of Planning and Natural Resources.       Ocean Conservancy. Identifying Indicators and
Areas of Particular Concern. 1991.                  Resources to Monitor and Improve Management
                                                    Effectiveness of East End Marine Park, St. Croix,
Department of Planning and Natural Resources.       USVI. U.S. Virgin Islands Division of Coastal Zone
Areas of Particular Concern Management Plans.       Management. 2008.
1993-2002.


                                                                                                           33
 BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CORAL REEF MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION DOCUMENTS FOR USVI BY AGENCY


            DPNR Division of Environmental                        William McComb, P.E. Environmental Assessment
            Protection                                            Report for Southgate Coastal Reserve. St. Croix
                                                                  Environmental Association. 2006.
            USVI Division of Environmental Protection.
            Strategic Plan 2000-2005. http://www.dpnr.gov.        St. Croix Environmental Association. 2008 Annual
            vi/dep/contracts.htm The 5-year strategic plan        Report
            focuses on drinking and ground water quality for
            the use by the public. It does not discuss water      The Nature Conservancy
            quality issues related to discharge or run-off that
            might affect the coral reef.                          The Nature Conservancy. DRAFT Jack and Isaac
                                                                  Bays Nature Preserve St. Croix, USVI Five-Year
            DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife                    Management Plan. 2009

            Division of Fish and Wildlife. DRAFT United States    The Nature Conservancy. DRAFT Magen’s Bay
            Virgin Islands Marine Resources and Fisheries         Nature Preserve, St. Thomas USVI Five-Year
            Strategic and Comprehensive Conservation Plan.        Management Plan. 2009
            Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
            2005                                                  The Nature Conservancy. DRAFT St. Thomas East
                                                                  End Reserve Management Plan. 2009
            National Park Service
                                                                  United States Geological Survey
            National Park Service. DRAFT Buck Island Reef
            National Monument Management Plan (Excerpts).         USGS. Strategic Science for Coral Ecosystems: 2007-
            2009.                                                 2011. 2007.


            National Oceanic and Atmospheric                      Other
            Administration
                                                                  Brooks, G., Devine, B., Larson, R., Rood, B. and N.
            NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. Atlantic/       Ford. 2003“ Sedimentary Framework Of Coral Bay,
            Caribbean CREIOS Workshop Report. 2010.               St. John, USVI: Anthropogenic Implications”. EPA
                                                                  Non- Point Source 319h Grant.
            Wusinich-Mendez, D. and C. Trappe (eds.). 2007.
            Report on the Status of Marine Protected Areas in     Brooks, G., Devine, B., and Larson, R.A. 2004.
            Coral Reef Ecosystems of the United States Volume     “Recent Depositional History of Coastal
            1: Marine Protected Areas Managed by U.S. States,     Environments on St. Thomas and St. John, USVI”.
            Territories, and Commonwealths: 2007. NOAA            VI Wetlands and Riparian Areas Inventory, Phase I.
            Technical Memorandum CRCP 2. NOAA Coral Reef          Islands Resources Foundation. Washington, D.C.
            Conservation Program. Silver Spring, MD.
                                                                  Brooks, G.R.; Devine, B., Larson, R., and Rood, B.
            St. Croix Environmental Association                   2007. “Sedimentary Development of Coral Bay, St.
            The Coast and Harbor Institute, Woods Hole,           John, USVI: A Shift from Natural to Anthropogenic
            MA. Southgate Coastal Reserve: A Strategy for         Influences”. Caribbean Journal of Science, 43; 2.
            Management and Implementation. St. Croix              226-243.
            Environmental Association. 2004
                                                                  Brooks, G., Devine, B., and Larson, R.A. 2009/
                                                                  (in press). “A Recent Depositional History and


34
Sedimentary Framework of Coastal Environments          Ramos-Scharrón, C.E. and L.H. MacDonald. 2007.
on St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, USVI” VI       Measurement and prediction of erosion rates
Wetlands and Riparian Areas Inventory, Phase II.       from natural and anthropogenic sources of
St. Thomas, USVI.                                      sediment in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Catena
                                                       Special Issue-Soil water erosion on rural areas, 71:
Camp Dresser McKee. 2005. Final Letter Report          250-266.
(May 2005). University of the Virgin Islands: Coral
Bay Conceptual Stormwater Management Plan.             Ramos-Scharrón, C.E. 2007. Maho Bay road
                                                       erosion reduction project St. John, U.S. Virgin
Devine, B. 2003. “Coral Bay Sediment Deposition        Islands. Environmental Conection 1(1): 18-20.
and Reef Assessment Study”. Virgin Islands

Department of Environmental Protection Non-            Ramos-Scharrón, C.E. 2005. Measurement and
Point Source Pollution Grant Program. St. Thomas,      prediction of sediment production from unpaved
USVI.                                                  roads, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Earth Surface
                                                       Processes and Landforms, 30(10): 1283-1304
Devine, B., Brooks, G., Larson, R.A. 2008. “Sediment
Input and Accumulation Rates: USVI St. Thomas          Rennis, D., Finney, C. and Devine, B. 2006.
Harbor.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -        “Evaluating the Sediment Retention Function of
Tetra Tech Inc. St. Thomas, USVI.                      Salt Pond Systems in the U.S. Virgin Islands”. Water
                                                       Resources Research Institute, University of the
Devine, B., Brooks, G., and Larson, R.A. 2008.         Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI.
Sediment Input and Accumulation Rates:
USVI Coral Bay Harbor. Environmental Protection        Rennis, R.A., Finney, C., and Smith, H. 2008.
Agency - Tetra Tech Inc. St. Thomas, USVI.             Impervious Surface Analysis of Terrestrial
                                                       Watersheds of the US Virgin Islands.
Gray, S.C., Gobbi, K.L. and Narwold, P.V. (2008).
Comparison of Sedimentation in Bays and Reefs          Wallace, L.E., Brooks, G.R., Larson, R.A., Devine,
below Developed versus Undeveloped Watershed           B., Holmes, C.W., Schwing, P.T. 2007. Natural and
on St. John, US Virgin Islands. 11th International     Anthropogenic Influences on Coastal Evolution
Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,         Rates: St. John, USVI,., AGU 2007 Joint Assembly,
7-11 July.                                             Acapulco, MX.

Larson, R.A., Brooks, G.R, Devine, B., Holmes, C.W.,
Schwing, P.T. 2007. Terrestrial Sediment Delivery
to Coastal and Marine Environments: US Virgin
Islands, AGU 2007 Assembly, Acapulco, MX.
                                                                                                                   USVI’S Coral Reef Management Priorities




Lockheed Martin Technology Services. 2008.
Coral Bay Air Sampling, St. John, USVI. Work
Assignment 0-367. Air Monitoring and Sampling
Final Report.

Miller, J. et al. 2009. “Coral disease following
massive bleaching in 2005 causes 60% decline in
coral cover on reefs in the US Virgin Islands” Coral
Reefs 2009.


                                                                                                              35
36
To access this report online or for more information, visit:
http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcrcp/strategy/reprioritization/managementpriorities/
To access this report online or for more information, visit:
http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcrcp/strategy/reprioritization/managementpriorities/
38

				
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