July 25, 2008

Vermont Students Survey Reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Submitted by Rebecca Webster
Reef Check Castleton is a student based organization out of Castleton State College in Vermont. In May of 2008, the 12 member team performed four surveys in St. John, USVI. This was the kick-off of an anticipated annual monitoring project, specifically focusing on the changes occurring in the Maho Bay camps. By performing periodic monitoring of the Maho Bay area, the team hopes to track changes in reef health following the private sale of the eco-resort and probable subsequent development of the area.

During the week-long visit to the island, the team witnessed reefs with low human impact and those with an increased human impact and discerned that Maho Bay is an area of interest for tracking the effects development has on coastal reef communities. Other surveyed areas, such as Little and Greater Lameshur Bays, will also continue to be areas of interest due to their location within National Park waters.

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Photo: Matthew Digan Photo: Calla Jewett