Coastal Marine Environmental Assessment, USVI

Brain coralIn order to understand the potential ecological impacts of converting a former refinery to a petroleum storage facility on the south shore of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, IEc developed a detailed characterization of baseline conditions in the surrounding marine environment. The research compared “study” and “reference” conditions in two primary habitat categories:

  • Mangroves: The study assessed mangrove health along transects from the edge of the water up to 50 meters inland. Features characterized include species, height, crown diameter, and other indicators.
  • Benthic Habitat: The study assessed benthic habitats along 15 meter transects for seagrass, corals, macroinvertebrates, the extent of non-vegetated bottom, and other features. Additionally, fish abundance and diversity were quantified along each transect. Sediment chemistry and water quality was analyzed at benthic habitat and dredge channel sites.

IEc compiled all data in a searchable, user-friendly data system. The data can be filtered to isolate predefined data categories for mangroves, benthic habitat, sediment chemistry, water quality, and fish abundance. Additionally, all data collected at a specific site are available via a separate query button.

Full Report Client HOVENSA Environmental Response Trust, in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources