A NATURAL RESOURCE ASSESSMENT OF THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK AND VIRGIN ISLANDS CORAL REEF NATIONAL MONUMENT
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The National Parks Conservation Association’s (NPCA) State of the Parks Program was developed to identify natural and cultural resources in jeopardy across the United States National Parks System. This natural resources assessment has been prepared on behalf of NPCA and in accordance with the guidelines outlined in NPCA’s Natural Resources Assessment and Ratings Methodology (NPCA 2006). It is intended to provide an ecosystem-level evaluation of the health of natural resources at Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. These protected areas are unique units within the National Parks System because of the diversity and complexity of habitats and organisms they contain, but outside pressures are threatening the integrity of some of the most critical systems within both the park and monument. Existing data from the National Park Service, other federal and territorial agencies, academic research studies, and peer-reviewed journals were used in conjunction with interviews of park staff and site visits to evaluate the health of the natural resources. The results of the assessment indicate that park and monument resources are vulnerable due to a combination of natural and anthropogenic stressors, including hurricanes, development, grazing of non-native animals, and visitor damage to sensitive systems such as coral reefs. Park staff have implemented numerous management initiatives to protect resources and mitigate threats to sensitive resources; however, the park and monument do not have sufficient funding or staff to enforce existing rules or to implement new programs that could help improve the state of vulnerable resources. This assessment concludes with management recommendations that would allow park managers to improve conditions and help ensure that the park’s resources are present and healthy for future generations.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
SubjectNational Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)
Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument
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