Grant: $2,780,281 - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Jul. 1, 2009
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Award Description: The mission of this project is twofold: to improve both USVI coral reef ecosystem and economic condition. The economy and culture of the USVI are dependent upon the health of its coastal and marine habitats, as well as the Territory’s ability to maintain the infrastructure required to support its growing population and large number of visitors. Through targeted watershed restoration actions the primary land-based threat affecting USVI coastal and marine habitat condition, sedimentation will be mitigated. By improving the health of coral reef ecosystems, creating numerous jobs across various skill levels, and expending award funds locally, this project will boost the Territory’s economy thereby improving USVI quality of life. To accomplish the mission, this project proposes to implement a variety of watershed management and stabilization techniques to reduce sediment loading to coastal habitats within three priority watersheds: Fish and Coral Bays in St. John, and East End Bay in St. Croix. These - i - V.I. RC&D USVI Coastal Habitat Restoration Through Watershed Stabilization NOAA ARRA Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Project Grant Program watersheds had been previously identified by local and federal agencies as priority locations for a number of reasons including: high land-based sediment loads due to a high degree of watershed disturbance, proximity to Federal and Territorially managed Marine Protected Areas and critical habitat for endangered and threatened species, previous or current community-based efforts to reduce sedimentation, and the existence of site-specific erosion control plans. Strategies that will be employed within the scope of this proposal include: 1) application of locally-appropriate BMPs to achieve both short- and long- term reductions in sediment loading; 2) creation and implementation of effectiveness monitoring protocols to assess project success at both source and destination sites; and 3) community outreach and education efforts. The suite of BMPs proposed for project installation include: paving priority road segments; road drainage improvements, retaining walls and re-vegetation of riparian areas. BMP effectiveness will be assessed through monitoring of the sediment source, watershed-scale sediment yields, as well as habitat condition in receiving bays. The monitoring program will establish baseline conditions (sediment yield and rates, coral reef ecosystem condition) and post-BMP sediment loads at the source and destination sites. It is acknowledged that continued monitoring of project success will be needed, and project partners have committed to contributing and soliciting resources to provide for monitoring beyond the award scope. Projects will be utilized as demonstration projects to provide area residents and government officials with information on conventional and alternative BMPs to reduce the impact of erosion. Additionally, the wider USVI community will learn about the project through information supplied to the popular press (newspapers, radio, TV). Such education and outreach efforts will improve Territorial ability to develop and implement cost-effective erosion mitigation strategies in other areas with the same challenges. This project has broad local support in all three target watersheds. The local contributions that are being leveraged to support this project are valued at approximately $490,000.00. These contributions include in-kind support in the form of man hours, technical assistance and equipment use. This leverage increases the overall value and feasibility of this project, and will allow VI RC&D to utilize the federal dollars requested in this proposal to implement on the ground actions to restore a greater cumulative area of coastal habitat.
Project Description: The project manager and the account manager positions in the local newspapers, applications were reviewed and 6-7 top candidates were identified. Top candidates were interviewed by the V.I. RC&D review committee. An accounts manager was selected and offered the position to start Oct. 1, 2009. The Terrestrial Monitoring Coordinator was contracted. Legal services were used to assist the Board in the review of contracts. The contract for the University of the Virgin Islands was drafted. Marine monitoring has started at one location, Coral Bay, and it is scheduled to start in Fish Bay and East End Bay the week of Oct. 11th. Drs. Smith and Gray met for a one day planning session to establish sampling methodologies and scout sediment and biological monitoring sites. On Aug. 19, 16 sediment trap arrays were deployed at 8 locations in Coral Bay. 12 of these traps were established at 2 locations containing sensitive marine biological communities. Sediment from these traps was recovered on Sept. 16. Samples are being processed. Rainfall and sediment production monitoring began at East End Bay at the end of July 2009 with the installation of a recording rain gauge and five sediment traps. The tipping bucket raingauge was located at the top of the EEB catchment and launched to initiate data collection on 1 August 2009. Five sediment traps, consisting of a locally-available filter fabric attached to pieces of rebar were installed to collect sediment produced from five undisturbed catchments. Traps were installed between 28 -31 July 2009. The EEB catchment was also carefully searched to identify an adequate location to install a runoff monitoring station. No terrestrial monitoring activities have taken place at this time on Fish Bay or Coral Bay on St. John.
Jobs Summary: LEGAL SERVICES OF LAWYER, MONITORING COORDINATOR (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 1, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.