Conservation Efforts on St. Croix

Reef with fish and Elkhorn coral










– Corals Being Restored

The Nature Conservancy is leading research on staghorn and elkhorn corals.  Both types naturally break during storms and other underwater disturbances.  This organization has divers that harvest the pieces to re-grow.  This is done by putting the breakages into cement starter stands along on coast (nurseries are located near Point Udall, Green Cay and Cane Bay).  The nurseries are at various depths and farmed for different time periods, to determine the ideal growth scenario with the least time commitment.  The farmed coral has recently been reintroduced back into the natural reef.  The farmed pieces are cleaned by scuba divers daily to keep sediment off and foster photosynthesis.

– Lionfish Meet their Match

Recently a diver off the coast on St. Croix was able to capture a photo of a lionfish being eaten by a parrotfish.  This is encouraging news as the lionfish is an invasive, rapidly-multiplying species that until now had no predators.   The lionfish was introduced and is not native in the Caribbean.  It wipes out the reefs it inhabits, killing coral and other fish.

– Buck Island Birds Return

The National Park Service eliminated a population of non-native rats on Buck Island over the last few years.  Recently that change has fostered the return of ground-nesting birds.  They are also seeing less predation on pelicans and positive changes in the island’s plant eco-system.  The park service next plans to eradicate a non-native lizard.

– Fish / Bird Tracking

The National Park Service does fish counts at Buck Island on an on-going basis to track species populations.  These are completed by scuba divers, often marine biology students.

St. Croix also participates in the national winter bird count held every December.  Volunteers count various bird species at Sandy Point, Buck Island and other locations for species tracking purposes.

Ready to live in beautiful, unspoiled nature worth preserving?  Download our free guide the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.