Human Use Mapping Workshops

Objective 

A central objective of marine spatial planning (MSP) is the identification and reduction of conflicts among human uses, and between human uses and the environment. In order to achieve this objective within a data driven planning process, it is necessary to have accurate and thorough spatial data representing both important and sensitive benthic habitats as well as the location and temporal distribution of human activity in the nearshore. A Coastal Use Mapping Project is designed to collect information on how a community is using a coastal or marine area. The data helps resource managers understand both the range and intensity of key activities. Workshops were held on St. Thomas in June, 2014 to map key uses in the nearshore of St. Thomas and St. John as well as on St. Croix on April 16 and 17, 2015, to map key uses in the nearshore of St. Croix, with a particular focus in the St. Croix East End Marine Park (STXEEMP). Representatives from different marine sectors (recreation, watersports, marina, charter boating, SCUBA diving, and fishing industries) as well as NGOs and territorial and federal governmental partners met to provide first-hand information on the spatial and temporal distribution of human use activities in the nearshore of USVI.

This information was captured using the method of “participatory mapping.” Participatory mapping provides participants a map on which to indicate the location of their human use activities, while moderators generate representative spatial data files in real time (Fig. 1). E-Beam™ technology was used to aid the participatory mapping method. This work represents an ongoing effort by TNC, USVI DPNR, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), and members of the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership (CROP) to update human use data throughout USVI in support of resource managers and regional MSP.

This project was conducted by The Nature Conservancy with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (NOAA CRCP) through Cooperative Agreement #NA13NOS4820145.  Through this Partnership, TNC and NOAA work on site level management and conservation strategies for the STXEEMP.  The STXEEMP management and staff supported the project by identifying stakeholders, creating outreach materials and advertising the event.

 

Participants

The USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Coastal Zone Management and Division of Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.

From St. Thomas Workshop: Patagon Dive Center, St. Thomas Yacht Club, IBY CPM Marina and Boatyard, Yacht Haven Grande (YHG) Marina, Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League (VICL), The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), REEF, Underwater Safaris Dive Center, Blue Island Divers, Coki Beach Dive Club, VI Hopper, The Summer's End Group, Morgan Maritime, PCayLand Marine, Water Island Civic Association/Water Island Search and Rescue, and St. Thomas Diving Club.

From the St. Croix Workshop: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, National Park Service, St. Croix Environmental Association, Green Cay Marina, Tamarind Reef, Big Beard’s Adventure Tours, recreational boaters, and STXEEMP Management and Staff.

 

Resulting Data

Data collected during the mapping workshops has been made available to workshop participants, the general public, and resource managers as maps, GIS mapping layers, and analytical products reflecting the variety and extent of ocean uses. The final report will be available electronically at reefconnect.org.  Where possible, layers were combined to create a regional file for the entire territory of the USVI. 

Layers created during the St. Thomas Human Use Mapping Workshop in June 2014:

  • Cruise Turning Basin
  • Anchorages
  • Marinas
  • Moorings
  • Recreational and Commercial Boating
  • Motorized and Non-motorized Personal Watercraft
  • Dive and Snorkeling Sites
  • Lionfish

 

Layers created during the St. Croix East End Marine Park Human Use Mapping Workshop in April 2015:

  • Boat Ramps and Slips
  • Marinas
  • Moorings
  • Recreational and Commercial Boating
  • Motorized and Non-motorized Personal Watercraft
  • Dive and Snorkeling Sites
  • Marine Restoration
  • Camping Beach Areas
  • Fish and Conch Fishing Area
  • Surfing
  • Lionfish

 

Click here for a map document of the Human Use Mapping Results for the STXEEMP Workshop.