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Benthic Habitats of Fish Bay, Coral Bay and the St. Thomas East End Reserve

Author(s): Costa, B.M., M.S. Kendall, K. Edwards, G. Kagesten and T.A. Battista

NCCOS Center: CCMA (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/centers/ccma)

Center Team: Biogeography

Name of Publisher: NOAA

Place of Publication: SIlver Spring, MD

Publication Type: Book

Date of Publication: 2013

Reference Information: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 175 USVI

Extent of Work: 68 pp.

Abstract: This report describes the development and assessment of shallow (0 =40 m) benthic habitat maps for Fish Bay, Coral Bay and the St. Thomas East End Reserve (STEER) in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The objective of this effort, conducted by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science in partnership with the Nature Conservancy (TNC), the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR), was to provide spatially-explicit information describing the benthic habitat types and live coral cover present in these three locations. This habitat information will support the development of local action strategies for coral reef conservation in each of these places, providing roadmaps to address key issues and remedy specific threats to coral reefs. The three habitat maps, generated using a combination of semi-automated classification and visual interpretation techniques, represent the first digital maps that describe nearly 100% of the seafloor in these areas. This effort also marks the first time that high resolution imagery describing seafloor depth was collected in these locations. This report consists of four primary components: 1) a description of the classification scheme used to categorize the different seafloor habitats, 2) a discussion of the techniques used to create the habitat maps, 3) an assessment of the habitat maps’ thematic accuracies, and 4) a discussion and summary of the habitats in each area. These habitat maps will be used by TNC, NPS, DPNR and other local partners for planning research and monitoring activities, and will support the management and conservation of the St. Thomas East End Reserve, Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. This work is part of NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s national coral reef ecosystem integrated mapping and monitoring studies throughout the U.S. Caribbean. For more information on this effort please visit: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/projects/detail?key=33 Direct questions or comments to: Bryan M. Costa Geospatial Scientist CSS contractor to NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch 1305 East West Highway SSMC4, N/SCI-1, 9th floor, #9232 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: (301) 713-3028 x146 Email: Bryan.Costa@noaa.gov Or Timothy A. Battista Principal Investigator NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch 1305 East West Highway SSMC4, N/SCI-1, 9th floor, #9311 Silver Spring, MD 20910 Phone: (301) 713-3028 x171 Email: Tim.Battista@noaa.gov

Availability: Online PDF

Related Attachment: Download file (.pdf)