Friends of St. Croix East End Marine Park–Year in Review

Part 5 in an East End Marine Park Series
by Hillary Lohmann, Friends of the East End Marine Park.
Happy anniversary to the Friends of STXEEMP! Our group supports the programs and mission of the East End Marine Park by promoting responsible recreation, enhancing community outreach and education, and improving compliance within the East End watersheds.
In 2016, we went from a handful of people with a shared interest in protecting St. Croix’s marine resources to a formal nonprofit organization. We started a sea turtle monitoring program, with volunteers conducting weekly patrols of priority beaches along the Park during peak nesting season. In this way, the Friends of STXEEMP are contributing to the EEMP management goal of monitoring sea turtle activity. Data collected this year show that green turtles had a very active season! Hawksbill turtles, which are critically endangered across the Caribbean, had a less impressive season unfortunately. More extensive monitoring of their nesting population on St. Croix will provide local and regional data that can help in protection.
Heading out east for some sun and sea? Keep an eye out for our East End bayside signs (see photo)! These signs welcome visitors to responsibly enjoy Park waters, while also alerting the public to the Park rules and regulations, such as restricted fishing areas. Developed by Friends volunteers and approved by Park management, these signs are another example of how the Friends of STXEEMP fulfill a Park management priority, informational signage.
2017 is upon us! This year we will be fundraising with a series of reusable, insulated grocery bags. The bags will help visitors fondly remember the conservation values of St. Croix and also help locals abide by the new law that bans single-use plastic bags. We will be expanding our turtle monitoring program to include more volunteers and beaches, as well as adding the excavation of hatched nests to further evaluate the survivorship of the local turtle population.
To find out more, please visit
East End Marine Park

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