Long-term monitoring

St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Programme - Annual Report 2010

The St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) established the Sea Turtle Conservation Program following concerns that the island’s sea turtle populations were being threatened by anthropogenic disturbance and destruction of nesting beach habitats through sand mining, joy riding and pollution.

A community outreach campaign was organized in 2001 to begin raising public awareness about sea turtle conservation issues. Subsequent to this initiative, a beach monitoring program was started in 2002 in affiliation with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST). The first two years of the program saw very sporadic monitoring of the index beach due to a lack of personnel. In 2003 however, regular night patrols were conducted following the introduction of the Working Abroad Program, which brings groups of international volunteers to assist with projects in the National and Marine Parks. By 2004 the program had expanded to include morning track surveys on several of the island’s nesting beaches, with a dedicated vehicle and a full- time project coordinator during the nesting season.

Data from the Sea Turtle Conservation Program have shown that three species of sea turtle regularly nest on St Eustatius; the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the green (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), all of which are classified as either endangered or critically endangered by the IUCN. There was also an unconfirmed 2004 report of nesting by a fourth species, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), which IUCN classes as threatened. In the 2010 season, two Loggerhead nests were excavated confirming for the first time that species’ use of Statia’s beaches.

The ultimate objective of the St Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Program is to promote long-term survival of the sea turtle populations on and around the island. This goal is achieved by safeguarding critical sea turtle habitats, conducting research to provide policy and decision makers with current, relevant data on the status of sea turtles in the region, and limiting environmental impacts on nesting beaches and near-shore waters. One of the most important factors to ensure the success of the project is the direct involvement of the local community in the program to promote a better understanding of the importance of long-term conservation, not just for sea turtles but for other locally threatened species.

The aims of this Annual Report include the following:

  • Summarize the activities of the 2010 Sea Turtle Conservation Program.
  • Review the accomplishments and deficiencies of the program in 2010.
  • Suggest recommendations for the 2011 program.
  • Provide a summary of the data from 2010 research initiatives.
  • Present information locally, regionally and internationally about the research and monitoring program on the island.
  • Produce a progress report for the Island Government, potential program funding organizations, the local community and international volunteers. 
Date
2010
Data type
Research report
Geographic location
St. Eustatius
Author

St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Programme - Annual Report 2012

The St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) established the Sea Turtle Conservation Program following concerns that the island‟s sea turtle populations were being threatened by anthropogenic disturbance and destruction of nesting beach habitats through sand mining, joy riding and pollution.

A community outreach campaign was organized in 2001 to begin raising public awareness about sea turtle conservation issues. Subsequent to this initiative, a beach monitoring program was started in 2002 in affiliation with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST). The first two years of the program saw very sporadic monitoring of the index beach due to a lack of personnel. In 2003 however, regular night patrols were conducted following the introduction of the Working Abroad Program, which brings groups of international volunteers to assist with projects in the National and Marine Parks. By 2004 the program had expanded to include morning track surveys on several of the island‟s nesting beaches, with a dedicated vehicle and a full- time project coordinator during the nesting season.

Data from the Sea Turtle Conservation Program have shown that three species of sea turtle regularly nest on St Eustatius; the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the green (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), all of which are classified as either endangered or critically endangered by the IUCN. There was also an unconfirmed 2004 report of nesting by a fourth species, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), which IUCN classes as threatened.

The ultimate objective of the St Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Program is to promote long-term survival of the sea turtle populations on and around the island. This goal is achieved by safeguarding critical sea turtle habitats, conducting research to provide policy and decision makers with current, relevant data on the status of sea turtles in the region, and limiting environmental impacts on nesting beaches and near-shore waters. One of the most important factors to ensure the success of the project is the direct involvement of the local community in the program to promote a better understanding of the importance of long-term conservation, not just for sea turtles but for other locally threatened species.

The aims of this Annual Report include the following:

  •  Summarize the activities of the 2012 Sea Turtle Conservation Program.
  •  Review the accomplishments and deficiencies of the program in 2012.
  •  Suggest recommendations for the 2013 program.
  •  Provide a summary of the data from 2012 research initiatives.
  •  Present information locally, regionally and internationally about the research and monitoring program on the island.
  •  Produce a progress report for the Island Government, potential program funding organizations, the local community and international volunteers. 
Date
2012
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius
Author

St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Programme - Annual Report 2009

The St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) established the Sea Turtle Conservation Program following concerns that the island’s sea turtle populations were being threatened by anthropogenic disturbance and destruction of nesting beach habitats through sand mining, joy riding and pollution.

A community outreach campaign was organized in 2001 to begin raising public awareness about sea turtle conservation issues. Subsequent to this initiative, a beach monitoring program was started in 2002 in affiliation with the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST). The first two years of the program saw very sporadic monitoring of the index beach due to a lack of personnel. In 2003 however, regular night patrols were conducted following the introduction of the Working Abroad Program, which brings groups of international volunteers to assist with projects in the National and Marine Parks. By 2004 the program had expanded to include morning track surveys on several of the island’s nesting beaches, with a dedicated vehicle and a full- time project coordinator during the nesting season.

Data from the Sea Turtle Conservation Program have shown that three species of sea turtle regularly nest on St Eustatius; the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the green (Chelonia mydas) and the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), all of which are classified as either endangered or critically endangered by the IUCN. There has also been an unconfirmed report of nesting by a fourth species, the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), which IUCN classes as threatened.

The ultimate objective of the St Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Program is to promote long-term survival of the sea turtle populations on and around the island. This goal is achieved by safeguarding critical sea turtle habitats, conducting research to provide policy and decision makers with current, relevant data on the status of sea turtles in the region, and limiting environmental impacts on nesting beaches and near-shore waters. One of the most important factors to ensure the success of the project is the direct involvement of the local community in the program to promote a better understanding of the importance of long-term conservation, not just for sea turtles but for other locally threatened species.

The aims of this Annual Report include the following:

  • Summarize the activities of the 2009 Sea Turtle Conservation Program.
  • Review the accomplishments and deficiencies of the program in 2009.
  • Suggest recommendations for the 2010 program.
  • Provide a summary of the data from 2009 research initiatives.
  • Present information locally, regionally and internationally about the research and monitoring program on the island.
  • Produce a progress report for the Island Government, potential program funding organizations, the local community and international volunteers. 
Date
2009
Data type
Research report
Geographic location
St. Eustatius

St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Programme - Annual Report 2014

The 2014 Sea Turtle nesting season continued in the up and down trend of busy and slow years. It was a year with less than 50 activities per species. With 8 recorded leatherback activities it was a small improvement as the past years have seen only 1 or no nesting activity by that species. A greater effort was made to perform excavations as soon as possible and this year every confirmed nest was excavated and checked for outcome. One nest was lost to Tropical Storm Gonzalo and 1 nest was destroyed by a cliff fall.

Date
2015
Data type
Other resources
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius
Author

St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Programme - Annual Report 2013

The 2013 Sea Turtle nesting season was a varied season whereby there was as in previous years not much in the way of leatherback activity but towards the end of the season there was a marked increase in hard shell activity. There were also at least 22 sightings of sea turtles during 50 odd hours of night patrols thereby giving the program a “catch” per unit effort of just under 50%.

The objective of the St Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Program is to promote long-term survival of the sea turtle populations on and around the island. This goal is achieved by safeguarding critical sea turtle habitats, conducting research to provide policy and decision makers with current, relevant data on the status of sea turtles in the region, and limiting environmental impacts on nesting beaches and near-shore waters. One of the most important factors to ensure the success of the project is the direct involvement of the local community in the program to promote a better understanding of the importance of long-term conservation, not just for sea turtles but for other locally threatened species.
The aims of this Annual Report include the following:

  • Summarize the activities of the 2013 Sea Turtle Conservation Program.
  • Review the accomplishments and deficiencies of the program in 2013.
  • Suggest recommendations for the 2014 program.
  • Present information locally, regionally and internationally about the research and monitoring program on the island.
  • Produce a progress report for the Island Government, potential program funding organizations, the local community and international volunteers

 

Date
2014
Data type
Other resources
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius
Author

Monitoring program for waterbirds inhabiting the saliñas located on the northwest of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. Year report 2010

Management Recommendations:

Expand the boundaries of the Washington Slagbaai National Park to include all the salts flats included in this monitoring program as well as their catchment areas in order to give adequate protection to the whole system of lagoons located in northwestern Bonaire.

Approach the Ramsar convection with the proposal to change the Ramsar designations of Salina Slagbaai and Salina Goto for one denomination that will include all the Salt flat in the system using the name of our Washington Slagbaai National Park.

Keep collecting data for the long term monitoring programs. It is fundamental for the proper management of our natural resources.

Hire more staff for the Natural and Historic Resources Unit of STINAPA Bonaire.

As resources and/or time become available, conduct scientific research for a better understanding of the ecological functions of the salt flat as a habitat for water birds.

As resources and/or time become available, start baseline research for a monitoring program for the nesting season of our resident waterbirds.

As resources and/or time become available, expand the monitoring program in order to include the salt flats in Central and South of Bonaire.

Improve this monitoring program by moving up to the next level through participation in the CWC (Caribbean Waterbird Census). This is an initiative taken by the SCSCB (Society of Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds). 

Date
2011
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

Mapping ecosystem functions to the valuation of ecosystem services: implications of species–habitat associations for coastal land-use decisions

Abstract:

The reefs surrounding Bonaire have long been renowned for their high abundance and diversity of scleractinian corals and for their long-time status as a protected marine park. As part of a comprehensive study of the current status of Bonaire’s reefs, a quantitative benthic community survey was conducted at 7 locations across depths from 10 to 30 m in early 2008. This showed mean coral cover ranging from 23.7% ± 3.8 (SE) to 38.4% ± 4.4 (SE) on the island’s leeward shore and 1.6% ± 0.4 (SE) to 22.4% ± 3.6 (SE) on the windward shore. Percent cover of macrophytes and turf algae ranged from 41.7% ± 2.0 (SE) to 51.8% ± 3.0 (SE) on the leeward shore and 60.8% ± 4.1 (SE) to 82.7% ± 2.5 (SE) on the windward shore. Comparison of these results to earlier work from 1982 on the leeward shore and 1988 on the windward shore points to a significant, system-wide decrease in corals, increase in macroalgae and increase in the ratio of algae to corals. These observations point to significant degradation of reefs at a site often described as relatively ‘pristine’ in the Caribbean and highlight the sensitivity of coral reefs to anthropogenic and natural stresses even on well-protected islands. 

Date
2010
Data type
Scientific article
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire

Research and Monitoring Report 2011 - Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire

Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire (STCB) is a non-governmental, non-profit, research and conservation organization that began in 1991. Our mission is to ensure the protection and recovery of Bonaire’s sea turtle populations throughout their range.

Three species of sea turtles are found in the waters of Bonaire. They are: the hawksbill, the green turtle, and the loggerhead. The hawksbill is considered “critically endangered” throughout its global ranges; and the green and loggerhead considered “endangered”. Bonaire offers a relatively safe haven for foraging juvenile hawksbill and green turtles, as well as critical nesting grounds for hawksbill, loggerhead, green, and the incidental leatherback.

In 2011, we completed our 9th year of systematic research on the sea turtles of Bonaire. In this report you will read about the methods and results of our research and monitoring activities, which include nesting beach monitoring, foraging ground surveys, and turtle migration tracking. With our nesting beach monitoring, we track turtle nesting activity, determine nest size and productivity, and estimate the number of hatchlings produced. With our foraging ground surveys we tag, measure and photo- graph individual turtles and establish catch-per-unit-effort measures of turtle abundance. We inspect our captured turtles for signs of illness or injury, including fibropapillomatosis, which we first saw on green turtles at Lac Bay in 2005. Our recapture of previously tagged turtles provides valuable insight into turtle residency duration, recruitment, home range, growth rates, and habitat quality. With satellite telemetry, we are able to identify the migration paths and distant feeding grounds used by our breeding and nesting turtles.

Using the information we gather in our research and monitoring activities, we are able to identify and implement conservation efforts to improve the direct protection of Bonaire’s sea turtles and their environments. Our activities also include partnerships and initiatives that focus on the bigger picture and use sea turtle conservation as a focal point to drive and stimulate conservation awareness and efforts. 

Date
2012
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Bonaire
Author

Methods for Ecological Monitoring of Coral Reefs - A Resource for Managers - Version 1

The aim of this book is to help managers of coral reefs select appropriate ecological monitoring programs, protocols and methods for your coral reef management needs. This book was written in response to requests from coral reef managers for advice on monitoring, especially:

  • How monitoring can help management;
  • How to choose the best methods to suit your needs; and
  • The good and bad points and associated costs of a wide range of monitoring methods.

Monitoring can be specific or general. There are different management information needs for each coral reef area,
so monitoring programs must be designed to include a selection of protocols and methods to meet those needs.
The protocols and methods outlined in this book represent the ones most commonly used on coral reefs around the world. Our advice is to use the standard and frequently used methods to monitor your reefs because these have been extensively tested. Using standard methods also means that you will be able to compare the status of your coral reefs with other reefs at regional and global scales. 

Date
2004
Data type
Monitoring protocol
Theme
Research and monitoring

St. Eustatius Sea Turtle Conservation Programme - Annual Report 2003

Abstract:

St Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) is the only environmental non-governmental organization on St Eustatius. In 1996, the Island Government gave legal mandate to STENAPA to manage a new marine park.

The Marine Park maintains dive and yacht moorings and conducts many programs such as the Snorkel Club, the Junior Ranger club, surveys of marine life, school educational activities and since 2002, the conservation of sea turtles on St Eustatius.

Until present, three species of marine turtles are nesting on the St Eustatius beaches: the Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).

STENAPA’s second annual turtle monitoring program started on April 17, 2003. In June 2003, Nicole Esteban (STENAPA Manager) was appointed country coordinator for WIDECAST to replace the previous manager.

STENAPA has four permanent staff and is able to undertake projects such as the sea turtle conservation thanks to two international volunteer programs that started in 2001 and 2003.

Methodology for the 2003 programme included:

  • Volunteers participating in the programme receive a theoretical and practical training on the sea turtle monitoring programme.
  • When a sea turtle is observed nesting on Zeelandia Beach, the turtle width and length is measured, location of the nest is recorded and measured and the turtle is tagged by trained personnel who are in charge of nightly patrols.
  • STENAPA conducted video interviews of two elderly Statians in June 2003, to document historical information about the number and species of turtles. Information is now known about turtle nesting and hunting as early as the 1920’s.
  • Hatchling emergence from the nest is monitored and nests are inventoried.
  • In 2003, staff used GPS mapping to monitor beach erosion, sand movement and to identify nest location of sea turtles.
  • In 2003, STENAPA arranged a series of beach clean ups, schools and businesses presentations.

Results for the 2002 and 2003 Sea Turtle Monitoring Programme are as follows:

  • A minimum of 3 Greens and 1 Hawksbill nested in 2002.
  • A minimum of between 3-10 Leatherbacks, 2-3 Greens, 2-5 Hawksbills came and nested in 2003.
  • In 2003, two measurements on two Hawksbill turtles were taken, and in 2002 two measurements on two Green turtles were collected.
  • In 2003 one Hawksbill was tagged twice on the front right and the front left flipper. In 2002, three Greens were tagged on the front flippers.
  • A total number of 41 hatchlings were rescued in 2003.

Management Recommendations:

Recommendations for the 2004 programme include:

  • Increased supervision of Working Abroad night crew members: either the Sea Turtle Programme Coordinator or Marine Park Interns (Marine Biologists) will be in charge of night patrols.
  • Purchase of additional equipment to facilitate night patrols.
  • Training of staff at international meetings.
  • Monitoring of sunset emergence as soon as a dedicated truck for the turtle programme can be purchased.
  • Beach mapping to be conducted regularly to monitor changes and map turtles.
  • Continuation with the community education programme at schools and local businesses.

It is expected that, with a full time programme coordinator, improved monitoring and increased number of volunteers, there will be increased numbers of turtles monitored in 2004. 

Date
2004
Data type
Research report
Theme
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius