La Réserve naturelle de Saint-Martin est une aire marine protégée de 30km2 située au nord-est de l’île de Saint-Martin. Créé en 1998, cet espace préserve les cinq principaux écosystèmes de l’île : récifs coralliens, mangroves, herbiers de phanérogames, étangs et forêt sèche littorale. La Réserve gère également les 14 étangs du Conservatoire du littoral et ses 11 km de rivages terrestres naturels.

Réserve Naturelle de Saint-Martin


Journal #32 RNNSM

Réserve Naturelle de St-Martin


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nettoyage du Galion par les scouts de France

Grand nettoyage au Galion / Big cleanup at Galion

Un nouveau plan de gestion / A new Management Plan

Lancement de BioHab2 / BioHab2 Launched..

Amandine Vaslet

A management plan, which is a regulatory obligation for all nature reserves, serves as the blueprint for the management team. This is an essential document for the organization, follow-up, and evaluation of the management of each Réserve. As the first such plan for the Réserve Naturelle de Saint Martin had expired, a second version has been drafted. The Réserve entrusted this important task to Amandine Vaslet, a doctor of marine biology.

Iguana Iguana © Julien ChalifourThe evaluation of the first management plan proved very postitive, as 61% of the 104 items on the outline were completed, and 22 additional items were more than 75% complete. Only four items were not undertaken, including the reintroduction of the Lesser Antilles iguana, Iguana delicatissima, due to the explosion of the common Iguana iguana population, a species that is no longer protected but cannot be hunted.

The new management plan for 2018-2027 was created using a new methodology put into place by the French Agency for Biodiversity and Réserves Naturelles in France, and validated early in 2018.PLAN DE GESTION 2018-2027 de la Réserve Naturelle Nationale de Saint-Martin

This methodology places the evaluation of defined projects at the heart of the management plan.

It comprises three sections:

  • Diagnostics and evaluation of the Réserve Naturelle
  • Management of the Réserve Naturelle (with a project chart)
  • Action items for each of the 125 projects listed

In keeping with this new methodology, all projects are divided into eight different areas of activity, including:

  • Surveillance of the island and policing of the environment
  • Awareness and continual follow-up of natural sites
  • Creation and maintenance of reception facilities
  • Protection of the natural heritage
  • Management and support activities
  • Creation of marketing and teaching materials
  • Reception and activities services
  • Participation in research

Melocactus Intortus © Julien Chalifour

The principal goal of the 2018-2027 management plan is the preservation of the island’s biodiversity and the various marine ecosystems, on land and along the shores within the nature reserve.

In addition to this central goal, nine other long-term objectives —compared to seven in the prior plan— were defined for the protection of our natural heritage.

The seven goals of the prior plan were:

  1. Improving awareness about protected sites and species
  2. Managing the impact of mankind on protected sites
  3. Extension of the management of the Réserve Naturelle for new sites
  4. Restoration of damaged spaces and species
  5. Environmental communication and education
  6. Optimization of means to ensure the quality of all projects
  7. Renforcement of regional integration

The new long-term goals are:

  1. To promote the conservation of the coral reefs and related species
  2. To promote the conservation of seagrass beds and related marine plant species
  3. To promote the conservation of the sea turtle population
  4. To promote the conservation of nurseries for sharks and rays
  5. To maintain or improve local conditions for marine mammal populations
  6. To maintain or improve local conditions for nesting bird populations
  7. To maintain or improve the ecological health of the salt ponds
  8. To promote the conservation of drought-resistant vegetation
  9. To ensure good conditions for the reintroduction of the Lesser Antilles iguana

At the same time, five key factors for the success of these projects are based on the daily management of the Réserve Naturelle, bringing the total number of goals to 14.

These five key factors are:

  1. Respecting the regulations and make sure the human activities allowed are compatible with the goals of the Réserve
  2. Ensuring environmental communication, awareness, and education
  3. Optimizing management means
  4. Improving knowledge about our natural heritage and function of ecosystems
  5. Reinforcing local and regional commitment to the Réserve

There are 125 actions defined and planned on the project chart, and identified by three types of indicators that allow for the evaluation of the various actions, to follow-up and make sure the actions are completed and efficient.

The three types of indicators:

  • Status indicator: follows the evolution of our natural heritage
  • Indicator of outside pressure: characterizes threats that can impact our natural heritage
  • Achievement indicator: reports on the ongoing completion of each action

Each action is described on a factsheet that repeats the goals of the activity: its location and its timetable, as well as the human, material, and financial means required, any potential financing, and the indicators selected for its evaluation.

The following are a few examples of the 125 actions listed on the new management plan:

  • Scientific follow-up and evaluation of the health of the coral ecosystems including the reefs, the fish, and the invertebrates.
  • Public awareness efforts to inform the population about the protection of marine mammals through public conferences, academic programs in the schools, plus the creation of informational signage and posters.
  • Evaluate and follow the Melocactus intortus and gaïac populations, from scientific study to mapping of land-based vegetation formations in the Réserve Naturelle.
  • Respect the regulations concerning the practice of human activities that are compatible with the goals of the Réserve, especially by publishing and distributing marketing materials on regulations concerning our natural heritage.
  • Creation of the Maison de la Réserve Naturelle as part of the Caribbean Institute for Insular Biodiversity.

A summary of the management plan can be consulted on the website for the Réserve Naturelle de Saint-Martin.

Noddi brun - Brown Noddy © Nicolas Maslach
Noddi brun - Brown Noddy © Nicolas Maslach

Réserve Naturelle de St-Martin

To promote the conservation of the coral reefs and related species

© Julien Chalifour

As has happened every year since 2007, the annual scientific study of reefs and plant beds took place in March 2018.

The goal is to document the evolution of the ocean floor. As usual, a representative of the nature reserve in Petite Terre and another from the Territorial Environmental Agency in Saint Barth were present, in order to help the team from Saint Martin collect underwater data at such sites as Rocher Créole, Pinel and Tintamare, as well as other sites outside of the Réserve, including Fish Pot in the Anguilla Channel. This underwater milieu seems to be less impacted than the island itself, although the coral in certain zones was damaged. However, if...+ infos

Lancement de BioHab2 - BioHab2 launched

BioHab2 LaunchedIn our prior edition we announced that after Irma, only 20 cinderblocks were left out of the 300 used by the Réserve to build nine “BioHab” artificial habitat structures within the perimeter of the reserve.
Even so, the project has not been abandoned and the Réserve has implemented BioHab 2, with the financial support of the French Agency for Biodiversity and the Veolia Foundation, but this time comprising two sites within the Réserve. The staff of the Réserve has created more than a dozen artificial habitats. As technical solutions already proven are once again being used, a new goal this time is to use recycled materials.
The purpose of...+ infos

To promote the conservation of seagrass beds and related marine plant species

Une raie dans l’herbier - A ray in the seagrass © Julien Chalifour

One year after her first mission in the waters of Saint Martin, Fanny Kerninon returned to the island last May. Working with the Réserve, this scientist/diver visited four plant bed stations: Grand-Case, Rocher Créole, Galion, and Tintamare. Working on her thesis at the University of Western Brittany, and in collaboration with IFRECOR, for which she coordinates the observation of underwater plant beds for Overseas France, this young woman dives into tropical waters the world over, from the Caribbean Sea to the Indian Ocean. Her goal is to produce a “tool box” for the study of plant beds and the indicators that allow managers to follow the health status...+ infos

Une tortue verte sur Halophila - Green turtle on Halophila © Julien Chalifour

A team of American scientists from Florida International University (FIU), including Dr. Jeremy Kizska, spent time with the Réserve as part of their regional mission. On June 18- 22, 2018 in Tintamare’s Baie Blanche, green turtles were the focus of research designed to better understand their relationship with the plant beds currently colonized by Halophila stipulacea sea grass. This invasive species was introduced via anchors and ballast water from boats, and little by little gobbled up space in the underwater plant beds, where it is now in competition with two native species: Syringodium and Thalassia. The scientists observed the location of these underwater reptiles...+ infos

To promote the conservation of the sea turtle population

Une tortue imbriquée en ponte - Hawksbill turtle laying her eggs

The 2018 egg-laying season for sea turtles runs through November. The team of eco-volunteers tasked with walking the beaches in the hopes of seeing tracks made by a turtle that has come to lay its eggs has been reduced to about 30 people this year. Not a single set of tracks had been seen as of early June, but that is nothing to be alarmed about. In fact, at this point, no fewer than six tracks have been reported on the beaches of Tintamare, which is exactly the same number noted at the same time in 2017. Julien Chalifour, scientific director for the Réserve, will wait until the end of the season to reflect on any eventual consequences on the egg-laying habits of the sea turtles due to...+ infos

To maintain or improve local conditions for nesting bird populations

Suzanne Gonnier

Suzanne Gonnier, a 22 year-old student at the National Superior School for Landscape (ENSP), worked as an intern at the Réserve Naturelle in June and July 2018. A future landscape architect, she decided to come to the Réserve Naturelle to work with a leader in island management with the idea of starting her career in an environmentally protected area. Her task was to present a rehabilitation project for the Salines d’Orient, hit rather hard by Irma. The current thinking is to reconcile regeneration and conservation of the eco-systems with use by the public. Gonnier focused on the tidal reservoir, a favorite spot for nesting birds, and her recommendations comprise...+ infos

Respecting the regulations and make sure the human activities allowed are compatible with the goals of the Réserve

From February 1 through May 31, 2018, the rangers of the Réserve Naturelle conducted 95 controls that were compliant to regulations, while 10 other controls proved non-compliant:

  • Presence of a jet ski in Galion Bay
  • Kite surfing by three people in Galion Bay, where this activity is prohibited by order of the prefect
  • Four individuals surprised while fishing in the waters of the Réserve
  • Two drones flown without authorization within the Réserve Naturelle

No charges were filed while the laws were repeated to the offenders.+ infos

Ensuring environmental communication, awareness, and education

A crew from Ushuaia TV visited Saint Martin in late January to shoot a segment on the consequences of hurricane Irma, which the producers referred to as “an unprecedented experience: climatic change”. Titled “Under The Chaos, The Beach,” the program was broadcast on Saturday June 23 and Thursday, June 28, and will remain accessible on the Ushuaia TV website. The Réserve Naturelle was called upon for the environmental section of the program. Julien Chalifour, Chris Joe, Ashley Daniel and Vincent Oliva took the video crew to Pinel, Tintamare, and Rocher Créole, aboard the boat belonging to the Réserve. They also took them under the waves, for an underwater shoot at the...+ infos

Beautiful article by Alexis Valois and Alexis Rosenfeld in the July edition, number 449, of the magazine Ça m’intéresse. In Saint Martin after Irma, the couple went diving with the team of the Réserve Naturelle and has assessed the adaptability capacity of corals for their survival, faced with numerous external threats.+ infos

Optimizing management means

Le comité consultatif - The advisory committee

The 2017 final report for the Réserve Naturelle, its 2017 budget, and the new management plan for 2018-2027 were presented at a meeting of the Réserve’s advisory committee held on June 5, 2018 at the prefecture. Those present included prefect Anne Laubies. Nicolas Maslach recapped the activities of the Réserve in 2017—which can be found on the website of the Réserve Naturelle in prior issues of the journal—and he also revealed projects for 2018, including repairing material impacted by Irma, the creation of a nursery for exclusively local trees, especially protected species (gaïacs and melocactus intortus/barrel cactus), as well as the continued battle against pests and...+ infos

Pinel, Petite Clé & Tintamare

The managers of protected marine areas in Saint Eustatius (STENAPA), Saba (Marine Park), Saint Barth (Territorial Environmental Agency), Sint Maarten (Nature Foundation) and Saint Martin (Réserve Naturelle) met in Saint Martin during the last week of May for a technical workshop organized by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRNN) and the CAR-SPAW, organizations which intervene regularly with their partners. The theme of this new training centered on the technical standards for the biophysical study of coral reefs, as well as the related socio-economic elements...+ infos

Exploration en kayak - Exploring on board a kayak

The clean-up and repairs of damage caused by hurricane Irma on sites managed by the Conservatoire du Littoral led to the creation of a strategic plan, which breaks down into four major actions. Funding comes from three sources: 80% from the French Agency for Biodiversity, the French government as part of the post-hurricane cleanup (clean-up phase for the sites), and from the treasury of the Conservatoire.

Aerial Photos

The first operation was an aerial photo shoot to obtain images using a drone, especially above the salt ponds, in order to establish the impact on the mangroves, to verify the condition of water outlets, and identify debris in the most inaccessible areas...+ infos

La baie du Galion - Galion Bay

On May 16, 2018, the Conservatoire du Littoral invited representatives from the French government and the Collectivité for an overview of the projects that will be run in conjunction with the Réserve Naturelle. The principal project comprises the renovation of the Galion site, for which a three-party agreement is being finalized between the Conservatoire, the Réserve Naturelle, and the Collectivité. The plan includes the creation of a parking lot, while on the beach openair shelters will be available for use by the public, as well as a snack bar. A playground for children is also on the drawing board, in addition to beach volleyball courts. The main goal is to conserve...+ infos

Improving knowledge about our natural heritage and function of ecosystems

De gauche à droite / From left to right : Régis Armengaud, représentant de la DEAL ; Christophe Joe, garde de la RN ; Nicolas Maslach, directeur de la RN ; Ashley Daniel, garde de la RN et Anne-Marie Bouillé, chargée de mission du Conservatoire du littoral à Saint-Martin

Inaugurated in March 2018 at the Babit Point site by Anne-Marie Bouillé, head of the Conservatoire du Littoral in Saint Martin, an observation map allows the public to identify the magnificent landscapes overlooking the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the surrounding hillsides on the other. The map is embedded in a table made of lava, which should resist the weather over time. This is part of the ecological and landscaping restoration project at Babit Point, led by the Conservatoire du Littoral and the Réserve Naturelle in collaboration with local residents. In June 2013, members of the Oyster Pond homeowners’ association donated a 4.7-hectare plot of...+ infos

Reinforcing local and regional commitment to the Réserve

Le congrès français de la nature - The French nature conference

On June 7, 2018 at the Maison des Océans in Paris, Nicolas Maslach, director of the Réserve Naturelle, participated in a French Nature Conference, organized by the French committee of the UICN (International Union For Conservation of Nature), as part of its 25th anniversary celebration. The UICN is the leading worldwide non-governmental organization dedicated to the conservation of nature. The next World Conversation Congress, which is held every four years, will be held in 2020 in Marseille. The main subjects to be presented in Marseille in 2020 were discussed with the participants. At the same time, Jean-François Sylvain, president of the Foundation For Biodiversity...+ infos

Le séminaire “outre-mer” annuel de l’AFB - The annual overseas conference of AFB

The annual overseas conference of the French Agency For Biodiversity (AFB) was held on April 9-11, 2018 in Paris. The goal was to make an inventory of biodiversity projects currently underway in all of the overseas territories, identify the expectations of these territories in terms of the AFB, and to define new modes of collaboration. For the 150 participants, this conference was also the occasion to share experiences native to their own overseas locations, such as Guyana, Reunion Island, New Caledonia, and Saint Martin, represented, of course, by Nicolas Maslach. After a presentation of the challenges in the conservation of the biodiversity in overseas territories, a...+ infos

Nicolas Hulot & Thomas Pasquet à Impact2 © Erwan Floc’h

Nicolas Maslach was invited on March 29, 2018 to attend the seventh edition of the Impact2 Forum in the meeting room at City Hall in Paris. Several themes were on the agenda, ranging from social economy and solidarity to ecology, durable development, and artificial intelligence. Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, opened the Forum before giving the floor to esteemed participants, including minister of ecology Nicolas Hulot, deputy and mathematician Cédric Villani, president of the Olympic Committee Tony Estanguet, and astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Close to 50 islands and countries were spoken for—including Saint Martin—by one thousand representatives. Impact2 is organized in Paris...+ infos


Nicolas Maslach

- Nicolas Maslach

Directeur et Conservateur de la Réserve Naturelle Nationale de Saint-Martin, assermenté.
Tel : 0690 38 77 71

Franck Roncuzzi

- Franck Roncuzzi

Responsable du pôle police de la nature et logistique, assermenté.
Tel : 0690 57 95 55

Julien Chalifour

- Julien Chalifour

Responsable du pôle scientifique, assermenté
Tel : 0690 34 77 10

Vincent Oliva

- Vincent Oliva

Responsable du Pôle Education à l’environnement, assermenté.
Tel :0690 53 59 01

Christophe Joe

- Christophe Joe

Garde animateur et technique, assermenté

Ashley Daniel

- Ashley Daniel

Garde animateur et technique,

Amandine Vaslet

- Amandine Vaslet

Chargée de mission en charge du renouvellement du plan de gestion de la Réserve Naturelle.

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