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 #33 RNNSM

Réserve Naturelle de St-Martin


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© Julien Chalifour

Keeping an eye on the health of the marine milieu, and especially the coral reefs and their resident populations, is a priority for IFRECOR— French Initiative For Coral Reefs.

With this in mind, an agreement between the Réserve Naturelle and IFRECOR, via the Regional Direction for the Environment, will lead to the development of indicators to track the health of the reef communities, as well as review the 2018 activities of the “reef network” in the French West Indies. Amandine Vaslet, PhD in marine biology, will lead these two projects. She recently evaluated the first management plan for the Réserve Naturelle, before creating the second.

In order to lead these projects properly, the scientist will refer to the data from scientific studies on the reefs done by the Réserve in 2017 and 2018, as part of the reserve network’s Reef Check project.

The analysis of this data will provide information about the extent to which hurricane Irma impacted the coral in Saint Martin.

Vaslet’s report is expected in December 2018.

Réserve Naturelle de St-Martin

To promote the conservation of the coral reefs and related species

BIOHAB2 © Julien Chalifour

Guillaume Montagne, an intern at the Réserve from April through August 2018, made an oral report on the results of his internship for his professors at the Université de Calais (ULCO), where he just got his degree in the management of property and personnel, natural hazards, and the management of urban spaces. In charge of the planning stages, conception, implantation of BIOHAB2, he followed the evolution of this artificial habitat located near the Remorqueur dive site, off the coast of de Tintamare. One month after the immersion of the structures, a dive afforded the observation that the number of individuals per species was well superior to that observed by BIOHAB1, which disappeared...+ infos

Requin dans un récif corallien – Shark in a coral reef © Franck Mazéas

On October 15-17, 2018 at the Overseas Ministry, Nicolas Maslach, director of the Réserve Naturelle de Saint-Martin, participated in the standing committee of IFRECOR—French Initiative For Coral Reefs. Site by site, studies conducted about the ocean floor in the French Overseas Territories were presented. This report preceded a session on strategies to follow, or establish, for the conservation of the reefs, plant beds, and mangroves in years to come. At the same time, various methods of working were proposed concerning development projects threatening these natural environments, and the method MERCI, to Avoid, Reduce, and Compensate, was born. In other words, in the short term, to avoid...+ infos

Interview de Nicolas Maslach – Nicolas Maslach interviewed © Chris Joe

On October 8-11, the Réserve met with a crew from Thalassa, who were working on a television report on the evolution of the island in terms of housing and daily life, as well as the environment. They discussed the impact on the island’s flora and fauna, as well as the development of the ecosystems and related activities. The BIOHAB2 artificial habitat project, coral regeneration, as well as the creation of nurseries designed to revitalize the coastal littoral were especially of interest to Thalassa, as well as the program “Educative Marine Area,” intended to raise awareness for children (see article page 23). The journalists will return to complete their reporting in January 2019, in...+ infos

Mérou de Nassau © Julien Chalifour

The European LIFE Program disposes three billion euros to fund projects that promote the environment and climate between 2014 and 2020. This year, LIFE targeted species that have special conservations needs, and the Réserve Naturelle presented a dossier aspiring to restoring two species of grouper: the Nassau grouper, which rarely reaches adult size due to over fishing, and the giant grouper, which can be observed locally in an anecdotal fashion, once every two or three years. Appreciated by divers due to their curiosity toward them, these fish are superior predators ecologically speaking—they could take care of the lionfish population for example— but also economically in the long term...+ infos

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

Algues vertes dans l’herbier – Green algae in the seagrass © Julien Chalifour

Organized every year since 2008, this year’s Reef Check took place on September 17-19, off the coast of Galion, Caye Verte, Pinel, and Rocher Créole. Two volunteers, Théo Feger and Guillaume —of Jorakhae Free Diving School — joined forces with the Réserve. The data is still being evaluated but, one year after hurricane Irma, observation revealed a high presence of green filamentous algae, especially on coral reefs and plant beds, but also washed up on the beaches, including Pinel. These algae are generally present in these areas, but usually on a seasonal basis and of a smaller quantity. Their abundance this year is an indication of organic coastal pollution, with water treatment...+ infos

© Julien Chalifour

Since 2007, the Réserve Naturelle has continued its annual scientific study of the reefs and plant beds. This took place this year on September 24-26, with the support of Jonas Hochart, from Saint Barth’s Territorial Environmental Agency. He helped the team from Saint Martin in documenting the evolution and general state of the coral communities and plant beds on the three reef stations— Chico, Rocher Pélican, and Fish Pot, a site located outside of the Réserve —and the three plant bed stations — Rocher Créole, Pinel, and Grand-Case, this last site also outside of the Réserve. The data is under evaluation, but the divers reported the return of sponges, which were heavily impacted by...+ infos

To promote the conservation of the sea turtle population

Tortue verte - Green Turtle © Julien Chalifour

On the evening of August 31, at about 11pm, on the beach at Long Bay, about 40 eco-volunteers following the activity of sea turtles were able to observe a green turtle in the process of trying to lay her eggs. For an hour and a half, the animal tried multiple times, but finally went back to the sea without laying any eggs. She came back a little later, but this new effort was also a failure as the next collapsed onto itself as the turtle tired to dig it. According to Julien Chalifour, these unsuccessful attempts are caused by a beach built up with too much sand, as created by Irma, as well as successive swells caused by the hurricane. This episode once again illustrates the importance of...+ infos

Sans commentaire - No comment

The activities of construction and reconstruction in Saint Martin have been really ramping up over the past five months, and it is totally legitimate that everyone wants to rebuild their homes and businesses. The island’s natural ecosystems, also impacted by the hazards of climate change, remain in bad condition and need revitalization. It is equally as important to avoid damaging them any further. Contrary to common sense, it is also important to respect the regulations and to get solid advice from the appropriate services that have jurisdiction over the environment, such as UT DEAL Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin at the prefecture. That’s what a villa owner in Terres-Basses should...+ infos

To maintain or improve local conditions for nesting bird populations

Èchasse d’Amérique Black-necked stilt © Julien Chalifour

According to a study by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, amateur bird watchers brought 36 billion dollars to the American economy in 2006, and 20% of Americans identify as bird watchers. At the same time, the Kuşcenneti National Park in Turkey— a Ramsar site like Saint Martin—attracts amateur bird watchers from around the world. Thus represents direct and indirect revenue of more than $1million per year. Guided visits have become a major activity, with no less than 127 businesses offering visits around the globe. Knowing that the avifauna counted on the ponds of Saint Martin comprises more than 85 species of birds, this abundance and this richness have naturally encouraged the Réserve...+ infos

To maintain or improve the ecological health of the salt ponds

L’étang de Chevrise - Chevrise Pond © Conservatoire du littoral

1,314 tons of debris! That’s the number reported by the Conservatoire du Littoral on October 1, or three months after the start of a major clean-up campaign at all of the Conservatoire’s sites, with a special focus on the salt ponds. Metal—primarily from roofs—represents a third of this debris, with the other two thirds comprising large objects. L & A Transport, the company that won the contract awarded by Conservatoire, removed the largest items—roofs, containers—in July and August. A team of about 10 people attacked this gigantesque task, with the help of large machinery.+ infos

L’étang de la Savane - Savane Pond © Conservatoire du littoral

This clean-up operation has since continued with the six agents of the association ACED and Aude Berger, tasked by Conservatoire for the coordination of the clearing of the sites since July 1. The collection of debris, both large and small, is sorted before taken to the trash center at the eco-site, where they are treated. Three car bodies, a good-sized boat, and a jet ski were removed thanks to this effort, as well as numerous personal objects, such as clothing, stuffed animals, and a large number of car parts. The Conservatoire appreciates the work done by ACED, especially in the ponds, where is it not easy to remove debris from the silt and pull it onto the shore, either by hand or on...+ infos

L’équipe de l’ACED - The ACED Team © Conservatoire du littoral

It is now time to think about replanting the mangroves, which requires an agreement between ACED, the Conservatoire du Littoral and the Réserve Naturelle. After the cleanup and management by the Conservatoire, the Réserve Naturelle will take over. The ACED agents will dedicate the first six months of 2019 to the creative of a mangrove nursery, and the planting of trees in the impacted areas. Before this next step, they will benefit from theoretical and practical training led by Aude Berger and Anne-Marie Bouillé, who will teach them about the ecology of wetlands, the ecosystems of the mangroves and the ponds, as well as the role of environmental professions, especially that of a coastal...+ infos

Des élèves enthousiastes - Enthusiastic pupils © Christophe Joe

Created in 2012 in the Marquises from the imagination of elementary school students, the concept of an “educative marine area” (AME) has been developed successfully across the French islands. In Saint Martin, three classes manage their marine area and were awarded the “educative marine area” label on June 4, 2018. This label, awarded by the French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB), recognizes the creation of an ecological project that invites students to think about the management and protection of natural marine heritage. These “junior rangers” become interested in a sector of their natural heritage and invest themselves in its protection and management. For example, a CM1 class at the...+ infos

To promote the conservation of drought-resistant vegetation

The impact of hurricane Irma on the environment incited the French Agency for Biodiversity to call for projects that would restore biodiversity throughout the overseas territories. The Réserve responded to this call by submitting three dossiers. One of these projects, which has already been accepted, aims to finance the realization of a scientific inventory of the imparct of Irma on the flora on the small islands within the Réserve Naturelle—Pinel, Petite Clé, Caye Verte, and Tintamare—and the goal is to propose projects to restore the species and their habitants. A second project, not yet validated, concerns activities for the conservation of sea turtles and their protection. The...+ infos

Police Activity

The technical division and nature police for the Réserve Naturelle carried out 259 patrols during the first nine months of 2018: 192 patrols on land and 67 at sea. Of these 259 patrols, 46 of them—or 29 on land and 17 at sea—resulted in warnings and eventually the seizing of material. These infractions include debris deposited in the Réserve, drones flying without authorization, stealing sand from Galion, boats mooring in places where it is forbidden to drop an anchor, use of jet skis, kite surfing outside of the zone authorized at Galion, and 11 fishing incidents in the Réserve: trap fishing at Galion, crab fishing in the salt ponds, fishing with a kayak on the Salines d’Orient, fishing...+ 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,

Aude Berger

- Aude Berger

Chef de projet LIFE BIODIV'OM - Pôle scientifique .

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