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.

An arsenal of measures to fight threats to the ponds

Consequences of pollution at Salines d’Orient

Officially they are well protected - they are the beneficiaries of a biotope protection order, they belong to the Littoral Conservancy, are managed by the Réserve Naturelle, and since May 1, 2012 are even listed under the Ramsar Convention - and yet the 14 ponds are still, in reality, under an enormous amount of pressure and threats: depositing of debris as well as assorted trash and refuse, untreated water from septic systems, unauthorized cutting of the mangroves...
In fact, just during the first quarter of 2012, the Salines d’Orient, the Etang aux Poissons, the Etang de Grand Case, The Etang de Chevrise and the Grand Etang des Terres Basses were all victims of recurring pollution, primarily due to malfunctions in public and private septic systems, some of which caused the death of hundreds of fish.
Reason enough for the Littoral Conservancy and the Réserve Naturelle to implement a strict, but necessary, surveillance.
Each time they see that polluting waters flow into the ponds, a well-defined procedure is put into place immediately: identification of the sources; analysis of the water if necessary to define the origin of the pollution; seeking out of those responsible, public or private; and rapidly finding a way to put a stop to the cause of the pollution.
If those at fault turn a deaf ear, the next step is a formal letter with a precise deadline to fix the problem. And if nothing is done by the time of the deadline, the matter becomes a legal issue with an official report presented by a warden of the Réserve Naturelle in the name of the police of the waters.
In 2011, eight instances of pollution were followed up on, three of which resulted in formal letters and official reports.
Since the beginning of 2012, five ponds have been polluted; six formal letters and two official reports were presented.

The 14 ponds in Saint Martin, which constitute part of the wetlands in the Réserve Naturelle, were included in the Ramsar Convention in recognition of their international ecological importance, such as, for example, the Camargue in France and The Everglades in Florida.
This international recognition confirms the importance of our island’s natural heritage, which includes the ponds and wetlands.
It also illustrates the huge responsibility of the Réserve in terms of the protection and promotion of these zones.
With this in mind, the Littoral Conservancy and the Réserve Naturelle are creating a trail to explore the mangroves in the Etang de la Barrière in Cul de Sac.


Dysfonctionnement du réseau d’assainissement à Grand-Case Malfunction of the septic system in Grand Case

All articles from: Newsletter-15

Restoration Of Degraded Areas And Populations

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