Optimizing management means

Optimizing management means

Optimizing management means

Le guide et l’application mobile
Le guide et l’application mobile

A guide to restore and revitalize the mangrove

A technical guide titled “The Restoration Of The Mangrove” and a mobile application intended to facilitate the work of the managers of humid zones, both created by the Resource Center For Wetlands, were presented to Julien Chalifour an Christophe Joe, respectively in charge of the scientific office and the guards at the Réserve Naturelle, as well as to the National Forests Office, the National Office For Hunting and Wildlife, several environmental associations, and the managers of wetlands in the French Caribbean islands. The French committee of the International Union For Conservation of Nature hosted training in Guadeloupe on the restoration and revitalization of the mangrove on November 18 and 19. The technical guide presents the results of existing experience in mangrove restoration and the associated techniques, with drawings and tables. For the Réserve Naturelle, it is important that this guide is widely read and that the practices it recommends are collectively accepted, seeing that the Réserve was refused financing on the grounds that the use of a nursery was inappropriate in the case of restoring the mangrove. But that reasoning is contradicted in this technical guide, which establishes the efficiency of nurseries in the case where natural regeneration of the mangroves is impossible or insufficient, due to lack of trees and the absence of seeds, especially after the passage of a particularly strong hurricane.

Also presented during this atelier was the Avoid-Reduce-Compensate approach, which targets zero loss, or even a gain, in biodiversity, especially when a construction project impacts the biodiversity of an island. For example, the Grand Port Maritime of Guadeloupe finances studies of marine mammals and other subjects, which do not directly constitute compensation, but add to the knowledge accompanying other measures of reparation from inevitable impact on the environment.

First meeting of the CSTPN of Saint Martin

Since November 7, 2019, the Collectivity of Saint Martin has had its Territorial Scientific Council For Natural Heritage (Conseil scientifique territorial du patrimoine naturel or CSTPN), a regulatory obligation carried out in the past by Guadeloupe for Saint Martin. Composed of 19 members, all scientists, this group is charged with providing advice on all questions relative to the conservation of the island’s natural heritage, and especially the impact of development projects on protected sites. The first meeting of the CSTPN was held on January 24, 2020 at the prefecture in Saint Martin. Michel Vély, president of the Megaptera association, was elected president and his vice president is Julien Chalifour, scientific director of the Réserve Naturelle. One of the first projects examined by the governmental services is the validation of two proclamations aiming to control the introduction of species not naturally present in Saint Martin. The lists are currently being examined by various regional experts, and can benefit from the experience gained during the IUCN ateliers.

Jim Ruos
Jim Ruos

A generous donation

On March 12, 2020, the Réserve Naturelle received a donation of close to 3000€, bequeathed by Mary Ruos, the widow of Jim Ruos, who passed away on December 29, 2019 at the age of 85 in Virginia. A biologist by training and adept at falconry, Jim Ruos worked for 21 years at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, primarily interested in turtledoves, but also migratory birds and birds of prey, especially the peregrine falcon. He was the first American to suggest funding countries that promote protection of migratory bird habitats. In the late 80’s, he and his wife decided to create the company Caribbean Islands Travel Service, which met with success in the tourism sector, including in Saint Martin, where he had a lot of friends. The Réserve Naturelle sends its condolences and thanks the family of this friend of the environment for such a generous gesture

Perspective de l’espace scénique - Section rendering of the interior
Perspective de l’espace scénique - Section rendering of the interior

3 questions for Véronique Descharrières

How would you describe the building in just a few sentences?

What do you consider to be the purpose of the ICBI?

The Caribbean Institute For Insular Biodiversity is a tool in the arsenal for the future development of Saint Martin, to help define strategies based on ecotourism, sustainable development, university and scientific research, social development through the creation of jobs, economic development, and regional and international cooperation. This project proves the principle that buildings and living creatures are inevitably linked, and that it is possible to produce environments that satisfy all of the various sectors of the population, all while guaranteeing the protection of our biodiversity.

What impact did hurricane Irma have on this project?

With Irma, Saint Martin felt the reality of climate change. As a result, we reinforced the strength of the building by raising the ground floor and by creating a post-hurricane safety system to guarantee the autonomy of the Institute and reinforce the protective role of the gardens. We also worked closely with the Réserve Naturelle so that the site strongly demonstrates the force of climatic events, the fragility of the biodiversity, and the need for protection, primarily through large-format 3D displays, in which visitors will be virtually immerged.

How would you describe the building in just a few sentences?

Built on stilts, the building will serve to welcome the public to its galleries and host scientific researchers in designated professional spaces. The structure extends to the exterior by way of bridges and pathways that allows access to small spaces for bird watching. All along the promenade that overlooks the mangrove and links the Institute to the sea, piers on stilts preserve the natural character of the shore, and provide places that are perfect for observation and contemplation with their panoramic views of the Réserve Naturelle.

Vidéos sur https://www.vedea.archi/projet/institut-caribeen- de-la-biodiversite-insulaire  –> click on “projets” puis sur “ICBI”

­© Ifremer
Que deviennent les données stockées sur nos ordinateurs ? Où seront-elles dans 20 ans ? Et après ? Question à laquelle l’IFRECOR et l’État ont apporté une réponse en ce qui concerne les récifs coralliens et les herbiers français. Présenté en Martinique en

What happens to all the data stored in our computers? Where will it be in 20 years? Or beyond? A question that IFRECOR and the French government have tried to answer in terms of coral reefs and sea plant beds in France. Presented in Martinique in 2017 to the administrators of protected marine sites in the region, including Julien Chalifour, this tool created by IFREMER allows all data collected by each site to be stored, as well as exchanged for a better sharing and interpretation of knowledge: and all on a national level. The AFB organized a second technical training day on the storing of this data on May 15, 2019 in Guadeloupe, and to which the scientific representatives of the Réserve Naturelle —Julien Chalifour and Aude Berger— were invited. This meeting was also an opportunity for the two scientists to see how the process has advanced and to meet a large number of partners collaborating with the Réserve on the conservation of marine ecosystems. These partners include government services, administrators, consultants, associations...

Le comité consultatif - The advisory board meeting
Le comité consultatif - The advisory board meeting

The advisory board for the Réserve Naturelle met in the Reserve’s new offices at Hope Estate, on June 26, 2019. The meeting was run for the first time by prefect Sylvie Feucher, who opened the proceedings by drawing attention to the fact that the island’s biodiversity, and especially the salt ponds, have suffered greatly. This annual meeting also gave the Réserve Naturelle the chance to present and validate its 2018 budget as well as its provisional budget for 2019. Staff from each of the divisions of the Réserve presented their future and current projects. The prefect suggested that the advisory board meet twice per year, once in January and a second time in June.

Le CRFA à la CCISM - The CRFA at the CCISM
Le CRFA à la CCISM - The CRFA at the CCISM

Under the auspices of the Conservatoire du Littoral, the Council of French Shores in America (CRFA) held its plenary session in Saint Martin this year on June 18-20 at the CCISM. The two days of meetings were dedicated to a review of activities completed during the year, as well as a look at future projects, with an eye to best preserving the coastlines in French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barth, and Saint Martin. Solicited to speak on behalf of the Réserve Naturelle, Nicolas Maslach stressed the importance of strengthening the partnerships with those that defend the interests of the Réserve and its regulations. He also noted that with a spirit of impartiality and goodwill, the Réserve serves as a tool that is put to the service of Saint Martin and its population.

The entire staff of the Réserve Naturelle was mobilized to help fish 256 chaise lounges out of the Salines d’Orient pond, where they had been carried from Club Orient by the winds of Irma. It took a full day to get the job done, with the efficient help of youngsters from the ACED. The rental of a telescopic forklift helped with the task, before the destroyed chairs could be transported to the Grandes Cayes eco-site.

Table neuve à Tintamare - New table at Tintamare
Table neuve à Tintamare - New table at Tintamare

Destroyed by hurricane Irma, various items put in place by the Réserve Naturelle are progressively being replaced and made available for use. On Tintamare, where only three wooden tables remained, two new ones are now ready for those who want to picnic on the island. Others will be happy to see that three identical tables have been installed on Pinel, two between the restaurants and the third to the right of the embarcadero, in the shadow of a pretty catalpa tree. The five pieces of furniture were made by students in the carpentry and woodworking atelier at the polyvalent high school, as were the previous tables. A huge thanks to these kids on behalf of the Réserve Naturelle!

Titouan Pageaud
Titouan Pageaud

Titouan Pageaud, an 18 year-old studying physical education at the university in Nice, lived more than 10 years in Saint Martin. Nostalgic for his island, he is pleased to be working during his summer vacation as a guard for the Réserve Naturelle. «When you grow up here, you realize the importance of nature, and it makes me happy to play a useful role for the environment of Saint Martin,» he told us.

Le projet original de l’ICBI – The original project of ICBI
Le projet original de l’ICBI – The original project of ICBI

It’s impossible to quantify the consequences of hurricane Irma in Saint Martin, but one of them impacts the creation of the Caribbean Institute For Insular Biodiversity (ICBI), a project led by the Réserve Naturelle since 2016. Located by the Etang de la Barrière in Cul-de-Sac, this project is currently the object of architectural and technical analysis, at the request of the Réserve. The marine flooding caused by storm swell exceeded the limits predicted in 2011 by the Prevention Plan For Natural Risks (PPRN), most notably in the bay of Cul-de-Sac where the waves inundated the first row of houses, with water over one meter high. So it is evident that the Réserve must make sure that the Institute will resist the wrath of the next hurricane. The analysis consists of evaluating the present situation, in order to provide a complete report on what should be built and to evaluate the feasibility of the operation. The effects of wind, flying debris, rain, and storm swell will be analyzed, as well as procedures to put in place before and after a hurricane. This will determine the architectural and technical modifications needed, and to how best protect all equipment by adapting the structure to withstand the extreme conditions imposed by Irma.

© Vincent Oliva
© Vincent Oliva

The call for proposals for the Conservatoire du Littoral’s much-anticipated development project around Galion beach will go out before the summer, comprising three phases. The first is for the demolition of recent walls, plus the cleanup and clearing of the site. The second is for excavation, roadwork, and various utilities, the goal being to return the area to its natural state as much as possible, and not build anything in concrete, except the road, which will be compacted and flattened. The third phase is for the installation of five picnic areas, a trash collection area, two ecological toilets, a wooden deck for a restaurant, and signage. A parking lot for up to 100 cars will be set back from the beach, as well as a parking area for busses. Borders with wooden posts and low fences will safely guide visitors to the beach. The closest approach to the beach will be limited to fishermen and the surfing club, who will have keys for access. Two beach volleyball nets are planned and children haven't been forgotten, as there will be a playground, which hasn't been announced yet, in order to surprise them. This project typical of others done by the Conservatoire, is ensured buu a cotnract funded 80% by the government and 20% by Conservatoire. There will also be a call for proposals for an itinerant restaurant, environmentally correct of course !

The Réserve Naturelle, which manages the Conservatore's land, will be responsable for planting vegetation in the Galion Zone. Coconut palms, gommiers, sea grapes, and mahogany are amonf the trees planned, all of which reach a height of at least 5'2" to 6'5".
Le comité consultatif - The advisory committee
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 certain invasive species (rats, goats, common iguanas) in the natural sites within the Réserve Naturelle. Amandine Vaslet presented a detailed version of the management plan 2018 - 2027, which was created after the evaluation of the first management plan (read article page 7). The advisory committee validated the Réserve Naturelle’s final report for 2017, its 2017 budget, and its new management plan.

Pinel, Petite Clé & Tintamare
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. The question was to know how to evaluate the health of a reef and its associated species, as well as how to study the various uses —social and cultural— and economic activities that rely on the existence of the reef. One concrete example concerns the small island of Pinel and its underwater pathway, which is followed closely by the Réserve. Questions: how do the inhabitants of the neighborhood closest to Cul-de-Sac perceive this site? What activities are associated with it? And what does it mean for the economic players that have a business on Pinel? Two teams then went out into the field. The first team went diving along the underwater pathway while the second team went to meet the residents of Cul-de-Sac, as well as concerned business people. The idea of the training was to help create an approach to identify conflicts or miscomprehensions, or suggest improvements to the management of the sites, with an eye to sustainable development and a harmonization of techniques. A deeper study will take place in coming years to put the best practices into effect, and adapt them to the management of the site.

Exploration en kayak - Exploring on board a kayak
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. Comparison with aerial photos taken in June 2017 provided a clearer estimation of the impact of the hurricane on these wetlands.

An Ecological MissionMission écologique

The second mission required the cooperation of ecologist Mélanie Haerteman and Anne-Marie Bouillé, head of the Conservatoire in Saint Martin. In March, they examined the state of fauna and flora and took hydrological measurements — temperature, oxygenation, salinity, and currents— as well as mapped the extent of debris. They covered Etang des Salines d’Orient, Etang aux Poissons, Etang de la Barrière, Etang de Chevrise, Lucas Bay pond, Etang Guichard, and they visited ponds by the airport, the cemetery of Grand Case, and the Lowlands, as well as Pinel. An information sheet currently defines the priorities at each site, actions to avoid, and those to promote. The Etang de la Barrière, where the mangrove was the hardest hit, figures at the very top of the list.

Big Cleanup

Nettoyage du Galion - Cleaning up the GalionThe third action got underway on July 2, 2018 with a cleanup of the Galion site. It comprised the evacuation of hundreds of tons of trash, from Club Orient and the wooden shelters from Orient Bay to metal roofing, jets ski, containers, cars, and plastic bags… The local company that won the RFP (request of proposal) for the project sent out on May 15 has just two months to remove the largest items of debris from the totality of the sites of the Conservatoire. At the same time, with the help of the Foundation of France, the back-to-work association ACED has a deadline of six months to collect the smaller trash on the same sites, and started to do so on the same day at the Lucas Bay site in Oyster Pond. In addition, one hundred French scouts are committed to cleaning up around Galion on July 14-22. They took over from 20 scouts from Belgium, who had been working at the Etang de Chevrise on July 2-13. All of the debris will be treated by the Ecosite, which donated all of its services to ACED and the Réserve Naturelle, and offered preferential rates to the local company. And with an eye toward replanting the mangrove, the Réserve Naturelle is collecting seeds for this coastal vegetation and start a nursery.

Aude Berger, who holds a diploma in ocean sciences and techniques, and is earning a professional degree in environmental protection at UAG, has been hired by the Conservatoire du Littoral for the coordination of the cleanup at these sites, for a period of six months.

Application Of Recommendations

Once the sites are cleared all of debris, it will be time to repair or reconstruct the damaged structures and installations: bird observatories, open-air shelters, signage, and pathways... Please stay tuned for updates in our next edition.

 

La baie du Galion - Galion Bay
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 the natural aspect of the site and protect the local fauna and flora and their natural habitats.

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