Assistance to DEMA and the protected areas of the TCIs
In 2008-2009 Lee was employed as the marine park manager for STENAPA a non profit NGO on the Island of St Eustatius. During the two years of employment Lee was exposed to every aspect of marine park management from underwater research to mooring installation, from tagging Leather back seas turtles to monitoring the effect of anchoring oil tankers while balancing the sensitive resource interests of local fishermen and dive tourism. St Eustatius Marine Park was established in 1996 with the objective of conserving and managing the marine resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and future generations. In 2012 local fishermen began exporting Spiny Lobster due to high sustainable abundances! There is no doubt about the benefits of a well established and managed marine park.
Zonation - MPAs
The ability to designate areas of the marine environment for different uses is of critical importance. It is therefore important to be able to identify a variety of habitat and monitor areas over time for signs of breeding, nursing, cleaning or feeding. These environmentally sensitive areas can then afford a higher level of protection. It is important to be able to separate areas used for recreation and fishing with sensitive areas to try and reduce conflict of interest. Marine Protected areas have demonstrated incredible yields of species spilling out in to surrounding habitat in just 5 years, given enough size and correct location of the MPA.
Environmental Impact Assessments EIAs
It is important to be able to measure environmental damage and pollution impacts and estimate a value for the damage. Ecological monitoring provides essential baseline data enabling future comparisons to be made and environmental impacts to be measured. Lee has carried out many EIAs from the massive oil tanker anchor reef damage in the marine park to the almost invisible oil work leakage assessments. OTIONOS will always be ready to conduct these assessments as advised by DEMA.
Mooring Installation and Maintenance
Moorings are an essential feature to any reef system that is regularly dived upon. Moorings come in many forms from sand anchors to reef-cemented pin bases. OTIONOS has much experience installing, a variety of moorings using underwater hammer drills and heavy base anchors using chain, concrete and mushroom sand anchors. Lee has managed over 40 moorings in the St Eustatius marine park, from heavy live aboard dive moorings to yacht shallow sand anchors. Installing a good mooring involves a lot of preparation and selection of the correct materials. Moorings take a good deal of underwater maintenance and require a monitoring program that performs routine checks.
Artificial Reef, Pollution monitoring and clean up efforts
Installing artificial reef systems into areas of low marine life such as sandy bottom areas provide the core habitat for corals to settle and create an even more dynamic habitat for a variety of other marine life. These introduced habitats can prove essential when they link to areas of coral reef and act as a migratory corridor. OTIONOS will be able to introduce simple yet effective monitoring devices such as the sediment traps seen here. These traps measure the volume of sedimentation that may be introduced through run off or local construction such as pier/ harbor developments. OTIONOS will conduct reef clean up dives and beach cleans on a regular basis and strive to reduce the use of known marine pollutants such as plastic bags and Styrofoam containers that are so common to Caribbean Islands.