Final 2013 STEER Watershed Management Plan and Existing Condition Report Available for Download

Project Background

Welcome to the St. Thomas East End Reserves Watershed Assessment and Planning website.  The intent of this site is to provide access to information collected and generated during this effort, updates on project meetings and schedules, and a mechanism to solicit your input and feedback.

This 18-month project began in September, 2011 through funding from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.  The goal of the effort is to develop a management plan for minimizing the impact of land-based sources of pollution from the watershed area draining to the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER).  The watershed area is approximately 6 square miles in size and includes the areas draining to Jersey, Cowpet, and Great Bays starting at the top of the ridge in the old Tutu Estate and spanning between the Bovoni Landfill and Cabrita Point.  The watershed area is highly urbanized and consists of dense residential development, as well as industrial and commercial sites including the Bovoni landfill and Tutu Plaza.  Turpentine Run the primary gut draining the watershed and Mangrove Lagoon, Benner Bay, and others have been cited for failing to meet water quality standards.

Table 1. Impaired STEER Waters as Listed by DPNR in the 2010 USVI Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report



Source of Impairment

Benner Bay

Enterococci, turbidity

Marina and boat on- vessel discharges, discharges from municipal combined storm sewer systems, changes in tidal circulation/flushing, highway/road/bridge runoff (non-construction related) and sanitary sewer overflows (collection system failures)

Mangrove Lagoon

Temperature, enterococci, turbidity, fecal coliform

Changes in tidal circulation/flushing, discharges from municipal combined storm sewer systems, highway/road/bridge runoff (non-construction related), marina and boat on- vessel discharges

Great Bay

Dissolved oxygen, turbidity

marina and boat on- vessel discharges and internal nutrient recycling

Cowpet Bay

Dissolved Oxygen

Wastewater package plants

Nazareth Bay


Erosion and Sedimentation

Jersey Bay (offshore)

Fecal coliform

Urban runoff


With the help of The Nature Conservancy, DPNR Division of Coastal Zone Management and Division of Fish and Wildlife, the University of the Virgin Islands, and other local partners, we hope to identify sources of impairments and develop restoration design concepts.  The main components of this project include

  1. Compilation of existing data, management plans, and monitoring studies to guide the planning process;

  2. Solicit input from local residents and businesses on problem areas, management goals, and implementation priorities;

  3. Conduct on-the-ground assessments to determine the potential for restoration feasibility; and

  4. Craft watershed management plan to document restoration priorities and implementation strategies.

Getting Involved

Your input on known sources of impairments and ideas you have for reducing pollutant sources from the watershed area would be appreciated. Click here to submit comments to the watershed team or to sign up for email announcements regarding this project