78.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeNewsLocal newsFish and Wildlife Getting Public Input Before Removing Local Agave from Endangered...

Fish and Wildlife Getting Public Input Before Removing Local Agave from Endangered List

Agave eggersiana growing among acacia on St. Croix’s south shore. (Source photo by Susan Ellis)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input about a plan to remove Agave eggersiana from its list of Endangered and Threatened Plants over the next 40 years. Work to increase the plant’s abundance and security before the change is planned, at an estimated cost of more than $600,000. The plant was listed as endangered in September  2014.

Agave eggersiana is a flowering plant in the century plant family endemic to St. Croix. According to Fish and Wildlife, there are about 548 adult plants and 539 juvenile plants within 13 populations found mostly on coastal cliffs on the north and south sides of the island. Six of the populations are considered natural because they are growing mixed with other native vegetation and are various sizes.

According to Fish and Wildlife, threats to the plant include its location on unstable cliffs, competition with non-native vegetation for light and space, a severely restricted range and small population and stand sizes. The last threat increases the likelihood of random events causing destruction of stands or population, according to service studies.

In order to preserve the species and improve its long-term viability, the recovery strategy includes educating landowners, preparing and monitoring management plans, implementing such plans, enhancing the current populations and establishing new populations.

Advertising (skip)
Advertising (skip)

The strategy for increasing public awareness will include workshops, educational signage, developing landowners’ agreements and minimizing the impact of development.

The criteria for removing Agave eggersiana from the Endangered Species list are long-term conservation and encouraging a stable or increasing trend of the six natural populations on St. Croix: south shore, Cane Garden Bay, Manchenil Bay, Protestant Cay, Great Pond and West Vagthus Point.

There should also be 10 new populations established in protected areas and systems for observing those 10 populations for stability, increased growth and multiple age classes and addressing threats so the species remains viable in the future.

Estimates for the recovery actions total $618,000, with protection and management being the most costly at $288,000. Next most expensive is developing and implementing a plan to introduce agave to existing and new populations. Assessing the effect of the agave snout weevil and determining a management plan is estimated at $71,000, and monitoring the plant and its habitat could run $72,000. Education could cost $60,000 and a genetic study on the plant would be approximately $25,000.

The Source asked why such an elaborate and costly plan should be implemented for a plant that is indigenous to the island. If the agave can’t sustain itself, shouldn’t it be left to nature and the survival of the fittest test?

According to Maritza Vargas, who prepared the Recovery Implementation Strategy for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, Agave eggersiana can sustain itself but needs help due to threats, many man-made, to the species and its habitat. The goal is to maintain and protect the known populations and habitat and introduce it to new protected areas.

“Agave eggersiana is mostly threatened by habitat modification, habitat degradation and introduced species. Most threats are human-related and currently (there is) a disease/predation by the agave snout weevil,” she said.

There currently is no direct funding for the plan, but funds will come, over a 40- year period, from different partners – state, federal, universities, landowners, etc. – when available, Vargas wrote in an email. If the territory works with the species, some funds may be available through federal Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund grants, she added.

Click here for the draft recovery plans and here for information on the overall strategy. In addition, you may find the documents in the species profile page in ECOS, the agency’s Environmental Conservation Online System.

Anyone who wants to make comments about the plan can mail them to the Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, P.O. Box 491, Boqueron, PR 00622 or email to maritza_vargas@fws.gov. and include Agave eggersiana Draft Recovery Plan Comments in the subject line.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,348FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
10 hours ago
Virgin Islands Source

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a "Freco and Lemonade" event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix.

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness
... See MoreSee Less

Juju & Cece’s Lemonades and Treats is hosting a Freco and Lemonade event today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cultured Naturals Body Care  located on Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix. 

The business, Juju & Cece’s Lemonades, evolved from a summer project put together by 4-year-old Juliett Reid-Ventura and 3-year-old Gracie Reid-Ventura. #visource #usvi #supportlocalbusiness

Comment on Facebook

Cute as a button. Darling little princess. Please protect them

Make sure they Mask 😷 up.

Loving and trusting someone is such a risk and i don't wish any woman to be in the same shoes as i was sometime back when I caught my husband red-handed with my own best friend in our own bed. I couldn't believe it when I saw it and my heart started beating so fast and felt like my body is shaking then I ran straight to my elder sister's house. I cried so much and my sister left me to cry and told me it would help ease the pain I was feeling. Then she sat me down and asked me if I still love my husband and I told her yes of course, and she told me that we all learn and grow through mistakes and no one is perfect and told me that if I wanted my man back I should fight for him and never trust friends again.My sister told me to contact profisma+27783320386 who had helped her husband with financial issues and told me he will help me bring my man back. It took me weeks to think about it because we come from a strong religious background but things worsened because I could not even concentrate at work and i got fired, and after that, i remembered what my sister had told me about consulting with him. That's when I contacted him and told everything, he listened, and told me that he will solve all my problems in 48 hrs. Since it was my first time doing this, i could not believe his words just like that but i had to wait until the time he had promised. I was asked to buy materials to help me which I did, we begun the prayer and results were delivered in three days. My husband called me and asked me where I was, and he came straight to me and confessed how my best friend seduced him, and he was sorry to fall into her trap and showed me all the messages my best friend was sending to him and promised never to see her again and promised to love me and only me. That evening he took me to a romantic dinner, Since prophet isma helped me, I got a better paying job than the previous one, my husband is back to the old man I used to know and he loves me so much and does everything to see that am happy. Thank you so much prophet, your spells indeed work. If you're going through struggles, you can text him on WhatsApp +27783320386 or call him

Load more
Print Friendly, PDF & Email