As part of a Climate Change Adaptation Project funded by the United States Agency for International Development, coral reef early warning systems (CREWS) are being deployed in the waters of Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and other countries of the eastern Caribbean:
Access to local marine data has always been proven to be difficult in St. Kitts and Nevis. In light of this, the Department of Environment in collaboration with the Department of Marine Resources recently installed a Coral Reef Early Warning Systems (CREWS) at Paradise Reef, in the vicinity of Sandy Point in an effort to better understand what is happening in the waters and why.
The buoy, which is located about 0.75 nautical miles North East of Charles Fort, is part of a climate change adaptation project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer in the Department of Environment, further explained the role of the installed buoy.
“The CREWS buoy will be measuring meteorological parameters such as wind speeds, wind gusts, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure and precipitation. These parameters are typically measured on most meteorological stations installed at strategic locations around the Islands of St. Kitts and Nevis,” she said.
“However, one of the areas that we were yet to access data was our marine environment. With the installation of the CREWS buoy, we can now access oceanographic parameters such as sea temperature, salinity and algae content which will allow us to better understand the biological mechanisms in the selected area as well as better predict coral bleaching over time.”
Technical assistance to support the installation of the CREWS buoy was received from a team of experts from NOAA, the Environmental Mooring Institute (EMI) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). Critical sectors such as Coast Guard Unit of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force and Maritime Affairs were also involved in the process.
CREWS stations have already been established in waters around Puerto Rico; St. Croix; Jamaica; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Grand Cayman; Florida; the Dominican Republic; and Tobago. Antigua and Barbuda. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Saint Lucia are to follow shortly.