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Watercourses as landscapes in the U.S. Virgin Islands : state of knowledge
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Watercourses as landscapes in the U.S. Virgin Islands : state of knowledge
  • Corporate Authors:
    University of the Virgin Islands, Water Resources Research Institute, ; United States, Department of the Interior, ;
  • Description:
    "Streams were traditionally the major source of freshwater in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, the streams, and the watercourses through which they flowed, provided food and recreational opportunities for humans, as well as habitats for flora and fauna. Since the 1960s, development pressures have impacted negatively on these streams and watercourses, by changing the land-use patterns in the associated watersheds, and in some cases, altering the watercourses themselves. These changes affected the consistency and volume of stream flow, resulting in the need to develop other sources of potable water, notably wells and community catchments. The existence of these alternate sources of water reduced the level of attention paid to streams and the protection of watercourses. This lack of attention resulted in the situation where, in recent times, watercourses are used as dumping grounds for construction debris, household and commercial solid waste, and receptacles for overflow from municipal sewerages. The general community perception appears to be that watercourses (or ghuts as they are locally called) are useless places that are best filled or cleared to make space for buildings. However, some of the traditional uses of streams and watercourses still continue, and for some groups, such as farmers on St. Thomas, runoff channeled by watercourses still form the major source of water for agriculture. Though much is not known about the current ecological status of the streams, the habitat value of watercourses is considered to be high, due to the fact that these watercourses (ghuts) form some of the most diverse habitats in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), and are therefore highly valuable from an ecological perspective (Devine et al, 2004, and Thomas and Devine, 2005). Unfortunately, watercourses remain threatened landscapes, with direct and indirect adverse impacts resulting from construction activities, poor waste disposal practices, and poor land management practices"--Introduction.

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  • Funding:
    Funding: Financed in part by the United States Department of the Interior.;
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