Government now has access to satellite imagery data which will be used to create various policies geared at preserving the natural environment of the British Virgin Islands.
This comes on the heels of the successful completion of the two-year Flood-Resilient SMART Communities project, which targeted the communities of Sea Cow’s Bay and East End/Long Look on Tortola and Great Harbour on the sister island of Jost Van Dyke.
Speaking at the presentation of the data which compared mangrove change detection in the BVI using remote sensing, Minister for Natural Resources Vincent Wheatley highlighted the importance of the territory having access to this new technology.
“Having this data here so we can track and see how things have changed over time is very important. I am glad that we have the capacity in Rosina, in Finfun and Nancy, to get this work done, but also to be able to share this work,” Minister Wheatley stated.
“It is very difficult thing to get the people to understand, that those mangroves that you are killing now is going to have a negative effect on the environment, 15 to 20 years from now and furthermore here is some evidence to prove what I am telling you. It has happened before and if we continue along these lines, it will happen again,” he added.
Data will be accessible to all interested entities
Meanwhile, Environment Director of Environment Systems Dr Katie Medcalf said the satellite imaging data will be accessible to any entity interested in using the information, as it can be used for a number of other projects.
She said: “The beauty of the 600 images of data which are available is that they are copyright free, so anybody in the island can obtain them and use them and manipulate them. So this project links into a number of other projects because it is providing base data which you can add to time and time again.”
“We are also using the technology to look at storm forces on each of the islands, and each of the directions with the winds, so that we can actually judge where to put the mangroves back. But also, that is information the Disaster Management can use when they are planning for disasters and when they are looking at developments,” Dr Medcalf added.
Partnership with NGOs
The project was funded by the United Kingdom Darwin Plus and collaborated with the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands, Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, and partners from the Turks and Caicos National Trust and UK based Environment Systems.