What is killing our reefs?

I happen to be one of those conservatives who believes global warming (or climate change, as it is now more accurately called), is real and caused in part by man. That said, global warming is also partly a natural phenomenon. Some experts suggest man’s contribution to the changes in climate are just 1 percent to 2 percent. Global warming skeptics suggest the impact is practically negligible and that efforts to slow it are unnecessary given the economic and regulatory burdens those efforts create.

Published in The Tampa Tribune, Sunday September 28, 2014 By Chris Ingram

Earlier this month, my wife Amy and I took a trip to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, for a week of rest and relaxation. It was our fourth visit to St. John in the past 12 years.

St. John is unique, as it is mostly preserved thanks to the generosity of the Rockefeller family, which donated 5,000 acres to the U.S. government in 1956. Following subsequent purchases of land by the federal government, Virgin Islands National Park now covers 60 percent of the island.

St. John and the park are famous for its coral reefs and picturesque beaches — one of which is considered among the 10 best in the world. The park has miles of trails for hiking through mountainous tropical rainforest, and the reefs are favorites of snorkelers and scuba divers — though the latter is prohibited in most reefs within the park’s boundaries.

During our week in St. John, we visited a different beach or two each day, selecting those with the best snorkeling. September is the beginning of what is usually an active hurricane season in the Caribbean, so there are fewer tourists, many restaurants and tourist-related businesses are closed and the normally packed streets of Cruz Bay, the largest town in St. John, are nearly bare.

A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.
A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.

The trade-off of having to potentially dodge hurricanes is an acceptable one when you consider you can go to the most popular of St. John’s beaches, Trunk Bay in the park, and share it with no more than a half-dozen people on most any day there isn’t a cruise ship in port at nearby St. Thomas.

Although much of St. John will never be developed because of the national park, that doesn’t mean St. John’s ecosystem is being adequately preserved and protected — directly or indirectly.

The first time we went to St. John a dozen years ago, we snorkeled at Trunk Bay and were dazzled by the plethora of fish, sea turtles and vibrant colored corals just 75 or so yards off its sandy beaches. Every time we have been back since that first visit, we have noticed the corals are in decline, and the overall health of the reef appears worse.

Unfortunately, other reefs we snorkeled looked to be in similar deteriorating condition.

The obvious question is: What is the cause of the rapid deterioration of St. John’s coral reefs?

Some suggest that global warming is to blame. The rise in ocean temperatures believed to be caused by global warming certainly affects fragile corals, many of which cannot survive for long periods of time if daily average temperatures exceed the upper-80-degree range.

 I happen to be one of those conservatives who believes global warming (or climate change, as it is now more accurately called), is real and caused in part by man. That said, global warming is also partly a natural phenomenon. Some experts suggest man’s contribution to the changes in climate are just 1 percent to 2 percent. Global warming skeptics suggest the impact is practically negligible and that efforts to slow it are unnecessary given the economic and regulatory burdens those efforts create. I’m guessing these people have never (Click here to read the full column and view more photos in the Tampa Tribune).

Click on photo to enlarge.


Red Kodak camera thru Sept 2014 488
AA Blue Angel among Staghorn Coral and Fand Coral AA Brain coral AA Green Sea Turtle AA Rocky Shoreline at Salt Pond Bay AA Peacock Flounder AA Mangrove swamps are common in St. John and provide surprisingly clear waters and abundant undersea life.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

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1 thought on “What is killing our reefs?”

  1. Global warming is a nice speculation Chris, but if you actually take the time to google the research on the subject of coral reef blight, you will find that the cause is bacteriological contamination, from human waste. Now do the math: wastewater treatment equals urbanization, urbanization equals liberalism. So dying coral reefs are a by product of urban liberalism. Blaming Global warming for all maladies is an urban liberal fraud proportional to the amount of human waste urban liberals produce. Bait and switch. Urban liberals most prolific byproduct is sewage wastewater. Ban Urban liberals, save the planet.

    http://cee514coastalanalysisfloridakeys.weebly.com/coral-reef-degradation.html

    Like

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