Press Release

Department of Disaster Management
Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration
Topics: 
Environment
Release Date:
Friday, 21 February 2020 - 2:54pm

The Territory’s ability to track the health of plants, the presence of invasive species and other key environmental indicators will be improved as a result of a partnership between the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration and the UK firm Environment Systems Ltd.

Key public officers received training in the use of satellite imagery and geographic information systems software to improve their environmental monitoring capabilities under the Mapping for Evidence-based Policy, Recovery and Environmental Resilience partnership. In addition to training, the programme includes continued access to the detailed satellite images of the Territory.

Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent Wheatley said he was pleased with the project, and that the data that will be provided will have many applications for improving the environmental health of the Territory. As an example, the minister said he hopes that the new data would be combined with historical data to guide restoration of the Territory’s salt ponds.

Honourable Wheatley said, “We know that what happens on land impacts the sea. What I would like to see is a catalogue of historic salt ponds to guide us in potentially restoring these ponds going forward.”

Three public officers presented examples of the research they carried out thanks to their training and the satellite imagery tools. Georgraphic Information Systems Officer, Rozina Norris-Gumbs at the Ministry of Natural Resources shared findings on potential mangrove replanting sites; National Parks Trust Deputy Director for Science, Nancy Pascoe shared a project on plant health and the connection to possible future protected areas; and the Trust’s Marine Programme Coordinator Finfun Peters shared his findings on the prevalence of the invasive “whistling pine” on the island of Anegada.

Dr. Katie Medcalf, Director of Environment Systems Ltd, explained that satellite images are an important enhancement to the aerial photography and field surveys that are carried out by various offices and departments because they add information about texture that photos alone lack.

The £210,920 (approximately US$ 272,477) Mapping for Evidence-based Policy, Recovery and Environmental Resilience programme began in 2018 and comes to a close in March. The programme was funded by a grant from Darwin PLUS, which supports initiatives to protect biodiversity and the natural environment in UK Overseas Territories.

Photo included

Government and Environment Systems partners gathered on Feb 18 to share data. Pictured, from left, are Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Deputy Secretary Joseph Smith Abbott, National Parks Trust Deputy Director for Science Nancy Pascoe, MNRLI Georgraphic Information Systems Officer Rozina Norris-Gumbs, Minister of Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Vincent Wheatley, Environment Systems Director Dr. Katie Medcalf, NPT Marine Programme Coordinator Finfun Peters, and Environment Systems Trainer Samuel Pike.

Author

Chrystall Kanyuck-Abel
Information & Education Manager
Department: Department of Disaster Management
Email: ckanyuck-abel@gov.vg
Office: 468-4200 
Mobile: 468-9854