The new fence at Nanny Point is designed to help keep stray animals and invasive plant seeds out of the sensitive area.
In an effort to protect native plant species, V.I. National Park officials have recently installed a “fence exclosure” at Nanny Point.
The 2.2 acre headland in the Estate Concordia area was donated to VINP by Concordia Eco-Resort owner Stanley Selengut in 2010.
Since then, VINP officials have detailed significant natural resources in the area, explained VINP Superintendent Brion Fitzgerald.
“Nanny Point contains some significant natural resources in the forms of vegetation which are very susceptible to being eaten and destroyed by non-native species like goats and donkeys,” Fitzgerald said.
VINP officials used special funds earmarked to deal with exotic species to cover the cost of installing the fence, which includes a latched entry to allow for pedestrians to access the area, but keeps stray animals out.
“Most years, the park gets a certain amount of money to deal with exotic species and those species can be plant species or animal species,” said the VINP Superintendent. “We were approached by the team that does our vegetation management who told us that
instead of trying to keep a particular invasive species of plant out of the entire park, we should target those places where we might be most successful.”
“With the budget being the way it is, this is one way we can keep exotic seeds, out of the area by keeping the animals who will pass the seeds out of the area using the fence exclosure,” Fitzgerald said.
The narrow entrance to the Nanny Point headland, located near Drunk Bay on the south-eastern shore of St. John, made the area an ideal location for the fence exclosure, Fitzgerald added.
While hopefully keeping out goats and donkeys, the fence at Nanny Point is not intended to keep people off the land, according to the VINP Superintendent.
“The fence exclosure is not intended to keep the public out,” said Fitzgerald. “There is no sign that says, ‘Stay Out.’ It’s meant to keep the goats and other critters out and we might need more interpretation to explain that.”
VINP officials do ask that the public keep the gate closed, Fitzgerald added.
“There is a gate built into the fence and we ask that people close it after you when you enter the area and close it after you when you leave,” he said.
While there may be other areas in VINP where fence exclosures can help protect fragile native plant species, Fitzgerald is not interested in building infrastructure which the park would have trouble maintaining, he explained.
“We may see if there are other places in the park where we can do this, but if you build it you have to maintain it,” said Fitzgerald. “We don’t want to build new infrastructure that we can’t maintain down the road. I don’t want to saddle future managers with maintenance problems.”