From 2006 to 2010, our consultation led to the creation of the St. Kitts Foundation, a fund within The Ocean Foundation that dedicated 1% of gross sales from the South Peninsula Resort back into the community. On March 31, 2008, we completed our 18-month Phase One contract to design, create, and prepare the St. Kitts Foundation for full operations. This included the finalization of the formation of our St. Kitts Foundation as a charitable foundation under the law of the Federation.
The St. Kitts Foundation’s activities were supervised by an independent advisory committee of members selected by The Ocean Foundation, which awarded grants for conservation and community-based programs. The St. Kitts Foundation’s environmental priorities included the development of a network of marine protected areas to protect coral reefs and associated marine species and address the impact of the large number of free-ranging goats and cows. The island’s rampant wild goat and cow populations were so numerous that they had consumed much of the vegetation on the South East Peninsula of St. Kitts. The resulting soil erosion and nutrient runoff have adversely affected the reefs.
In July 2008 we co-hosted a Heritage Conservation Symposium, which focused on the nation’s interest in becoming a leading heritage tourism destination. We also successfully oversaw the development of a feral grazing animals relocation plan to humanely address the over-population of cows and goats on the Southeast Peninsula. We fenced off two demonstration plots to learn how quickly vegetation might recover from over-grazing. After two months, there is already significant new growth within the fenced areas and we are beginning to look at other priority sites for protection.
The St. Kitts Foundation hosted its first event in April 2008 to get a real-time snapshot of the health and abundance of fish and corals in the waters around the island’s southeast peninsula. This event initiated a long-term volunteer monitoring program from which data was used in support of the government’s current efforts to create a Marine Management Area network and undertake other natural resource conservation planning.