St. Thomas East End Reserves


STEER was initially identified for protection in 1979 due to its ecologically and economically important coastal and marine resources.  In 1994 the government increased its protection status to Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary aiming to restore and maintain a functional coastal ecosystem that promotes sustainable recreational opportunities and compatible commercial uses with community engagement through effective management.

  • Established: 1994LOGO steer_color
  • Lead Agency: Informal co-management by STEER Core Team (DPNR, UVI, TNC, Friends of Christmas Cove)
  • Location: St. Thomas, USVI
  • Joined National MPA System: 2012
  • Size: 3.6 square miles.

Multiple Use MPA

  • GENERAL USE – Area where surface waters are kept clear for recreational and transit uses.  Anchoring and extraction of resources are prohibited
  • LOW-IMPACT USE – Area where anchoring is allowed with a permit for a maximum of seven [7] days.  Extraction of resources is prohibited as is tying to mangroves
  • PRESERVATION – Area where motorized watercraft, extraction of any resource, and anchoring are prohibited.  Are designated for ecological sensitivity compatible with non-motorized craft and passive recreational activities
  • EMERGENCY ANCHOR/HURRICANE MOORING – Area where hurricane moorings are located and temporary anchorages are allowed only during major storm events as this zone is kept in Preservation otherwise.

Special Features

  • Not only is STEER the boating and marina hub of St. Thomas, but it is also home to the largest existing mangrove forest on the island. 
  • STEER is thought to be one of the most valuable fish nursery areas on St. Thomas.  Many species of fish and shellfish, including important commercial and sport fisheries resources, spend a portion of their life protected in the shallow mangrove and seagrass beds while feeding and growing before populating other marine habitats in the area.

Get in Touch!

Visitor Information: (340) 774-3320
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Coastal Zone Management
Cyril E. King Airport, Terminal Building, 2nd Fl.
St. Thomas VI 00802