Monday, January 22, 2001
Volume 37, Issue 3; ISSN: 0511-4187
Proclamation 7399--establishment of the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National
William J Clinton
� January 17, 2001
� By the President of the United States ofAmerica
� A Proclamation
lands off the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands,
contains all the elements of a Caribbean tropical marine ecosystem.
This designation furthers the protection of the scientific objects
included in the Virgin Islands National Park, created in 1956 and
expanded in 1962. The biological communities of the monument live in
a fragile, interdependent relationship and include habitats
essential for sustaining and enhancing the tropical marine
ecosystem: mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs, octocoral
hardbottom, sand communities, shallow mud and fine sediment habitat,
and algal plains. The fishery habitats, deeper coral reefs,
octocoral hardbottom, and algal plains of the monument are all
objects of scientific interest and essential to the long-term
sustenance of the tropical marine ecosystem.
� The monument is within the Virgin Islands, which lie at the heart
of the insular Caribbean biome, and is representative of the Lesser
Antillean biogeographic province. The island of St. John rises from
a platform that extends several miles from shore before plunging to
the abyssal depths of the Anegada trough to the south and the Puerto
This platform contains a multitude of species that exist in a
delicate balance, interlinked through complex relationships that
have developed over tens of thousands of years.
� As part of this important ecosystem, the monument contains
biological objects including several threatened and endangered
speties, which forage, breed, nest, rest, or calve in the waters.
Humpback whales, pilot whales, four species of dolphins, brown
pelicans, roseate terns, least terns, and the hawksbill,
leatherback, and green sea turtles all use portions of the monument.
Countless species of reef fish, invertebrates, and plants utilize
these submerged lands during their lives, and over 25 species of sea
birds feed in the waters. Between the nearshore nursery habitats and
the shelf edge spawning sites in the monument are habitats that play
essential roles during specific developmental stages of
reef-associated species, including spawning migrations of many reef
fish species and crustaceans.
� The submerged monument lands within Hurricane Hole include the most
extensive and well-developed mangrove habitat on St. John. The
fish and invertebrates, instrumental in maintaining water quality by
filtering and trapping sediment and debris in fresh water runoff
from the fast land, and essential to the overall functioning and
productivity of regional fisheries. Numerous coral reef-associated
species, including the spiny lobster, queen conch, and Nassau
grouper, transform from planktonic larvae to bottom-dwelling
juveniles in the shallow nearshore habitats of Hurricane Hole. As
they mature, they move offshore and take up residence in the deeper
coral patch reefs, octocoral hardbottom, and algal plains of the
submerged monument lands to the south and north of St. John.
� The monument lands south of St. John are predominantly deep algal
plains with scattered areas of raised hard bottom. The algal plains
include communities of mostly red and calcareous algae with canopies
as much as half a meter high. The raised hard bottom is sparsely
colonized with corals, sponges, gorgonians, and other invertebrates,
thus providing shelter for lobster, groupers, and snappers as well
as spawning sites for some reef fish species. These algal plains and
raised hard bottom areas link the shallow water reef, sea grass, and
mangrove communities with the deep water shelf and shelf edge
communities of fish and invertebrates.
� Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431),
authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public
proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric
structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest
that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the
Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to
reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in
all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the
proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
� Whereas it appears that it would be in the public interest to
reserve such lands as a national monument to be known as the Virgin
Islands Coral Reef National Monument:
� Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United
States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the
Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431), do proclaim that
there are hereby set apart and reserved as the Virgin Islands Coral
Reef National Monument, for the purpose of protecting the objects
controlled by the United States within the boundaries of the area
described on the map entitled "Virgin Islands Coral Reef National
Monument" attached to and forming a part of this proclamation. The
Federal land and interests in land reserved consist of approximately
12,708 marine acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the
proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
� All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of
this monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms
of entry, location, selection, sale, or leasing or other disposition
under the public land laws, including but not limited to withdrawal
from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from
disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal
leasing, other than by exchange that furthers the protective
purposes of the monument. For the purpose of protecting the objects
identified above, the Secretary shall prohibit all boat anchoring,
except for emergency or authorized administrative purposes.
� For the purposes of protecting the objects identified above, the
Secretary shall prohibit all extractive uses, except that the
for blue runner (hard nose) line fishing in the area south of St.
John, to the extent that such fishing is consistent with the
protection of the objects identified in this proclamation.
� Lands and interests in lands within the monument not owned or
controlled by the United States shall be reserved as a part of the
monument upon acquisition of title or control thereto by the United
� The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the monument through the
National Park Service, pursuant to applicable legal authorities, to
implement the purposes of this proclamation. The National Park
Service will manage the monument in a manner consistent with
� The Secretary of the Interior shall prepare a management plan,
including the management of vessels in the monument, within 3 years,
which addresses any further specific actions necessary to protect
the objects identified in this proclamation.
� Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing
withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the national
monument shall be the dominant reservation.
� Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to
appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument
and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.
� In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth
day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and
� William J. Clinton
� [Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 8:45 a.m., January