La Réserve naturelle de Saint-Martin est une aire marine protégée de 30km2 située au nord-est de l’île de Saint-Martin. Créé en 1998, cet espace préserve les cinq principaux écosystèmes de l’île : récifs coralliens, mangroves, herbiers de phanérogames, étangs et forêt sèche littorale. La Réserve gère également les 14 étangs du Conservatoire du littoral et ses 11 km de rivages terrestres naturels.

- The salt ponds

Located at the intersection of the sea and the land, the salt ponds and their mangroves shelter a rich variety of fauna from both of these environments : 85 species of birds live there, of which 55 are protected.
The ponds attenuate flooding after heavy rains, protect the shoreline, settle sediment and purify the water before it returns to the sea. Officially very well protected ¬—they are the beneficiaries of a biotope protection order, they belong to the Littoral Conservancy, are managed by the Réserve Naturelle, and since May 1, 2012 are even listed under the Ramsar Convention— but yet the 14 protected salt ponds are under an enormous amount of pressure and threats: depositing of debris as well as assorted trash and refuse, untreated water from septic systems, unauthorized cutting of the mangroves... In 2010 and 2011, two field studies and a series of analyses and observations took place to better understand their characteristics.
An ambitious program to preserve the ponds includes:

  • Planting of mangrove
  • Creating islets and resting sites for the birds
  • Improving of the exchanges between land and sea
  • Creating discovery footpaths
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