About the Refuge

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Navassa is an uninhabited, 5 km² island in the Caribbean Sea between Haiti and Jamaica administered by the U.S. Department of Interior. The USGS participated in two science expeditions to Navassa organized by the Center for Marine Conservation. The first team of 8 scientists spent July 24 to August 5, 1998 on Navassa. The second expedition occurred between April 29 and May 12, 1999 and was supported by a vessel, film crew and explorers from the Quest, an Australian adventure group and film production enterprise.

The team conducted an inventory of natural resources of the island for the Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs. Preliminary results of the inventories have increased the number of terrestrial species known to the island from 150 to more than 650. On the last day of the first trip, the group found a single living specimen of the palm tree Pseudopheonix sargentti saonae var. navassana. Further exploration during the second trip proved the specimen to be the last living example of this endemic palm, which had been common on the island as late as 1928.