Henry and Gloria Jarecki bought Guana in 1975 and began improving accommodations and other facilities with the goal of maintaining the island’s historic style and ambiance. An interest in conservation led them to establish a long-term restoration program to protect the island’s flora and fauna and bring back once-common species.
Scientists say that Guana has more flora and fauna than any island of its size yet studied in the Caribbean and possibly the world. The restoration program has brought extirpated species back to Guana and other Virgin Islands. The stout iguana had survived only on Anegada but now flourishes on Guana and lives on other islands as well. Other plant and animal species that have been restored and protected include the red-legged tortoise, the bridled quail-dove, the Caribbean flamingo, the white-crowned pigeon, Eggers’ mallow tree, the Virgin Islands euphorb, Hohenberg’s ground bromeliad, and a unique bromeliad found nowhere else.
Guana also has three reef areas. White Bay is a set of parallel patch reefs in shallow water, where there are no strong waves or currents. The reefs are home to about 100 tropical reef fishes, waving gorgonians called fan corals, and the various species of hard corals. Muskmelon Bay is a deep bay with reefs at 60 to 80 feet (24 m). Large, oceanic fishes like tuna and king mackerel may be seen there. North Bay is a windward, rough-water bay with deep reefs and wrecks.