Key Areas of Concern for
Save Salt River Bay

Salt River Bay is a designated National Historic Landmark AND a National Natural Landmark – both mandated to be protected and preserved for its cultural, historical, ecological, archaeological, and natural resource significance.
We ask that the National Park Service adhere to its mission to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations…respecting the natural wonder of bioluminescence and broadening appreciation and access to the BL experience and Salt River Bay, and that it cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

National Park Service Mission:
  • NPS Organic Act of 1916 (16U.S.C. 1-4, et seq.) – Created the NPS to promote and regulate the use of national parks, monuments, and reservations, by such means and measures as to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the land in such manner as would leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
  • National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended (16 U.S.C. 470) – To protect and preserve historic districts, sites and structures, and archeological, architectural and cultural resources. Section 106 and Section 110 (36 CFR 800), respectively, require consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and that NPS nominate all eligible resources under its jurisdiction to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 – Public Law 91-190 established a broad national policy to improve the relationship between humans and their environment and sets out policies and goals to ensure that environmental considerations are given careful attention and appropriate weight in all decisions of the Federal government. This legislation requires and guides the preparation of the Environmental Assessment.
Unfortunately, the mission of protecting and preserving is being abandoned for development and advancement of research and science, to the detriment of the historic park and natural resources. Is the location of the facility more important than the actual research and the very resources that should be protected, studied and preserved?

Our key concerns are as follows:
  1. Violating a designated National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve and Natural Landmark by building over 150,000 sf. of a research campus, lab, housing and auditorium. Salt River Bay was identified by the National Trust for Historical Preservation as one of the eleven most endangered sites in the US and Territories. In addition to the archaeological and historical implications, the topography changes, runoff and erosion due to building on this land will impact the very coral the MREC is seeking to study and protect.
  2. Dredging Salt River Bay and Bio Bay to accommodate a research marina will destroy the delicate ecosystem currently in place. Studying and experiencing Bioluminescent Bay’s remarkable creatures will be lost….there are currently less than eight bays like this in the world!
    • Construction and operation of a huge adjacent “campus” creates risks to water quality from runoff of sediment and toxic substances entering the lagoon.
    • Retention of lagoon water is one of the factors that contribute to large numbers of luminescent organisms. Dredging for motorized vessels will drastically increase the volume and flushing of sea water in Bio Bay, factors that can lead to lower organism abundance and less bioluminescence.
    • Water quality is threatened by motorized vessels leaking toxic petroleum products into Bio Bay. As part of the management plan for healthy Puerto Rico bioluminescent bays, combustion engine motorized vessels are prohibited there.
    • Nearby development can create nighttime ‘light pollution’ due to light sources that increase the background illumination and diminish the aesthetic and commercial value of observing the bioluminescence.
  3. In 1990, the NPS stated that the area currently being considered for the MREC project was where an archeological discovery of an Amerindian burial ground (AD 660 – 1015), located adjacent to Cabo de las Flechas, “may be the most significant find of the nature in the Caribbean”. How can we let history and culture be destroyed? Instead of continuing to study this area for historical and cultural significance, the plan is to bulldoze and cover it in the name of science.
  4. Salt River Bay houses over 25 endangered and threatened animals, species and plants. Building on this site will disturb, displace and in some cases destroy many of these treasures we should be fighting to protect and appreciate. DPNR called this area “The Biological lifeboat of the Virgin Islands.”
  5. The planned site is located in an unprotected area, ripe for destruction by hurricanes and tropical winds, and in the 100 year floodplain and should be protected by the Federal Coastal Barriers Resource Act
  6. Public access to the park will be severely limited and controlled by the MREC. This includes the land and the bays, so as not to disturb their research and for their own security reasons. This will severely impact our rights to enjoy the PUBLIC park, kayak in the bays, and hike the area. We feel this will be a detriment to the Tourism commerce and the attraction this Historic Park and Bioluminescent Bay currently has in St Croix.

Historical Facts, Policies and Protection Laws being violated in Salt River Bay