MREC Contradictions

The MREC project and the basic principles of the NPS are founded with good intentions. However, the planned execution and logic deciding the fate and destruction of Salt River Bay are a contradiction to the very principles these institutions claim to uphold. We implore you to read the facts and decide for yourself if the proposed plan makes sense, and
urge you to take action if you agree with us.
INTENTIONS
bullet
To become a world class marine research center.
bullet
Salt River Bay has been approved to be the perfect site for the MREC, claiming “SARI was created to “preserve, protect and interpret….nationally significant historical, cultural and natural sites and resources… with particular emphasis on the preservation of both the cultural and natural resources and long-term scientific study of terrestrial marine and archeological resources” (Public Law 102-247)”
bullet
Building “green” and reducing carbon footprint to utilize and preserve our natural resources.
bullet
Insure the MREC engages the local Virgin Islands community and provides education and research opportunities for Virgin Islanders, especially the people of St. Croix.
CONTRADICTIONS
Within the timeframe of the completion of an MREC (anywhere) the science of data collection will change radically with the innovations related to remote data acquisition. As an example, the UBAT (Underwater Bioluminescence Assessment Tool) from WETLabs was not available 20 years ago. This is the instrument we've been using to count the photons the dinoflagellates produce. Advances in telecommunications for remote stations and vehicles that report back to a central lab will make most diving obsolete. Physical water sampling for taxonomic identification may be the only reason to go to study sites. The Cousteau aqualung and compressed-air SCUBA gear have been replaced by rebreathers that don't make bubbles and don't scare the critters. Intelligent stationary sondes and UMVs (Unmanned Marine Vehicles) that do analysis internally and report electronically will replace most onsite dives by researchers.

The current plan for the MREC originates from a 1960s model that requires extensive hands-on engagement, while the future of marine biology will be written using technology that's evolved in similar ways to space exploration. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being employed to make "smart" autonomous and remotely controlled underwater rovers that will not only gather data, but also analyze it and report results to researchers. The intelligent course is to plan the MREC around the most advanced telecommunication technology both in data gathering and instruction.
Building on historical grounds where important archeological discoveries as recent as 2011 have uncovered cultural treasures, creating topographical changes which will effect soil erosion and runoff into the very waters they wish to study and protect, and dredging the bay for a marina seem out of sync with the proposed mission. The plans include 14 dormitory buildings, a 100 person auditorium, an outdoor amphitheater, a cafeteria, a machine shop for boat repair, multiple lab and classroom facilities, and a marina.
Paving over a Historic National Preserved site seems like a huge contradiction, regardless of sustainable energy plans!
While this may be the mission once constructed, there has been a severe lack of public awareness and input and education on the proposed plans and its impact on the historical, cultural, environmental and economic impact on the residents of St. Croix.