SAVE SALT RIVER BAY DEFENSE FUND

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WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve’s Bioluminescent Bay is under NEW attack by our local National Park Service.
WE NEED TO PROTECT THE PARK FROM THOSE WHO PRETEND TO PROTECT IT.

On February 4, 2016, a senate hearing was conducted by Senator Sammuel Sanes (Chairman) and the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, 31st Legislature of the Virgin Islands, in Fredericksted, St Croix, USVI. The purpose of the hearing was to get the NPS status of the Marine Research and Education Center (MREC project), understand how a “new” development and construction of an Outpost Center had started on the old abandoned hotel site without public scoping or an environmental assessment, hear testimony from residents, scientists, local businesses and organizations concerned about building on this site, and about the protection and preservation of the Bioluminescent Bay.

After passionate testimony from both sides, Senator Terrence Nelson made a motion to pass a resolution via VI Delegate to Congress Stacy Plaskett to ask NPS officials in Washington, DC to halt the planned project and reconsider the site location. It was approved by all four members of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection who were still present during roll call. At-Large Senator Almando Liburd, successfully amended Nelson’s motion to also have Plaskett request a meeting with NPS and DPNR officials who oversee the superintendents that operate in the Virgin Islands to discuss other issues, including the behavior of the local NPS in regards to public input and following correct process and procedures.

The VI Senators were in favor of protecting our bioluminescent bay, finding an alternative site for the MREC project and looking for ways for the VI people, community and local NPS to work together better in stewardship of this wonderful national park. Unanimously, the senators agreed that saving Salt River Bay and the Bio Bay was an “island of St Croix issue”, and was not limited to the residents of Judith’s Fancy’s concern. The preservation of this park is for the people and is of concern to all.

Despite the positive direction and resolutions from the hearing, one week later, the local NPS issued a document stating they were continuing with building the Coastal Outpost Center and accelerated its construction. This is a clear contempt of the people and senators of St Croix and is very disrespectful behavior, not conducive to any Federal agency.

The construction of the Outpost Center violates many laws; they claim it was part of the original Environmental Assessment of 2008, which it was not; it was approved under false certification by the local NPS Superintendent and lack of proper verification by the local DPNR; proper permits and environmental and erosion protection measures are not in place, yet construction began and continues; clear adverse activity to the bio bay and removal of endangered and VI government protected mangrove trees has commenced.

peaceful-protest

Appeals to the US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell were attempted in a peaceful demonstration on land and sea by kayakers in the Bio Bay and concerned citizens at the gate to Judith’s Fancy on March 31, 2016, during her scheduled 5pm visit to the Bio Bay. The local NPS and Sally Jewell were disrespectfully a “no-show”!

We are asking for your help in raising money to stop this development. The gross disregard, lack of cooperation, and “above the law” attitudes demonstrate that the only way to save the bay is through the Federal and local courts. Funds are being collected/donated to VI Conservation Society (VICS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Virgin Islands for over 46 years.