Feds to Review of USVI Coastal Zone Management Program – Please Share Your Concerns

aerial shot of St. John in US Virgin Islands

If you love St. John and want to make sure that our government is looking out for our island’s best interested, then please consider attending an important meeting this week. And if you’re not on island but would like to contribute, please send an email. Here are the details straight from David Silverman, the man who saved Coral Bay. 🙂

A meeting is scheduled for this coming Thursday (Aug 31) at 6:00pm in the Legislature building in Cruz Bay to hold one of three hearings by the federal government on the performance of the territorial Coastal Zone Management (CZM) program. Meetings are also scheduled on STT and STX.

The flyer distributed by NOAA (who coordinates the review) describes the context and purpose of the meeting as follows:

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management is conducting an evaluation of the U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Program covering the period from December 2007 to August 2017.

(Note from Jenn: This is the federal government reviewing our local government. This is VERY important in my opinion.)

Background
The U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Program is part of the National Coastal Zone Management Program. The national program is a voluntary partnership program between the federal government and coastal and Great Lakes states and territories authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. State coastal zone management programs balance the demands of coastal resource use, economic development, and conservation.

Purpose of the Evaluation
The Coastal Zone Management Act calls for the periodic evaluation of all federally approved coastal management programs. Each evaluation assesses the operation and management of the program and how the state is addressing the national coastal zone management objectives contained in Section 303(2) of the act, how it is implementing and enforcing the state coastal management program, and how well it is adhering to programmatic terms and conditions of financial assistance awards.”

The primary focus areas for this review are as follows:
Target Area I: Permitting, Regulations and Enforcement
· Electronic Access to proposed developments
· Improving understanding of the process
· Challenges regarding enforcement
· Tier 1/Tier 2 discussion – benefits of having CZM review ALL large-scale developments

Target Area II: Coastal Planning and Active Management
· Public Use and Access to the shoreline
· Community Engagement initiatives (clean-ups, marine debris, other)
· Coastal/Habitat Restoration opportunities
· Leveraging funding opportunities

I encourage anyone who has constructive comments to make about the St John CZM program to attend the meeting. This is not a forum for specific complaints unless they are illustrative of larger issues which need to be corrected.

And for those of you who prefer to email, please send your comments to [email protected]

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