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Wednesday, April 17, 2024


April 25, 2001 – The Center for Marine Conservation, a national environmental watchdog group, has opened a Virgin Islands office on St. John.
Nick Drayton, former director of conservation programs for the Nature Conservancy of the Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean, has been tapped to manage the office.
With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CMC also has regional and field offices in such locations as California, Florida and the Dominican Republic, according to information posted on its web site, www.cmc-ocean.org.
"In an age where we are grappling with marine resource management issues and challenges almost as diverse as the habitats themselves, I am honored to become a part of the CMC team," Drayton said. "I'm looking forward particularly to forging both formal and informal partnerships with marine conservation agencies and individuals in the islands and beyond who share a common vision of clean, healthy marine waters with abundant and diverse wildlife."
According to a CMC release, the recent creation of the USVI Coral Reef National Monument and expansion of the existing Buck Islands National Monument "will be major focuses of the new office."
The national monument designation by then-President Bill Clinton shortly before he left office touched off a controversy in the Virgin Islands, with critics complaining that the territory was left out of the decision-making process.
The CMC release says its Virgin Islands office will focus on building local and public support for marine conservation, collaborating with appropriate federal and local institutions.
Drayton also has worked with the British Virgin Islands National Parks Trust and was program coordinator for the Caribbean Conservation Association's Marine Parks and Protected Areas Program. He has an undergraduate degree in biology/ecology with sociology from the University of the West Indies and a master's degree in coastal biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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