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DPNR Focusing on Marinas During Small Business Week

June 9, 2006 – Clean marinas are the focus of the 2006 Planning and Natural Resources Small Business Week activities.
"We are trying to encourage marinas to raise their standards to a new level," said Kent Bernier Jr., V.I. Clean Marina program coordinator.
Bernier, who is one of only five EPA-certified scientific divers in the Virgin Islands, spends some of his time patrolling the territory's marinas checking for environmental violations. He says he hopes the marinas will step up to the plate and participate in the voluntary program, which is promoted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Having written the initial $20,000 grant for the marinas project three years ago, Bernier has been working up to this week for awhile. The grant's main objective is to provide outreach, which will take place next week in the form of workshops to be held on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
The workshops will run all day, Bernier said, and are designed to let the marina owners and operators know what it takes to get a "clean marina" designation.
Bernier will be seeking another $100,000 in grant money for further clean marina support, but first, he says, the marina personnel need to be informed.
"We need to do the outreach first," he said Thursday night at a St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event at the Holiday Inn Windward Passage on St. Thomas. A similar event will be held Thursday evening, June 15, on St. Croix from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Caravelle Hotel.
The Virgin Islands boasts 32 marinas – 23 on St. Thomas, eight on St. Croix and four on St. John. This does not include the three currently on the planning books or close to being open, which include: Yacht Haven Grande, which will hold luxury yachts; Crown Bay; and Gallows Bay on St. Croix.
Bernier said among the marina-specific environmental concerns are proper pump-out stations, gas and oils spills, and general pollution, which includes concerns about cleaning materials used by boat owners.
He said only three V.I. marinas have pump-out facilities: Green Cay on St. Croix and Compass Point and American Yacht Harbor on St. Thomas. He said American Yacht Harbor has a mobile pump-out unit, which can transport the sewage, after being pumped from the boat, to the newly constructed Mangrove Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Plant in Bovoni.
Bernier said there are three areas that marinas must address to be designated "clean" by the standards set by NOAA.
The first comes under the heading of environmental marina quality and requires the facility to be clean – meaning no litter, debris or oil slicks. The second criterion is marina services, which includes providing clean rest rooms and free drinking water, keeping docks safe and in good repair and posting marina policies.
The third and final area is marina environmental management. This requires the marina to have someone on staff who knows the environmental rules and regulations and can explain the program. It further requires the marina provide trash bins and signage spelling out the policy.
The way Bernier sees it, voluntary program compliance is cost effective. "Being in compliance can reduce the cost of fines," he said.
The St. Thomas workshop is set for Tuesday, June 13. Registration is from 8 to 8:30 a.m. The workshop begins at 9 a.m. and goes to 4 p.m.
The St. Croix workshop will be held during the same hours at the Caravelle Hotel Conference Room. Both workshops are free.
An informational session will be held on St. John with field displays and information distribution on Monday, June 12, at the Band Stand in Cruz Bay.
For more information, contact Marylyn A. Stapleton or Jasmine Blyden on St. Thomas at 714-9529. On St. Croix, contact Marion Baptiste at 773-1082, ext. 2290.

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