Save Salt River
And Bioluminescent Bay
Citizens of St. Croix: the Park Service wants to take away your public park, turn it over for private use, and allow it to be destroyed forever by a major development plan that would result in the complete obliteration of the bioluminescence of Bioluminescent Bay.
Here are 22 Reasons to Oppose the MREC development
1. The acquisition of the land was dishonest: NPS and DPNR told the previous private owners that the land and waterway could NEVER be developed. They drove them into bankruptcy, took their land in foreclosure, and now THEY want to DEVELOP the land and the waterway!
2. The categorization of this land as suitable for development is dishonest: 26,000sf of rubble on the end of the peninsula has become the scapegoat for building 150,000 sq of new construction on the hillside of virgin soil. They want us to believe that this development is a “restorative act” that will re-establish “the area to more natural topographical conditions,” which is simply ludicrous.
3. All dredging, bulkhead introduction, mangrove destruction, shoreline modification, and saltwater pond modification of Salt River Bay have been prohibited by DPNR, but NPS does not think it should be subject to the same rules as everyone else for what is best for the Bay.
4. Access to the site would require the introduction of a road through the Triton Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, violating the agreement of the preserve.
5. It is against public law 102-247 for public park land to be handed over to universities to take control of and manage and yet this is exactly what the MREC plan proposes. This is the equivalent to renting out our national treasure to the highest bidder.
6. Development will endanger the cultural and historical legacy of the land and jeopardize its further protection. Diminished integrity of the land could lead to the declassification of the status of Columbus Landing National Historic Landmark, Cape of Arrows (which is eligible for listing on the National Register and inclusion in an expanded National Historic Landmark designation), and the classification of the site as a National Natural Landmark.
7. The development of the land will ruin the historically significant view that should be protected. Public Law 102-247 section 104(b): Any proposed construction within the line of sight of the Columbus Landing National Historic Landmark would negatively impact the vistas and landscapes. The Ceremonial Ball Court, village sites, and burial grounds are sensitive and sacred religious areas. . . Visitors cannot be inspired if they are distributed by a background of cluttered vistas and landscapes. . . The size of the proposed complex will destroy the viewshed forever, and the visitors’ experience will be immeasurable disturbed”
8. The Environmental Assessment for the project is no longer valid because the scale and scope of the project has snowballed from two buildings, five dorm rooms, and one doc facility to eleven buildings, ten dorm rooms, and a tri-plex of dock facilities.
9. Save the bioluminescence of Bioluminescent Bay. It’s estimated that there are only 6 or 7 places like this in the entire world! In addition to dredging, bulkhead instillation, and mangrove destruction, they want to pump up to 300 gallons a minute of water out of the bay for holding tanks.
10. Save the 25 endangered animals. Where is the biological evaluation detailing the potential harm this project would have on the animals who call Salt Rive home?
11. Save the endangered sea turtles. There will be constant boat traffic in and out of the bay, disrupting turtle mating areas and destroying their sea grass grazing areas.
12. Save the birds: nesting grounds for over 26 species of birds, more than half of all birds who breed on St. Croix!
13. Save the fish nursery that is vital to maintaining the already dwindling stock of fish for the island. They want to dredge the nursery in Bio Bay to make room for a pier and moorings to accommodate six or more large boats.
14. Save the reefs and delicate marine estuary. DPS just tried to tell us that in order to save the reef on the East side of Buck Island snorkeling should be prohibited, now they are telling us that in order to save the reef at Salt River we should introduce 120 tanks worth of scuba diving a day! Where is the logic in this?
15. Save the endangered mangroves. The Bay has the largest remaining mangrove forest in the territory. With more than 50 percent of the mangroves of St. Croix now destroyed through human impact, the mangroves of Salt River Bay estuary represent an irreplaceable natural resource.
16. Save our green space. The ideals of building green and reducing our carbon footprint are not met when we pave over a national treasure to accommodate 150,000sf of development.
17. Save Hemer’s Peninsula next to Bioluminescent Bay from the horror of become a parking lot.
18. NPS is trying to steal Salt River away from the public. They think one poorly attended invitational meeting in 2006 is all the warning/announcement the public deserves when it comes to taking away and destroying the national treasure that is Salt River. We need to show them that the people of St. Croix will not be so easily manipulated and deceived. They have misrepresented their plan, tried to appease our worries by saying it was all just hypothetical, all the while pressing forward to make it a reality before the people had the chance to object.
19. Things like dorm rooms and massive auditoriums belong on college campuses, not the ecological gem that is Salt River Bay. One of the basic principles of responsible field research is to respect and protect the natural integrity of the field. We should teach future generations to respect our natural treasures, not to turn them into destination education resorts. There is more than enough room for this facility at UVI. It is disrespectful to the land and the people of St. Croix to squander Salt River.
20. With only 40 undergraduate and 12 graduate students, how is this facility going to serve the needs of three mainland universities in addition to our own? How can enrollment numbers like these justify the initial 60 million dollar investment, let alone keep the complex financially afloat for years to come?
21. We already have two abandoned and decaying research facilities that were dedicated to research at Salt River, namely the Fairleigh Dickinson West Indies Laboratory for Underwater Research and the J. Falle Marine Research Station. We need to sustain that which we already have instead of littering our island with derelict building and building new.
22. Building such a huge complex this close to the ocean and flood plain places undue strain on the already over-extended disaster relief resources of our island and it threatens one of our dearest places with the fate of becoming an eye sore for generations to come in the unfortunate case that it is ravaged by a hurricane.
In the words of archeologist John Ehrenhard, “Salt River Bay is at its final crossroads. . . Present urban development is the first serious threat to the ecosystem and its precious cultural cargo. . . it is also the last threat because if the juggernaut of development cannot be stopped there will be no second chance—a bulldozer can destroy in 5 minutes what it takes mankind 500 years to produce” (EA, p.295).
We Cannot Afford to Lose this National Treasure.
Once it’s Gone, it’s Gone Forever.
To Find out more or what you can do to help, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org