Thursday. January 20, 2000, The Dally News
Put in place a serious
water and land use plan
Oasee Davis, a ecologfst.ira Daily
News coWMtritg columnist He lhnV
I found it interesting that Gov,
Charles W. Turnbull said, during his
SaU of the Taritosy Address, lha a
small poup of people opposed the
development of a rocket manuuNctur-
ing company, east of lie Great Pond
Bav areas. Tiat's nat bim
The Beal issue reminds this govern- public housing projects, as well as
nent and the people of the Virgin industrial and caninrcial activities.
islands that a comprehensive Ild-and throughout the teitory. The people of
vater-use plan needs to be iunpemcnt- te Virgin Islands benefited fem die
d- from ycsteay. growth of development in terms ofpro-
Uuring he lat-Gov. Cyril E. King's viding employment and a higher st-
dministrationduring themid-1970s, a dard or living. The rapid growth
selminiary program was established broughtenvironmental, social and co-
iat was a precursor it a conmprehn- nomic problems. Development was
ive land- and watcr-te plan. done in a lhap ad and unplanned
On the land-use issue, King sted; manner. The implication of por devel.
This prelimiry program represent open pMactices brought great
k* Interest and continuing efforts of changes environmentally and .ocially.
his administanion to plan for the pro- For example, the loss of natural
action and effective utilization of the arm such as mangrove ccosysterns.
:nitory's coastal land and watcr salt ponds, reefs and marine scagrass
sources, beds has resulted in the decline of
"M overitcontainspecilic goals marine productivity and wildlife habi-
d objcctives, policies, recornmenda- tale. Coastal development has threat-
aos, a land- and water-use plan, and coed iraditimal public rights to use
proposed inplementation mechanisms water and shoreline areas. Despite
oessary to deal in a comprehensive some legislative laws to control the
manner with coastal zone resources growth af unplanned development, he
sues and problems." V.I. govenatent has been only partial-
-The Virgin Islands coastal land ly able to deal with development-
soces were relatively undeveloped induced problems. With uncontrolled
til the hi 195sat which time it was development, social changes also have
discovesde by residents oflhe United occurred-
tate. In the 19ls the construction Until thie 1940s native Vrgin
rtivity in he Virgin Islands grow lslandersanadeusp75pnoeotto80per-
ipidly as a result ofthe larpge number ccrntofthepopulation.However.by the
f visitors to the islands. Within a 1970s, native Virgin Islandes only
tcoadftbml9ipto 1970,thepopula- made up cess than half the population.
oninthe Viin Islandsdoubledfim This change in population i a det
M2, O.to 75.O00. Condomnimias, result of largecale economic growth
els and hoe began to be built an in the teeitogy. The lage influx of
illsides,ncarbeachesandotherwater- Eatem Caribbeanpeoplcandresidents
ontareas. from the U.S. mainland has dmoiical-
This development ra also brought ly alte the traditional Virgin Islands
Many native Virgin Iblande feel
that they are losing out and "losing
control" in their own hobmelaid.
As this government continues at
ignore tbc implemniation of a com-
prehensive land- and watr-use plan.
social, envimonental and economic
issues will continue to increase in the
With no plan in place, the problem
of excessive sediment nmoff as
unbanization cootinues to d&olop on
undeveloped land will be a major
co economically to the Virgin Islands
government. Many construction sites
in the Vigin Islands strip vegetation
and alter natural land fons without
implnemeninig practices thnt will
reduce Ihc flAo of sediment to Ihc
Our constal wantr's are showing
signs of detrioration of water quality.
The quality of the sounding waters
is afitected by dredging, tilling activi-
ties, sediment, discharge of sewage
effluents, and disposal of solid water
maurials. Furthemoreo. he increased
economic activities and the accompa.
inymg large-scale urban growths have
created unprecedented pressure on the
limital esouces of the Virgin Islands.
Today. coastline meas are highly
desirable for developmoal for a n-m.
bcrofreasons. Asaesult, commercial,
industial, iatioam acvtides MeR-
dental and ntitonal uses compete
for limited coastal nd space. Becams
of these activities, loss of naal eas,
impsoprilae shoreline ning ladck of
a geral land- and walo-u plan, and
publi-bedaccess will cninue to be
a majorproblem in dte IsMi.
fTIe piecemeal development of our
natural resources is not accrqable. I
urg this adhniniLalitaitolinulmea
comprehensive land- and water-use
plan. h is critical to die growth and
development of the islands. _