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EPA and Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group to Host Public Listening Session on St. Thomas on February 25; Public Encouraged to Participate in Person or from Live Videoconference Locations in San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Croix, USVI

Release Date: 01/29/2013
Contact Information: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its government partners will hold a public listening session on February 25, 2013 from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. The sessions will be broadcast via video to locations in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group, led by EPA Region 2, was recently formed to facilitate a closer working relationship among its member agencies to coordinate government strategies in protecting coral reefs. During the February 25 listening session and at the accompanying broadcast locations, members of the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group will solicit input from the public regarding the state of coral reefs throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and how best to protect them.


      There are three locations to participate from. 1. The listening session will take place in the 1st Floor Conference Room at the Administration and Conference Center (ACC) at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. 2. The public session will be broadcasted live for the public at the EPA’s offices at City View Plaza II – Suite 7000, #48 Rd. 165 km 1.2, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. 3. The public session will also be broadcasted live for the public at the Great Hall at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Croix.

      Coral reef ecosystems throughout the Caribbean are being damaged by a growing number of problems such as overfishing, sediment runoff, pollution, disease and climate change, which causes the water to become warmer and more acidic. By implementing measures to reduce those stresses that can be addressed locally, coral health can be improved and reefs can become more resilient.

      In addition to the EPA, the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group includes the following governmental agencies: The Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Coast Guard.

      To RSVP and to sign up to speak at the February 25 listening session in St. Thomas, or at the public broadcast in St. Croix, contact Keshema Webbe at 340-714-2333 or webbe.keshema@epa.gov. To RSVP and to sign up to speak at the public broadcast in San Juan, contact David Cuevas at 787-977-5856 or cuevas.david@epa.gov.

      For more information on the Caribbean Coral Reef Protection Group, visit: http://epa.gov/region2/coralreefs.

      Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2

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