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EPA Helps Combat Pollution in Coral Bay with Cooperative Agreement

Release Date: 07/21/2008
Contact Information: Michael Ortiz (212) 637-3670, ortiz.michael@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The Coral Bay Community Council, a non-profit group dedicated to involving local community members in intelligent planning for development in the Coral Bay area of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands has been selected to receive $300,000 through a cooperative agreement under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program. The CARE program supports community efforts to create and use collaborative partnerships to identify and mitigate sources of local pollution. The Coral Bay Community Council is one of 18 communities across the nation accepted into the CARE program. The organization and its government and community partners will use the EPA funding to expand efforts to stop sediment and stormwater pollution from entering Coral Bay, improve local solid waste management, and heighten awareness about other toxic pollution issues affecting the community.

“This agreement will provide much-needed support to the Coral Bay Community Council and its many partners to study the environmental problems faced by this community and develop workable solutions,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “We applaud the Coral Bay Community Council for having demonstrated such devotion to protecting the bay.”

The Coral Bay Community Council will hire a technical expert to help the community assess and monitor the pollutants affecting Coral Bay. The group will also use the CARE money to fund workshops, conduct community outreach, and develop future actions to mitigate the vulnerability of Coral Bay to toxic pollutants. In addition, the Coral bay Community Council will make use of several EPA voluntary programs, including those established to help communities do watershed planning, and employ smart growth and green building techniques in future development of the area. EPA will provide technical assistance and support throughout the process, but it is up to the group and its community partners to decide on which environmental issues to focus.

Coral Bay is a rural community of approximately 1,500 people in a 3,000-acre watershed. Between 1990 and 2000, the Coral Bay community grew by 80%, making it the fastest growing area in the U.S. Virgin Islands. New residential housing construction, agriculture, tourism and industrial development have generated excessive waste, which is polluting the bay. Sediment, toxic chemicals, nutrients and potential biological pathogens are being carried through stormwater into the bay. Coral Bay is a significant coral reef and mangrove fringed marine nursery habitat, which includes the federal Coral Reef National Monument, as well as a wealth of marine life unique to the Virgin Islands.

Additional information about the CARE program is available at: http://www.epa.gov/care.

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