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CONFERENCE TO LOOK AT ENVIRO-ECONOMIC ISSUES

March 6, 2002 – If you'd like to present a paper at the 7th annual V.I. Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference, to be held May 16 and 17 at the Westin Resort on St. John, Friday is the deadline for submitting it. The conference theme is "Land, Sand and Sea for a Healthy Environment and Economy."
Julie Wright, program supervisor for the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service and co-chair of the conference, said product exhibitors have until April 3 to sign up, and those wanting to attend can register into May.
The conference is open to anyone with an interest in nonpoint source pollution, which refers to types of pollution which come from many diffuse sources, in contrast to that which comes from an identifiable source such as an industrial plant or a sewage outfall pipe.
Wright said the conference should be of interest to community groups, farmers, government workers, construction workers, boaters, researchers, students and vendors of pollution-prevention products and processes.
For attendees who register by May 1, the conference, including lunch both days, is free. After that, the conference costs $10 per day and lunch is $25 for each day.
There will be a tour on May 17 of various St. John project sites including the Colorado State University sediment measurement project. That will cost $5 for those who register by May 1 and $10 for those who sign up later.
Conference details are still being finalized, Wright said, but she expects the Colorado State researchers to talk about the years of work they've done evaluating runoff in areas such as Fish Bay and Catherineberg, and a Planning and Natural Resources Department official to discuss new rules and regulations. Also on the program will be presentations on erosion and sediment control and the effects of land use on the local economy.
Wright said she also expects several local students to present three-dimensional models showing the effects of nonpoint source pollution, which is "the primary water polluter in the Virgin Islands." Examples of such pollution in the territory, she said, are when rain washes soil, oil and grease, pesticides, other chemicals and effluent from failing septic tanks into the sea. She also said that human waste and debris from boats affect water quality.
When the water quality degrades, it impacts the territory's tourism product. "Our tourism product depends on a clean and healthy environment," Wright said.
The conference is made possible by a grant from PNR's nonpoint source pollution program, which is funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
To obtain more information about presenting a paper, exhibiting products or attending the conference call Wright at 693-1082 or PNR planner Bill Rohring at 774-3320. Or contact either of them by e-mail — Wright at jwright@uvi.edu or Rohring at bill.rohring@noaa.gov.
Conference information and an application form can be found online at the Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference web site.

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