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Territory Facts

Miles of Coast: 175

Coastal Population (2000): 109,750

Lead Coastal Management Agency: Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR)

Approval Date: 1979

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Ocean and Coastal Management in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Program

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The Virgin Islands host a variety of coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs, salt ponds, and seagrass beds. St. John - Coral Bay Watershed.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Management Program was approved by NOAA in 1979. The lead agency is the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. The coastal zone includes the entire territory and is managed according to the U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Zone Management Act.

Four main islands in total make up the U.S. Virgin Islands, including St Croix, St John, St Thomas, and Water Island. The Coastal Program works to protect coastal land and waters, such as beaches, bays, lagoons, wetlands, dunes, and bluffs. Through planning, permitting, public education, and other management techniques, the program reduces conflict among competing uses for the territory’s coastal land and water resources, including coral reefs.

U.S. Virgin Islands' Coral Program

The U.S. Virgin Islands is also a member of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. As part of the Task Force, the Coastal Program has led a participatory process to develop local action strategies to address four priority threats to coral reefs: land-based sources of pollution, over-fishing, lack of public awareness, and recreational misuse/overuse. The Coastal Program is also the U.S. Virgin Island's primary point-of-contact to the Task Force.

Program Achievements

U.S Virgin Islands Implements the Area's First Territorial Marine Park


U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Management Program — The website provides information on the Program's outreach and permitting activities and the Islands' Comprehensive Land and Water Use Plan.

Marine Protected Areas — Search for marine protected areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. Virgin Islands Coastal Nonpoint Program Conditional and Full Approval Documents — The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program encourages better coordination between state and coastal zone managers and water quality experts to reduce polluted runoff in the coastal zone. The territory received full approval in 2002.

Virgin Islands Coastal Program Evaluation (2009) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic reviews of federally approved state coastal management programs.

U.S. Virgin Islands' Coral Reef Local Action Strategies — The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force identified the need for more focused action at the local level to reduce key threats to coral reefs and called for each of the states and territories with significant coral reef resources to develop local action strategies.

Contact Information for U.S. Virgin Islands' Program

St Croix Office
No. 45 Mars Hill, Rainbow Building
Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands 00840
(340) 773-1082

St. Thomas Office
Cyril E. King Airport, Terminal Building 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00802
(340) 774-3320