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The United States Fish and Wildlife Service & the Communities of Vieques, Puerto Rico Working together for Sustainable Development & Tourism while focusing on Natural Resource Management Laguna Kiani Fish & Wildlife on Vieques
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service & the Communities of Vieques, Puerto Rico
Working together for Sustainable Development & Tourism while focusing on
Natural Resource Management
The community of Vieques did not ask the Fish & Wildlife Service to take control of former Navy lands, and the Fish & Wildlife Service did not ask to take control of the land. While being prepared to manage the land, and fighting for the transfer of former navy territory to the community, Viequenses must also optimize current opportunities for use of the land. This may be accomplished through dealing tactfully with Fish & Wildlife, taking advantage of programs they offer while continuing in the struggle for the consignation of the land. The following are tactics and avenues to create space for local land management in what is hopefully an interim period of Fish & Wildlife control, while simultaneously not compromising the struggle for the reclamation of the land.
Resident Advisory Board (RAB) A Technical Review Committee was formed in 2001, including several local residents, to provide a forum for discussing the investigation and cleanup of western Vieques. The public is always welcome and encouraged to attend their meetings. The next scheduled meeting is on August 16, 2006 at the El Faro lighthouse.
The primary responsibility of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Division of Federal Aid is to strengthen the ability of State and Territorial fish and wildlife agencies to effectively meet the consumptive and non-consumptive public needs for such resources. This is accomplished through administration of various grant programs.
For more information see http//www.fws.gov/southeast/federalaid
Quotes from former Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Gale Norton:
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation funds projects to conserve and restore fish, wildlife, and native plants through matching grant programs. The Foundation awards matching grants to projects that address priority actions promoting fish and wildlife conservation and the habitats on which they depend, work proactively to involve other conservation and community interests, leverage Foundation-provided funding, and evaluate project outcomes. Federal, state, and local governments, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations are welcomed to apply for a general matching grant throughout the year, using the General Matching Grant Guidelines.
Oscar Diaz has expressed interest in working with community groups to help inform the public on how to apply for permits for small eco-tourism outfits and also into the application process for jobs in the Fish and Wildlife service. Do to liability issues he cannot directly help any individual looking to start a tour group or any other activity that leads to economic benefits. Since Fish and Wildlife is protecting and working with public resources, there must be some democratic process with equal participation. If Viequenses want priority in both employment and distribution of permits, they must put together better applications.
Geography 190 – From De-militarization to the Re-development of Vieques
Prof. S. Davis
Special thanks to the people of Vieques, and more specifically those who took the time to talk and work with us.
For more information:
http://www.fws.gov/southeast/ (US Fish & Wildlife Service)
http://public.lantops-ir.org/sites/public/vieques/General/maincom_rel.aspx (RAB details)
http://www.refugenet.org/new-friends-connect/grant%20programs.html (Start-Up Grant Programs)
http://www.nfwf.org/ (Grants through Natl. Fish & Wildlife Foundation)