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Coral Bay Community Council Gets Grant

The Coral Bay Community Council recently received a $20,464 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star Grant Program and its funding partner, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of the grant is for riparian restoration and wetlands protection in Coral Bay, St. John. The grant commits the Community Council to a one-to-one match of in-kind funds, including volunteer services, donations, and partner activities, for a project with a total effort of just over $41,000.

“This grant is part of an integrated initiative for the betterment of the community,” said Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen in a press release.

According to the press release, the project will restore and improve the wetlands in the degraded area on 11 Estate Carolina along the roadside at the intersection of Route 107 and King’s Hill Road. This is the front portion of the property that includes the Agriculture Station in Coral Bay. Along with this wetlands restoration project, other improvements are being considered for the area including farmers’ plots on the part of the four-acre parcel surrounding the Agriculture Station.

“The goal of the wetlands funding is to restore the area using native trees, shrubs, and appropriate ground cover and to serve as a demonstration of species and plantings that can be useful in Coral Bay, and inspire people to preserve more wetlands habitats, and also make good public and conservation use of the adjacent properties,” Community Council President Sharon Coldren said.

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Additionally, the project will provide environmental education through an afterschool program for children and signs so residents of the community can learn about native trees and their roles in preserving and protecting ecosystems.

The Community Council is joining with the Agriculture and Public Works departments to undertake this wetlands restoration project and to work together for the overall improvement of this area. Additionally, part of the corner area that is not wetlands is proposed to become a community park area, possibly with benches, a domino table, and some play structures or sculptures for children. It will use funding beyond this grant. A covered farm stand is also being considered for sale of produce that the new farmers’ plots would grow.

A wetlands plant expert will be contracted this spring to design the plantings and public access and recommend removal of invasive species. As part of this planning process, a public meeting will be held to discuss ideas for the project and the surrounding land on Parcel 11 Estate Carolina.

Various groups in the community as well as individuals are expected to commit to volunteer maintenance and improvements so everyone can enjoy the area and be proud of it. Ultimately, there will be a volunteer committee responsible for ongoing maintenance. To support the planting phase this summer, the Community Council is applying to be able to provide jobs to local youth through the Labor Department’s summer job program, and seeking cooperation from other youth internship programs.

The project also includes funding for an instructor for an after-school educational wetlands gardening program at Guy Benjamin School in fall 2012 for 10 interested students.

To volunteer, call the Community Council at 776-2099, email coralbaycommunitycouncil@hotmail.com or stop by the office in Coral Bay across from the fire station.

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The Coral Bay Community Council recently received a $20,464 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star Grant Program and its funding partner, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of the grant is for riparian restoration and wetlands protection in Coral Bay, St. John. The grant commits the Community Council to a one-to-one match of in-kind funds, including volunteer services, donations, and partner activities, for a project with a total effort of just over $41,000.

“This grant is part of an integrated initiative for the betterment of the community,” said Agriculture Commissioner Louis Petersen in a press release.

According to the press release, the project will restore and improve the wetlands in the degraded area on 11 Estate Carolina along the roadside at the intersection of Route 107 and King’s Hill Road. This is the front portion of the property that includes the Agriculture Station in Coral Bay. Along with this wetlands restoration project, other improvements are being considered for the area including farmers' plots on the part of the four-acre parcel surrounding the Agriculture Station.

“The goal of the wetlands funding is to restore the area using native trees, shrubs, and appropriate ground cover and to serve as a demonstration of species and plantings that can be useful in Coral Bay, and inspire people to preserve more wetlands habitats, and also make good public and conservation use of the adjacent properties,” Community Council President Sharon Coldren said.

Additionally, the project will provide environmental education through an afterschool program for children and signs so residents of the community can learn about native trees and their roles in preserving and protecting ecosystems.

The Community Council is joining with the Agriculture and Public Works departments to undertake this wetlands restoration project and to work together for the overall improvement of this area. Additionally, part of the corner area that is not wetlands is proposed to become a community park area, possibly with benches, a domino table, and some play structures or sculptures for children. It will use funding beyond this grant. A covered farm stand is also being considered for sale of produce that the new farmers' plots would grow.

A wetlands plant expert will be contracted this spring to design the plantings and public access and recommend removal of invasive species. As part of this planning process, a public meeting will be held to discuss ideas for the project and the surrounding land on Parcel 11 Estate Carolina.

Various groups in the community as well as individuals are expected to commit to volunteer maintenance and improvements so everyone can enjoy the area and be proud of it. Ultimately, there will be a volunteer committee responsible for ongoing maintenance. To support the planting phase this summer, the Community Council is applying to be able to provide jobs to local youth through the Labor Department’s summer job program, and seeking cooperation from other youth internship programs.

The project also includes funding for an instructor for an after-school educational wetlands gardening program at Guy Benjamin School in fall 2012 for 10 interested students.

To volunteer, call the Community Council at 776-2099, email coralbaycommunitycouncil@hotmail.com or stop by the office in Coral Bay across from the fire station.