USVI Community Pulse

Progress for V.I. Conservation District Board Despite Membership Challenges

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Amid the verdant beauty of the Virgin Islands, the V.I. Conservation District Board is navigating its path towards revival, despite being understaffed. With recent endorsements from the Committee on Rules and Judiciary, nominees Nathaniel Olive and Carlos Robles are set to bring their expertise to the board. However, even with these new additions, the board will count only five members, falling short of the 11 required by law to form a quorum.

The board, which has a crucial role in managing the territory’s soil, water, and related resources, has faced operational challenges due to this shortfall. Without a quorum, it’s been unable to enact official measures, leaving its mandate largely unfulfilled for years.

Carlos Robles, with his background as the former commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, emphasized the need for one more member to reach a quorum. He expressed optimism about the board’s future, highlighting the importance of establishing clear objectives for the conservation district. Robles also advocated for legislative support, requesting funding to enable the board to undertake necessary travel and hire part-time secretarial help, underscoring the board’s potential as a pivotal resource for the territory.

Dr. Nathaniel Olive, another nominee, is poised to contribute his extensive experience in conservation and sustainable agriculture. Operating the territory’s sole certified organic farm, Dr. Olive is eager to leverage his background to advance conservation efforts. He pointed out the opportunity to access national conservation funds and integrate these with local initiatives like the Virgin Islands Agricultural Plan. Dr. Olive envisions a revitalized board that not only safeguards the environment but also preserves the rich cultural heritage of the islands.

The Committee on Rules and Judiciary has shown unanimous support for these nominees, recognizing their potential to make significant contributions. Beyond these nominations, the committee has also advanced several legislative items, including lease agreements and bills aimed at promoting crop production, heritage education, maritime scholarships, building codes, victim protection, and unemployment benefit guidelines.

As the V.I. Conservation District Board looks forward to welcoming its new members, the territory stands on the cusp of enhancing its conservation efforts. With continued support and the addition of much-needed resources, the board is gearing up to make a lasting impact on the preservation and development of the Virgin Islands’ natural and cultural treasures.

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