The filling of Long Bay: The legacy of a colonial past

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Date of Original Version



Dredge and fill activities typically face strict scrutiny today as their negative impacts have become more fully understood. When filling is allowed, it is most often for a public purpose, such as an expanded port facility, and the public retains ownership of the filled lands. A dramatic exception to that pattern, however, has emerged in Long Bay, in the harbor of St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where 7·5 acres of filled land were created in 1986 for an undisclosed purpose and ownership transferred to a private corporation. The legal basis for that transfer, a 1913 grant from the colonial government of Denmark, was challenged unsuccessfully by both citizen groups and the territorial legislature. Those challenges are examined in this paper in an effort to determine why they failed, and how future conflicts between the legacy of colonialism and contemporary coastal management can be resolved in favor of the public interest. © 1991.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Ocean and Shoreline Management