|Local government officials, coastal
management planners, legal scholars and boating-industry
representatives will gather in Norfolk, Va., next May to explore
solutions to the loss of water access that is hindering
recreational boaters, commercial fishermen and water-dependent
businesses around the nation's coasts.
"Working Waterways &
Waterfronts - A National Symposium on Water Access," is set for
May 9-11, 2007 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel under the
auspices of the Virginia Sea Grant Program. The conference will
bring together experts in many fields to delve into issues that
surround the rapid conversion of working waterfronts — marinas,
boat repair yards, fish piers and charter fishing docks — to other
uses such as private residential developments and non-water
Rising real estate taxes tied to "highest and best use"
assessments and escalating property values fueled by the public's
desire to live by the water are driving the conversion.
Water-dependent businesses, such as haulout service yards, seafood
handling facilities and boat builders, are losing access to the
water as well.
These losses compound the challenges that decision-makers at
all levels of government face in trying to balance population
growth, public services, and economic development with the demand
for public access to, and on, the water.
"This conference is designed as a forum to educate decision
makers, management agency staff and water-dependant business
owners to deal with these trends and to foster constructive
dialogue about the nations' changing waterfronts," said, Virginia
Sea Grant economist, Thomas J. Murray, conference organizer and
The conference is sponsored by the Sport Fishing & Boating
Partnership Council, a federally chartered advisory body, the
Coastal States Organization, the Boat Owners Association of The
United States, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the
States Organization for Boating Access, and other Sea Grant
Working Waterways & Waterfronts will examine local, state and
national-level initiatives to address water access challenges and
support water-dependent industries. Academic research findings and
viewpoints from industry specialists will also be featured with
the aim of developing new approaches to providing and managing
access to the water.
Find updated conference information on the Web at