National Forum to Address Water Access Issues

February 2007 News
"Working Waterways & Waterfronts - A National Symposium on Water Access," is drawing interest from across the country and even several foreign nations, Virginia Sea Grant reports.

According to conference co-chairman, Thomas Murray, the breadth of interest in the conference shows that the challenge of preserving public access to the water is not isolated to certain U.S. regions.

"It seems that coastal management professionals, land use planners and water-dependent businesses are grappling with this issue all around our coasts and even abroad," Murray said. "It's obviously an extremely timely topic."

The symposium, set for May 9 to 11, 2007 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, will bring together experts from many fields 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.

The conference will present an array of "tools" that municipalities and individual citizens can use in their home communities to protect and preserve waterfront access. Presentations will highlight case studies of successful preservation programs initiated in 14 different states from Maine to California. In addition, a panel of legal experts will discuss regulatory options available to state and local governments.

Experts from boating, fishing and marine manufacturing industries will guide discussions on how the loss of water access affects water-dependent businesses. Invited speakers include: Thom Dammrich, president of National Marine Manufacturers Association; Katherine Andrews, executive director of Coastal States Organization; John Dunnigan, assistant administrator of NOAA and William Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service.

Conference registration is $325 prior to April 1 and $375 on or after April 1. A daily rate of $115 is also available. Registration may be completed online through the conference Web site at, http:// or by calling College of William and Mary Conference Services,

The Sheraton is offering a special conference rate of $94/night for single and double rooms. Hotel reservations are available directly through the hotel at 757-622-6664, please reference the conference, "Working Waterways and Waterfronts."

The conference is sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, the Coastal States Organization, the Boat Owners Association of The United States, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the States Organization for Boating Access, Brunswick Corporation, National Fisheries Institute, Virginia Seafood Council and North Carolina Sea Grant.

For more information, please visit the conference Web site at, http://, or call Virginia Sea Grant at 804-684-7167.
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