IMI conference will focus on climate change

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The July meeting will address policies and responses that will affect the marina industry

The International Marina Institute is sponsoring a new one-day conference titled, "Our Changing Coastline: Understanding the Facts, the Fiction and the Reality." The July 28 conference in Warwick, R.I., focuses on climate change and its effects on the marine industry, providing an opportunity to review facts with scientists, learn about policies coastal states are considering to deal with sea-level rise, and begin building industry- specific responses.

"One doesn't necessarily have to subscribe to this notion of climate change to be concerned about some of the ways that it's manifesting itself," says Jim Frye, president and chair of the Association of Marina Industries, of which IMI is a subsidiary. "There's measurable evidence that we're seeing a lot more frequent and more severe storms hitting our coastal and inland regions. There's measurable evidence that water levels are rising, and that's obviously going to have some impact on marinas."

It's important, Frye says, for the marina industry to be involved in discussions with officials in coastal areas as they begin to shape policy around those issues. For example, Rhode Island officials are discussing legislation that would allow for lands that are covered by rising water levels to become state property, much like submerged lands are now, he says.

"Marina operators should be part of the dialogue and be part of the discussion as those opinions and decisions are shaped," Frye says.

To help deliver the educational content, organizers are working with the Coastal Resources Center at the University of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Sea Grant program. Both were involved in making Rhode Island one of the few states reviewing policies that address climate change and the changing coastline.

The invited keynote speaker is Kate Moran form the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography. Confirmed speakers include Jim Boyd, coastal policy analyst, Rhode Island Resources Management Council; Jack Leyden, Rhode Island building commissioner; Julia Wyman, policy analyst with Coastal States Organization; and T. Clark Smith from Chubb Custom Market.

The conference, which takes place at the Sheraton Hotel in Warwick, is designed for marina owners, operators, managers, consultants, suppliers and vendors, as well as anyone who manages commercial waterfront property. For information or to register, call (401) 247-0314 or visit www.mari naassociation.org (click on "Training & Certification," then "Seminars & Events").

This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue.

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