Saving Bolongo Bay

Three guys, two from New Jersey and one from Maryland, didn’t know their paths would one day lead them to the Virgin Islands.   

“I had never met Dave before. Never met Dennis until all this came together,” Duane Ferguson with Island Designs said.

But when they saw their beloved vacation spot after the 2017 hurricanes, they scrambled to help.

“We love the island and we’ve seen what these hurricanes have done to the island and we’d love to contribute to bring it back to where it was,” Dennis Lazanja with Island Designs said.

The beach in St. Thomas has been facing a massive flooding issue for decades. 

After Hurricane Irma and Maria, the problem became even worse.

When we were here in November heavy rains turned the beach into a river.

It poured polluted runoff water from the hill above directly into the famous beach. 

But these men proposed a solution.

“Immediately when we start it is going to drastically help,” Dave Zimmerman with Island Designs said.

Working with Bolongo Bay Resort Owner Richard Doumeng, the longtime visitors offered a plan to both mitigate the flooding while cleaning the water at the same time. And they didn’t stop with just beach improvements. 

Beds full of water reliable plants placed strategically at the front of the resort along with permeable pavers specifically created to trap storm water are designed to divert run off before it even makes its’ way the beach. 

“Take this up put those permeable pavers down so the pollutants will filter down into the sand and look nice at the same time,” Ferguson added.

The men said plans like this could help save not only Bolongo but other beaches in the territory.  

“We’ve seen a couple other resorts while we’ve been here hopefully we can help them with their issues and as word spreads around you know we just want to help more and more resorts and municipalities and really clean the water before it gets to the ocean. Protect the reef, protect the marine life, protect the swimmers and the tourists. That’s really our main goal,” Zimmerman added.

Just three guys, with a common passion, to save the beach, they love so much.

“Is there hope for Bolongo Bay Beach?” Reporter Kellie Meyer asked.

Lazanja added, “absolutely there is hope. I think with our expertise we can come in and change it and make it for the better. That’s why we’re here.”