Fall snowstorms and the ice that will soon creep across waterways have closed out the 2011 Wisconsin recreational boating season. The season also closed out with 17 certified clean marinas. That means 2012 will bring stronger businesses and cleaner waters.
Marinas and related industries and services contribute more than $2.7 billion to Wisconsin’s economy. The voluntary, industry-led Clean Marina Program ensures clean boating practices that benefit the environment, and marinas alike. The Wisconsin Marina Association (WMA) manages the program and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute provides the training and technical assistance to make the program successful.
“We worked with the marine industry to initiate this program in mid-2010 and are gratified by the results,” said Sea Grant’s Vicky Harris, a water quality specialist. “There are roughly 240 marinas in Wisconsin. We have seen an ever-growing interest in the Clean Marina Program from these business people.
The program has conducted six Clean Marina training workshops, attended by more than 60 marina managers. Collectively, more than 250 clean marina best-management practices have been adopted by the 17 certified marinas. An additional 11 marinas have signed pledges and are taking steps toward certification. The steps include environmentally friendly practices for siting new marinas, marina design, stormwater management, vessel maintenance, petroleum control, sewage handling, waste disposal and marina management.
Surveys of marinas participating in similar programs elsewhere in the nation have demonstrated fiscal payoffs. Marinas lower cleanup and waste disposal costs, qualify for reduced insurance premiums and attract more patrons who want to do business with clean marinas and boatyards
“I am impressed by the level of effort that marinas are making to protect the water resources that sustain their business, local economies, public health, and fish and wildlife. It is a classic case of win-win,” Harris said.
Her efforts are assisted by UW Sea Grant’s Gene Clark, a coastal engineer with extensive experience working with ports, harbors and marinas; Theresa Qualls, UW Sea Grant clean marina program assistant; and Kae Donlevy, WMA’s clean marina coordinator. Other partners include the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the UW-Extension Solid and Hazardous Waste education Center and the U.S. Coast Guard.
A list of Wisconsin’s Clean Marinas can be found here.