By Christina Dierkes, Ohio Sea Grant
Ohio Sea Grant, in a partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft and the ODNR Office of Coastal Management, is expanding its Clean Marinas and Clean Boater programs from the Lake Erie shoreline throughout the entire state. New staff members will join the Ohio Sea Grant team by summer 2015 to help double the number of participating marinas and boaters by 2020.
The nationally recognized initiatives help marina owners and boaters keep recreational waters and surrounding resources clean, healthy and available to future generations. Marinas and boaters who pledge to participate in the program receive free guidance from natural resource managers on how to protect and improve water quality and comply with environmental regulations. Marinas can also be certified as an Ohio Clean Marina, offering additional benefits to these businesses.
“For years, we have worked side-by-side with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at outreach events, providing clean boating and safe boating education respectively,” notes Sarah Orlando, Ohio Clean Marinas Program Manager. “The expansion of the Ohio Clean Marinas Program statewide will enable us to partner in promoting clean and safe boating together across Ohio.” br>
By expanding both programs statewide, Ohio Sea Grant and its ODNR partners will be able to offer the same guidance to marinas and boaters throughout Ohio’s waterways, from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
The programs will continue to be administered through a partnership effort. Ohio Sea Grant will manage the programs with input from the Ohio Clean Marinas advisory board, while the ODNR Office of Coastal Management funds a portion of the program in Ohio’s Lake Erie watershed and ODNR Division of Watercraft is funding the statewide expansion.
The Ohio Clean Marinas and Clean Boater programs were developed in 2004 through partnerships with federal, state and local agencies, non-profits and businesses. Today, more than 80 marinas along Lake Erie have pledged to become certified or have achieved certification as an Ohio Clean Marina, and more than 2,000 boaters have pledged to follow best boating practices laid out in the Ohio Clean Boaters program.
“The energy and enthusiasm of all involved is contagious,” says Dr. Chris Winslow, Interim Director of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, which are both part of The Ohio State University. “The numbers show that being certified as a Clean Marina saves the marina money and gives them bragging rights within their industry that allows them to attract additional business.”
Contact: Sarah Orlando, Ohio Clean Marinas Program Manager, Ohio Sea Grant (email@example.com)