SANDUSKY, OH After a decade of success, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in partnership with the Ohio Sea Grant College Program have expanded two nationally recognized initiatives that help businesses and boaters keep recreational water resources clean. The Ohio Clean Marinas and Ohio Clean Boater programs are now inviting marinas and boaters across the Buckeye State to join these stewardship initiatives.
“Marina owners near Lake Erie saw the financial and social benefits of being certified as an Ohio Clean Marina and asked the department for assistance in developing clean marinas and boaters programs for inland lakes and rivers,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “By working collaboratively, we were able to take a Lake Erie-stewardship success story and expand it statewide.”
Through an extensive public-private partnership, the Ohio Clean Marinas and Ohio Clean Boater programs were developed in 2004 to serve marinas and boaters along Lake Erie. The first Ohio Clean Marina was certified and the first Clean Boaters pledged in 2005. Today, more than 45 marinas along Lake Erie are certified as Ohio Clean Marinas, and an additional 35 have committed to meet the program’s certification standards.
“Ohio Clean Marina certification is an economic tool marinas can use to attract additional business,” said Ohio Sea Grant College Program Interim Director Dr. Chris Winslow. “The energy and enthusiasm of those involved with the program is contagious.”
To be certified as an Ohio Clean Marina, marina owners voluntarily pledge to implement a number of practices that are proven to improve water quality. Then, natural resource professionals help marinas implement the stewardship measures and ensure marinas are following applicable rules and laws. When a marina staff believes they are achieving program goals, the marina owner requests a certification site visit.
Once certified, a marina can display the Ohio Clean Marinas Program logo, has the opportunity to participate in the shrink-wrap recycling program, receives promotion as an Ohio Clean Marina and is eligible for another of additional incentives. In similar fashion, individuals can pledge to be a Clean Boater and are educated on stewardship actions for our shared water resources. More than 2,000 recreational boaters have pledged and are following best boating practices.
Lake Erie Watershed marinas and boaters wanting to be part of this initiative should contact Sarah Orlando at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jenny Roar at email@example.com or 419-626-7980. Marinas and boaters in the Ohio River Watershed should contact Coordinator Heather Sheets at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-548-5490. More information about each program, including a certification checklist and stewardship factsheets, is available online at ohioseagrant.osu.edu/cleanmarinas and ohioseagrant.osu.edu/cleanboaters.
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.