Sandusky, OH Ohio Sea Grant’s Clean Marinas Program has received a $14,571 grant from the Lake Erie Protection Fund to determine how copper concentrations in Great Lakes marina sediment change based on runoff from seasonal boat washing. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2013.
Copper is currently the primary material used in antifouling paints, but it is also considered a hazardous substance that negatively affects aquatic organisms. Copper oxide can leach from the painted boat bottom surface and accumulate in sediments as ionic copper, especially when boats are washed at marinas at the end of boating season, and copper enters the lake through the wash water.
“There’s been very little research on copper concentrations in sediment at marinas in the Great Lakes”? explains Sarah Orlando, Ohio Sea Grant Extension Educator and Clean Marinas Outreach Coordinator. “Through this project, we’ll work with Lake Erie marinas to establish baseline data on copper in sediment over the course of a boating season, and on the amount of copper that is contributed by boat bottom washing at the start of the off-season.”?
Nine Ohio Certified and Pledged Clean Marinas have committed to the project. Sediment samples will be collected in three locations at each marina — the vessel haul-out area, permanent dockage, and the mouth of the marina. Ohio Sea Grant is collaborating with Bowling Green State University’s Department of Geology for processing the copper samples. Advised by Dr. John Farver, undergraduate students will receive valuable research experience through sampling and analyzing sediment for copper and other heavy metal content. Fall sampling is currently being completed to determine post-washing concentrations, and spring sampling in early 2013 will provide baseline data before boats are returned to the water.
Results will be distributed via a final report to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, as well as through Ohio Sea Grant fact sheets and presentations at conferences and outreach events. Orlando is also working with the Ohio Clean Marinas Advisory Board, which includes representatives from local marinas, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, the Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Coastal Management, the Division of Watercraft, the Division of Soil and Water, and the Division of Wildlife to ensure stakeholders have input on the project. The results will also be distributed to the Great Lakes Clean Marinas Network to make them available to other Great Lakes states.
The Lake Erie Protection Fund, which is administered by the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, was established to help finance research and implementation projects aimed at protecting, preserving and restoring Lake Erie and its watershed. The fund is supported by Ohioans who purchase a Lake Erie license plate displaying the Marblehead Lighthouse or the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse designed by Ohio artist Ben Richmond. Funded projects must align with goals set in the 2008 Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Plan. More information about the program is available at lakeerie.ohio.gov/LakeErieProtectionFund.aspx.
The Ohio Clean Marinas Program is a proactive partnership designed to encourage marinas and boaters to use simple, innovative solutions to keep Ohio’s coastal and inland waterway resources clean. The program encourages environmental stewardship by making marinas more aware of environmental regulations, helping them protect the resources that provide their livelihood, and designating them as “Clean Marinas”? when they follow best management practices. Find out more at ohiocleanmarina.osu.edu.
The Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 32 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu.
Sarah Orlando, Clean Marina & Limnology Outreach Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org