Just in time for boating season this year, marinas in Illinois will join a state-wide program that empowers boaters and marina personnel to prevent pollution from entering rivers and lakes. The Illinois Clean Marina program will provide marinas with basic “how to” information, training, and on-site support for reducing pollution common in boating and marina activities.

To help marinas join the volunteer program, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, along with Illinois DNR and the Chicago Park District, is developing a Clean Marina Guidebook outlining simple best management practices on a broad range of topics, from marina construction to vessel maintenance and waste disposal. 

Many of these BMPs are easy and affordable, such as watering plants deeply but infrequently, using the minimum amount of antifreeze necessary for certain equipment, and encouraging boaters to share and make use of excess paint rather than storing or disposing of it improperly. Other recommendations will help new or expanding marinas develop environmentally-friendly sites from the beginning, such as directions on dock location and construction scheduling to ensure that nearby habitats are protected. 

Additionally, some BMPs will help marina personnel educate and train boaters on what they can do to protect and improve the state’s water quality. 

In addition, the Clean Marina Guidebook will include important information on state and federal laws and permit programs related to marina activities. 

With the launching of the program and guidebook, Illinois will become the sixth state in the Great Lake’s region to implement a Clean Marina program, joining Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin in a regional effort to protect the Great Lakes and local waterways.
For examples of some of the best practices that will appear in the Illinois Clean Marina Guidebook, view the Great Lakes Clean Marina BMP guide (PDF).