The Illinois Clean Marina Program celebrated its one year anniversary last month by certifying DuSable Harbor as the newest clean marina—bringing the state total to six.
The harbors earned their clean marina status by implementing a series of best management practices that make marina operations more efficient and environmentally friendly. Practices cover a range of topics—everything from marina construction to vessel maintenance to waste handling. Most are easy and affordable, such as watering plants deeply but infrequently and encouraging boaters to share excess paint instead of storing or disposing of it improperly. Others help marina personnel educate and train boaters on what they can do to protect habitats and improve water quality.
Two more marinas, North Point Marina and Diversey Harbor, have also pledged to implement these same practices. To do so, they will rely on the Illinois Clean Marina Guidebook developed by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, along with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Chicago Park District (CPD).
In addition to outlining best practices, the guidebook provides important information on laws and permit programs, connects readers with additional resources, and includes clean boating tip sheets that can be distributed to boaters. Illinois DNR also provides training and support as marinas work their way through the certification processes.
Illinois is one of six states in the Great Lakes region with a volunteer program that empowers boaters and marina personnel to preserve habitats and prevent pollution. The Illinois program was developed by IDNR, CPD, IISG, and representatives from the marina industry. Funding for the program and guidebook comes from a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.