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While not considered a primary threat to water quality, marinas and recreational boating can have negative local environmental impacts. A marina’s location alone increases the risk of pollutants being delivered to the marina basin or waterway via runoff. Some of the pollutants that might be generated at a marina include nutrients and pathogens, fish waste, sediment, petroleum hydrocarbons, toxic metals, and liquid and solid wastes. IDEM has produced an informational sheet [PDF] with more details about some of these pollutants.
Marinas can also have negative environmental impacts based upon siting and design. Marinas are typically low-energy environments which are cut off from wind and wave action. This sheltered environment reduces water circulation or mixing action within the marina basin which can lead to contaminant build up. Additionally, construction of marinas can negatively impact nearshore habitats that are important to aquatic and terrestrial animals if not sited or designed properly.
There are a number of Best Management Practices (BMPs) [YouTube] that marinas can implement to protect water quality and aquatic resources. Best management practices are methods that have been determined to be the most effective and practical means of preventing or reducing pollution.
Here are few other reasons for marinas to participate in the Indiana Clean Marina Program.
Any marina wishing to become a designated Indiana Clean Marina must meet all federal and state laws that pertain to their facility. In addition to the legal requirements, marinas also must implement 80 percent of the BMPs which apply to their facility. Further information on how to become and maintain an Indiana Clean Marina designation can be found in the Indiana Clean Marina Guidebook.