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Date: January 12, 2001

Clean Marina Program to help improve coastal water quality

(Richmond) - Reducing nonpoint source pollution in Virginia's coastal waters by helping marinas and recreational boaters become more environmentally sensitive is the goal of a new, voluntary state program. Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources John Paul Woodley, Jr. was joined by other state officials, marine industry representatives and marina operators today as he launched the Virginia Clean Marina Program. The launch was held at the Richmond Centre in conjunction with the Virginia Boat Show.

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have worked with the Tidewater Marine Trades Association, the Virginia Association of Marine Industries and others in the private sector to develop this program providing technical assistance and a voluntary recognition program for marinas.

"I'm pleased to announce this partnership that promotes environmental stewardship through education and technical support," said Woodley. "This type of voluntary water quality stewardship effort incorporates Governor Gilmore's top environmental priorities and will help ensure Virginians will always be able to enjoy our waterways."

As part of the new program, funded by the Virginia Coastal Program at DEQ through a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a Marina Technical and Environmental Advisory Committee has been formed. The committee, made up of representatives from state agencies, the marine trade industry, and the recreational boating and environmental communities, will assist the program in providing information and technical assistance to marinas, local governments and recreational boaters in Virginia's coastal areas. It has recently completed a Virginia Clean Marina Guidebook that provides steps marina operators and recreational boaters can take to protect and improve Virginia's coastal waters. The committee will also assist in the program's marina designation process. Approximately 1,000 marinas in Virginia are eligible to vie for recognition as a "Virginia Clean Marina."

Those receiving the designation will be recognized with "Environmental Enterprise" status in the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, which offers incentives to encourage the adoption of environmental management systems and pollution prevention efforts. They also can use the Virginia Clean Marina logo in their correspondence and advertisements. Studies of
similar programs in other states have shown that marinas recognized as environmentally friendly have lower vacancy rates.

Marina operators seeking designation can complete a self-assessment checklist followed by a site visit by members of the advisory committee. Marinas not initially meeting the minimum criteria can sign a pledge to work toward clean marina designation within one year. The Marina Technical Assistance Program at VIMS will work with the marina operator to meet minimum requirements.

As part of the program's launching, several marinas today pledged to work for clean marina status. They are Ginney Point Marina in Cobbs Creek, Locklies Marina in Topping, Port Kinsale Marina of Kinsale, Tidewater Yacht Agency, Inc. of Portsmouth, Washington Sailing Marina in Alexandria, Wormley Creek Marina of Yorktown and York River Yacht Haven in Gloucester Point.

"With its focus on educating willing stewards of our resources, this new program fits well with our continuing Virginia Naturally campaign," said Woodley. "We're already extremely pleased with the response we're receiving from marina operators from both the public and private sector. Their input has also been crucial to the development of the Clean Marina program."

Virginia Naturally is a statewide initiative to promote lifelong learning about Virginia's environment and stewardship of the Commonwealth's natural and historic resources.

The Virginia Clean Marina Guidebook, plus a listing of all certified Virginia Clean Marinas and clean marina "pledges" will soon be available on a website being developed for the new program. Workshops will also be made available to marina operators from both the public and private sectors.


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