Bay Point Resort & Marina Brings Environmental Stewardship To New LevelsPublished on May 1, 2020
Bay Point Resort and Marina is a private seasonal marina located in Marblehead, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie and the Sandusky Bay. In recognition of its efforts to keep area waters and lands clean and sustainable, the marina was presented Marina Dock Age magazine’s Marina of the Year Environmental Responsibility award. A ceremony for the awards was held in December at The Docks Expo in Nashville, Tennessee.
Winning an award for environmental responsibility was not that surprising for Bay Point. It has long focused on environmental stewardship and keeping the waters clean, as just good business. “We are at the forefront of our industry in taking environmental responsibility out to our membership and going above and beyond for Clean Marina certification. We’re always looking at ways to strive to be better to protect our natural resources. Without the lake we wouldn’t have a business,” Mark Gallavan, assistant general manager of Bay Point, said.
Platinum Clean Marina
Showing they not only talk the talk but walk the walk, the marina was the first
to achieve platinum status in the Ohio Clean Marina certification program.
Bay Point was an early adopter of Clean Marina, having pledged in 2004, the year the program started. The program, which exists in many states throughout the U.S., recognizes the marinas that improve environmental aspects of their facilities. For many years, the Ohio program had one set of standards for both inland and coastal marinas and those with yard operations and those without. This limited who could be certified because there were differing regulatory requirements and best management practices depending on location and operation, and those differences were not reflected in the program. In recognition of this, Ohio Clean Marina was changed to a tiered certification in 2017.
“The process is simple in the grand scheme of things,” Gallavan said. Marinas attend a workshop, pledge to go through the program, complete a checklist of required and suggested best management practices they have on-site and host a site visit. “On the first go round we completed everything for gold and only a few things were left for platinum, so we as management decided to go for it,” Gallavan said.
To reach platinum status, the marina needed to incorporate native species, put lids on dumpsters, enhance its recycling program, recycle shrink wrap and conduct boater outreach.
The planting was done in the area around the fuel dock, especially focusing on the use of butterfly bushes to not just have the plants but to attract the butterflies. The horticultural plan for the entire facility was changed permanently to incorporate native species.
The rolling dumpsters the marina had in place did not have lids and had the added challenge that any lid would need to be completely removed to enable it to dump into the trash compactor. At the same time, it had to be secured from wind. The staff worked hard to meet that goal and did develop a perfect lid solution.
The shrink wrap program was incorporated. Bay Point worked with a local recycler to recycle all the shrink wrap waste that is created at the resort. The marina’s maintenance and service departments take all the banding out of the shrink wrap and put the remaining plastic in boxes for the recyclers. The marina also assists boat owners who want to remove the banding themselves. With 120 boats stored outside each year, the amount of shrink wrap is considerable, yet the cost to recycle proved to be minimal. The recycler charges $100 to drop off and pick up 10 boxes.
Bay Point also made a concerted effort to teach boaters best environmental practices. Best Boater Practices are listed in annual dockage contracts and promoted in weekly bulletins. Messages regarding the hazards of dumping waste and litter into the waters of Lake Erie are posted throughout the facility and signs are posted near the boat ramp to inform members of policies surrounding invasive species control. “It’s all about the boaters. If they’re willing to learn and protect the environment and natural resources than everyone wins in the long run,” Gallavan said.
To further spread the clean boating message to members and visitors, Bay Point hosts a National Marina Day each year where representatives from Sea Grant, Clean Marina and the Lake Erie Foundation come out to talk in person about what they are doing and what boaters and the community can do to protect the environment. The event also is an opportunity for Bay Point to showcase its best practices.
The efforts of the facility to make these changes and additions paid off. Clean Marina staff returned, conducted a new site visit, and presented the award the same day.
Upland, low-flow toilets are in use in all restroom facilities, and all the storm drains and catch basins located within the marina are cleaned on a routine basis and are clearly labeled that the drain leads to waterways.
On the water, No Wake Zones are posted and enforced in the channel and
marina and break walls have been installed for erosion control measures. Bay Point also continuously uses bubblers to enhance water circulation.
The fuel dock facility is equipped with a monitoring system to detect leaks within the underground storage tank. Staff are trained in spill response, and actions to take in the event of a spill are clearly posted on the dock itself.
With a nod to the future, Bay Point took environmental responsibility a step further, through the donation of a 68-acre sand spit on its property to the Western Land Conservancy to ensure it is permanently conserved and serves its purpose as a popular recreation site for boaters. The sand spit, known to locals as “the sandbar,” has been a feature in the harbor since the 1800’s but was inaccessible from land. When Bay Point took over the property that changed.
The land donation was also a marketing tool. “Some people in the area think Bay Point is growing too rapidly and will end up just being a bunch of houses. We showed we do want to protect land and water access and we care about the environment,” Gallavan said.