Great Lakes Clean Marina Network Hosts Webinar

The Great Lakes Clean Marina Network held a webinar meeting on July 8 to discuss the status of state Clean Marina programs and learn more about the impact of high water along the Great Lakes.

The group is composed of state Clean Marina program managers from states that abut any of the Great Lakes. Michigan Sea Grant manages the Michigan Clean Marina Program and is the lead agency and coordinator for the network, which is a strategic collaboration between Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin Sea Grant programs developed to support education and outreach across the Great Lakes.

The states provided updates on the status of their Clean Marina programs giving current numbers for Clean Marina certifications and pledges and discussing new program initiatives, such as classroom training on clean best management practices, clean and safe boating programs, and outreach and recruitment efforts.

Mark Breederland, an educator for Coastal Communities Development at Michigan Sea Grant gave an overview of the high-water issues plaguing much of the Great Lakes, emphasizing that even if rain and snowpack volumes diminish, the high water will remain for a few years.

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“This is a marathon not a sprint,” Breederland said, indicating the grounds are saturated and cannot absorb any more. Breederland said that flooding is just one issue. High water also increases erosion, ice jams, sediment transport and seiche action, as well as sparking the phenomena known as meteotsunamis. A meteotsunami is a fast storm, lasting from ten minutes to a couple hours, that generates high waves that cause a rapid drop and rise in waters. These can be dangerous to those in boats and on land.

Sarah Orlando, program manager for Ohio Clean Marina, suggested the group consider how to educate marinas about the dangers from high water and provide resources for marina personnel to educate their boaters. Breederland said it was particularly important to let boaters know how critical it is to reduce boat wakes when water is high to prevent wake damage to shorelines and infrastructure.

The network is planning to meet again late in 2019 or early 2020.