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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

Marinas Chapter Factsheet

What Is the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program?

Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 (CZARA) requires coastal states (including Great Lakes states) with approved coastal zone management programs to address nonpoint pollution impacting or threatening coastal waters. States must submit Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Programs for approval to both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Requirements for state programs are described in a document entitled "Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance" and are summarized in a separate fact sheet.

What Are Management Measures?

CZARA requires EPA, in consultation with NOAA and other federal agencies, to publish guidance specifying "management measures" to restore and protect coastal waters from specific categories of nonpoint source pollution. EPA has done so in a document entitled "Guidance Specifying Management Measures for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution in Coastal Waters." State Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Programs must provide for implementation of these measures or alternative management measures in conformity with these measures in the coastal management area generally. "Management measures" are defined by law to be economically achievable measures that reflect the best available technology for reducing pollutants. States may select from a wide range of practices or combinations of practices that will achieve the level of control specified in the management measure. This fact sheet summarizes the management measures applicable to marinas and recreationa boating. Other fact sheets summarize the measures for agriculture, forestry, urban areas, hydromodification, and wetlands/riparian areas.

What Are the Nonpoint Source Pollution Problems Associated with Marinas and Recreational Boating?

Marinas are located right at the water's edge, and often there is no buffering of pollutants coming from boats or transported by runoff from parking lots and hull maintenance areas. Documented adverse environmental impacts include dissolved oxygen deficiencies and high concentrations of toxic metals in aquatic organisms. In addition, construction activities can lead to the physical destruction of sensitive ecosystems and bottom-dwelling aquatic communities.

Management Measures Summary

Marina Flushing — The measure requires that marina siting and design allow for maximum flushing of the water supply for the site. Adequate flushing reduces the potential for the stagnation of water in a marina and helps to maintain the biological productivity and reduce the potential for toxic accumulation in bottom sediment.

Water Quality Assessment — This measure specifies that water quality  be considered in the siting and design of both new and expanding marinas.

Habitat Assessment — Marinas should be designed and located so as to protect against adverse impacts on shellfish resources, wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and other important habitat areas as designated by local, state, or federal governments.

Shoreline Stabilization — Where shoreline erosion is a nonpoint source pollution problem, shorelines should be stabilized. Vegetative methods are strongly preferred unless structural methods are cost-effective.

Stormwater Runoff — This measure, which applies to runoff from the marina site only, specifies implementation of runoff control strategies which include the use of pollution prevention activities and the proper design of hull maintenance areas. At least 80% of suspended solids must be removed from stormwater runoff coming from the hull maintenance areas. Marinas which obtain a NPDES permit for their hull maintenance areas are not required to conform to this hull maintenance area provision.

Fueling Station Design — This measure specifies that fueling stations should be located and designed so that, in the case of an accident, spill contaminants can be contained in a limited area. Fueling stations should have fuel containment equipment as well as a spill contingency plan

Sewage Facilities — To prevent the discharge of sewage directly to coastal waters, new and expanding marinas are to install pumpout, pump station, and restroom facilities where needed.

Solid Waste — This measure specifies that solid wastes produced by the operation, cleaning, maintenance, and repair of boats should be properly disposed of to limit their entry to surface waters.

Fish Wastes — In sufficient quantity, fish wastes can result in the depletion of dissolved oxygen and odor problems. To address this concern, the measure requires that sound fish waste management be promoted through a combination of fish cleaning restrictions, public education, and proper disposal.

Liquid Material — This management measure provides for appropriate storage, transfer, containment, and disposal facilities for liquid materials commonly used in boat maintenance and encourages the recycling of these materials.

Petroleum Control — This measure addresses the problem of fuel and oil leaks, which often occur during the refueling and operation of boats. The amount of fuel and oil leakage from fuel tank air vents should be reduced.

Boat Cleaning — This measure minimizes the use of potentially harmful hull cleaners and bottom paints and their release to marinas and coastal waters.

Public Education — Public education/outreach/training programs should be instituted for boaters, as well as marina operators, to prevent improper disposal of polluting materials.

Maintenance of Sewage Facilities — This measure specifies that pumpout facilities be maintained in operational condition and that their use be encouraged to reduce untreated sewage discharges to surface waters.

Boat Operation — This measure deals with ecological problems resulting from boating operations outside marinas. In shallow areas, intense boating activities may contribute to shoreline erosion. The measure is designed to prevent increased turbidity and physical destruction of shallow-water habitat resulting from boating activities.

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