Santa Barbara boasts progress with Clean Marina Program

Water quality monitoring and pollution prevention are among the top goals of city’s ongoing eco-friendly work at the harbor.

SANTA BARBARA—The city of Santa Barbara continues to make progress in making its local harbor an eco-friendly waterfront. This was the message of a recent Clean Marina Program update, which was provided at the April 18 Santa Barbara Harbor Commission meeting.

Santa Barbara Harbor’s Clean Marina Program is comprised of six elements, according to Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman: facilities for boaters; water quality monitoring; best management practices; pollution prevention and abatement; education; and, compliance and enforcement.

Kronman discussed each element with commissioners, explaining how each category both promotes boating and maintains a sustainable harbor.

The harbor, for example, has five pump-out stations: three at Marina 1, one at the fuel dock and another at the boat launch ramp. Each station can handle 40-some pounds of pump-out per minute.

All five stations were used for a total of 5,820 minutes in fiscal year 2018, slightly up from the previous two fiscal years. Pump-out use minutes have ranged from 5,218 (fiscal year 2015) to 9,011 (fiscal year 2006).

Kronman added Santa Barbara Harbor is also home to more than 40 debris nets, with 15 of those replaced and updated last year.

All 40 nets could be updated and replaced within the next few years. Kronman said these nets are available for boaters to use, not harbor personnel.

There are also three waste oil removal stations in the harbor, which boaters can use for antifreeze, bilge pads, oil, oil filters other nonhazardous materials.

The harbor also has programs on marine battery collection, fish line recycling, water quality monitoring, abandoned vessel abatement and anti-fouling paints.

Here are a few more statistics from Santa Barbara Harbor Commission’s Clean Marina Program, for fiscal year 2018:

  • 5,700 gallons of waste oil disposed
  • 150 batteries recycled
  • 35 of disposed fishing line (pier and offshore combined)
  • 15,000 oil absorbent pads distributed
  • 18 bird rescues and recoveries
  • 30 marine mammal rescues
  • 11 surrendered boats recovered
  • 2 abandoned boats recovered.

Harbor staff also continues to conduct dye-tabbing tests to monitor for discharge violations, Kronman added. The harbor conducted 584 dye-tabbing inspections in fiscal year 2018 (down from 682 in fiscal year 2017); zero citations were issued in the four of the past five fiscal years, according to data published by harbor staff. The only fiscal year where discharge violation citations were issued was in FY 2015; three citations were issued that year.

The Clean Marina Program, according to Kronman, has helped city officials manage Santa Barbara Harbor in the most environmentally appropriate manner possible.

“If you don’t have this green marina certification [from the state], it’s like a [poor] Yelp review,” Kronman said. “People pay attention to this when they’re going to visit harbors up and down the coast.”

Kronman added the adjusted cost for the Clean Marina Program, which has been in effect since 2002, was less than $20,000 for fiscal year 2018.

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