Alaska Harbors Poised to Implement New Clean Harbors Program Statewide
Voluntary program will reduce pollution, protect fisheries & save moneyHOMER, AK - The Alaska Clean Harbors Program today released a new report that will pave the way for clean harbor "certifications" at harbors and marinas across the state. Once a harbor makes a pledge to achieve Clean Harbor certification, harbormasters and boaters will have access to cost-effective tools to protect water quality and fish habitat during routine harbor activities such as hull maintenance, oil changes, and fueling. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) funded the development and pilot phases of the Alaska Clean Harbors Program through an Alaska Clean Water Act grant. "The Alaska Clean Harbors Program provides valuable tools for local communities to protect the very resources that support our coastal economies," said Rachel Lord, author of the new Clean Harbors report. "Equally important, it helps reduce compliance and spill response costs at a time when local budgets are increasingly stretched thin."
The Alaska Clean Harbors Final Report details the origins of this exciting new program, and describes how the certification process will benefit local communities. The Alaska Clean Harbors certification program was piloted in the Homer Harbor. Details from this project are included in the report, along with findings from site visits and conversations with Clean Marina programs in the Lower 48 and harbormasters around Alaska. This comprehensive report provides a foundation for establishing a clean harbors certification program in Alaska, and includes a suggested program structure, with a Marine Technical Advisory Committee to oversee Clean Harbor certifications around the state. During the October 2010 annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators (AAHPA), board member and Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins was appointed to sit on the Alaska Clean Harbors Advisory Committee as the AAHPA representative. Steve Corporon, President of the AAHPA and City of Ketchikan Port & Harbors Director, praised the work done so far to develop the program: "I am grateful for the time and effort expended by all of the participants, including several members of AAHPA, in working to develop the Alaska Clean Harbors program. It will be a critical link to maintaining and improving the beauty and purity of the coastal Alaska communities where we live and work."
Program sponsors envision that Clean Harbor certifications will become available by late-2011, pending additional funding. Harbors can participate in the program by signing a Clean Harbor pledge, doing a self-evaluation of current pollution-prevention best management practices, and working with program staff to implement best management practices (BMPs) as needed. Benefits to harbors include: reduced waste disposal and clean-up costs, increased regulatory compliance, increased potential and assistance with grants and funding opportunities, improve water quality and habitat, and positive publicity. Members are still being sought to serve on the Marine Technical Advisory Committee.
Participants in the Alaska Clean Harbors certification program development include: the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Sea Grant, Nuka Research, URS Corporation, and the cities of: Homer, Seldovia, Skagway, Dutch Harbor, Seward, Juneau, Kodiak, Cordova, and Sitka. The ACH Final Report and other Alaska Clean Harbor documents and resources, can be found at the project website: www.alaskacleanharbors.org.
1995-2010: Celebrating 15 years protecting the Cook Inlet watershed and the life it sustains. www.inletkeeper.org