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Economic Benefits vs. Environmental Impacts of Marinas and Boat Harbors

On August 18, 2014, OR&R Senior Scientist Alan Mearns met with two professors funded by NOAA Sea Grant to evaluate the economic benefits vs. environmental impacts of marinas and boat harbors.

Dr. Christine Bae, Department of Urban Planning at the University of Washington, and Dr. Nathaniel Trumbell, Department of Geography at University of Connecticut, along with economic researchers at the University of Southern California are applying an economic model to marinas. They are also seeking data and information on contaminant loads and biodiversity of marine life in marinas and harbors.

Mearns, together with oceanographer Lincoln Loehr met with Bae and Trumbell at Edmonds Marina near Seattle and discussed concepts for evaluating ecological benefits and impacts of marine development and operations. Central to the discussion was use of NOAA, Washington, and California Mussel Watch data to evaluate contaminant loadings in marinas (compared to outside). Few sites have been in marinas, a site sampled in Cordova Harbor (Alaska) many years ago had the highest concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the U.S. Other subjects discussed included oil spills, seafood safety, ecological tradeoffs associated with conversion of sandy shorelines to hardscape, questions about marinas and harbors as sediment traps for regionally derived pollution and "how clean is clean enough?” Dr. Mearns will continue to provide advice, contacts, and review as available.

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Three men and one woman standing on a dock.
Lincoln Loehr, Nat Trumbell, Christine Bae and Alan Mearns at Edmonds Marina. (NOAA)
Last updated Friday, June 14, 2019 2:15pm PDT