Well-trained employees, Standard Operating Procedures, emphasized communication skills, relevant and updated policy, outreach to the community and other techniques to manage your facility will help ensure a strong business that minimizes pollution from routine boating and operations. In this section we look at a wide variety of topics, including: Invasive Species monitoring and prevention, Abandoned & Derelict Boats, Disposal policies, Employee Training, and Harbor Outreach.
Non-indigenous and invasive species come into Alaska through ballast water, on vessel hulls, and on fouled gear. The introduction of these species into Alaskan waters may pose a serious environmental and economic threat. There are a number of best practices that you can implement at your facility to prevent and reduce the spread of invasives throughout Alaska.
best practices to prevent invasive species
- Educate customers about potential invasives and how to identify them. Especially in a boatyard or other area where hull cleaning occurs, have signage, fliers, brochures and other outreach material available for boaters to help detect invasives.
- Educate employees on invasives detection and identification. Harbor officers and other staff spend a lot of time on and around marine infrastructure that may have invasives. Make a point to bring up invasive species detection from time to time, and provide all staff with tools to help ID invasives. Check out these resources for marine invasives identification and detection. (in attachments folder: DVex_brochure, Non Native Aquatic Species Guide for AK, Invasives walletcard). The Alaska SeaLife Center has resources on their website (http://www.alaskasealife.org/New/research/index.php?page=mis_links.php) as does the AK Dept of Fish and Game’s site (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=invasive.main)
- Know who to call. If you, other harbor staff or a customer finds something that looks suspicious and may be an invasive, make sure to contact the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game at 1-877-INVASIV (468-2748). Take a photo if possible, and be sure to bag and dispose of any potential invasives in a trash receptacle - not in the water!
- Reduce the spread on derelict infrastructure. When replacing harbor floats, fingers, or other infrastructure that has been submerged, haul to the uplands and keep out of the water for at least 2 weeks. This should reduce the risk of transmitting invasives to other locations if you re-purpose or otherwise distribute.
- Prevent Rats! BMPs for rat prevention include:
- If you find rodent droppings or chew marks suspect you have rats or mice aboard your vessel and set traps until you are sure you have eliminated the problem. Kill all rats or mice that boards your vessel.
- Have traps set at all times. Use snap traps, sticky boards or poison bait boxes.
- Eliminate food and water rodents need to stay alive by keeping trash and food in rat-proof containers on high shelves.
- Clean up debris piles that provide shelter for rodents.
- Seal holes that give rats and mice access onto and within your vessel. Rats can squeeze through a ½ inch gap and mice through a ¼ inch.
- Inspect all oncoming cargo and gear. This is especially important if you store gear at a rodent infested site. Many harbors are infested. Don’t take cargo with droppings or chew marks aboard your boat.
- Use line guards on large vessels to keep rats and mice from climbing aboard.
- Never throw a live rat overboard when in a harbor. Rats are excellent swimmers and you’ll just be sharing your problem with the harbor. If you find a rat (dead or alive) notify ADF&G 1-877-INVASIV (468-2748).
- Remember-It is illegal to have rats on board any boat in Alaska waters. Boat owners could be fined.
Do you promote practices for boaters to prevent the spread of invasive species?
Do you educate staff and customers on detecting aquatic invasive species?
Do you provide educational materials to harbor users on preventing the spread of rats?
Abandoned & Derelict Boats
While still a young state, Alaska has become home to an ever aging fleet of vessels due to federal and state fishing rationalization programs, economic downturns, the inevitable aging and increased maintenance costs of these waterborne vessels, and increased requirements of vessel regulations and permits. Taken all together, many of these vessels have become uneconomical to operate as intended and therefore do not move and stay moored in a public harbor or anchored over public or state tidelands. These vessels form an increasing number of derelict and abandoned vessels throughout Alaska’s coast and rivers. Without a clear and pro-active response strategy and program for dealing with abandoned and derelict vessels (“ADV”) in public waters, the number of abandoned and derelict vessels will continue to increase and will leave the public to pay for the increased risk of damage to the natural environment.
In 2014, Cook Inletkeeper through Alaska Clean Harbors began facilitating an ad-hoc ADV Task Force for Alaska. You can find out more about this effort here. http://alaskacleanharbors.org/resources/harbor-management/derelict-vessels/
We have been working with the law firm of Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot to develop some templates and guidance for municipalities dealing with the impoundment process of ADV. You can see this document here.
best practices to prevent derelict boats
- Make sure your harbor code includes language that addresses ADV, nuisance vessels and impoundment.
- Require insurance and proof of insurance for all boaters entering your facility.
- Monitor vessels for signs of disrepair and/or abandonment. Be pro-active in collecting fees and communicating with owners about your concerns.
Do you have ordinances or sections of your tariff that address ADV?
Do you require insurance from boaters?
Do you monitor and remove ADV from your facility whenever possible?
Many of us are familiar with derelict boats. An old vessel is passed along from owner to owner, often stopping when the cost for repair is too high and the owner does not have the funds to maintain it any longer.
Unfortunately, a similar story can unfold with some of our old harbor infrastructure. When you have a float replacement project in your harbor, think about the fate of the materials being replaced. Old, un-encapsulated styrofoam floats are generally more of an environmental hazard than a benefit. Although it’s true that the highest and best use for that foam is as floatation, if you know that it can’t be economically rehabilitated to be encapsulated, by giving it away you may be creating a longer-term problem in your community depending on how the materials are used.
Consider developing disposal policies that ensure your facility is taking the responsible road when replacing infrastructure. Re-purpose and redistribute whenever possible, but if you know the materials are junk, treat them as such and swallow the cost for responsible and proper disposal.
Do you have disposal policies in place for construction and replacement projects at your facility?
Harbor officers are often the eyes and ears of the facility. Empowering all harbor employees with the knowledge and tools to communicate effectively with customers can save money and headaches, and create a positive environment for everyone.
Here are some resources for providing training opportunities for your employees. Alaska Clean Harbors may be able to help defray costs of classes or other opportunities. Make sure to maintain training records for all employees to document their involvement and progress over time.
Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators
Send someone from your facility to the annual meeting whenever possible. The AAHPA offers a $1,000 scholarship to help get members to the meetings – check their website for more information. (www.alaskaharbors.org)
University of Alaska Southeast – Online Career Training for Ports and Marinas
In addition to this ACH Course, UAS offers currently offers the following online courses:
Marine Structures and Materials
Oil Spills: Prevention, Preparedness and Response
Customer Service for Ports & Marinas
Hazardous Materials and Waste: Risks and Controls
Fire Safety for Ports & Marinas
Marina Utilities: Water and Sanitary Sewer
Harbor Operations and Planning
Marina Utilities: Electrical Systems
Do you have Standard Operating Procedures in place for employees?
Are employees trained to watch for inappropriate discharges?
Do you have a predetermined procedure for approaching polluters?
Do you maintain staff training records?
HAZWOPER Training (maybe use OSHA logo? I don’t have any photos)
HAZWOPER stands for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, and training is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for anyone that works around hazardous wastes. Zender Environmental has a great overview document on HAZWOPER training and opportunities in Alaska.
Are the relevant staff HAZWOPER trained?
Spill Prevention and Control Training (Spill Response Sign_)
Make sure that all staff have read and follow your spill prevention and control plans. Conduct spill response drills on a regular basis. Make sure that if a spill happens, no one on your staff is left wondering what to do and who to call. See the module on Petroleum Product Management for more information.
Include Waste Management & Pollution Prevention in regular staff meetings (I don’t have any good photos)
Everyone in a harbor department has a lot on their plates. Make sure to prioritize pollution prevention and good waste management procedures during regular staff and safety meetings. Effective implementation of these BMPs can save your harbor money and time in spill response and clean-ups. If you would like specific information on a topic, contact Alaska Clean Harbors to help out!
Do you educate all employees (including seasonals) on waste management and pollution prevention in routine meetings and/or trainings? Do you regularly review emergency procedures with all staff?
Make sure that your employees, customers and the greater community know about the positive work you do at the harbor! New recycling station? Get it in the newspaper and on the radio. Respond to customer complaints with knowledgeable answers, feedback and solutions when viable. When a customer goes out of their way to do the right thing, prevent pollution, or own up to a spill, consider providing some positive recognition for those people! Let people know about your Alaska Clean Harbors efforts, and share the program with other staff and customers.
Examples of harbor outreach
- Newspaper ad - Haines Harbormaster Phil Benner posted this public notice in the local Haines newspaper and hung it up as a flyer at the Harbormasters office. (harbor ops photos - newspaper ad)
- Include a flyer in your moorage mailings
- Newsletter - check out the insert from the Clean Harbors Currents newsletter that can be copied and distributed to customers (2014-15 ACH Winter Currents.pdf in attachments folder). All ACH newsletters can be downloaded from our homepage: www.alaskacleanharbors.org
- ACH Posters (attachments - clean harbor poster_final)
- TV spot. Check out this 5 minute video done after the Homer Harbor achieved the first ACH certification in Alaska. (attachments - Homer Harbor 5 min video)
Do you encourage and recognize boaters who try to prevent pollution?
Do you publicize your harbors pollution prevention and waste management activities and accomplishments?