Theresa Qualls hired as Wisconsin Clean Marina Program coordinator

Theresa Qualls is coming back to her work roots with her hire as the Clean Marina Program coordinator for Wisconsin. Qualls, who has an undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from UW-Green Bay in environmental science and policy, worked for the program with former coordinator, Victoria Harris.

“We actually helped get the Clean Marina Program started,” said Qualls. “One of the big things I worked on was development of the program guidebook. I also was able to go on marina site visits. I always really liked this project – it’s a voluntary program. The marina operators like it and it’s good for the boaters, plus it’s good for the environment. It’s great to be back!”

The Clean Marina Program is designed to reduce pollution from marinas to protect Wisconsin’s waterways. To become certified, marinas adopt a list of best-management practices. Program staff conduct site visits to verify marina practices and provide training and technical support to marina and boatyard managers.

The program has certified 21 marinas since its start in 2009. With another three certifications pending and 14 more marinas interested in the program, Qualls will have plenty to do in her part-time position.

Her hire is thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan. (Read more about that here.) Julia Noordyk, Wisconsin Sea Grant’s water quality and coastal communities outreach specialist and coordinator for this grant, said the funding allows for increased one-on-one support between the clean marina coordinator and marinas that are interested in the program.

Qualls plans to increase the number of marina certifications and recertifications. “I’ll also be updating the guidebook – there’s been new regulations and things have changed since I wrote it in 2012. And I’ll be coming up with more boater education programs and tip sheets for distribution at marinas,” Qualls said.

The Clean Marina Program is administered by Wisconsin Sea Grant in partnership with the Wisconsin Marine Association and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. Additional partners include the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-Office of the Great Waters, SmithGroup and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Interested in participating in the Clean Marina Program? You can contact Qualls at [email protected] or (920) 465-5031.

Theresa Qualls, the Wisconsin Clean Marina Program coordinator