KIMBERLING CITY — A program adapted from campaigns in several coastal U.S. states that enlist marinas to keep pollution and trash out of the ocean is getting its first test on a sprawling lake in southwest Missouri.
Two nonprofit groups have chosen Table Rock Lake for a pilot program of the Missouri Clean Marina campaign, with hopes of spreading the effort to other large lakes in the state.
Organized by the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition and Ozarks Water Watch, the project recruits marinas to take steps to keep gasoline, oil and other pollutants from flowing into the lake, which dips slightly into Arkansas.
Ten marinas have expressed interest so far, Ozarks Water Watch project manager Ronna Haxby told the Springfield News-Leader.
Haxby, whose organization has offices in Kimberling City, and Rogers, Ark., called the project a "win-win" for the lake and the participating marinas. Those that pass an inspection will be given a Missouri Clean Marina flag and a plaque attesting to their support to keep Table Rock Lake clean.
"The participating marinas get free promotion and bragging rights. Patrons can feel good about doing business at a facility they know is a good steward of our water, with Table Rock Lake being the big winner," she told the newspaper. "Keeping our lake clean and beautiful is the ultimate goal."
Haxby expects flags to begin flying over some of the participating marinas by early 2014, with others gaining the distinction before the summer boating season. She said the program also aims to educate recreational boaters about ways to keep pollutants out of the lake.
The program is partially funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, with additional funding from the Table Rock Lake Marina Association and the Ozarks Rivers Heritage Foundation.