We recently had a chance to speak with Adria Lau, Program Manager of Washington’s Clean Boating Foundation, which has many similarities to our Clean Marine BC green boating and marina eco-certification program.
Here is what she had to say about their organization, and ways we can work together to minimize the impacts from recreational boating in the Salish Sea.
Adria, can you tell us a little bit about the Clean Boating Foundation, your background, and how you became their Program Manager?
The Clean Boating Foundation is based out of Seattle Washington. We work with a wide range of groups, from boatyards to state government, to promote environmentally friendly boating practices. One of the main things that we are working on right now is our certification program, which puts boatyards in tip-top shape as far as the environment is concerned.
As for me, I am currently an Environmental Science and Art History major at the University of Washington. It’s kind of a weird mix, but I think it has really aided me in my job as Program Manager. I get to see many different perspectives while having a solid understanding on the environment.
My family is Croatian, so I come from a long line of boat builders. I have been around boats, and boatyards my entire life, so when I saw the opportunity to work for the Clean Boating Foundation, it really felt like the perfect match.
Together our organizations’ missions cover the north and south regions of the Salish Sea. Since the threats to the Salish Sea do not stop at our border, how can we collaborate to restore and protect our shared waters?
I think that as an environmentalist I was told over and over that everything is connected. Everything that we do has an impact on the environment, and rarely are our solutions without repercussions, both positive and negative. With this idea in mind, collaboration is essential, but oftentimes more difficult than it seems. Of course, with the rise of technology, collaboration is becoming easier. I think that the open sharing of ideas between our two countries is essential to tackling issues of the Salish Sea. In the end it really boils down to education and awareness.
Are there areas of green boating with developments that you are particularly excited about, and areas where you’d like to see better progress?
I’ve been visiting a lot of boatyards around Washington and so far one of the most exciting things I’ve seen is the enthusiasm in the community. Each yard uses different filtration systems that are suited for their needs and are in many ways creative. We have come a long way as far as heavy metal pollution, but of course the work is never done.
I would love to see some more progress on invasive species awareness, education and prevention. Washington is one of the few states that has not been affected by the zebra mussel. I have such a huge fear that they will invade our waters because the repercussions will be huge for our aquatic ecosystems including our salmon.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Adria. We look forward to collaborating with the Clean Boating Foundation on green boating in the Salish Sea.
The Clean Boating Foundation also interviewed our Clean Marine BC Coordinator, Michelle Young.
You can find that conversation here.