District Digest News Stories

Willow Grove Marina recertifies its ‘Clean Marina’ status

Published April 1, 2011

DALE HOLLOW LAKE, Tenn. (April 1, 2011) – On a cool, overcast day in March 2005, Darren Shell raised the first Clean Marina flag in the Cumberland River Basin.  As the owner and operator of Willow Grove Marina here, he has since been an advocate for clean water at his marina’s harbor.

Today, the Willow Grove Marina staff proudly flies the Clean Marina flag after continued dedication and successful re-certification of its clean marina status by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District officials.  

According to Ranger Sondra Carmen, a member of the Cumberland River Clean Marina inspection team, the Cumberland River Basin Clean Marina Partnership is a voluntary program implemented by the Nashville District and its watershed partners to promote environmentally responsible marina and boating practices.

“This program is intended to help marina operators protect the very resource that provides them with their livelihood, which is clean water,” Carmen said.  “Darren and his Willow Grove Marina team are instrumental in the success of this program, and is the first marina to recertify, and that allows them to continue to fly the coveted clean marina flag.”

Carmen explained that Shell and Willow Grove Marina were instrumental in developing the Clean Marina program.  Shell first attended a Tennessee Valley Authority meeting about a similar program, and he envisioned implementing it in the Cumberland River system.  “He shared his goal with the Nashville District and the Cumberland River Basin Clean Marina Program was birthed,” she said.

“Darren and his team provided a learning experience for the Nashville District, allowing us all to flush out what makes a proactive clean harbor program,” Carmen added.  “There are now four additional marinas in the Nashville District that have achieved Clean Marina status.  Darren has been a mentor to them and willingly shares his experiences and resource materials.”

After recertifying April 1, Shell Proudly displayed his flag and said, "When we first heard about the Clean Marina program and what it could mean for our river system, everyone on my staff was immediately onboard and wanted to be the first to achieve such a lofty goal.  This new recertification of our special early goals has us all reflecting on the infancy stages of its creation.  It has made us all proud--in only a few years.  We're so happy to fly that flag!”

Shell stressed that “perhaps all boaters will one day know and understand the repercussions of waving that simple flag and what it means to us all as boaters and lake lovers.  Yes, it's a simple white flag, but it is so much more.  The torch of future boating is nestled in the weave of that one tiny flapping cloth."

Carmen said the Corps is thankful that Shell and his team broke ground on a program that promotes an ongoing passion to reduce water pollution and erosion in the Cumberland River watershed.

“This effort encourages boater education, coordination among state agencies and better communication of existing laws, and offers incentives for creative and proactive marina operators.  Congratulations Willow Grove Marina on successful re-certification as a Cumberland River Basin Clean Marina,” Carmen said.