Recreational boaters received good news today when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $14.27 million in Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program competitive grants to 10 states and the District of Columbia. The Service also will provide approximately $2.48 million to 27 states, commonwealths and territories willing to match smaller, non-competitive grants dedicated to boating infrastructure projects.
“Anglers and boaters make these grants possible, helping communities build and enhance facilities that provide recreational opportunities while supporting jobs and economic growth,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “These funds pay for floating docks, fixed piers, mooring buoys, sewage pump-out stations and other infrastructure that benefits fish and wildlife habitat while providing access for outdoor recreation.”
“BIG grants are an impactful, win-win solution for boaters, businesses and states. Providing recreational boaters with the infrastructure and facilities they need to enjoy the water through their own tax dollars is a proven success. In turn, waterside communities and their small businesses benefit from the economic footprint left by visitors who boat there,” said Thom Dammrich, chairman of the Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Grantees use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain facilities with features for transient boaters (those staying 10 days or fewer) who pilot vessels that are 26 feet or more in length and are used for recreation. Grantees also may use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and about recreational boating. Funding for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.
For example, a BIG grant of $1.5 million, matched with $1.5 million in non-federal funding, will enable the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft to partner with the city of Cincinnati to install 28 new slips on the Ohio River. In Corpus Christi, Texas, a grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department of more than $500,000, matched by $282,000 in non-federal funds from the city, will support construction of 35 new slips for eligible transient boaters in the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina. This cost-effective project also includes installation of shore power and potable water.
Projects receiving competitive grants are:
For more information on each of the grant projects, visit: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/BIG/BIG_Funding.htm.
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