Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Michigan $582,000 Boating Infrastructure Grant
Midwest Region, April 6, 2007
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Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced today that more than $9.5 million has been awarded to nine states through the competitive Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG) program.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes these grants available to state agencies and partners to build and maintain facilities for recreational boaters.


"The BIG program works with partners to improve recreational boating and fishing opportunities. It strengthens community ties to the water’s edge by enhancing access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural and scenic resources for millions of boat owners," Kempthorne said. "We understand the importance of having safe and accessible tie-up facilities and many communities are experiencing new businesses and a rejuvenated hometown spirit as a result of this program.”


These grant funds are awarded through a competitive selection process and the annual requests for funds greatly exceed available funding.  The Service received 32 proposals from 19 states requesting a total of $22.8 million of federal funding.  Approximately $9.4 million was available this fiscal year.


“Our partners stand side-by-side with the Fish and Wildlife Service as we strive to connect families with the natural world,” said Robyn Thorson, regional director for the Service's Midwest region.  “These projects will help enhance the outdoor experience for thousands of recreational boaters.  And I am proud to note that the Midwest Region projects captured nearly one-third of the available grant funds.”


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the City of Trenton, will receive $582,315 and match nearly $200,000 to develop floating docks for visiting boaters at Black Lagoon.  The proposed project will construct a floating dock system with 31 slips for visiting boats on the Detroit River, including electrical and water services.  


“Our community is ecstatic to receive this very generous grant which will allow us to construct a transient floating dock system, with electrical and water services, adjacent to our city park, Meyer-Ellias Park,” said Trenton Mayor Gerald Brown.  “The 31 slips for visiting boats from the Detroit River has the potential to positively impact our downtown resurgence that has been taking place for the past five years.  It also has the potential to be a crown jewel of our city.  


“I realize that many people and organizations have come together to make this project happen, but I must single out one individual as the champion of this whole effort and that is Dr. John Hartig, the manager of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge,” Brown continued.  “We are very fortunate to lay claim to Dr. Hartig as one of our very own residents.  He worked very hard on this grant request as he does on every project he becomes involved in.”

Additionally, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the City of Dubuque and the Dubuque Racing Association, will receive $3,037,802 and match more than $1 million to develop visiting boating facilities in downtown Dubuque on the Mississippi River.  In cooperation with the City of Guttenberg and other partners, the Iowa DNR will also receive $451,709 and match more than $250,000 to develop a marina providing visiting boating slips on the Mississippi River.


BIG proposals were reviewed by a panel of representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as a committee from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.  The Council is a federally chartered body which advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Service on recreational fishing and boating issues.  A council-appointed committee made an initial funding recommendation to the Service based on a review of project proposals.


Money for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which is supported by excise taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and on boat fuels.


The BIG program has two levels of funding, labeled Tier I and Tier II. Tier II grants are the larger competitive grants highlighted above.  Under the Tier I portion, all states and territories can receive up to $100,000 to construct or improve docking facilities for visiting (short term, non-trailerable boats) without competing against other proposals.  Grants totaling $3,726,178 were also made available to 38 states as part of this year's distribution under Tier I.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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