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Contact Us

Phone: 612-713-5360
Address: BHW Federal Building
One Federal Drive
Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056

What is BIGP?

Authorized by Congress during the summer of 1998, BIGP is intended to provide funding for construction of facilities that will enhance boating for nontrailerable (26' or over in length) recreational boats when such boats are in transient status.

Where Do Funds Come From?

The Sport Fishing and Boating Safety Act authorizes this competitive grant program. Funds come from the Sport Fish Restoration Account of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund. The funds result from a Federal excise tax on fishing equipment and motorboat fuels.

How Are Funds Awarded?

All funds are awarded to an appropriate State Agency, typically a division of the DNR or similar environmental department. States are encouraged to partner with local units of government and private facilities by sub-granting to them.

Federal funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% of the approved project costs. The remaining "matching" funds must come from state or local sources. States typically expect the local facility to pay these costs. Additional ranking points are awarded to projects that provide for a higher percentage of matching funds.

Since most costs incurred on a project prior to Federal approval are not eligible for reimbursement, it is imperative that construction does not commence prior to written approval. Certain pre-agreement costs such as design and archeological surveys may be eligible for reimbursement if a project is selected for funding.

All Facilities Constructed Under This Program Must Be:

  • designed to accommodate boats 26' in length or greater;
  • used by transient boaters (boaters not at their home port and staying not more than 10 consecutive days);
  • open to the public;
  • designed and constructed so as to last at least 20 yrs;
  • continue to be used for their original stated grant purpose;
  • maintained throughout their useful life.

Typical Projects Could Include the Construction or Renovation of:

  • slips for transient boaters (not more than 10 days);
  • mooring buoys;
  • navigational aids limited specifically to direct entry to transient, nontrailerable tie up facilities;
  • safe harbors for transients;
  • initial dredging only to provide transient vessels with safe channel depths.

Activities that Are NOT Allowed Under BIGP Would Include:

  • routine, custodial and/or janitorial maintenance activities (those that occur regularly on an annual or more frequent basis);
  • construction of slips for long term rental (more than 10 days);
  • construction or maintenance of facilities designed for trailerable boats;
  • maintenance dredging;
  • dry land storage or haul out facilities;
  • activities or construction that does not provide public benefit.

What Restrictions Are Placed Upon Funded Facilities?

Facilities that participate in the program must allow the feature(s) constructed under BIGP to be open to the general public and provide access to shore along with other existing basic features of the facility such as fuel, pumpouts, and restrooms. Access to other nonessential features of the facility are not required.

Features proposed under BIGP cannot cause damage to the environment nor to historic features. All facilities must comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Can I Charge For the Use of the Facility?

Reasonable rates (prevailing rates in the area) may be charged to boaters for features constructed under BIGP such as transient mooring slips.

What Are the Types of Funding and Their Criteria?

There are two levels of funding that a state may apply for, Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Tier 1 funding comprises an annual maximum of $100, 000 that is available to each applying state on a noncompetitive basis. States must still submit projects that meet Program requirements and score a minimum of 60 out of 100 points, but they are not competing for the funds against other states.

Tier 2 funding comprises the remainder of the annual funding ($8 million less whatever is awarded under Tier 1) that is open for full competitive funding.

The best projects submitted nationally will be fully funded as long as funds are available.

Further Questions. . .

If you think that you might be interested in participating in the BIGP, the first step is to make contact with your State BIGP Coordinator. You can obtain the name and telephone number of your State Coordinator from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs at 612-713-5130.

Two Final Cautions

Each state has the right to place additional restrictions on this program beyond what has been presented here. Remember, costs incurred prior to having a signed written agreement with the state are not eligible for reimbursement.


Search  Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs
Region 3: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Phone: 612/713-5130


Last updated: August 6, 2015