Newsroom Midwest Region

More than $2 million in grants will support midwest recreational boating infrastructure projects

July 10, 2019

Rock and Dock Marina boat slips with restaurant and parking in the background
Rock and Dock Marina boat slips with restaurant and parking in the background. A Boating Infrastructure Grant was used to build new floating docks for 53 transient boat slips including three ADA accessible slips and ramp, a new shower, restrooms, laundry building and amenities in 2011. Photo by Anthony Hewitt/USFWS.

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are pleased to announce $20.6 million in grants to States and U.S. territories through the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program. These contributions benefit recreational boaters and local communities and their economies by supporting boat tie-up facilities and associated amenities, helping Americans enjoy the nation’s waters and our cherished wildlife and natural and cultural resources.

Under the BIG Tier I Subprogram, the Service will release more than half a million dollars to fund projects in Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Under the BIG Tier II subprogram, more than $1.6 million has been competitively awarded for two projects in Cleveland, Ohio. States and their partners will provide more than $760,000 in non-federal matching funds toward these projects.

Heritage Park site plan shows where 12 new slips and ADA ramp access to boat docks will be located on the East bank of the Cuyahoga River next to Lorenzo Carter Cabin and near the East Flats development.
Heritage Park site plan shows where 12 new slips and ADA ramp access to boat docks will be located in the park. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

The Tier II projects will add 18 additional day-use docks on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio for transient recreational boats that are 26 feet or more in length. These projects support the Cleveland Metroparks strategic plans to expand recreation opportunities in urban areas and revitalize Cleveland’s urban core through parks, trails, and greenspaces. The Cuyahoga River is a popular destination for water enthusiasts, and it’s shipping channel showcases a unique blend of industry and recreation.

Rivergate Park site plan shows where 6 new slips, ADA ramp access to boat docks, and ADA walkway will be located in Irishtown bend southwest of the Cleveland rowing foundation and to the northwest of Merwin's Wharf restaurant.
Rivergate Park site plan shows where 6 new slips, ADA ramp access to boat docks, and ADA walkway will be located in the park. Photo courtesy of Cleveland Metroparks.

The 12 new slips at Heritage Park and 6 new slips at Rivergate Park will provide protected docks, improving safety from the current bulkhead ties in the shipping channel. The combination of these two projects adds additional connectivity to public space in Cleveland, increasing tourism opportunities in the region through access to downtown amenities.

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. Since its inception in 2000, the BIG program has awarded $215 million to projects for large transient recreational boats, including funding the construction of more than 5,400 berths and other amenities for boaters across most states and U.S. territories.

To learn more, see a list of BIG grant projects or learn more about the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program.