Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

FWS Requests Proposals for Boating Infrastructure Grants

August 16, 2005


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting grant proposals for the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program for 2006. BIG funding, distributed by the Service, goes to the state agency responsible for managing recreational boating to work with interested marinas. The Service anticipates that $12 million will be available for this coming year's grants.

"We understand the importance of having safe and accessible tie-up facilities and the economic impact that boating can bring to local economies," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "The BIG program works with partners to improve recreational boating and fishing opportunities. It strengthens community ties to the waters edge by enhancing access to recreational, historical, cultural, natural and scenic resources for millions of boat owners."

Proposals will be due to the Service by October 31, 2005.

The BIG program has two levels of funding, Tier-1 and Tier-2. Under the Tier-1 portion, all states and territories can receive up to $100,000 to construct or improve docking facilities for transient boats without competing against other proposals. The Tier-2 portion of the BIG program enables larger projects to compete nationwide for available funding.

Funding for BIG is generated from excise taxes paid on boat motor fuel as authorized by the Wallop-Breaux Amendments to the Sportfish Restoration Act.
Proposals for the BIG program are 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, a federally chartered body which advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Service on recreational fishing and boating issues, makes an initial funding recommendation to the Service based on a review of project proposals by a Council-appointed committee.

The grants complement President Bush's commitment to empowering Americans to conserve wildlife and its habitat in their local communities and tribal areas. In the past five years, the Interior Department has dedicated more than $2 billion to cooperative conservation grant programs.

The announcement of the grants precedes the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation in St. Louis August 29-31. President Bush called for the conference as part of his Executive Order on Cooperative Conservation signed last year. The Executive Order directs the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Defense departments and the Environmental Protection Agency to emphasize cooperative conservation and partnerships in their programs and land management activities. The meeting in St. Louis will include more than 1,000 leaders from federal, state, local and tribal governments, industry, and environmental organizations, as well as private landowners.

For more information, see the Federal Assistance website at or contact the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, Mailstop MBSP-4020, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, phone 703-358-2156.

BIG is CFDA #15.622

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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