Boaters, anglers, communities, and aquatic life in Utah will reap benefits from more than $344 thousand dollars in grant funds, thanks to two U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) programs focusing on ensuring clean water and recreational access. Funding to states under the Service’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) and Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) programs total over $32 million nationwide in 2020.
Utah will receive a total of $344,937 under the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program. Partners, including Utah State Parks, provided 25% in non-federal matching funds toward the project.
“The boating community plays a crucial role in local economies, and keeping waterways safe, clean and accessible benefits anglers, other recreationists and wildlife,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “These programs facilitate responsible boater behavior, make substantial contributions to local economies, and are great examples of the Department’s commitment to working with state and local partners to improve infrastructure and support conservation efforts.
“Summer is here, and Americans are looking forward to enjoying boating and fishing,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Everyone -- local economies, people who love the outdoors, and wildlife and natural resources – wins when these outdoor opportunities are easy to access and help protect the health of our waterways.”
Grantees use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 15 days or less), that are 26 feet or more in length, and are used for recreation. Grantees may also use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating. Since its inception in 2000, the BIG program has awarded $228 million to projects, including funding the construction of more than 6,000 berths and other amenities benefitting boaters across most states and U.S. territories.
“We are pleased to hear that the State of Utah will be receiving BIG funding to help improve and expand boating facilities at Lucerne Marina at Flaming Gorge Reservoir,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Nathan Owens said. “Recreational boating is an outlet for many people right now, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources appreciates the federal support of this important program and looks forward to providing more amazing recreational opportunities and amenities to the boaters at Flaming Gorge.”
“This is the first time that the State of Utah has had a qualifying application with the BIG program, and we are thrilled about the improvements that we will be able to make with this funding," Utah State Parks Boating Program Manager Ty Hunter said. "We are happy to be able to partner on this important initiative.”
Funding for the BIG and CVA programs comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Boaters and manufacturers contribute to the trust fund through excise taxes and duties on certain fishing and boating equipment and boating fuels.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen in the West, visit our website, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram.