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Big Grants: Eight States Receive $4.4 Million for Nine Major Boating Facilities Projects


January 15, 2002

Christine Eustis, 404/679-7287
Dario Bard, 202-208-5634

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a total of $4,395,115 in grants to eight States to help improve docking facilities for transient, non-trailerable boats along the navigable waterways of the United States.

The grants are the second round of awards made under the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program authorized by the Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998 and funded in part by excise taxes on motorboat fuel.

“Thanks to the BIG program, millions of people will be able to enjoy greater and better recreational and fishing opportunities off America’s shores,” said Service Acting Director Marshall Jones.

“The BIG program is a big deal for recreational boat owners who will now have the opportunity to visit more state and local parks and historic sites which heretofore were inaccessible by boat,” added Boat U.S. Vice President Michael Sciulla.

The BIG program provides the States funding for: mooring buoys; day-docks; transient slips; safe harbor facilities (including temporary safe anchorage or a harbor of refuge during a storm); floating and fixed piers and breakwaters; dinghy docks; restrooms; retaining walls; bulkheads; dockside utilities; pump-out stations, trash collection and recycling facilities; dockside electric, water and telephone capabilities; navigational aids; and marine fueling stations.

BIG transient facilities must be built in waters deep enough for boats 26 feet and larger to navigate a minimum of six feet of depth at low tide. One-time dredging is allowed to provide access between open water and tie-up facilities.

BIG program funds are being distributed each year over a four-year period ending in 2003. To ensure that each State gets a share, funding is provided on a two-tiered basis. For tier-one grants, all States are eligible to receive up to $100,000 per grant cycle as long as their proposals meet the program’s guidelines. Tier-two projects are designed for larger, more expensive projects and are awarded on a competitive basis.

The nine tier-two grants announced today were selected from 58 proposals submitted from across the country. Acting Director Jones decided to fund the nine projects based upon recommendations received from a panel of Service Regional staff as well as those submitted by the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. The Council is a federally chartered body that advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Service on recreational fishing and boating issues. The Council recommends projects to the Service based on a review of proposals by a Council-appointed subcommittee. Subcommittee members include:

  • Bill Anderson, Westrec Marina Management;
  • Mike Hough, States Organization for Boating Access;
  • Jim Kalkofen, Professional Walleye Trial;
  • Ryck Lydecker, Boat U.S.;
  • Neil Ross, formerly of the Marine Environmental Education Foundation; and
  • John Schwartz, Michigan Sea Grant College Program.

Following the competitive process, the Service announced the following BIG grants:


Tampa Convention Center, Tampa Bay, for new transient docking facilities ($250,000)


Bucktown Harbor Marina, Lake Pontchartrain, for new transient docking facilities ($407,000)

Cypress Cove Marina, Mississippi River, for new transient docking facilities ($200,000)


Coleman State Park, Tennessee River, for repairing harbor dike and adding safety features for transient boaters ($224,000)


Middle Bass Island State Park, to install 60 transient slips, completing work initiated with BIG program funds in 2001 ($861,383)


Port of Astoria, Columbia River, construct and renovate transient docking facilities ($354,750)

South Carolina

Charleston City Dock, Ashley River, for new transient docking facilities ($1,198,000)


Yorktown Harbor, York River, Chesapeake Bay, for new transient docking facilities ($600,000)


Hanford Reach Gateway Dock, Columbia River, for new transient docking facilities ($299,982)

With only one more round of grants scheduled before Congressional re-authorization is required to continue the program, States are urged to submit their proposals before this year’s September 30 deadline.

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 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 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 governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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