WASHINGTON D.C. (USFWS) - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced more than $12.5 million in competitive grants that will be awarded to 11 states ranging from California to Maine for 14 boating infrastructure projects. The grants, which will help fund construction of docks, boat slips and other facilities to support recreational boating, are made available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program. "Boating is one of our country's favorite pastimes, and the Boating Infrastructure Grant program greatly enhances recreational opportunities while conserving America's aquatic natural resources," said Secretary Salazar. "Spending by boaters provides significant revenues for business owners and employees in every state. This program, funded by boaters, is a prime example of the direct economic benefits boating can bring to local economies." Funding for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fishing and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which is supported by excise taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and boat fuels. The Service will also release approximately $3 million to 40 states willing to match a smaller, non-competitive grant program known as BIG Tier One funding.
Boating Infrastructure Grant funds are used to construct, renovate and maintain tie-up facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 10 days or less) that are 26 feet or more in length and cannot be transported by trailer. The funds are also used to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program.
A panel of representatives from the Service, as well as a committee from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, reviewed and ranked the BIG proposals. The Council is a federally chartered body that advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Service on recreational fishing and boating issues.
The Service received a total of 31 proposals from 14 states for these competitive grants. The 14 winning proposals for competitive grants include:
California: The California Department of Boating and Waterways, in cooperation with the City of Redondo Beach, will receive $250,000 and match that amount to add 50 transient mooring facilities at King Harbor. The California Department of Boating and Waterways, in cooperation with the City of Avalon, will receive $1 million and match that amount with more than $1.1 million to provide a new fuel pier facility and expand the existing transient dingy dock by 50 feet to serve transient boaters.
Florida: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in cooperation with the City of West Palm Beach, will receive $500,000 and match that amount with more than $1.4 million to provide transient tie-up facilities for up to 37 vessels along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in downtown West Palm Beach. The proposed project complements ongoing waterfront development in West Palm Beach.
Illinois: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Chicago Park District, will receive $3.1 million and match that amount with nearly $32 million to construct 125 slips and associated amenities for transient boats along the Lake Michigan waterfront in Chicago. The proposed project is part of a major project to provide seasonal and transient marina infrastructure.
Maine: The Maine Department of Transportation, in cooperation with Dolphin Marina, will receive more than $363,000 and match that amount with more than $134,000 to construct 20 transient moorings and 16 transient slips and renovate amenities for transient boaters.
Mississippi: The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, in cooperation with Long Beach Port Commission, will receive more than $965,000 and match that amount with nearly $483,000 to construct guest moorage for 8 transient vessels.
North Carolina: The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Town of Plymouth, will receive $106,000 and match that amount with $44,000 to construct 9 transient boat slips on town property. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Town of New Bern, will receive nearly $647,000 and match that amount with nearly $736,000 to construct a new marina on town property and include 14 transient boat slips and associated facilities for transient boater use. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in cooperation with Morehead City, will receive more than $504,000 and match that amount with more than $318,000 to increase public waterfront access through construction of 10 transient boat slips.
Ohio: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the Village of Put-In-Bay, will receive more than $2.2 million and match that amount with more than $1.3 million to replace or renovate 905 feet of existing docks, construct 590 feet of new floating docks, and install new lighting hook-ups, electrical, water and fire protection improvements on all existing and proposed docks for transient boaters.
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, in cooperation with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the City of Pittsburgh, the Heinz Endowment and the Laurel Foundation will receive nearly $1 million and match that amount with more than $1 million to construct docking space for 16 transient vessels. The proposed project will complement ongoing efforts to provide public access to cultural and recreational opportunities in downtown Pittsburgh.
Texas: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in cooperation with the City of Aransas Pass, will receive nearly $666,000 and match that amount with more than $285,000 to construct 24 slips for transient boats ranging from 26 to 60 feet or greater in length and 7 slips for transient boats 100 feet or over.
Virginia: The Virginia Department of Health, in cooperation with the Town of Cape Charles, will receive nearly $344,000 and match that amount with more than $358,000 to add 22 transient boat slips, alongside berthing for larger yachts, and supporting facilities to the town's harbor marina.