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$13.5 Million for Maryland’s Waterways

The J. Millard Tawes, in service for DNR since 1972. Credit: Jay Fleming.

The J. Millard Tawes, in service for DNR since 1972. Credit: Jay Fleming.

Maryland’s Waterway Improvement Fund announced that the state’s Department of Natural Resources will provide $13.5 million in fiscal year 2021 for a variety of waterborne projects throughout the Old Line State.

Projects that will benefit from the funding — which is derived from a 5 percent excise tax on boat purchases and titles in the state — range far and wide, and include renovations to piers, ramps, pilings, bulkheads and parking lots at public marinas, emergency rescue equipment for first responders, dredging and more.

Among the highest price tags (grants run the gamut, from $3,500 for an inflatable vessel for Solomons Volunteer FD to a $400,000 dredging at Choptank Marina) is $2 million earmarked to replace the flagship vessel of the state’s DNR — the J. Millard Tawes. The 100-footer has been in service in a variety of roles since 1972.

Drum Point Lighthouse in Solomons.

Drum Point Lighthouse in Solomons.

In total, grants were awarded to 43 statewide projects in 17 counties. The list of confirmed funding projects can be found here.

“We remain committed to expanding recreational boating opportunities for our citizens and visitors,” said DNR secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio in a statement. “These important projects provide improved access and safe navigation of Maryland’s world-class waterways.”

The Waterway Improvement Fund was created over a half-century ago “for the purpose of funding projects which improve and promote the recreational and commercial capabilities, conditions and safety of Maryland’s waterways for the benefit of the general boating public.”

More information on the state’s grant process and polices can be found here

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