Boating industry gears up for Water Resources Development Act

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The boating industry has been active in the past months preparing for upcoming Water Resources Development Act legislation.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association’s federal government affairs team, the Association of Marina Industries, BoatU.S., and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas have compiled a list of boating industry priorities for WRDA as Congress is due to consider a bill this year, according to the NMMA.

Water infrastructure projects through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are authorized by Congress in the WRDA bill.

The groups have requested that Congress consider a number of different reforms that will benefit the industry, including permitting reforms that will allow for the more efficient buildout of boating infrastructure.

They have also requested amendment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s processes to ensure that low tonnage ports and shallow draft channels receive adequate funding.

They have asked for inclusion of new economic development criteria for USACE projects that would encompass marina expansions and other waterfront development projects.

In addition, they’ve asked for development of a federal pass-through program to be managed by an individual state’s maritime agencies or channel dredging specialists.

Finally, they’ve called for a comprehensive study on aquatic invasive species prevention and mitigation efforts, requested new boat decontamination stations to prevent the spread of AIS, and asked for additional support for the Regional Panels of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, which helps coordinate local, state, and federal AIS prevention and mitigation efforts.

Congress has not announced a specific time table regarding when WRDA legislation will be brought forward.