Feds hand out millions in boating grants

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $14 million in competitive Boating Infrastructure Grant funding to 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The Fish and Wildlife Service also will provide nearly $2.5 million to 27 regions willing to match smaller, non-competitive grants.

“Anglers and boaters make these grants possible, helping communities build and enhance facilities that provide recreational opportunities while supporting jobs and economic growth,” Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe said in a statement. “These funds pay for floating docks, fixed piers, mooring buoys, sewage pumpout stations and other infrastructure that benefits fish and wildlife habitat while providing access for outdoor recreation.”

“BIG grants are an impactful, win-win solution for boaters, businesses and states. Providing recreational boaters with the infrastructure and facilities they need to enjoy the water through their own tax dollars is a proven success. In turn, waterside communities and their small businesses benefit from the economic footprint left by visitors who boat there,” said Thom Dammrich, chairman of the Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Grant recipients use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain facilities with features for transient boaters (those staying 10 days or fewer) who pilot boats that are 26 feet or longer and are used for recreation. Recipients also may use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and about recreational boating.

Funding for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.

For example, a BIG grant of $1.5 million, matched with $1.5 million in non-federal funding, will enable the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft to partner with Cincinnati to install 28 new slips on the Ohio River.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department of more than $500,000, matched by $282,000 in non-federal funds from the city, will support the construction of 35 new slips for eligible transient boaters in the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina. The project also includes the installation of shore power and potable water.

Projects receiving competitive grants are:

• Anacostia River Boating Facility, Washington, D.C. — BIG grant, $1,167,586; non-federal match, $1,167,586; total project cost, $2,335,172

• Harborage Marina Transient Slips, St. Petersburg, Fla. — BIG grant, $919,851; non-federal match, $971,850; total project cost, $1,891,701

• Marathon Marina Dock Rehab, Marathon, Fla. — BIG grant, $1,500,000; non-federal match, $871,258; total project cost, $2,371,258

• City Lights Marina Transient Dock, Savannah, Ga. — BIG grant, $1,500,000; non-federal match, $1,592,518; total project cost, $3,092,518

• Kittery Point Boatyard Dock Expansion, Kittery Point, Maine — BIG grant, $165,504; non-federal match, $93,496; total project cost, $259,000

• Harbor Shores Transient Marina, Benton Harbor, Mich. — BIG grant, $699,500; non-federal match, $701,578; total project cost, $1,401,078

• State Harbor Dock Renovation, East Tawas, Mich. — BIG grant, $1,300,000; non-federal match, $950,000; total project cost, $2,250,000

• Bishop Park Transient Marina, Wyandotte, Mich. — BIG grant, $1,170,500; non-federal match, $1,170,500; total project cost, $2,341,000

• Sandy Hook Bay Marina, Monmouth County, N.J. — BIG grant, $692,890; non-federal match, $243,448; total project cost, $936,338

• Key Harbor Marina, Ocean County, N.J. — BIG grant, $271,565; non-federal match, $97,190; total project cost, $368,755

• Smale Riverfront Park Marina, Cincinnati — BIG grant, $1,500,000; non-federal match, $1,500,000; total project cost, $3,000,000

• Beaufort Marina Transient Dock, Beaufort, S.C. — BIG grant, $189,287; non-federal match, $107,833; total project cost, $297,120

• St. Johns Harbor Marina Transient Dock, Charleston, S.C. — BIG grant, $983,320; non-federal match, $344,774; total project cost, $1,328,094

• Corpus Christi Transient Dock, Corpus Christi, Texas — BIG grant, $502,496; non-federal match, $282,654; total project cost, $785,150

• Crown Pointe Marina Transient Slips, Gloucester, Va. — BIG grant, $212,555; non-federal match, $212,555; total project cost, $425,110

• Perkins Pier Marina Enhancement, Burlington, Vt. — BIG grant, $1,499,706; non-federal match, $999,804; total project cost, $2,499,510.

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