U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards more than $13 million in Grants to Boost Recreational Boating in Communities Across the Nation

Boating in Communities Across the Nation

Infrastructure projects provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and create jobs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $11.2 million in competitive grants to 15 states for projects to support recreational boating through the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program.  The Fish and Wildlife Service will also release approximately $2.4 million to 25 states, commonwealths, and territories willing to match a smaller, non-competitive grant program known as “BIG Tier 1” funding. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Midwest Region will receive over $1.3 million in competitive grants to projects in Michigan and Ohio.

Grantees use Boating Infrastructure Grant funds to construct, renovate, and maintain facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 10 days or less) that are 26 feet or more in length and used for recreation. Grantees may also use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating.

“These grants, funded by fishing and boating enthusiasts, have helped communities across the nation build and enhance recreational boating facilities that provide recreational opportunities while supporting jobs and economic growth,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.  “This program is a win-win situation for recreational boaters, conservation initiatives and job creation.”

“The BIG Grants have major impacts – not only do cruising boaters get the benefit of facilities that they help to pay for, waterfront communities and their small businesses also get an economic boost from visitors who enjoy boating,” said Thom Dammrich, chairman of the Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and president of the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association.

Funding for the Boating Infrastructure Grant program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline. These grants are administered through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Projects receiving competitive grants in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Midwest Region include:

Port Austin State Harbor Dock Renovation, Port Austin, Mich. – BIG grant: $747,250; non-Federal match: $747,250; total project cost: $1,494,500

· The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation seeks to provide a safe and convenient stop for transient nontrailerable recreational vessels traveling between Detroit/Port Huron and Mackinaw City. The project will add up to 42 slips, utility pedestals, water and related amenities, which will increase use of the State Harbor by eligible boaters by an estimated 75 percent.

Ironton Riverfront Boat Ramp and Docks, Ironton, Ohio – BIG grant: $636,000; non-Federal match: $212,634; total project cost: $848,634

· The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft will support the City of Ironton in a project to construct a floating dock for transient nontrailerable recreational vessels with 30 slips, a concrete docking area and retaining wall, sidewalks, shore power, and lighting. The project will encourage transient watercraft use of the Ironton River Front, located along the southeastern Ohio River.

For more information on each of the grant projects, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/BIG/BIG_Funding.htm

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) is a 75-year partnership to benefit fish and wildlife, and provide Americans with access to the outdoors through a self-imposed investment paid by manufacturers and users of gear bought by anglers, boaters, hunters, and shooters and managed by Federal and State fish and wildlife agencies. Fishing and hunting licenses and motorboat fuel tax also support fish and wildlife. For 75 years, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has provided more than $14 billion for fish and wildlife, supplied jobs for many Americans, and benefitted local economies through boating, fishing, hunting, and shooting activities.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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