The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program continues its substantial contributions to recreational boaters and local communities and their economies through this year’s award of $20.6 million in grants to states and U.S. territories. By providing funding to support dedicated boat facilities and associated amenities, the BIG program helps Americans enjoy the nation’s waters and our cherished wildlife and natural and cultural resources.
The Service is providing $20.6 million in grants to states for projects to support recreational boating through the BIG program. More than $16 million will be awarded competitively for 20 projects in 11 states under the BIG Tier II subprogram. The Service will also release more than $4 million to fund 36 projects in 24 states, commonwealths and territories under the BIG Tier I subprogram. States and their partners will provide more than $15 million in non-federal matching funds toward these projects. These grants are awarded on an annual basis.
“These grants help strengthen community ties and stimulate local economies by enhancing tourism through access for boat owners and others to historic, cultural and natural resources,” said Andrea Travnicek, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Exercising the Authority of the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. “They also bolster the Trump Administration’s commitment to providing more recreation opportunities for families. Americans around the nation can enjoy more time on the water thanks to the Boating Infrastructure Grant program.”
“Reliable access to our nation’s waterways is paramount to the ability of Americans to get on the water and enjoy quality time with family and friends. It also supports an industry of over 35,000 marine businesses employing more than 500,000 American workers,” said Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “This year’s Boating Infrastructure Grant program – which receives its funding from taxes paid by boaters and anglers – will provide critical investments in projects directly tied to getting more people on the water and give more than 140 million Americans who go boating each year more and better access. We appreciate the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Boating Infrastructure Grant program.”
More than $16 million will be awarded competitively to support 20 projects in 11 states under the BIG Tier II subprogram, from which states can receive up to $1.5 million in federal funding per project. The Service also will provide more than $4 million to 24 states, commonwealths and territories under the BIG Tier I subprogram, from which recipients can obtain up to $200,000 in federal funding. States and their partners will provide more than $15 million in additional non-federal matching funds toward BIG Tier I and Tier II projects.
Grantees use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 15 days or less), that are 26 feet or more in length, and are used for recreation. Grantees may also use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and 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. Since its inception in 2000, the BIG program has awarded $215 million to projects for large transient recreational boats, including funding the construction of more than 5,400 berths and other amenities for boaters across most states and U.S. territories.
For more information about the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program visit: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.