Tag Archives: Boating Infrastructure Grant

Get hooked on your next adventure

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of reeling one in. Sun-shining, cool breeze on your face, the excitement of feeling the line tug, and the delicate art of reeling in your prize.

Whether it’s trout or bass, or if you’re like me, a teeny tiny sunfish (if you’re lucky), fishing is more than just a pastime. It’s spending quality time with family and friends, getting away from our ever present devices, and connecting with nature.

Whether you’re a rookie or a coach, you need a spot to cast your line, a dock to stand on or a boat to launch.

Or maybe fishing isn’t your thing, and you’d rather enjoy your local pond, lake, or saltwater via kayak, canoe, motorboat, or even a sailboat or yacht.

It’s National Fish and Boating week, seven days filled with free fishing days – where you can fish without a license – kid’s fishing derbies, and how-to demonstrations.

Perhaps you’re new to it all and just wondering where to get started. Fortunately, finding a spot to do so will be the least of your worries.

Across the region, public access to recreational boating and fishing is increasing. Thanks to efforts by the Service, state wildlife agencies and other partners, more boat ramps, fishing platforms, trails, and other outdoor recreation opportunities are cropping up.

There are over 1,600 boat ramps throughout the northeast region and each year, between 5 and 10 new boating and fishing access areas are constructed. These projects are funded and maintained through Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program, the granting arm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

Though grants like the Sportfish Restoration Act, Clean Vessel Act, and the Boating Infrastructure Program might sound technical, but they are important tools that allow state agencies to provide fishing and boating access to the public.

So where does the money come from?

The program is funded by fishing manufacturers, along with boaters, and sportsmen and women, through taxes on the sale of fishing tackle and boat fuels.

However, its benefits reach far beyond the the boating and fishing communities.

In its 75 year partnership with state and local agencies, this program has contributed more than $14 billion for fish and wildlife conservation and public access to the lands and waters that support fish and wildlife, making it the most successful conservation program in U.S. history.

And it doesn’t end there. In addition to fishing and boating access, Sport Fish Restoration funds are used to conduct fish research, reintroduce declining sport fish species, restore wildlife habitat, and provide education about aquatic resources.

If this all sounds awesome, but you’re still wondering where and how to get started, you’re reading this at just the right time. Visit us at https://www.fws.gov/fishing/ for everything you need to know before you start your adventure.

Big boats, big dreams, and BIG opportunities

Today you are hearing from Bill Perry who manages boating related grants for the northeast region. He loves to spend his free time on the water (usually in paddle powered watercraft). 

Ever dream about spending 6 months on a boat traveling the world? Or possibly staying closer to home and traveling down the Intracoastal waterway for a few months in the fall? Or maybe a smaller dream of renting a boat that you could stay on for a week of vacation with a couple of stops to check out some seaside towns?

You probably don’t spend much of that dream time pondering the logistics of such a trip. Things like whether there will be a place to tie up for the night, where you will refuel, and whether there is access to a town with a decent restaurant or pharmacy along your route.

Along the coast, many marinas concentrate on providing seasonal boat slips. The owners can rent a spot to a boater for a fee for the season and have a guaranteed income stream from that dock or mooring. Renting to transients (those boats that happen to want to stop in for a night or a couple of weeks) is a less certain prospect. The possibility that there won’t be anything available along your majestic getaway or that you would not be able to secure a spot for the night when you really want to enjoy some time on land can make your trip less of a dream.

That’s where the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program tries to help. The BIG program provides funding to state agencies for tie-up facilities and associated amenities that are dedicated for use by transient boats greater than 26’ in length. State agencies, in turn, often partner or sub-grant funds to local communities, counties, or private marinas to build the docks and services that boaters need as they travel between locations.

These stops are important opportunities not only for the boaters, but for local communities as well. More communities are looking for options to open their waterfronts and convert them from the working waterfronts of days gone by to attractions with scenic views, restaurants, and open space. Large transient boats bring revenue to these areas in the form of tourist dollars for local businesses, fuel purchases, and taxes.

In the northeast, we have some great opportunities for transient boaters to travel along the coast. For example, Newburyport, MA recently opened its transient boater facility along the Merrimack River that includes mooring opportunities for 6 transient boats, a boater’s lounge, and restroom and shower facilities. In addition, Annapolis, MD renovated transient tie-up facilities that provide opportunities to visit its downtown area. The State of Connecticut includes seven BIG funded locations along the Connecticut River that provide tie-up options. Yorktown, VA provides easy access to local restaurants along with restrooms for boaters at its BIG funded dock. The list goes on.

So, as you dream about that carefree time boating the coast, the BIG program is working to ensure that there will be places to keep you comfortable, well-stocked, and safe, when those dreams become reality.