These projects offer viable access for the boating community to local cultures and tourist attractions. In the City of Port Angeles, Washington, time and the elements have taken their toll on boat slips, causing deterioration and safety hazards. With a grant from the BIG program, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Office of Recreation and Conservation will replace 16 boat slips that will offer boaters access to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. More than $250,000 will be matched with an additional $96,000 to contract with local businesses to create safe, accessible docking ports for the public.
The City of Port Townsend, Washington is awarded more than $1.1 million to construct a new breakwater which will protect the Point Hudson Marina. Partnering with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the office of Recreation and Conservation will provide matching funds in a the amount of $1,461,000 to assist the city maintain more than 50 boat slips that serve boaters traveling between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The project will repair the existing 600-foot breakwater to adequately protect the public marina from the winds and waves of Port Townsend Bay.
“Not only do these grants help create safe and accessible tie-up facilities, they provide an economic boost for local communities across the nation,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “The BIG program works with partners to improve recreational boating and fishing opportunities. It strengthens community ties by enhancing access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural and scenic resources for millions of boat owners.”
Grantees use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities with features for boats whose stay in the area will be 10 days or less. This program supports the local economy by providing jobs for local businesses that provide boating facilities for vessels that are 26 feet or more in length and used for recreation. Grantees also may use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating.
“State agencies ensure the success of the BIG program by bringing matching funds to the table for these projects,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s assistant director for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program. “In the past three years, states and their partners have supplied more than $50 million in matching funds to construct new transient boating infrastructure.”
The competitive BIG proposals are reviewed by a panel of representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as a committee from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. The Council is a federally chartered body which advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Service on recreational fishing and boating issues. The Council’s appointed committee makes funding recommendations to the Service based on a review of project proposals.
“Boaters contribute substantially to the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund through excise and fuels taxes,” said Regional Director, Robyn Thorson. “These funds are returned to the states to pay for needed docking and marina projects for use by recreational boaters.”
Additional funds awarded this year will protect and enhance marinas in Hawaii and Oregon. For more information about the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program visit: Web: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.