Boaters, anglers, communities and aquatic life in New York will reap benefits in grant funds, thanks to two U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs focusing on ensuring clean water and recreational access. Funding to states under the Service’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) and Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) programs totals over $32 million nationwide in 2020.
New York will receive $611,218 in CVA funding to keep local waterways healthy and $200,000 under the BIG program.
“The boating community plays a crucial role in local economies, and keeping waterways safe, clean and accessible benefits anglers, other recreationists and wildlife,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said. “These programs facilitate responsible boater behavior, make substantial contributions to local economies, and are great examples of the department’s commitment to working with state and local partners to improve infrastructure and support conservation efforts
“Summer is almost here, and Americans are looking forward to enjoying boating and fishing,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Everyone – local economies, people who love the outdoors, and wildlife and natural resources – wins when these outdoor opportunities are easy to access and help protect the health of our waterways.”
Clean Vessel Act grants provide much-needed funding to communities to build and maintain facilities that help boaters keep rivers and streams clean. Pump-out systems built or purchased with these funds ensure recreational boaters have a safe, convenient and effective method to dispose of on-board sewage. The funds also support associated boater education programs. Since the program’s inception in 1993, the service has allocated more than $296 million in CVA grants to states and territories.
The CVA program’s support through the user-pay-public-benefit cycle has contributed to the success of the sport fish restoration program. States can apply for CVA funding, and they or their partners provide matching funds to complete projects. Sub-grantees often include local municipalities and private marinas. A press release said, “These partnership efforts are a win-win for clean water and the many families who enjoy recreational boating and the great outdoors.”
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. Since its inception in 2000, the BIG program has awarded $228 million to projects, including funding the construction of more than 6,000 berths and other amenities benefitting boaters across most states and U.S. territories.
An example of a completed BIG-funded project in New York is installation of the docks and mooring field; improved electricity and water supply; and advertisement of transient facilities at the Shattemuc Yacht Club in Ossinging. Another BIG-funded project was in Buffalo, at Lake Erie Marina. Funds were used to repair damage from a 2017 winter storm. This included replacing all slips and adding additional brackets to strengthen the docks.
Funding for the BIG and CVA programs comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Boaters and manufacturers contribute to the trust fund through excise taxes and duties on certain fishing and boating equipment and boating fuels.
More information regarding the 2020 CVA grant awards can be found here. More information about the CVA program can be found here. More information regarding the 2020 BIG grant awards can be found here. More information about the BIG program can be found here.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats, for the continuing benefit of the American people. Visit www.fws.gov.