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MOREHEAD CITY - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced another round of grants to help improve docking facilities for recreational transient, non-trailerable boats along the navigable waterways of the United States for federal FiscalYear 2004.

The grants are part of the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program authorized by the Sportfishing and Boating Partnership Act of 1998 and funded by excise taxes on motorboat fuel.

The BIG program provides states with funding for mooring buoys, day-docks, transient slips, safe harbor facilities (including temporary safe anchorage or a harbor of refuge during a storm), floating and fixed piers and breakwaters, dinghy docks, restrooms, retaining walls, bulkheads, dockside utilities, pumpout stations, trash collections and recycling facilities, dockside electric, water and telephone capabilities, navigational aids and marine fueling stations.

“This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen ties between communities and recreational boaters, and promote economic growth by providing enhanced public access,” said David Taylor, the BIG coordinator for North Carolina. “We encourage private marinas, municipalities and local governments to review the grant guidelines and criteria and take advantage of this program to improve their recreational boating facilities and boost their economy,” said Wolff.

BIG program funds are distributed each year over a four-year period. To ensure that each state gets a share, funding is provided on a two-tiered basis. For tier one grants, all states get at least $100,000 per grant cycle as long as their proposals meet the program’s guidelines. Tier-2 projects are designated for larger, more expensive projects and are awarded on a nation-wide competitive basis.

BIG transient facilities must be built in waters deep enough for boats 26 feet and larger to navigate at a minimum of six feet of depth at low tide. One-time dredging will be allowed to provide access between open water and a tie-up facility.

For information about grant availability in North Carolina’s coastal waters, please contact David Taylor, North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, by mail at P.O. Box 769, Morehead City, NC 28557; by phone at 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632; or via e-mail at [email protected]. The deadline for applications is Nov. 10, 2005.
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