Service gives $16.2 million in clean vessel grants

Published 6:23 pm Sunday, June 28, 2015

(From staff reports) —

America’s waterways provide critical wildlife habitat, drinking water for Americans across the country, and recreational opportunities to millions. To advance both purposes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today more than $16.2 million in funding to 27 states under the Clean Vessel Act (CVA) grant program.
CVA provides grant funds for the construction, replacement, renovation and maintenance of facilities that assist recreational boaters in properly disposing of on-board septic waste. The program also provides information and education about the benefits of pump-out systems.
“The Clean Vessel Act is critical in helping states maintain clean and healthy waters,” said Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin, who announced the grants at the American Boating Congress annual meeting in Washington, D.C. “Systems built through these funds ensure that clean drinking water, sustainable ecosystems, and healthy recreational areas will be accessible to the American public and wildlife.”
Since the first CVA grants were distributed in 1993, the Service has awarded more than $246 million to states. Funds for the CVA program are provided annually from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust fund administered by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. These funds are derived through the collection of fishing tackle manufacturer excise taxes, and boat and fishing import duties, as well as motorboat and small engine fuel taxes.
The program supports the user-pay, public-benefit cycle that has led to the success of the Sport Fish Restoration programs. States apply for CVA funding and they or their partners provide matching funds to complete projects. Sub-grantees often include local municipalities and private marinas.
“As the beneficiaries of the programs and equipment funded by these Clean Vessel Act grants, boaters have a deep appreciation of this announcement,” said Margaret B. Podlich, President of BoatU.S. “These grants, supported by boaters’ tax dollars, have a direct impact on keeping our waterways clean and making boating better. Along with their state agency partners, we applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their commitment to the program and look forward to its renewal as part of the reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.”
In addition to traditional on-dock pump outs, projects include pump-out boats that travel within designated harbors to make the sewage collection process more efficient and convenient. Some states also install floating restrooms in areas where boaters congregate and no restrooms are available.
“CVA provides environmental benefits, but the program also has a substantial positive economic impact on local communities through job creation,” said WSFR Assistant Director Hannibal Bolton. “This is a win-win situation for conservation and businesses across America.”