By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Department of the Interior announced that Alabama was one of ten states awarded federal grant money to encourage and support more recreational boating.
The Docks at Manderson Landing, Tuscaloosa, Alabama received a Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) for $199,568. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the University of Alabama will use the money to construct a floating dock with eight handicapped accessible slips, a pumpout, dockside electric service, a pedestrian access ramp, a retaining wall, and a gangway ramp providing American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility for “transient non-trailerable recreation boaters.” The press release defined this as boat of more than 26 feet in length used for recreational purposes. The total cost of the project is $567,568. ADEM and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa will provide the other $368,000.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said when he announced the grants that, “Recreational boaters and anglers contribute to our nation’s thriving outdoor recreation economy and play an important role in conservation of our rivers, watersheds and oceans. These competitive grants will help provide quality opportunities and access to America’s great outdoors for our nation’s boaters and anglers, while creating jobs by funding major construction projects to build docks, boat slips and facilities.”
The press release said that the money for the Boating Infrastructure Grant program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and boat fuel. Some 26 states will also receive non-competitive grant money totaling $2,500,000 in a smaller program called “BIG Tier 1.”
Secretary Salazar said that boating and fishing add $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year.
The Tuscaloosa project is one of eleven BIG projects announced receiving grants totaling $7,500,000. The other projects include:
- $1,028,425 for Arkansas to build 25 transient boat slips and fuel services for boats up to 70’ in length at Rockwater Marina in North Little Rock.
- $1,500,000 for Louisiana to construct 42 floating docking spaces, renovate existing bulkheads, and install walkways for boater at Slidell Municipal Marina in Slidell, Louisiana.
- $400,000 for Florida to replace the transient dock restroom, bathhouse, laundry facilities, and electric wiring at the Garrison Bight Marina.
- $219,750 for Florida to build 12 new transient boats slips, including electrical, water, and pumpout utilities at the St. Pete Beach Transient Docks, St. Pete Beach, Florida.
- $802,560 for Mississippi to build 20 transient boating slips at J. P. Coleman State Park, in Luka, Mississippi.
- $1,423,110 for the District of Columbia to construct 54 transient boat slips with ADA accessibility at the Market Pier Docks. This is part of the city’s redevelopment efforts of D.C.s Southwest Waterfront.
- $686,919 to build new transient docks with utilities, build a landside restroom, and replace old bulkheads at Gratwick Park Marina, New York.
- $403,377 to build 16 transient boat slips plus amenities and services next to the South Shore Riverfront Park on the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh.
- $250,000 to replace the 156’ long transient dock with a newer wider dock at Oyster Point in San Mateo County, California.
- $494,650 to construct a boat marina in Wethersfield, Connecticut. The new marina will have seven transient slips and 51 moorings.