Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program Summary
Note: Proposals are
due to Li Lan Carson at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by October 4,
2013. All proposals received before the due date will be reviewed and
prioritized. DNR will make the final determination of which proposal(s) will be
selected and submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for consideration.
Please submit one hard copy and one electronic copy of your proposal to:
Li Lan Carson
MD DNR Boating Services
580 Taylor Ave, E-4
Annapolis, MD 21401
What are the Objectives of the National Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG)
This program provides funds to states for the construction, renovation, and maintenance of public and private boating infrastructure tie-up facilities with features for recreational transient boats 26 feet or more in length that are available to the general boating public. Boating infrastructure generally means features that provide stopover places for transient boats 26 feet or more in length to tie up.
The program is designed to provide transient dockage for recreational boats 26 feet or more in length for recreational opportunities and safe harbors, as well as to:
- enhance access to recreational, historic, cultural and scenic resources;
- strengthen community ties to the water’s edge and economic benefits;
- promote public/private partnerships and entrepreneurial opportunities;
- provide continuity of public access to the shore; and,
- promote awareness of transient boating opportunities.
The complete requirements of the National Boating Infrastructure Grant
Program (50 CFR 86) as published in the Federal Register can be found at
information and program guidelines start at section 86.11 of the document.
Under the National Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, two types of grants are available, referred to as "Tier I" (non-competitive) and "Tier II" (nationally competitive). Tier I grants are grants of up to $100,000; Tier II grants are those of more than $100,000. The State of Maryland expects to receive $100,000 in Tier I funding each year. Maryland also expects to be able to apply for a portion of the Tier II funding available nationally for municipalities and marinas, yacht clubs and boatyards that propose projects that meet the national objectives of the National Boating Infrastructure Grant Program. The State of Maryland will then distribute funding to successful applicants to install or upgrade transient tie-up facilities (passing through, staying 10 days or less) for recreational boats 26 feet or more in length. Examples of such facilities include mooring buoys, day-docks, transient slips, dinghy docks, and navigational aids.
Elements of acceptable proposals for funding (Criteria for Project Funding):
- Construct and renovate tie-up facilities for transient recreational boats 26 feet or more in length;
- Provide for public/private and public/public partnership efforts to develop, renovate, and maintain tie-up facilities;
- Use innovative techniques to increase the availability of tie-up facilities for recreational transient vessels 26 feet or more in length (includes education/information);
- Include private, local, or other State funds in addition to the non-Federal match described in Section 86.42
- Are cost efficient. (Proposals are cost efficient when the tie-up facility or access site’s features add high value compared with the funds from the proposal.);
- Provide a significant link to prominent destination way points such as those near metropolitan population centers, cultural or natural areas, or that provide safe harbors from storms;
- Provide access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural or scenic opportunities of local, regional or national significance;
- Provide significant positive economic impacts to a community; and,
- Include multi-state efforts that result in coordinating location of tie-up facilities.
Examples of Activities Eligible for Funding (see 50 CFR 86.20 for detailed list):
- Construction, renovation, and maintenance of public and private boating infrastructure tie-up facilities that:
a. are built on navigable waters with a minimum of six (6) feet of depth mean low water;
b. are reasonably available to the public (via physical access, equitable fees, and open periods);
c. are temporary use facilities (not to exceed 10 days use) for transient public recreational vessels 26 feet or more in length;
d. provide security, safety, and service for these types of boats; and,
e. install a pump-out facility (if needed due to proximity of nearest pumpout facility).
- One-time dredging from marina basin to main channel to give transient vessels safe channel depths between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water; and,
- Install navigational aids, limited to giving transient vessels safe passage between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water.
Examples of Activities Ineligible for Funding (see 50 CFR 86.21 for
- Do not provide public benefit;
- Involve enforcement activity;
- Significantly degrade or destroy valuable natural resources, or alter the cultural or historic nature of the area;
- Provide structures not expected to last at least 20 years;
- Do maintenance dredging;
- Fund operations or routine, custodial and janitorial maintenance of the facility;
- Construct, renovate, or maintain boating infrastructure tie-up facilities for non-transient vessels.
- Project locations that do not have 6 feet of depth mean low water from the main channel to the marina and in the area of the transient slips, and/or are unable to commit to maintaining that depth by regular dredging.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to review all applicable federal and state requirements before submitting a BIG application. Four issues/concerns that commonly come up are:
- BIG is a reimbursement program…DNR will not “up front” any money. Additionally, applicants cannot start a project until entering into a formal agreement with DNR. Any costs incurred prior to the agreement being approved by DNR are the sole responsibility of the applicant and will not be reimbursed by DNR.
- The maximum reimbursement under BIG is 75% of the total project costs, however, in order to be competitive, Tier II projects (in excess of $100,000) typically provide significantly more match and have multiple partners. Although state funds may possibly be used as match for publicly owned facilities, state funds cannot be used as match at privately owned marinas, even if the marinas are open to the general public. Privately owned marinas must either provide their own match or find non-state/federal partners.
- The marina/boating facility must have at least 6’ of water (MLW). Although BIG funding may be used for “one-time dredging,” keep in mind that:
-This dredging is only to give recreational transient non-trailerable boats safe channel depths between the tie-up facility and maintained channels or open water. BIG funding cannot be used to dredge an entire basin and if approved, may only be done once with federal funds from the basin to the main channel.
-Once the channel is dredged, it becomes the marina/boating facility’s responsibility to maintain the channel for twenty years at a depth of 6 feet MLW, and to also maintain 6 feet depth MLW in the basin where the transient slips are located. Although publicly owned facilities may apply for state maintenance dredging funds, there is no guarantee that state funds will be available. Privately owned marinas are not eligible for state maintenance dredging funds even if the marinas are open to the general public and have received a BIG grant. The responsibility of maintaining 6 feet of depth MLW is entirely up to the owner(s) of the facility, and this would have to be surveyed at the expense of the owner if such depth is in doubt. The consequence of not being able to maintain this depth is that the BIG funding would have to be returned to the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
- A “Land Control Agreement” will be required on any facility except those owned by DNR which are already bound to the terms of the agreement. This agreement would specify the responsibilities of the recipient of the BIG funding for the expected ‘life’ of the improvements which is generally 20-30 years. Should the facility be privately owned, in addition to a Land Control Agreement, the owner would be required to record the receipt of the Federal funds and the existence of the Land Control Agreement in their property’s deed. In the event of a transfer of ownership of the property, these responsibilities and commitments would be passed on to the next owner. If this is not possible, the BIG fund invested in the property would have to be returned to the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
How to Apply:
All proposals must include and identify the following minimum requirements:
- Identify project as either Tier I or Tier II. Tier I & Tier II proposals must describe how the project addresses the selection criteria (see Criteria for Project Funding)
- Project narrative (need, objective, expected result/benefits, approach, Scope of Work);
- Project location;
- Site plan(s);
- Project budget demonstrating a 25% match (minimum)