The Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program, begun in 2001, is a two – tiered program that is paid for with funds that come from the Sport Fish Restoration Account of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund and is administered through the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The funds result from a Federal excise tax on fishing equipment, trolling motors, import duties on boats and motorboat fuels.
The Sport Fish Restoration Account has financed many programs that have helped people enjoy our state’s aquatic resources over the years. They include hundreds of publicly owned launch ramps and fishing piers and the Clean Vessel Act, which pays for pumpout boats and stations that provide free service and improved water quality. The latest effort, BIG, facilitates boaters with larger, non-trailerable boats to travel from port to port in Commonwealth waters and find safe and reliable access to its historic, cultural, recreational and natural resources.
Tier I - An annual maximum of $100,000 is available to each applying state under the Tier I portion of the BIG Program. Tier I is designed for smaller projects that add, or enhance, transient boating infrastructure to an area and has the advantage of using a more streamlined regional approval process. Selected projects must still be authorized by USFWS. Awarded federal funds can be used to reimburse up to 75% of the approved project costs. The remaining "matching" funds must come from the grant recipient.
Tier II - The remainder of the Federal BIG Program annual funding is typically awarded to larger projects under Tier II. Tier II projects that qualify at the state level are then competitively judged at the national level. Top scoring projects are awarded and eligible for funding status by the USFWS. Please note that while both tiers of the BIG Program are very competitive; the level of national competition within Tier II is especially high. Successful projects are of a superior nature and are submitted with very thorough applications. To be competitive in Tier II, we recommend that even the best projects be submitted with a substantial percentage of matching dollars.
Both Tier I and Tier II projects will have to go through all the standard permitting processes (federal, state, and local) that they would be obliged to do for any privately or locally funded project.
For more information on the Massachusetts BIG Program please see our Program Description & Program Guidance documents.
Further information is available on the Federal Program at the following links.
http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/BIG/BIG.htm USFWS Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program
http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/BIG/BIGreport.pdf An Investment in Boating’s Future: A Review of the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program 2000 – 2003, A Report of the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council
The Massachusetts application period is open from January 1st of any year until 1 month prior to the USFWS BIG RFP deadline. Please check the USFWS link above under BIG Funding for the current RFP and federal deadline.
Complete application packages can be mailed to:
Mass Boating Infrastructure Grant Program
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
30 Emerson Ave.
Gloucester, MA 01930