RED BANK, NJ: Boaters, anglers, communities and aquatic life in New Jersey will reap benefits from grant funds, thanks to two U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs focusing on ensuring clean water and recreational access. 

Funding to states under the Service’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) and Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) programs totals over $32 million nationwide in 2020. 

New Jersey will receive $1,061,067 in CVA funding to keep local waterways healthy and $1,700,000 under the BIG program. 

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“The boating community plays a crucial role in local economies, and keeping waterways safe, clean and accessible benefits anglers, other recreationists and wildlife,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “These programs facilitate responsible boater behavior, make substantial contributions to local economies, and are great examples of the Department’s commitment to working with state and local partners to improve infrastructure and support conservation efforts  

“Summer is almost here, and Americans are looking forward to enjoying boating and fishing,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Everyone -- local economies, people who love the outdoors, and wildlife and natural resources – wins when these outdoor opportunities are easy to access and help protect the health of our waterways.” 

Clean Vessel Act grants provide much-needed funding to communities to build and maintain facilities that help boaters keep our rivers and streams clean. Pump-out systems built or purchased with these funds ensure recreational boaters have a safe, convenient and effective method to dispose of on-board sewage. The funds also support associated boater education programs. Since the program’s inception in 1993, the Service has allocated more than $296 million in CVA grants to states and territories. 

The CVA program’s support through the user-pay-public-benefit cycle has contributed to the success of the Sport Fish Restoration program. States can apply for CVA funding, and they or their partners provide matching funds to complete projects. Sub-grantees often include local municipalities and private marinas. These partnership efforts are a win-win for clean water and the many families who enjoy recreational boating and the great outdoors. 

Grantees use BIG funds to construct, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities with features for transient boats (those staying 15 days or less), that are 26 feet or more in length, and are used for recreation. Grantees may also use funds to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and recreational boating. Since its inception in 2000, the BIG program has awarded $228 million to projects, including funding the construction of more than 6,000 berths and other amenities benefiting boaters across most states and U.S. territories. 

Examples of completed BIG-funded projects in New Jersey include the installation of new slips and dockside lighthouses and an 80-foot gangway with an associated floating dock at the Molly Pitcher Inn Marina in the Borough of Red Bank. 

Additionally, at a boating access facility in Brick, BIG funds went toward basic site improvements, restroom and shower renovations, engineering, permits, testing, construction administration, and the development of a timber access platform and access gangway. 

Funding for the BIG and CVA programs comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Boaters and manufacturers contribute to the trust fund through excise taxes and duties on certain fishing and boating equipment and boating fuels. 

More information regarding the 2020 CVA grant awards can be found here. More information about the CVA program can be found here

More information regarding the 2020 BIG grant awards can be found here. More information about the BIG program can be found here.  

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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