Federal Grants Of $11 Million Go For Vesssel Waste
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded nearly $11 million to 23 states under the Clean Vessel Act Pumpout Grant program.
The grant awards will fund construction of sewage dump stations and pumpout stations for recreational boaters and educational programs that inform boaters about the importance of proper waste disposal.
“The Clean Vessel Act Pumpout Program exemplifies one of the many partnerships the Service has with the States,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams. “Since its inception, 49 states have participated in this program to improve the quality of our nation’s water and conserve fish and wildlife resources.”
The money will complement an outreach and education program that aims to educate the public in ways to protect fish and marine habitat, according to Interior Department Secretary Gale Norton.
The outreach program includes marine industry organizations, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.
“All of the partners involved are providing the best resources and tools to continue this successful program,” Norton said.
Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act in 1992, which established a federal grant program administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service, to help reduce pollution from vessel sewage discharges.
Raw or poorly treated sewage is a serious concern for marine ecosystems frequented by boaters – it can spread disease, contaminate shellfish beds and lower oxygen levels in water.
Funding comes from the Sport Fish Restoration account, made up of revenues from excise taxes on fishing equipment, boats, and motorboat fuels.
The Act requires that pumpout stations in coastal environments receive funding preference, although proposals for inland facilities are also eligible for funding from the program.
Federal funds can constitute up to 75 percent of all approved projects, with the remaining funds provided by the States or marinas.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded more than $90 million to States for their Clean Vessel Act programs and efforts.
The following 23 states will receive money from this latest round of funding: Alabama; Arizona, Alaska; California; Connecticut; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Missouri; New Hampshire; New York; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Tennessee; Texas; and Washington.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.