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    Florida FWC Program Improving Boating Access Across State

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has announced the recipients for the 2012-2013 Florida Boating Improvement Program (FBIP) grants.

    Twenty-seven different grants, totaling $5.2 million, will be awarded throughout the state.

    “These grants for boat ramps will bring economic development opportunities across our state,” said Governor Rick Scott. “As the fishing capital of the world, Florida takes pride in the maintenance and quality of our boat ramps and facilities. They will provide a steady flow of tourism and recreation.”

    In addition to patrolling Florida’s woods and waters to protect people and natural resources, the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement manages boating access.

    “We administer grant programs for boating access and boating-related activities,” said Maj. Jack Daugherty, leader of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways Section. “The grants are awarded to eligible counties, municipalities and other state governmental entities to fund projects like boat ramp construction, channel marking and derelict vessel removal.”

    Some of the areas selected, including Clewiston, Palatka and De Soto and Hamilton counties, have been designated Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern by the governor. These areas have received substantial grants.

    Specific projects planned for those areas include expanding dock and ramp space, constructing and improving restroom facilities, renovating and expanding marinas, improving access roads and parking lots and constructing facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Funds for these grants are derived largely from the federal Sport Fish Restoration – Boat Access Program. Federal funds are collected when people buy fishing tackle and motor fuels, and from import duties on tackle and yachts. The money is returned to appropriate state agencies for research, management and development activities that deal with sport fish and boating access. Federal law requires 15 percent of these funds go to building and repairing boat ramps.

    More information about specific locations and plans for construction can be directed to the appropriate city or county government. For more information on the FBIP grant recipients, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and click on “Boating Grant Programs.”

    Logo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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