The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department offers two kinds of grants for marinas; Clean Vessel Act Grants, and Boating Infrastructure Grants. For details on each grant please click on the links below.
Clean Vessel Act
The Clean Vessel Act was established in 1992 by the Federal Government and was signed into law to protect our waters and associated recreational opportunities from damaging vessel sewage discharges. The impact of dumping even a small amount of raw sewage into open waters can significantly impact the local ecosystem, causing algal blooms and a degradation in water quality. Boaters are now prohibited from discharging raw (untreated) sewage into Lake Champlain or any other body of water in Vermont.
The Clean Vessel Act was passed after Congress learned of the inadequate number of onshore sewage disposal facilities in existence in the early ‘90’s. Over $140 million has been distributed through the Clean Vessel Act to states so marinas could provide much needed pumpout stations for removing sewage from public waters.
Approximately 80 percent of marinas in Vermont have a pumpout station for recreational boaters. It is important for marinas to offer pumpout services for two reasons: to provide a convenient service to boaters and to maintain a clean aquatic marina environment. This additional service results in a more attractive marina to prospective boaters.
Projects proposed for the construction, renovation, operation, or maintenance of pumpout stations, pumpout boats, and dump stations used by boaters are all eligible to receive federal funding. This money can also be used to pay for projects that hold and transport boater sewage to sewage treatment plants, such as holding tanks, piping, or hauling and disposal fees. Approved projects are given funding for up to 75 percent of the total cost of the project.
The Clean Vessel Act is administered by Vermont’s Fish & Wildlife Department. Vermont has received just over $75,000 since 2007, but is capable of receiving much more if eligible projects are submitted to the Department. Please contact the Department at (802) 241-3700 with any questions or download the application below.
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1. What is The Clean Vessel Act?
The Clean Vessel Act was passed by Congress in 1992. Congress passed this act after they became aware of the shortage of boating pumpout facilities, and the negative impact that discharge of raw sewage from boating vessels was having on the environment. The Clean Vessel Act has supplied over $140 million in grants to states for marina owners to use for the construction, renovation, operation or maintenance costs of their pumpout facilities.
2. Why is this program important?
This program is critical to water quality, healthy lakes, and clean boating. Protecting our environment ensures that we can enjoy boating and fishing for generations to come. However, perhaps more importantly, it is illegal to dump sewage into any Vermont waterway. State and federal law prohibits boats from discharging treated or untreated sewage into public waters.
3. Who is eligible?
Any public/private marina, boatyard, shipyard, or state/county/municipal organization wishing to install OR significantly upgrade their pumpout station and make it available to all boaters is eligible for grant funding.
4. When should I apply?
Applications can be submitted at any time. However, the application deadline is August 15 or the following Monday if the 15th is a Saturday or Sunday. At this time all applications submitted throughout the year are reviewed, scored, and submitted to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, typically by the end of the calendar year. All applicants are strongly encouraged to call the Department at (802)241-3700 prior to starting an application to ensure project eligibility and obtain the most up to date information on funding and the application process.
5. How are funds awarded?
All funds are awarded to the appointed state agency. The Fish and Wildlife Department is designated as the administering entity for the Clean Vessel Act program in Vermont. The Department encourages local units of government and private facilities to participate in this program by submitting grant requests for pumpout facilities to the Department. Applicants will be notified if their project was not selected at the State level to go to the Federal level. States are generally notified by January of each year of grant awards. The Department will in turn notify remaining applicants of their status. Awarded federal funds can be used to reimburse up to 75 percent of the approved project costs. The remaining "matching" funds must come from the grant recipient.
6. Where do funds come from?
All states are eligible to participate in the Clean Vessel Act, which is funded through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act and administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Fish & Wildlife Department is the administering entity in Vermont. Authorized by Congress in 2000, funds come from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund (Wallop Breaux). The funds result from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, trolling motors, import duties on boats, and motorboat fuels.
7. What type of system should I install?
There are several different systems and the Department recommends contacting a pumpout vendor to find out which pumpout is best for your business. This list is not a complete list of all pumpout vendors, but will get you headed in the right direction.
8. How does the Clean Vessel Act benefit my marina business?
- a. Title 23 V.S.A. 3306 prohibits boats with holding tanks from having the ability to discharge waste directly into Vermont waters. Therefore, boaters must dispose of their waste at a marina. Marinas that maintain these facilities offer superior service and greater convenience to their customers than marinas without pumpout facilities.
- b. Water quality of the lake and the area surrounding a given marina can become seriously degraded by the disposal of raw sewage. Studies show raw sewage from boats contains bacteria (i.e. coliform) that can harm people swimming and contaminate fish and shellfish beds. Additionally, algal blooms can increase due to the elevated nutrient loads in the water, further decreasing water quality. Having a pumpout station leads to cleaner water and a more attractive marina.
- c. Federal funds from the Clean Vessel Act can help a marina cover up to 75 percent of their costs when building or upgrading a pumpout facility, including service docks, pumpout equipment, holding tanks, hoses, permitting and engineering, etc.
9. How much can I charge for pumpouts?
Under the Clean Vessel Act program, marinas are only allowed to charge $5 or less per pump if they have received Clean Vessel Act funds. Experience has shown there is a significant decrease in use of pumpout stations once a fee is charged. Many marinas allow for free pumpouts with the fill-up of fuel or purchase of other services provided by the marina. Free pumpouts are strongly encouraged. Additionally, marinas can request to be reimbursed for 75 percent of their disposal fees in lieu of charging boaters for pumping fees. More information on reimbursements can be obtained by contacting the Department.
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Boating Infrastructure Grant
The Boating Infrastructure Grant was established in 2000 by the federal government and signed into law to provide boaters with transient boating facilities for non-trailerable recreational vessels 26 feet or greater in length. The Boating Infrastructure Grant has distributed over $100 million to the states so marinas can provide transient docking facilities. These funds can be used by marina owners/operators for renovation, construction, and some operation costs related to their transient boater facilities.
Projects that can receive federal funding must be associated with transient boaters and include the construction of long or short-term docking, creation of safe harbors, erecting navigational aids, upgrading pumpout stations, or installing marine fueling stations. Approved projects receive funding for up to 75 percent of the total cost of the project.
States can apply for up to $100,000 in non-competitive grant funding with eligible projects (Tier 1). This means any state that submits an application with an eligible project(s) is automatically awarded up to $100,000. States can also apply for additional funding under a nationally competitive grant application process (Tier 2). The Tier 2 proposals are typically for larger projects, sometimes over $1,000,000, but there is no minimum amount for the grant request.
The Boating Infrastructure Grant is administered by Vermont’s Fish & Wildlife Department. Vermont has received approximately $1,100,000 since 2000, of which approximately 95 percent has been passed through to marinas. All projects for Vermont have been under the Tier 1, non-competitive funding. Please contact the Department at (802)241-3700 with any questions or download the application below.
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1. What is the Boating Infrastructure Grant?
The Boating Infrastructure Grant program began in 2000 to assist states with grant funds for constructing, renovating, and maintaining tie-up facilities for transient boaters with vessels 26 feet or greater in length. Each state is annually eligible for a non-competitive grant of $100,000 if a grant request with eligible projects is submitted (Tier 1). States can apply for additional grant funds at the national level through a competitive application process that has no limit on funding (Tier 2). All federal funding must be matched with non-federal funds (private funds from marinas), typically at a 75:25 federal to private ratio.
2. Who is eligible?
Any public/private marina, boatyard, or state/county/municipal park wishing to install or significantly upgrade their transient boater facilities is eligible to receive a Boating Infrastructure Grant. The Department encourages local governments and private facilities to partner in this program by submitting joint grant requests. Facilities must also meet the following minimum criteria:
- Water depth must be at least 6 feet deep at low water
- Open to the public
- Able to accommodate boats 26 feet in length or greater
- Within two miles of a public pumpout facility
- Located on navigable waters
3. What type of projects are eligible?
Boating infrastructure refers to features that provide stopover places for transient, non-trailerable recreational vessels to tie up. These features include, but are not limited to:
- Mooring buoys
- Navigational aids (channel markers, buoys, directional information)
- Transient slips (slips that boaters with nontrailerable recreational vessels occupy for no more than 10 consecutive days)
- Safe harbors for transients
- Floating docks and fixed piers
- Floating breakwaters
- Dinghy docks
- Retaining walls
- Dockside utilities
- Pumpout stations
- Recycling and trash receptacles
- Dockside electric service
- Dockside water supplies
- Dockside pay telephones
- Debris deflection booms
- Marine fueling stations
- Initial, one-time-only dredging, only to provide transient vessels with safe channel depths to the transient facility, not within the facility itself.
Applications can be submitted at any time. However, the application deadline is August 15 or the following Monday if the 15th is a Saturday or Sunday. At this time all applications submitted throughout the year are reviewed, scored, and submitted to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, typically by the end of the calendar year. All applicants are strongly encouraged to call the Department at (802)241-3700 prior to starting an application to ensure project eligibility and obtain the most up to date information.
5. How are funds awarded?
All funds are awarded to an appropriate state agency. For Vermont, the Fish & Wildlife Department is designated as the administering entity for the Boating Infrastructure Grant program. States are generally notified by January of grant awards. The Department will in turn notify all applicants of their application status. Awarded federal funds can be used to reimburse up to 75 percent of the approved project costs. The remaining "matching" funds must come from the grant recipient or their partners.
6. Where do funds come from?
All states are eligible to participate in the Boating Infrastructure Grant program, which is funded through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act and administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Fish & Wildlife Department is the administering entity in Vermont. Authorized by Congress in 2000, funds come from the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Trust Fund (Wallop Breaux). The funds result from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, trolling motors, import duties on boats, and motorboat fuels.
7. Are there any requirements on how much I can charge for transient docking and how long transients can stay?
Under the Boating Infrastructure Grant program there is no specific requirement on what marinas can charge for their slips. However, it must be reasonable and competitive with other marinas in the area. Additionally, transient boaters cannot stay longer than 10 consecutive days.
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