Richmond, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell Monday announced 15 grants totaling $440,900 awarded by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to improve boating access to the public waters of Virginia. .
"These projects assist localities with projects that provide enhanced access to recreational opportunities of state waters," said Governor McDonnell. "These new recreational opportunities will benefit Virginia business and tourism."
"The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is to be commended for initiating this partnership with localities to increase access," said Doug Domenech, Virginia's Secretary of Natural Resources. "The boating public - both motorized and non-motorized - will be well served by these grants."
Under the program, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries cost-shares with the local governments to provide the new sites and improve existing ones. After entering into a cooperative agreement with the Department, the local government provides the designs, constructs the projects, and agrees to keep them maintained and open to the public for a period of 20 or more years.
Funds for these grants come from the Department's Boat Fund and the federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund. The Boat Fund is generated from fees for titling and registering boats as well as the transfer of watercraft sales and use fees. The federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund is based primarily on the number of fishing licenses sold.
According to a recently released economic impact study, the Virginia recreational boating industry employs more than 9,000 people statewide and contributes $2 billion to the Virginia economy annually. There are 250,000 registered motorboats statewide and 23,000 in the localities receiving these grants. The grants totaling $440,900 will generate construction projects estimated to be worth $839,000.