Fish and Wildlife gives millions to improve boating access in California

Boaters prepare to launch their vessel into Lake Oroville on June 15, 2023 in Oroville, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to award more than $8 million to organizations across the state to improve public access to recreational boating.

CDFW’s Boating Access Grant Program will pay for projects that improve and maintain facilities that give Californians access to recreational boating.

“California’s waterways, from our coastlines to majestic lakes and extensive network of rivers, provide unparalleled recreational opportunities for every boater,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Ensuring safe and reliable access for our anglers and every rider statewide remains a top priority.”

In an aerial view, boaters prepare to launch their vessels into Lake Oroville on June 15, 2023 in Oroville, California. (Getty Images)

The Department is accepting grant applications until November 3 for the 2023-24 grant program. An online public workshop will also be held on October 4 for anyone interested in learning more.

Funding for the grant program comes from tax revenues on sport fishing gear, fishing tackle, and pleasure boats, and a portion of gasoline taxes that come from small engines and steamboats. The program is also supported by some funding from the federal government.

A wide range of facilities and projects are eligible for grant funding, including:

  • Planning, licensing, design and construction of boating access facilities.
  • Accommodations for boaters including Americans with Disabilities Act compliance in boating accessible facilities:
    • Launching and landing facilities for rowboats and non-motorized boats.
    • Communicate with boaters about boating access and amenities.
    • Information and education on aquatic invasive species (inspection but not enforcement).
    • Vegetation management related to boating access.
    • Pumping facilities for ships equipped with sanitary tanks on board.
    • Refueling docks for boaters.
    • Potable water supply for boaters.
    • Boat docks.
  • Operate and maintain boating access facilities.
  • Manage and coordinate boating access programs (including staffing, travel, training and planning)
  • Maintenance and operation projects for boat access sites, facilities and structures.

Additional information about eligibility can be found online at the CDFW website and questions can be submitted via email.

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