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Thank you for visiting this space to add your comments, suggestions, concerns, successes, etc. in response to the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) Final rule published in May 2015.
The Service has awarded one fiscal year of grants under the new rule and welcomes feedback from States, marinas, businesses, and other interested parties on how the new BIG rule has helped the process, or presented challenges. Please be as specific as possible in your comments. Your comments may be used to facilitate conversations at the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA - www.sobaus.org) annual conference in October. 

It will be helpful if you include at the end of any comments your name, position, agency, and email address.

Thank you!

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa - This is Kate Brown from Connecticut.  I have a few comments:

    1.  We appreciate the increase in Tier 1 funding which is making it much easier for us to provide a reasonable level of funding for smaller BIG projects that many of our marine facilities could not do within the original financial framework of the Tier 1 grant.  This was a very good change to the regulations.
    2. We are concerned about the combination of BIG and CVA funds into one pot of funding (2% CVA + 2% BIG is now 4% combined).  Initially we were told by our regional coordinators that the funding would remain at the usual 2% for each program, but recent communications from USFWS management is suggesting that CVA funds would be diverted to BIG to fund more Tier 2 projects.  We are VERY CONCERNED about this possibility, and were assured that this would not happen when the federal rule changed.  CVA O&M is a very important part of the state programs, particularly in areas where federally approved NDA's have been approved by EPA.  Please do not allow transfer of funds between these two programs, as was our initial fear when the rule changed.  This will cause a lot of trouble for CVA and will likely result in degraded water quality in some states, where funding is already being cut from what was requested in the past two years. 
    3. BIG Tier 2 projects which are reviewed on the federal level by the review team should not automatically be funded based on the amount of funds available.  If projects are not ready to go, the funding should not be used for these projects.  A more rigorous review process may be required in order to ensure that federal funds are being allocated by this review team in a manner that ensures timely completion of quality projects. 
    1. From Lisa: Responding to 2. I spoke to Kate and Janine and there was a miscommunication. WSFR does not intend to shift large amounts of CVA funds to support a larger number of BIG Tier 2 projects. The Branch of Programs will be working with partners to develop possible approaches for some flexibility between programs.  

  2. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa - this is Kate Brown again from CT.  Any chance we can get an extension on the September 8th deadline for BIG this year?  It seems a bit early and we are running out of time to review applications.  I'm hearing that other states may be experiencing the same issues.  Thanks.

  3. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa: This is Preston from Virginia - I concur with Kate Brown.  I conduct my BIG workshops in January and February.  The reason I conduct the workshops so early is because the owners can only develop the grant proposals during the slow part of the season (winter).  During these workshops I inform my stakeholders that the  BIG proposals must be submitted no latter than  August 1st.  By the time I discovered the grants were due September 8th it was to late to set an earlier date. Once received the proposals are then vetted through a committee that meets two weeks later.  Then the grants go through a series of internal/external reviews that many times require the acquisition of additional information sometimes requiring additional review, modification or correction.   I would really be in favor of an grant extension.   Many Thanks 

  4. Anonymous

    Lisa, Mike from VT.  My comment has to do with the BIG deadline.  For years I've voiced my concern about the continually earlier and earlier deadline.  Five to seven years ago these applications were due in November.  Now they're due just after Labor Day! 

    Marinas in the north have a very defined window of late May through mid-October.  This means they really need to have a project set sometime in late winter because once ice is gone (early April), marinas are working 7 days a week until the docks come out in early November.  This leaves marinas left to scramble during their busiest time of year in order to get a project application completed and submitted.  Yes, a marina could write a project the preceding year, but the reality is between the time a project is written and constructed, it could be as much as 2 years and a lot changes during this time. 

    I don't know that there has ever been a justification for this time change and the money meant to benefit the states and marinas is getting tougher and tougher to obtain. 

  5. Anonymous

    Lisa - this is Kate Brown again.  Any chance of that extension is going to help your peeps in the NE!!  What say you?

  6. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa - Scott Meister from South Carolina.

    This comment relates to the September 8th, 2016 deadline for BIG proposals.

    Like many other states, in order to have time to review, score, and vet projects on a state level, we have a much earlier due date for proposals (July 1 in SC).

    As the federal due date gets earlier and earlier, we have to back up our state deadline which then starts to back up against the NOFO release.  As it is now, proposals are due in SC only a few weeks after the NOFO is released.  We simply have no choice if we are to allow time to properly review and score.

    Having a later federal due date would be beneficial and I feel it would result in better, more polished proposal submissions.

    Thanks for listening.

    Scott

  7. Anonymous

    Good Afternoon Lisa, - Brock Mooney from Maine.

    I’m in agreement with the comments above. Boating season is in full swing from April until late September and trying to have a marina submit a quality application is challenging. Compounding this, is the Labor Day holiday, which is traditionally one of the busiest weekends for Marina’s in Maine. We see great value in the extension of the application period.

    I appreciate this forum and thanks for your consideration.   

    Brock -

    1. Thanks all for telling us of your concerns on the BIG application deadline. It is excellent getting the State perspective and helps us to better understand and consider improvements. The topic has been forwarded to the Branch of Programs Chief, Christy Vigfusson and she and Brad Gunn will be considering options. 

  8. Anonymous

    Hi Lisa, this is Lorene Reid (Federal Assistance Coordinator) in coastal Georgia.  I concur with the concerns about the deadline for submission due to Labor Day weekend and marinas in the height of their season.  An extension would be very helpful.  Another concern I have is the change in the number of extensions allowed for Tier 2 grants.  Some of these multi-million dollar projects require state congressional approval for dredging to begin, permitting issues, NMFS delays, etc. and getting work done in the timeframe allowed may be a challenge.  Thanks! 912-262-3114 Lorene.Reid@dnr.ga.gov