Fish & Boat Commission Accepting Applications For Expanded Erie Access Improvement Grants

On September 18, the Fish and Boat Commission announced it is now accepting applications for its recently expanded Erie Access Improvement Grant Program.  The deadline for applications is December 30.

Grants awarded through this program are open to public entities that are interested in the acquisition of lands, easements, and/or other property rights; the development, improvement, or rehabilitation of public access sites; or any other projects that benefit public fishing in the Lake Erie Watershed. 

Applicants who may qualify for grants under this program include townships, boroughs, municipal and county governments, as well as nonprofit groups (501c3), including land trusts, conservancies, and watershed associations.

Traditionally, program funding was available strictly for access and habitat-related projects, but the enactment of Act 56 expanded eligibility to a diverse range of projects that benefit public fishing.

 Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, development of new, expansion of existing, or the rehabilitation of access sites, access roads, parking areas, ADA facilities, habitat projects, fisheries research, and fish cleaning stations.

"Since 2004, this program has greatly benefited Erie region anglers by providing fishing access and habitat improvement on Lake Erie and its tributaries," said Daniel J. Pastore, PFBC District 1 Commissioner.  "With the enactment of Act 56, we're able to expand this program to include many different types of projects that benefit public fishing in the Lake Erie watershed, such as fish cleaning stations, new technology, and research projects to improve the fishery.  Investing in these projects not only benefits outdoor recreation, but also the local economy."

Activities must benefit and support recreational angler access and public fishing.  Grant funds may not be used for any routine maintenance or operational activities.

Successful applicants must agree to provide a 50 percent grant match and be willing to enter into a long-term agreement to keep the facility open to free public use for its useful life. 

The PFBC will give priority funding consideration to applicants that provide more than the required 50 percent match, thereby reducing the total amount of grant funds required to complete the project.

The Erie Access Improvement Program is a reimbursable grant program.  Grant funds will be disbursed to the applicant/recipient only after completion of the project occurs and agency staff has verified that the work has been completed.

Program grant funds are available in each annual state fiscal period as authorized and allocated by the PFBC.  All work funded for this round of grants should be completed by December 31, 2023. 

The PFBC may adjust the amount of funds available and consideration dates to meet existing needs or opportunities that may occur.  Large projects may be phased in over several fiscal years to maximize leverage, distribution, and availability of funds.

The Erie Access Improvement Program funds are derived entirely from the legislatively created Lake Erie or Combination Trout/Lake Erie permits sold to anglers.  No state general funds are used for any PFBC programs.

For more information, visit the Erie Access Improvement Program website.

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[Posted: Sept. 18, 2020]


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