BoatU.S. offers Clean Water Grants

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Boat Owners Association of the United States’ Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is offering grant funds up to $4,000 for non-profit groups to develop projects that educate boaters about clean water issues and environmental stewardship of waterways, the organization said in a press release Wednesday. While projects involving reducing trash and other foreign marine debris in the nation’s waterways will receive extra consideration this year, applicants are encouraged to submit any proposal that strives to improve the marine environment. The deadline to apply is Feb. 1, 2007.

“Eighty percent of all marine debris – such as plastic bottles, cigarette butts, automobile tires and industrial waste – starts out on land and ends up in the water,” said Susan Shingledecker, BoatU.S. Foundation environmental program manager. “Not only is it unpleasant to look at, but the trash can significantly harm marine life as well as be a navigational hazard. The easiest way to reduce marine debris is to prevent it from reaching the water in the first place.”

Last year's Clean Water Grant program received 65 proposals. Of those, 18 projects in 14 states were selected for funding for a total of nearly $50,000 in grant funds.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant, one of the foundation's previous grantees, has been awarded a Clean Water Grants Excellence Award for its work educating boaters about invasive species. Their original grant of $3,880 was used to create signs educating boaters on how to identify invasive species and prevent their spread from one waterway to another. The award includes an additional $500 to continue the organization's efforts.

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