Chuck May honored with BoatUS award for harbor protection efforts

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Chuck May, founder of the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition, was honored with the 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award for securing greater federal funding for dredging and protecting water-dependent economies, according to a recent release from the organization.

“Chuck and his Coalition put these harbors on the federal funding radar and got the bigger world to understand that without greater financial support to keep these harbors navigable, some were on the verge of losing critical access to the water,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich in the release. “Once that happens, you no longer have a harbor of refuge to run to in a storm and you lose the significant economic impact boating and fishing brings to many of these small communities.”

BoatUS created the award program in 2007 to highlight successes in protecting water access as boaters and communities were losing marina slips, service yards and boat launching areas. The goal of the program is to draw national attention to innovative solutions.

Additional support for May’s cause came from the Great Lakes Commission, Michigan Sea Grant, and the Michigan Boating Industry Association. May is chair of the Coalition, which has developed a “needs”-based system to allocate funding to ensure the small harbors remain viable.

In 2009, the Coalition helped secure $45 million for dredging operations, including $6 million in last year’s Omnibus Spending Bill, $20 million in the Army Corps of Engineers 2009 Operation and Maintenance Budget, and $19 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.    

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