Grants managed by Chesapeake and Coastal Service Center for Waterway Improvement and Infrastructure

The Department of Natural Resources administers several state and federal grant programs that support the needs of the general boating public in Maryland. These programs and the associated grants are administered by the Chesapeake and Coastal Service, Center for Waterway Improvement and Infrastructure (the Center).

The Center accepts grant applications from local governments that aim to meet the highest priority needs of the motorized boating public through projects related to improving navigation and dredging of high use channels, constructing or renovating public boating facilities, and providing for public boating safety through the acquisition of marine fire/rescue vessels.

A. State Waterway Improvement Fund Grants

Maryland’s Waterway Improvement Fund (WIF) provides financial support to local governments, to the department, and to federal agencies in the form of grants and/or loans for a wide variety of capital projects and services for the boating public. Waterway Improvement Fund grants are only available to public jurisdictions.

Applications for State Waterway Improvement Funds can be submitted through Grants Gateway​ within Outcome 5. Once an applicant creates a user profile, applications can typically be submitted between July and September for the following fiscal year funding consideration.

Generally, jurisdictions apply for Waterway Improvement Fund grants in order to:

  1. construct, renovate, or maintain boating access facilities;
  2. ​dredge high use channels and harbors and;
  3. purchase fire and rescue vessels in partnership with local fire companies.

Maryland’s Waterway Improvement Fund was established in 1966 (Annotated Code of Maryland Section 8-707 of the State Boat Act) for the purpose of funding projects which improve and promote the recreational and commercial capabilities, conditions and safety of Maryland’s waterways for the benefit of the general boating public. Revenues for this fund are primarily obtained from the onetime 5% excise tax that is paid to the State of Maryland when a boat is purchased and titled in the state.

Since its inception, the Waterway Improvement Fund has provided more than $330 million for over 4,600 projects at more than 300 public boating access sites. If you use a publicly owned boat ramp or marina in Maryland, chances are it was funded and is maintained, at least in part, by state Waterway Improvement Fund funds.

The ​Waterway Improvement Fund also supports services such as ice breaking/navigation aids/derelict boat/debris removal​, management of the Clean Marina Initiative, the Marine Sewage Pumpout Program​, Shore Erosion Control Program​, and Boating Safety.

Detailed information about Waterway Improvement Fund grants is available at the following links:

The Waterway Improvement Manual

Grant forms in PDF

Grant forms in Microsoft Word

The advantage of using the MS Word version is that you can save the completed form to your computer for future use or reference.

Grant Reimbursement Form in Excel: wwi_reimbursement​.xlsx

Staff Contacts

  • For Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties:​ ​contact Celeste McCloskey Anderson 410-897-2153 or 410-260-8452
  • For Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester Counties: contact Matt Negley ​ 443-433-6284 or 410-260-8466
  • ​For Allegany, Baltimore City and County, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Washington Counties: c​ontact Alice L. Scanlon ​or 443-433-6043 or 410-260-8440
  • For statewide dredging that is Waterway Improvement Fund eligible, contact Isaac Wilding or ​443-458-8217 or 410-260-8443
  • For overall Center for Waterway Improvement & Infrastructure questions, contact Carla Fleming​ or or 443-534-6289 or 410-260-8447​

B. Federal Grants​

The federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and provides funding for targeted grant programs designed to benefit fish and wildlife while capitalizing on recreational opportunities across the country. In Maryland, two of these Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration grant programs, Boating Access (BA) and Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG), are administered by the Center.

Click here for additional information about the federal WSFR Program

Bo​ating Access (BA) Program

The Boating Access Program funds the construction/renovation of publicly owned boat ramps used by recreational, trailered, motorboats. The funding for the program comes primarily from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat/small engine fuels. These funds are apportioned to the states by formula and at least 15% of each state’s apportionment must go towards boating access. The department receives approximately $500,000 in Sport Fish Restoration funding per year for boating access.

Detailed information about Maryland’s Boating Access Program is available here.

Maryland’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program​

​Maryland’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) Program is intended to help you make an informed decision as to whether or not you are eligible to pursue BIG funding.

Please go to the BIG Program web page to get started.

Federal Boating Access and Boating Infrastructure Grant Program Contacts