Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter:  Tim Hogsett

Action
Boat Ramp Grant Funding
January 27, 2011

I.       Executive Summary:  The Department has recently received nine applications and two state park requests for public boating access construction and renovation projects requesting $2,706,558 in matching fund assistance.  Federal boating access funds are available to fund nine of eleven projects.  Funding approval of nine projects totaling $1,811,858 is recommended.

II.     Discussion:  Local Boating Access Grants:  The State Boating Access Program was authorized in 1975 by the 64th Legislature.  The program provides funds for the purchase, construction, renovation and maintenance of boat ramps, access roads and other related facilities to improve public recreational boating access to public waters.  The program receives funding from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, also known as the Wallop-Breaux Program.  Recreational boaters and fisherman fully fund this program through the federal gasoline tax on fuel purchased for recreational boating and an excise tax on fishing tackle that is collected and redistributed back to states.  Fifteen percent of the state’s annual apportionment from the federal Wallop-Breaux Program must be used to provide public access for motor boating facilities.  Construction for approved projects is supported on a 75 percent (federal), 25 percent (local) basis.

The Department has recently received nine applications from local project sponsors and two state park requests for renovations of existing or new boat ramp construction requesting $2,706,558 in matching fund assistance.  Based on project review, staff finds that all submitted projects meet program eligibility requirements.

The Sport Fish Restoration funding is divided into two accounts, one earmarked for freshwater activities and one for saltwater activities based on a formula that reflects fishing license sales and overall fishing pressure.  In the past two years, funding available to improve boating access to freshwater resources has limited the number and amount of grants to improve boat ramps on inland rivers and reservoirs.  Ample funding exists to satisfy grant requests that improve saltwater access.  Because of the limitations on funding for freshwater access, available funds are being directed toward projects that renovate existing freshwater boat ramps.  As such, two worthy freshwater access projects that propose new boat ramps can not be recommended for funding until additional federal freshwater boating access funds become available.  Staff recommends that the Department accept no freshwater access proposals that propose new boat ramps in next year’s funding cycle but fund the two new freshwater ramp projects as federal funding becomes available.

Exhibit A contains the priority listing with funds requested by the sponsors and funds recommended by staff.  All facilities will be operated and maintained by the project sponsors.

III.    Recommendation:  The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“Funding for boating access construction/renovation projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $1,811,858 is approved.  Conditionally approve funding of $894,700 for the cities of Luling and Gonzales projects pending the availability of federal freshwater boating access funding.”

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Project Descriptions

Commission Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

Boating Access Project Descriptions
January 27, 2011

Project Sponsor:  Brazoria County
Project:  Swan Lake Boat Ramp Renovation             
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $21,924

Location:  Boat ramp next to Swan Lake on the Intracoastal Waterway, Brazoria County

Discussion:  Brazoria County is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $21,924 to renovate the loading dock and resurface the parking area at an existing public boat ramp.  The facility provides public boating access to the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  The boat ramps are popular with local boaters but the loading docks are aged and unusable.  The parking lot has pot holes and needs to be resurfaced.

Support in Matching Funds:  $21,924


Project Sponsor:  Brazos River Authority
Project:  Lake Granbury Boat Ramp Renovation
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $82,500

Location:  Lake Granbury, Hood County

Discussion:  The Brazos River Authority is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $82,500 for renovation of boat ramp, bulkheads, courtesy dock, lighting, and signs.  The facility provides public boating access to Lake Granbury.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Boat ramps are located in a popular location but damaged and in risk of collapse.  Sponsor has renovated other ramps in recent years and has produced a high quality project at a relatively low cost.

Support in Matching Funds:  $82,500


Project Sponsor:  City of Gonzales  
Project:  Guadalupe River Boat Ramp Construction
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $394,700

Location:  City of Gonzales, Guadalupe River, Gonzales County

Discussion:  The City of Gonzales is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $394,700 to construct a new 1-lane boat ramp, parking area, bulkhead, lighting and signs.  The facility will provide public boating access to the Guadalupe River.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project.  Funding available for freshwater boat ramp construction is limited and being focused on repairs of existing ramps.  There are no public boating access sites on the Guadalupe River within 10 miles of this proposed ramp.  The project will improve access for boaters and fisherman to this stretch of the river.  Fund the project when freshwater boating access funds become available.

Support in Matching Funds:  Conditionally approve $394,700 pending the availability of federal freshwater boating access funding.


Project Sponsor:  Town of Hickory Creek
Project:  Sycamore Bend Park Boat Ramp Improvements
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $73,954

Location:  Lake Lewisville, Denton County

Discussion:  The Town of Hickory Creek is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $73,954 to improve an existing boat ramp in a Corps of Engineer’s Park that the Town recently took control to operate and maintain.  The Town proposes to construct a new loading dock, a bulkhead to protect the boat ramp, and improve lighting and signing.  The facility provides public boating access to Lake Lewisville.

Recommendation:   Support the project.  The bulkhead will protect the heavily used boat ramp from wave damage and there currently is no loading dock for the ramp.

Support in Matching Funds:  $73,954


Project Sponsor:  City of Kemah   
Project:  Clear Lake Causeway Boat Ramp Renovation
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $500,000

Location:  State Highway 146 & Clear Lake Channel, Galveston County

Discussion:  The City of Kemah is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $500,000 for renovation of the parking lot, access road, and a new bulkhead, courtesy docks, boat lift, lighting and signing at existing public boat ramp.  The facility improves public boating access to Galveston Bay and Clear Lake.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Heavily used boat ramp that was damaged by Hurricane Ike.  Once improvements are completed, City will assume future maintenance responsibilities currently held by TPWD.

Support in Matching Funds:  $500,000


Project Sponsor:  Refugio County Water Control Improvement District #2
Project:  Mission River Boat Ramp Renovation
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $500,000

Location:  Mission River, 3.5 miles upstream from Mission Bay, Refugio County

Discussion:  The Refugio County WCID #2 is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $500,000 for renovation of boat ramp, bulkhead, parking lot and new courtesy dock and lighting, at an existing public boat ramp on the Mission River.  The facility provides public boating access to the Mission River.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Site provides the only public access to the Mission River. The existing public boat ramp is in jeopardy because old bulkhead is collapsed and erosion is threatening the integrity of the boat ramp.

Support in Matching Funds:  $500,000


Project Sponsor:  City of Rio Hondo
Project:  Arroyo Colorado Boat Ramp Parking Expansion
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $136,110

Location:  Arroyo Colorado, Cameron County

Discussion:  The City of Rio Hondo is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $136,110 for the acquisition of a lot next to an existing boat ramp and the construction of a parking area and security lighting to expand parking for the ramp.  The facility provides public boating access to the Arroyo Colorado.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Boat ramp is heavily used on weekends and additional parking is needed.

Support in Matching Funds:  $136,110


Project Sponsor:  City of Luling
Project:  Zedler Mill Park Boat Ramp Construction
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $500,000

Location:  San Marcos River, City of Luling, Caldwell County

Discussion:  The City of Luling is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $500,000 to construct a new public boat ramp, parking area, access road, bulkhead, restroom, fish cleaning station and lighting on city parkland across the river from Zedler’s Mill.  The facility provides public boating access to the Laguna Madre.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project.  Funding available for freshwater boat ramp construction is limited and being focused on repairs of existing ramps.  There are no public boating access sites on the San Marco River within 10 miles of this proposed ramp.  The project will improve access for boaters and fisherman to this stretch of the river.  Fund the project when freshwater boating access funds become available.

Support in Matching Funds:  Conditionally approve $500,000 pending the availability of federal freshwater boating access funding.


Project Sponsor:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Project:  Goose Island State Park Boat Ramp Repairs
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $84,000

Location:  Goose Island State Park, Aransas County

Discussion:  Goose Island State Park is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $84,000 for renovation the boat ramp and courtesy dock.  The facility provides public boating access to Aransas Bay.  The 25% sponsor match is TxDOT resurfacing the boat ramp parking area.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Boat ramp is heavily used by fisherman and the courtesy dock has deteriorated and currently closed to the public.

Support in Matching Funds:  $84,000


Project Sponsor:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Project:  Lake Somerville – Nails Creek State Park Boat Ramp Renovation
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $150,000

Location:  Lake Somerville — Nails Creek State Park, Lee County

Discussion:  Lake Somerville – Nails Creek State Park is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $150,000 for construction of a bulkhead and dredging.  The facility provides public boating access to Lake Somerville.  The boat ramp is silted-in, recommended solution is to install 140 linear feet of bulkhead and dredge a channel to open water.  The adjacent restroom is being replaced with capital funding which can be utilized for the 25% match of federal funding.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Existing boat ramp is unusable most days of the year; the proposed improvements are intended to make the ramp functional at most water levels.

Support in Matching Funds:  $150,000


Project Sponsor:  Willacy County Navigation District
Project:  Port Mansfield Boat Ramp Construction
Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $249,480

Location:  Port Mansfield, Willacy County

Discussion:  Willacy County is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $249,480 for construction of a new 1 lane boat ramp, parking area, access road, courtesy dock, restroom, bulkhead, lighting, landscaping and signs.  The facility will provide public boating access to the Lower Laguna Madre.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Proposed boat ramp is intended to serve fisherman and hunters that utilize shallow draft boats and airboats.

Support in Matching Funds:  $249,480


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