Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter:  Tim Hogsett

Action
Boat Ramp Grant Funding
January 26, 2012

I.       Executive Summary:  The Department has recently received thirteen applications for public boating access construction and renovation projects requesting $4,600,587 in matching funding assistance.  Federal boating access funds are available to fund, or partially fund, three of the thirteen projects.  Funding approval of three projects totaling $1,406,632 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 thirteen applications from local project sponsors proposing renovations of existing or new boat ramp construction requesting $4,600,587 in matching funding 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 recent 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.  Federal 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 coastal boat ramps.  It is anticipated that additional federal funding will become available later in the year and funding for the other projects will be reconsidered at a later date.

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 $1,406,632 is approved.”

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Project Descriptions

Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

Boating Access Project Descriptions
January 26, 2012

Project Sponsor:  City of Aransas Pass

Project:  Conn Brown Harbor Boat Ramp Renovation

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $669,187

Location:  Boat ramp at the mouth of Conn Brown Harbor on the Intracoastal Waterway and Aransas Bay, San Patricio County

Discussion:  The City of Aransas Pass is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $669,187 to add 2 new ramp lanes, renovate the loading dock, resurface and expand the parking area, construct a new bulkhead, restroom, fish cleaning station, pavilion, security lighting and signing at an existing public boat ramp.  The facility provides public boating saltwater access to the Intracoastal Waterway and Aransas Bay.

Recommendation:  Support the project with the exception of the new pavilion construction due to funding availability.  The boat ramps are popular with local and visiting boaters.  The new lanes will add launching capacity to the site and the loading docks are aged and need renovated.  The parking lot has pot holes and needs to be resurfaced and expanded to handle additional capacity.  The new restroom, fish cleaning station, bulkhead and security lighting is needed.  The proposed pavilion would be a good addition but is too costly ($250,000) to recommend at this time with available funding.

The City was awarded a grant of $267,750 to renovate this site in 2009 but has only recently has obtained a Corps of Engineers permit authorizing the work.  This grant will supplement the funding previously awarded.

Support in Matching Funds:  $432,660


Project Sponsor:  City of Austin   

Project:  Walsh Boat Landing Boat Ramp Renovation

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $487,500

Location:  Lake Austin, Travis County

Discussion:  The City of Austin is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $487,500 for renovation of bulkheads, courtesy dock, parking area, walkways, restroom, lighting, and signs.  The facility provides public boating freshwater access to Lake Austin.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  City of Brady    

Project:  Brady Lake Boat Ramp Renovations

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $233,743

Location:  Brady Lake, McCulloch County

Discussion:  The City of Brady is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $233,743 to renovate and extend 4 boat ramp sites around the lake, dredging, and signs.  The facility provides public freshwater boating access to Brady Lake.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  City of Cooper

Project:  Big Creek Reservoir Boat Ramp Improvements

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $142,166

Location:  Big Creek Reservoir, Delta County

Discussion:  The City of Cooper is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $142,166 to extend the existing ramp, resurface the access road and parking area, dredging, construct a new loading dock and bulkhead.  The facility provides freshwater public boating access to Big Creek reservoir.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  City of Corpus Christi 

Project:  Clem’s and Billings Boat Ramp Renovation

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $600,000

Location:  Under the JFK Causeway, Nueces County

Discussion:  The City of Corpus Christi is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $600,000 for renovation of the parking lot for Clem’s and Billing’s boat ramps.  These heavily used ramps have been recently renovated under previous grants.  The large parking lot that serves these ramps is not paved and heavily potholed.  The facility provides public saltwater boating access to Corpus Christi Bay, Packary Channel and the ICW.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  The operation and maintenance of these ramps has been the responsibility of TPWD but will be transferred to the City upon completion of the project.

Support in Matching Funds:  $600,000


Project Sponsor:  Town of Flower Mound           

Project:  Twin Coves Boat Ramp Renovation

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $460,170

Location:  Lake Grapevine, Denton County

Discussion:  The Town of Flower Mound is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $460,170 for renovation of boat ramp, parking lot and new courtesy dock, fish cleaning station, loading dock, and restroom at an existing public park on Lake Grapevine.  The facility provides public freshwater boating access to Lake Grapevine.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  City of Iowa Park                

Project:  North Fork Buffalo Creek Reservoir Boat Ramp Parking Improvements

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $131,433

Location:  Iowa Park, Wichita County

Discussion:  The City of Iowa Park is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $131,433 to pave the access road and parking area at an existing boat ramp.  Currently, the road and parking area are unimproved.  The facility provides public freshwater boating access to the North Fork Buffalo Creek Reservoir.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  Lavaca-Navidad River Authority        

Project:  Simmons Park Boat Ramp Improvements

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $254,127

Location:  Lake Texana, Jackson County

Discussion:  The Lavaca-Navidad River Authority is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $254,127 to improve an existing public boat ramp site by extending the existing ramp, renovate the loading dock, construct a new bulkhead, restroom, water well, fish cleaning station, pavilion and lighting.  The facility provides public freshwater boating access to the Lake Texana.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  McLennan County       

Project:  Tradinghouse Lake Boat Ramp Renovation

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $278,467

Location:  Tradinghouse Lake, McLennan County

Discussion:  McLennan County is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $278,467 for renovation of the boat ramp site to include resurfacing the parking area, constructing new courtesy docks, restroom, picnic tables, RV hook-ups, lighting, fencing, and signs.  The facility provides public boating access to Tradinghouse Lake.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  Village of Surfside Beach       

Project:  Surfside Beach Boat Ramp Improvement

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $250,027

Location:  Freeport Ship Channel — Brazoria County

Discussion:  The Village of Surfside Beach is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $250,027 for construction of a jetty and dredging.  The facility provides public saltwater boating access to the Freeport Ship Channel, the ICW and the Gulf of Mexico.  The boat ramp was constructed 2 years ago and open to the public, but wave action from the adjacent ship channel has resulted in silt being deposited near the ramp.  The recommended solution is to install a 150 linear foot long jetty to protect the ramp from silt and wave action.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when additional federal boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  Travis County

Project:  Colorado River Boat Ramp Improvements

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $207,295

Location:  Webberville and Little Webberville Parks, Travis County

Discussion:  Travis County is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $207,295 for renovating boat ramp, re-surfacing boat ramp parking areas, dredging, landscaping and signs at two county parks.  The facilities provide public freshwater boating access to the Colorado River.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  Travis County

Project:  Dink Pearson Park Boat Ramp Construction

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $500,000

Location:  Lake Travis, Travis County

Discussion:  Travis County is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $500,000 for constructing a new 3-lane boat ramp, parking area, access road, restroom, dredging, lighting and signs in a county park.  The facility would provide public freshwater boating access to Lake Travis.

Recommendation:  Do not fund the project at this time.  Reconsider funding later in the year when freshwater boat ramp funding becomes available.

Support in Matching Funds:  $0


Project Sponsor:  Willacy County Navigation District

Project:  Port Mansfield Boat Ramp Improvements

Matching Funds Requested (75%):  $373,972

Location:  Lower Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico, Willacy County

Discussion:  Willacy County Navigation District is requesting a 75 percent matching share grant in the amount of $373,972 for renovating boat ramps, courtesy docks, re-surfacing boat ramp parking areas, constructing new bulkheads, restroom, and signs at two ramp areas in Port Mansfield.  The facilities provide public saltwater boating access to the Lower Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico.

Recommendation:  Support the project.  Boat ramps are heavily used but aged and in need of repair.

Support in Matching Funds:  $373,972



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