The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a $1.5 million grant to the Washington State Parks Department’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program, which works in partnership with Washington Sea Grant to help marinas install and operate septic pumpout stations, educate marina owners and boaters about the importance of clean water and proper onboard sewage disposal, and distribute free adapter kits that make pumping easier and cleaner. The grant is one in a $16.1 million package awarded competitively to 21 states’ CVA programs. Washington, which has one of most active and innovative CVA programs, received the fifth-highest award.
“Clean water is a fundamental need for both people and wildlife, and a perfect example of how the fates of both are intertwined,” USFWS Director Dan Ashe said in announcing the grants. “Clean Vessel Act grants not only help ensure that clean drinking water, sustainable ecosystems and healthy recreational areas are accessible to the American people, they also provide a substantial economic benefit for local communities.”
This year those benefits will be especially directed to the San Juan Islands, which have rich marine habitats, heavy boating activity, and limited pumpout facilities, as well as South Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Lake Washington, longtime boating and water-quality hotspots. Washington State Parks is currently seeking sources for the 25 percent match required under the grants to fund a second pumpout boat on Lake Washington and a free pumpout service in the San Juans.
Clean Vessel Act funds come from manufacturer excise taxes on fishing tackle, import duties on recreational boats and fishing gear, and motorboat and small engine fuel taxes. Last year, Washington’s Clean Vessel Program diverted more than 5.6 million gallons of raw sewage that would otherwise have contaminated state waters, threatening fish, shellfish, and human health.
Washington Sea Grant and its partners, including the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S Power Squadron, have delivered hands-free pumpout adapters to more than 7,000 boaters. Sea Grant has also created a Google map showing all 146 CVA pumpout locations in Washington, available at www.pumpoutwashington.org.
Boaters, yacht clubs and other organizations that would like free pumpout adapters should contact Aaron Barnett at (206) 616-8929 or [email protected].