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story.lead_photo.caption Ducks take flight at Lake Bentonville in this file photo. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF)

Federal grants help state waters

Arkansas will be eligible for about $2.24 million in federal grants from the Clean Vessels Act (CVA) to support outdoor recreation and to help boaters keep state waters clean, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced June 18.

Since 2017, the Trump administration has distributed more than $129 million from these programs and leveraged an additional $83 million in nonfederal funding to provide a total of $212 million toward infrastructure projects benefiting recreational boaters.

In fiscal 2020, 23 states will receive a total of $19.3 million in federal assistance from the CVA program to keep local waterways healthy. CVA grants provide much-needed funding to communities to build and maintain facilities that help boaters keep our rivers and streams clean. Pump-out systems built or purchased with these funds ensure recreational boaters have a safe, convenient and effective method to dispose of on-board sewage. The funds also support boater education programs.

Boater Infrastructure Grants (BIG) will enable recipients to build, renovate and maintain marinas and other facilities for recreational boats longer than 26 feet that dock for 15 days or less.

Arkansas' share of CVA grants is $1,436,486, and its nonfederal share is $475,090. Its share of BIG grants is $197,792, and its nonfederal share is $126,458.

Duck stamps on sale now

The 2020-21 federal duck stamp, valid from July 1 through June 30, 2021, went on sale Friday for $25 at post offices, national wildlife refuges and sporting goods stores.

The duck stamp, more formally known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, was established in 1934. The program has raised more than $1 billion to help acquire and protect more than 6 million acres of habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Waterfowl hunters ages 16 and older are required to carry a signed duck stamp while hunting. A duck stamp also provides free admission to national wildlife refuges that are open to the public except for the Dale Bumpers White River NWR, which requires an additional $20 entrance fee. Electronic versions of the duck stamp can also be purchased online at www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/e-stamp.php.

Adam Putnam, chief executive officer for Ducks Unlimited, said that 98 cents of every dollar spent to purchase a duck stamp goes directly to acquiring and protecting waterfowl habitat.

This year's federal duck stamp features a pair of black-bellied whistling ducks painted by Eddie LeRoy of Eufaula, Ala.

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