TACOMA, Wash., February 15, 2013 – Waterfronts are getting squeezed. Traditional activities once considered vital to coastal communities – boat building, fishing, recreational boating and other water-dependent businesses – must now compete for limited space on the shoreline. Residential development, zoning changes, shifting populations and energy production are just some of the pressures against a robust working waterfront. There’s also a new factor - more frequent, massive storm events – that is inflicting massive change, begging the question: “How should devastated areas be redeveloped?” And if so, what are the best uses for waterfront land?
All of these topics and more will be presented at the National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium in Tacoma, Washington on March 25-28 and presented by Washington/ Oregon Sea Grant Programs. Boat Owners Association of The United States BoatUS is a Patron Co-Sponsor and created the first Working Waterfronts Symposium in 2007 to draw national attention to the critical loss of recreational boating access. Local policy makers, elected officials, government agencies, planners, economic development, tourism and marine interests, non-profit organizations, community activists, grassroots groups and interested citizens are all invited to attend.
Topics on deck include economic and social impacts of working waterfronts, successful local, regional, state and federal strategies to address working waterfront issues, the future of working waterfronts including the potential impacts of changing climate and how to keep water-dependant businesses commercially viable. Sessions include: Coastal Smart Growth Approaches, Government Funding Programs, Strategies for Recreational and Commercial Fishing, Dynamics of Port Sizes on the West Coast, Sustaining Small Community Waterfronts, as well as Financing Tools, Economic Strategies, Sustainable Seafood and Environmental issues and more.
In one panel, BoatUS Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs Ryck Lydecker will discuss the Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program that can help attract cruising boaters to local communities. Shepherded by BoatUS through Congress in1998, the program offers matching grants to build transient slips or moorage for people who travel by boat. “The BIG Program is the off-ramp and safe parking lot that delivers the economic impact of passing boaters ashore,” said Lydecker.
Lydecker will also represent recreational boating in a symposium wrap-up session intended to chart a course for the future of the nation’s working waterfronts.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS
) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour on-the-water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-rich boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits that include marina and West Marine shopping discounts, and vital information that improves the boating, fishing and sailing lifestyle. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.
About Sea Grant:
The university-based Washington and Oregon Sea Grant programs provide statewide marine research, outreach and education services. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA, US Department of Commerce (www.seagrant.noaa.gov