Communities in 27 states will have additional resources to help boaters keep America’s waters clean, thanks to more than $17 million in Clean Vessel Act program grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to a press release.

Millions of Americans enjoy recreational boating as part of a multi-billion-dollar industry that drives many local economies. However, boaters can have an impact on the health of our waterways, particularly water quality.

With a coastal grant of nearly $1 million, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to work with marina owners to replace or renovate 25 existing pump-outs, install five new pump-outs and purchase one new pump-out boat. They will assist with operations and maintenance on 100 fixed pump-outs and three pump-out boats and continue their outreach and education efforts.

“The boating community plays a role in keeping our waterways clean, which benefits anglers, other recreationists and wildlife,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in the release. “The Clean Vessel Act program facilitates responsible boater behavior, makes substantial contributions to local communities and their economies, and is a great example of the Department’s commitment to work with state and local partners to improve infrastructure and support conservation efforts.”

The Clean Vessel Act grants provide funding to communities to build and maintain facilities that help boaters keep rivers and streams clean. The funds also support associated boater education programs.

Boaters and manufacturers contribute to the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund through excise taxes and duties on certain fishing and boating equipment and boating fuels. Since the program’s inception in 1993, the service has allocated more than $277 million from that fund in CVA grants to U.S. states and territories, according to the press release.

“This is a great program that recreational boaters and anglers need and fund from within their own ranks — it’s their purchases of motorboat fuel, excise taxes paid on fishing equipment and import duties that keep the CVA grants program a success,” BoatUS vice president of government affairs Chris Edmonston said in the release. “Taxpayers are not burdened with these costs.”

States can apply for CVA funding, and they or their partners provide matching funds to complete projects. Sub-grantees often include local municipalities and private marinas.