GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – The cost of boating is going up, but that extra $5 is going to help maintain Alabama reservoirs.
“It’s the first of its kind in Alabama,” said Alabama Senator Clay Scofield.
The Republican senator for the ninth district championed the license fee increase bill that is expected to generate around $1.2 to 1.3 million a year.
“Folks that are enjoying the water whether that’s fishing, whether that’s recreation, they’re helping to maintain our reservoirs which is, in my opinion, one of our most important resources that we have,” said Scofield.
“Every lake community in the whole state has got some kind of issue. We’ve got our issues, others have got theirs,” added Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Roden.
The money will help with annual aquatic weed and invasive species management, navigation, and debris cleanup.
“So, if we have a weather event, whether it’s a hurricane on the coast, we need channels cleaned out, fishing channels and whatnot or if we have tornadic activity up here and we have debris in the reservoir, we can use that money to get that out,” explained Scofield.
“To be able to provide some funding to do things that we’ve not had that dedicated funding for in the past, and this should be able to help us set up programs that are consistent and not hit or miss but be able to put plans in place for the long term to have a great impact,” added Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship.
It could not have come to fruition without the idea from an area non-profit group.
“My Lake Guntersville, we were the ones looking for funding to be able to supplement the part the TVA does because they were cutting some of their funding and Marshall and Jackson county got together to figure out ways to be able to continue the program we started many years ago,” Roden told News 19.
The cost of a boating license ranges from $25 and $75 depending on the size of the vessel.
Roden says locals will have to find around $600,000 to match the grant funding.