Chuck May of Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition Honored with 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award

Chuck May, Chair Pro Tem, Great LakesSmall Harbors Coalition ANN ARBOR, Mich., January 19, 2011 - For the nation's small boat harbors along the Great Lakes shoreline that have suffered from years of neglect, no longer will they get lost in shuffle for finding federal funding for critical dredging and harbor maintenance projects.

That's because of the efforts of Chuck May, who as founder of the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition and along with the support from over 100 coastal towns, counties, and local harbor commissions, has gotten critical attention to this issue at the state and federal level. For his work with improving the voice of small harbors, securing greater federal funding for dredging and ensuring the future of these water-dependent economies, May is honored with a 2010 BoatUS Recreational Boating Access Award.

"Chuck and his Coalition put these harbors on the federal funding radar and got the bigger world to understand that without greater financial support to keep these harbors navigable, some were on the verge of losing critical access to the water," said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. "Once that happens, you no longer have a harbor of refuge to run to in a storm and you lose the significant economic impact boating and fishing brings to many of these small communities."

BoatUS created the award program in 2007 to highlight successes in protecting water access as boaters and communities were losing marina slips, service yards and boat launching areas. The goal is to draw national attention to innovative solutions and share success stories so that others may help to solve their own waterway access challenges.

The challenge that May faced was that dredging of federally authorized "shallow draft" (less than 14 feet deep) harbors is not covered by the US Army Corps of Engineers dredging budget. Some harbors had not been dredged in nearly 100 years, and the only way to ask for money was through the inefficient "earmark" process. The Coalition has since broadened membership to include harbors of any size, and today represents over nine million people, has support of over 100 local governments and has over 45 member harbors in all five Great Lakes.

Additional support has come from the Great Lakes Commission, Michigan Sea Grant and the Michigan Boating Industry Association. May is currently chair, pro tem of the Coalition, which has also developed a "needs"-based system to allocate funding to ensure the small harbors remain viable harbors of refuge and economic engines.

The results to date have been impressive: in 2009 the Coalition helped secure $45 million for dredging operations, including $6 million in last year's Omnibus Spending Bill, $20 million in the Army Corps of Engineers 2009 Operation and Maintenance Budget and $19 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It also continues to work with other interests to reform the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

BoatUS - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money-saving services. For membership information visit or call 800-395-2628.