Game And Parks Officers To Participate In BUI Awareness And Enforcement Campaign July 2-4

LINCOLN, Neb. – As part of a national effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will participate July 2-4 in Operation Dry Water.

While Operation Dry Water is a year-round BUI awareness and enforcement campaign. That effort will be heightened by Game and Parks’ Law Enforcement Division officers July 2-4 at waters across the state.

Alcohol use while boating is one of the leading factors in boater deaths. In Nebraska, it is unlawful to operate a motorboat with a blood alcohol level content of .08 percent or greater. Doing so constitutes BUI, which carries penalties such as vessel impoundment, fines, jail time and loss of boating privileges.

Alcohol use can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Alcohol also is dangerous for passengers as intoxication can cause slips, falls overboard and other dangerous accidents.

"The Commission encourages boaters to enjoy the boating season with friends and family, and we also encourage them do it in a safe and responsible way,” said Craig Stover, administrator for the Law Enforcement Division. “Drinking alcohol while boating can have serious, even deadly consequences, and our goal is to make sure everyone is enjoying their time on the water and staying safe.”

Game and Parks also recommends everyone have all required boating safety equipment on board, including life jackets or U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices, lights, fire extinguisher, horn, bailing bucket and an orange flag if pulling skiers and tubers.

Children age 12 and younger and anyone riding or operating a personal watercraft or being pulled on a towable must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Anyone operating a motorboat or personal watercraft must be at least 14 years old. Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1985, must complete a boater safety course, which can be taken at OutdoorNebraska.gov/boatereducation. For more information on boating rules and requirements, read the 2021 Boating Guide at OutdoorNebraska.gov/guides.

Nationally, 620 agencies participated in Operation Dry Water in 2020, with 7,612 officers contacting 305,456 boaters. Those resulted in 28,659 safety warnings, 8,666 citations and 625 BUIs.

Operation Dry Water is a joint program of Game and Parks, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, visit OperationDryWater.org.

Six State Recreation Areas Will Allow Fireworks On July 4

LINCOLN, Neb. – Visitors to six state recreation areas will be allowed to touch off fireworks on July 4. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is urging them to be especially careful this year.

Visitors should always use caution when lighting fireworks but should be mindful of the dry conditions that exist across the state this year and the risk of wildfire.

The areas that will permit fireworks from 8 a.m. until midnight on July 4 are Branched Oak (Liebers Point only), Fort Kearny, Memphis, Fremont Lakes, Pawnee and Wagon Train.

Signs at recreation areas will point the way to designated fireworks sites, and boundaries will be clearly marked. Use of fireworks elsewhere in state areas or at other times is prohibited.

Only fireworks approved for sale in Nebraska by the state fire marshal are permitted, and visitors must pick up expended fireworks and deposit them in appropriate containers. Minor children must be supervised when discharging fireworks. Use, possession and the discharging of fireworks is at the sole risk of the users.

A park entry permit is required for all vehicles entering state recreation areas.

Apply For Grant To Support Community Recreation Improvements

LINCOLN, Neb. — Two grant programs are accepting applications from communities across Nebraska for recreation improvements.

Applications for the Recreation Trails Program are due Sept. 3, 2021. Applications for the grants through the Land and Water Conservation Fund are due Sept. 17, 2021.

The Recreational Trails Program is a grant program through the Federal Highway Administration that reimburses political subdivisions, such as communities, counties, natural resources districts, up to maximum of $250,000 or 80% of project costs for trail acquisition, development, renovation and support facilities.

Applicants must have the financial means to undertake and maintain the project and all funding should be on hand as this is a reimbursable grant program.

This funding source is for both motorized and non-motorized trail projects. It is divided by category: motorized (30% of funding utilized for these projects), non-motorized (30% of funding) and diversified or shared use trail projects (40%).

Applications for RTP grants for the fiscal year 2022 should be submitted at ngpcgrants.outdoornebraska.gov.

For more information on the Recreational Trails Program, visit outdoornebraska.org/rtp.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund grants, administered by the National Park Service, fund outdoor recreation projects.

Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, ballfields, soccer fields, swimming pools, picnicking facilities, playgrounds, pool renovations, splash pads, park acquisitions and development, and park related support facilities. All projects must encourage or promote outdoor recreation.

A grant project sponsor must be a political subdivision, such as a city, county government or Natural Resource District, etc. The LWCF provides reimbursable matching grants for up to 50% of total project costs.

All grant applications will be accepted only through the online grant portal. The LWCF grant award requests for an individual project is established between $40,000 and $400,000.

Grant applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Sept. 17, 2021. All information and applicable materials are available at ngpcgrants.outdoornebraska.gov and outdoornebraska.gov/lwcf.

Approved grants will be announced in January. Contact Schuyler Sampson at 402-471-5283 or schuyler.sampson@nebraska.gov for more information.

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