2016 Maritime Heritage Grant Cycle Now Open

Approximately $1.7 million in National Maritime Heritage Grants for education or preservation projects are available for 2016. Proposals for grants will be accepted from May 23 until August 5, 2016. Education projects can request $15,000-50,000 and preservation projects can request $50,000-200,000. Funding for Maritime Heritage Grants is competitive and requires a 1-to-1 match with non-Federal assets from non-Federal sources. Project funds are disbursed from the Maritime Heritage Program directly to State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), who make subgrants to applicants.

Applicants must submit their complete application packages through the grants.gov website. Organizations not yet registered or familiar with grants.gov must first go to the following website and follow the instructions to register: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html. It will take up to two weeks for your account to be processed before you can submit your application. Do not wait until the last minute to register with grants.gov and the system for award management (SAM); application extensions will not be granted for incomplete grants.gov or SAM registration.

Goto NPS Maritime Heritage Grants website for full details.

Excerpted from the National Park Service website, May 23, 2016

Maritime grants for lighthouses

It’s encouraging to see how many lighthouse projects benefited from the Maritime Heritage Grants program this year, even as the fight continues in Congress to restore full funding (see previous posts).

Of the 34 awards announced by the National Park Service and Maritime Administration recently,  seven involved lighthouses. Here’s the list:

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum won $50,000 to help build an archaeological research and education center; while that’s not strictly lighthouse, it does benefit a very good lighthouse museum’s efforts to expand maritime knowledge through the marvelous shipwreck archaeology and conservation work Kathy Fleming, Rick Cain and the rest of the St. Augustine crew are doing.

The Maine Maritime Museum in Bath won $50,000 to build a simulated lantern room to house and interpret a lens in its collection.

The Mason County Historical Society in Michigan got a $52,335 grant to clean, preserve and display Fresnel lenses in its collection.

The Michigan SHPO got $123,000 for historic structures reports and a public education project centered on the state’s offshore lights.

The Minnesota Historical Society got $68,000 for a cultural landscape report at Split Rock Lighthouse.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities won a $50,000 grant to paint the outside of the Cape May Lighthouse.

The Town of North Hempstead, NY got $165,000 to take the first steps toward rehabbing the Stepping Stones Lighthouse in Long Island Sound not far from the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

The folks at NPS have told us they’d like to see more lighthouse-related applications next time around, so keep that in mind!

Here at the Dire Straits Lighthouse, we didn’t win anything. We never do. We’d been hoping for some funding to replace the old pot-bellied stove we rely on when the ice is thick on the strait and not even the cockroaches are moving. It’s been spilling embers on the old wooden floor and, as usual, we’re expecting bad things to happen.

But if they do, it’s not as if we’re all that needed any more up here in Dire Straits. There hasn’t been any shipping to speak of since the beaver-pelt plant over at Moot Point shut down and threw all three of the region’s wage-earners out of work. Maybe the folks over at NPS heard about that, and just sort of wrote us off. Wouldn’t be the first time. Instead they’re throwing money at Keeper Lee over at Split Rock to fund something called a “cultural landscape,” whatever that is. Around this station, the only cultural landscape is an old dog-eared copy of Cap’n Billy’s Whiz-Bang.

Sorry we’re a little late reporting out this week-old news, but we have to row the station dory way over to the village at Goose Neck to pick up any mail. That’s a two-day row in a leaky boat, which probably also needs a grant because the Lighthouse Service wrote us off long ago, too. If you don’t hear from us in a couple of days, though, don’t worry — and don’t even think of calling the Coast Guard to check up on us. Those boys over at the Neck lost their compass so they’re not quite sure where we are anyway, and the Coast Guard wrote that station off a long time ago too.

It didn’t help that the last of the carrier pigeons died off just after bringing word of the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance conference down in Traverse City this mid-May. I’ll try to register for that online, but that’s hard too — I “borrowed” this old extra computer from the Forest Service, but I can’t find any instructions in all the old Lighthouse Service manuals we still have on the shelf. Ranger Rick over at the FS tower trained one of the geese to sort of help me out, but the dang thing keeps migrating and it takes forever to get anything typed.

Well, that’s all the woe from Dire Straits for now. I’ve got to go feed the station cow. She heard about our grant rejection, and now all I’m getting is curdled milk.

Keep your lights on.

STORIS Act support

Lee Radzak at Split Rock just contributed an excellent letter to Congress as part of the ongoing effort to restore the national maritime grants program funding, and it’s a critically important time for the lighthouse community to do the same. I’ve just fired off another round of emails to my area’s senators and representatives, who have heard a lot about this from me in the past (one even signed on as a cosponsor of an earlier version), but at this juncture the more input we can provide the better.

Tim Runyan is leading this effort from our side, and Denise Krepp has done some absolutely fantastic work on holding the Maritime Administration accountable. Here’s a link to her latest: http://www.americanshipper.com/Main/ASD/Oped_The_real_facts_about_Maritime_Heritage_Grants_61078.aspx

Please get on board with this. We need to show support. Contact your senator about the STORIS Act (S. 1511 in the Senate) and your representatives in the House (where the bill is HR 2876). Tim has provided a letter template:

On Letterhead if possible
(Name)                                                date
(Insert address)  or Washington, DC

Dear (Senator or Rep.) (insert name),

My name is (insert) and I represent (insert). I am writing to you to seek your support for (S. 1511 or HR. 2876), the “Ships to be Recycled in the States” (STORIS) Act, especially Section 4 (c) (C) to assure a competitive public grants program in support of America’s maritime heritage. Please support inclusion of the Storis Act in the Coast Guard authorization bill; or as a floor amendment.

The (my organization) is devoted to (insert your mission). The maritime heritage community is composed of more than 1,000 non-profit organizations in more than 40 states. This includes historic naval ships, maritime museums, tall ships for sail training, lighthouses, maritime historical societies, education, and preservation organizations. Thousands of veterans serve as staff or volunteers.

The STORIS Act is a proposed amendment to Public Law 103-451, the National Maritime Heritage Act of 1994. This act calls for a pool of unappropriated funds equal to 25% of the proceeds from the scrapping of ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (“mothball fleet”), to be distributed by the National Park Service to maritime non-profit institutions, and state and local governments through a competitive matching grants program. There is no impact on the budget.

The National Maritime Heritage Act reflected an historic and deep recognition by Congress of the importance of our country’s maritime history. On a practical level, the National Maritime Heritage Act also sought to provide assistance to those non-government organizations dedicated to preserving surviving reminders of that past, the ships, the artifacts and the stories that are so vital in telling our unique maritime story to new generations of Americans and so economically important to the cultural tourism sector on which so many communities heavily depend.

An amendment was added to the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that allowed the Maritime Administration to use all of the funds solely for the preservation of property it owns. This ultimately resulted in reduced funding to maritime heritage institutions across the country in more than 40 states by 50%.

The STORIS Act (S. 1511), restores the original formula of 50% for MARAD, 25% to maritime academies, and a full 25% to the National Park Service-administered grants program for maritime preservation and educational projects. The STORIS Act also seeks more transparency in the ship-scrapping process.

I respectfully request that you support the Storis Act.


Please send a copy of your email or letter to:  runyant@ecu.edu

I’d do that too, but here at ALC headquarters in the Dire Straits Lighthouse budget cuts have reduced us to using carrier pigeons. It’s a long flight, and hopefully Tim won’t need my copies in 2016.

-mike vogel

Support Needed for Bill to Restore Maritime Heritage Funding

Submitted by Tim Runyan, Chair, National Maritime Alliance


Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Storis Act on June 4, with co-sponsor Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). It is Senate Bill 1511 (S. 1511).  Storis (Ships to be Recycled in the States) Act was referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (CST). The Act includes Section 4 (c) (C) that restores funding for the maritime heritage grants program.

Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) is expected to introduce the Storis Act in the House very soon.

However, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee just introduced its version of the Coast Guard Authorization Act that we hoped would include the Storis Act (S. 1511)–it did not. We must alert senators, and ask them to add the Storis Act to the Coast Guard bill; or support the Storis Act as a stand alone bill. CST has scheduled an executive committee meeting for Thursday, 25 June. We must act NOW!

I have attached a draft letter for you. Please email/mail your letters to your senators, and appropriate staff members. Write both of your senators–most will not be on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (CST). I have attached a list of members.

You can write on behalf of your organization to a member of the CST Committee—I suggest Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) the Ranking member of CST; Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) Ranking member of the subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Merchant Marine, and Ranking member of the subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) are also on both of those subcommittees. Also, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI); Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) On Oceans, Coast Guard subcommittee.                                                                             

If you know of maritime heritage organizations or initiatives in the state please mention them. Write your senators; and target CST Committee members.

I know writing takes some time. But we know that advocacy pays off–$7M.  $2.6M awarded in April, and the deadline for round two proposals ($1.7M), is August 3.

Please write before Thursday, later if you must.


Letter to Support Storis Act

Senate CST Committee 2015

Money, good and bad

Just a few updates from ALC headquarters at the Dire Straits Lighthouse:

Grants — The 2016 season already is open. As we’ve already noted, applications are being accepted now through August 3 for the national Maritime Heritage Grants Program, through the National Parks Service site. You’ll recall that this is a multi-year program funded by the proceeds of scrapping mothball fleet ships, and that there’s still a Capitol Hill struggle for the maritime preservation community to restore full funding as originally envisaged by Congress. This year’s grant awards included a couple for lighthouse-related projects, so there’s hope.

The grants are matching ones and arrive as reimbursements, but if you want to apply you can try for amounts between $50,000 and $200,000 for preservation projects and $15,000 to $50,000 for education projects. The total pool is $1.7 million.

Meanwhile, the fledgling United States Lighthouse Society grants program winnowed down more than two dozen worthwhile applications for this year’s funding to five finalists, with detailed applications due June 15 and awards to be announced in August. The funding comes from the interest on a Preservation Fund the USLHS is still trying to grow to much more substantial grant-producing levels.

Crunch time — Trouble lingers at the financially-beleaguered Maine Lighthouse Museum. There’s a meeting June 9 with the Coast Guard, which has told the museum it wants to recall its loan of some 700 artifacts gathered largely by the late Ken Black. Meanwhile, the Rockland City Council has denied for now a city manager’s suggestion that it help bail out the museum.

See Tim Harrison’s comments below offering a hopeful update. Maine media is reporting that the museum owes a bank about $512,000 on its mortgage and the bank is moving toward foreclosure, but Tim says that’s not so. The waterfront building it shares with other groups also is a problem, as its upkeep is the responsibility of a condominium association that now is broke because the museum is $148,000 behind on its share of that responsibility. The city council wants to wait to see what the Coast Guard says (it’s estimated that the cost of actually returning the artifacts is about $100,000), and the city manager wanted to have some guidance in his talks with the Coast Guard. So that looks like a stalemate, and this can’t be an easy job for CG curator Arlyn Danielson. The museum has been trying for a corporate-donation bailout, but no word on that.

A Fight Lost — For Now

Bad news for maritime funding this week, but it’s not a permanent defeat. The STORIS Act, which would have restored federal maritime preservation funding to the level Congress originally attended, did not survive as an amendment to the defense spending authorization act. The maritime community had pushed hard to have that funding restored (see earlier posts) but the Maritime Administration applied pressure of its own to allow it to keep the money it had carved out of the fund for itself. It didn’t help that STORIS Act sponsor Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska was defeated in a close reelection bid, and that his staff had left Washington for the campaign that wasn’t settled until well after election day. But Tim Runyan already is at work lining up support for next year’s effort to reverse this money grab, and we’ll be letting the lighthouse community know when it’s time to step up efforts with your local congressmen and congresswomen. It would help to talk to them about this at every opportunity between now and then, so that the issue stays as alive as the funding needs of the community. Meanwhile, the National Park Service still will be administering a program with half the money it really should have. For those of you who applied in 2014, by the way, the NPS review of applications now has been pushed back to mid/late January. That’s just for the review that will lead to NPS recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior; I’m not aware of any timetable for those recommendations or for the final decisions, yet, but there’s a lot of pent-up demand for a relatively small pot of money and it’s spread across the entire maritime community. These remain tough financial times. The National Maritime Historical Society notes that several historic and replica sailing ships have been sold or laid up recently — Amistad, for example, is in receivership and Harvey Gamage and others have been sold off, with another dozen or so schooners also up for auction or sale. America’s maritime heritage really does need funding, and that’s a message we have to keep getting across to this and future Congresses. -mike vogel

Funding Resources

Ted Panayotoff recently wrote “The H. Lee White Maritime Museum, Oswego, NY, which recently assumed responsibility for restoration of the Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse by leasing it from the owner, the City of Oswego, NY, is seeking information on any private foundations or other organizations that may offer grants that would apply to lighthouse restoration.  We are looking for funding support to help with the painting of the exterior of the lighthouse.  Any information or contacts would be most welcome.  Thank you.”

Funding has always been an important concern for lighthouse preservation.  ALC has started a resource page for funding sources.  What others programs should Ted consider and/or be added to our list?

Please reply to this blog post or send an email to info@americanlighthousecouncil.org