Freshwater fishing opportunities abound in Mississippi with over 4,000 miles of streams and 282,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs. The Department's Ramp and Pier program is charged with building, renovating and providing grants for public access boat ramps and courtesy piers. Funding for this project comes from a combination of state funds, generated by license sales, and federal dollars.

The federal program behind this is known as the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program (formerly known as Dingell-Johnson or Wallop-Breaux). Excise taxes on domestic fishing tackle and boat fuel as well as import duties on tackle and boats are collected by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. The money is apportioned back to the states based on the number of licenses sold, the size of the state and the amount of public water. No one state gets less than 1% nor more than 5% of this money. This "user pays - user benefits" program returns $3 for every $4 spent on eligible projects. The boat ramp construction project of the Ramp and Pier Program receives 15% of the state's annual Sportfish Restoration allocation.

New ramp sites are selected based on need, site suitability and proximity to existing ramps. The Department schedules the construction of 2 to 4 new ramps each year, and existing ramps are repaired as needed. Major construction projects, like the Yazoo River Ramp at Greenwood and the Goshen Springs Ramp renovation on Barnett Reservoir are funded with grants to cooperating government agencies.

Fishing piers are also built by this construction crew. Wooden piers are built on public waters, mostly on the Department's State Lakes and State Park Lakes. Fishing pier construction is funded totally with license revenues.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Boating Access Grant Program can provide assistance to Municipal, County and other governmental entities who wish to develop or improve boating access facilities on public lakes or rivers in their area.