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Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) Grant

Grants to Washington Agencies to Protect
and Restore Waterfronts and Aquatic Lands

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Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO)

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Grants to Washington local, state, and tribal governmental agencies for the protection and enhancement of aquatic lands, including shorelands, harbor areas, tidelands, and beds of navigable waters. Funding may be used for the improvement, protection, or acquisition of qualifying aquatic lands for public purposes. Funding may also be used to provide or improve public access to the waterfront.

In 1984, the Washington State Legislature created this grant program to ensure that money generated from aquatic lands was used to protect and enhance those lands.

Typical Projects

  • Removing bulkheads to restore natural beach functions
  • Restoring an estuary
  • Replacing a waterfront boardwalk
  • Restoring shoreline for salmon habitat
  • Developing a waterfront park

    Eligible Projects

    • Acquisition: Buying land, leases, conservation easements, or access easements that will provide reasonable public access.
    • Restoration: Returning damaged or altered land to a condition that could be reasonably expected to substantially improve ecological conditions. The work is expected to result in a site that is self-sustaining and will not require continual intervention to function as a predominantly natural ecosystem. Restoration projects must allow or provide public access to aquatic lands. Restoration projects with interpretive or educational elements are strongly encouraged.
    • Development: Improving, renovating, or providing new structures or facilities that support public access to aquatic lands and waters for water-dependent activities. Educational features are strongly encouraged.

    ALEA projects must be associated with navigable waters of the state as defined by Washington Administrative Code 332-30-106, Revised Code of Washington 79.105, and Article 17 of the State Constitution.

    All marine waters are, by definition, navigable, as are portions of rivers influenced by tides. Navigable rivers and lakes are those determined by the judiciary, those bounded by meander lines, or those that could have been used for commerce at the time of statehood.

    For a list of know navigable freshwater bodies in eastern Washington, see the URL for Full Text link below. 

    GrantWatch ID#:

    GrantWatch ID#: 147293

    Estimated Total Program Funding:


    Estimated Size of Grant:

    Grant Limits:

    -Acquisition projects: $1 million
    -Restoration or improvement projects: $500,000
    -Development projects: $500,000
    -Combination projects (acquisition and development or restoration): $1 million, of which not more than $500,000 may be for development or restoration costs.

    Additional Eligibility Criteria:

    Eligible Applicants:

    - Local agencies
    - State agencies
    - Native American Tribes

    The above entities must be authorized legally to acquire and develop public open space, habitat, or recreation facilities.

    Ineligible Projects:

    -Concessionaire buildings
    -Fish or wildlife production facilities
    -Indoor facilities such as swimming pools, community centers, museums, interpretive and environmental centers
    -Offices, shops, residences, and meeting rooms
    -Operating, overhead, or incidental costs
    -Routine maintenance costs
    -Legally mandated clean-up or costs of required mitigation actions not associated with the approved project.

    Pre-Application Information:

    Funding generally is awarded every 2 years.

    Grant Application Schedule:

    - Applicant Webinar, Applications Open: February 13, 2020
    - Applications Due: June 1, 2020
    - Technical Review: June 29, 2020 - June 30, 2020
    - Technical Completion Deadline: August 10, 2020
    - Project Evaluation: September 28, 2020 - September 29, 2020
    - Board Approves Preliminary Ranked Lists: November 5, 2020
    - Board Awards Grants: July 1, 2021 Estimate

    Changes Due to the Coronavirus: RCO understands that grant applicants may need more time to complete their applications in light of COVID-19. RCO has made the following changes to its Farmland Preservation WWRP grant application process:

    - Grant application deadline extended from May 1 to June 1. In the next few weeks, RCO will adjust some of the other deadlines.
    - All project evaluations will be Web-based. There will be no in-person meetings and the evaluation committee will work remotely as well.
    - Match reduction for applicants.

    2020 Applicant Webinar:

    Webinar Q&A video:

    How to apply:

    For reference only, the 2019 Grant Manual, Fact Sheet, and other relevant forms and documents are available on the URL for Full Text link below.

    Contact Information:

    Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

    PRISM online application system:

    Beth Auerbach
    Outdoor Grants Manager

    Michelle Burbidge
    Outdoor Grants Manager

    Brian Carpenter
    Outdoor Grants Manager

    For additional contact information, see:

    Recreation and Conservation Office Natural Resources Building
    1111 Washington Street
    Olympia, WA 98501

    Mailing Address:
    PO Box 40917
    Olympia, WA 98504-0917

    P: (360) 902-3000
    F: (360) 902-3026
    TTD: (360) 902-1996

    URL for Full Text (RFP):

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