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Recreational Boating Facilities (RBF) Grants

Grants to Wisconsin Agencies and Lake Associations
for Improvements to Boating Facilities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Deadline Date:

02/01/21 11:59 PM


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Grants to Wisconsin cities, towns, tribes, villages, and lake associations for projects that maintain and improve facilities for recreational boating. Applicants must contact the funding source prior to applying. Eligible projects and expenses include construction and improvements, purchase of equipment, navigation aids, and channel dredging.

Eligible Projects:

  • Channel dredging - Dredging of inland water channels for recreational boating (not more than once in ten years).
  • Construction projects
    • Facilities such as ramps and boarding docks required to gain access to the water.
    • Harbors of refuge – structures such as bulkheads and breakwaters necessary to provide safe water conditions.
    • Dredging to provide safe water depths. Dredging of basins is an eligible activity only when it is associated with project development.
    • Support facilities include parking lots and signage, sanitary facilities, fencing and security lighting for the convenience of boaters.
  • Improvement and repair of locks - Cost of improvement and repair of locks and facilities that provide access between waterways for operators of recreational watercrafts.
  • Navigation aids - Cost of aids to navigation and regulatory markers including the cost of appropriate ground tackle.
  • Rehabilitation - Rehabilitation of capital improvements that are related to recreational boating facilities.
  • Trash skimming equipment - Acquisition of equipment to collect and remove floating trash and debris from a waterway.
  • Weed harvesting equipment - Acquisition of equipment that is necessary to cut and remove aquatic plants.

For more information on eligible projects, see the following link:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164651

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:
Governmental units and qualified lake associations are eligible to participate in the recreational boating facilities program. In s. 30.92, Wis. Stats., governmental units are defined as: cities, towns, counties, town sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts organized under ch. 33. The Milwaukee River Revitalization Council, the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board, the Fox River Management Commission, or any other local governmental unit, as defined in s. 66.299(1), that is established for the purpose of lake management. Lake Associations may also be eligible for applying for funding if they meet the qualifications under s. 281.68 (3m) (a). These qualifications are listed under “Qualified Lake Association” in the Definition section of this guidance.

Ineligible Costs
Recreational boating facilities funds may not be used for any of the following:
- Feasibility studies and eradication of Eurasian water milfoil projects are no longer funded.
- Costs incurred prior to the signed grant agreement will need approval by the department. The exception to this policy involves expenditures for engineering or planning costs necessary to develop a construction project for Commission review or the acquisition of navigational aids. Discuss with your project manager first.
- The cost of acquiring land associated with the project and construction of facilities commonly used to berth boats, e.g., finger piers for seasonal dockage.
- Any costs related to planning, engineering, dredging, handling, processing, transporting or depositing of contaminated dredge spoils; the purchase of land rights for a spoils deposition area or the costs of landfill storage of spoils; costs of
land treatment to cover up spoils deposits; and the cost of testing or monitoring as a condition of a state or federal permit.
- Costs for the operation and maintenance of a lock, launch ramp or harbor of refuge.
- Ceremonial ad publicity expenses, bonus payments, charges in excess of the lowest bid, interest expense, charges incurred contrary to the policies and practices of the applicant, damage judgments arising out of the construction of a facility, costs of discounts not taken, and fees paid to legal counsel.
- Indirect costs.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are accepted at any time.

Applications must be submitted to the Department by 11:59 p.m. on February 1, 2021. Contact your DNR community service specialist via the contact information listed below before applying to discuss your potential project.

WWC Rating & Ranking Meeting: April 13, 2021, For more details see the URL for Full Text Link

- Application Deadlines: June 1, 2020, September 1, 2020, November 1, 2020, February 1, 2021
- WWC Rating & Ranking Meeting: Aug. 18, 2020, November 17, 2020, January 12, 2021, April 13, 2021

The Wisconsin Waterways Commission may hold a policy meeting in conjunction with site visits in September or October. No projects would be funded at this meeting. Applicants and/or their consultants are expected to present their projects to the Commission at the scheduled meeting. After all presentations are completed, the Commission will discuss and then present their funding decisions. If the Commission defers a project until a future meeting because they are requesting additional information, the applicant and/or their consultant will need to provide this information to the Commission via their grant project manager.

Grant recipients may receive a grant for up to 50% of the total eligible cost for a recreational boating facility project. Grant recipients are encouraged to match recreational boating facilities funds with federal and local funds. The Commission may increase the cost share rate from 50% to 80% if it determines that the project is of statewide or regional significance and the project meets all of criteria listed at the following link:

Applications for recreational boating facilities grants exceeding $250,000 are encouraged to be submitted to your regional DNR grants specialists in time for the June 1st, or September 1st, application deadlines. These larger grant requests take extra processing time and therefore are highly recommended for earlier evaluation, in the first two quarters of the fiscal year. Contact your regional DNR grants specialist as soon as possible, if you have a larger project and you are planning to apply for a recreational boating facilities grant. DNR grants specialists can help with scheduling and grant processing.

Contact Information:

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

Applications should be submitted to the relevant regional Community Services Specialist listed below.

Statewide Program Manager:
Grant Program Manager
Bobbi Winebar
2964 Shawano Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54313
(920) 662-5175

Program Managers by Region:

Northeast Region
Jessica Terrien
2984 Shawano Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54313-6727

Northern Region
Ann “Annie” Loechler
810 West Maple St.
Spooner, WI 54801

South Central Region
Cheryl Housley
3911 Fish Hatchery Road
Fitchburg, WI 53711
(608) 275-3218
Mary Rothenmaier
3911 Fish Hatchery Road
Fitchburg, WI 53711
(608) 275-3322

Southeast Region
Sara deBruijn
2300 N Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53212

West Central Region
Gina Keenan
1300 W Clairemont
Eau Claire, WI 54701
(715) 836-6574

To see which program manager is the contact person for your organization, see the map on the following page:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster Street PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Wisconsin

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