The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) is a small state agency that manages grant programs to create outdoor recreation opportunities, protect the best of the state’s wildlife habitat and working farms and forests, and help return salmon from near extinction.
The office supports the following organizations:
- Recreation and Conservation Funding Board
- Salmon Recovery Funding Board
- Invasive Species Council
- Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office
- Habitat and Recreation Lands Coordinating Group
Together, this collection of boards and offices provide leadership, funding, and technical assistance.
A Billion Dollar Investment
Since the agency began in 1964, it has awarded more than $2.6 billion in grants to more than 10,000 projects. On average, RCO awards 270 grants for $78 million every year.
Doubling the State’s Investment
RCO doesn’t do the work alone. Since 1964, grant recipients have contributed more than $1.3 billion in matching resources, making the total investment in Washington’s great outdoors about $4 billion.
About the Director
Kaleen Cottingham was appointed to lead the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office in 2007. During her career, she has worked for four Governors and the elected public lands commissioner in a variety of management and adviser positions. She got her start in Olympia serving as legal counsel for several Washington State Senate committees. She also practiced law and provided strategic advice on natural resource and land use issues.
Ms. Cottingham received her bachelor of science degree in forest resources from the University of Washington and her law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law. Ms. Cottingham, who was born and raised in Washington, resides in Olympia.
Kaleen Cottingham, 360-902-3003