ALEA Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account


$9.1 million


Grant Limit

$1 million


Match Requirement

50 percent


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.

Grants may be used for the acquisition, improvement, or protection of aquatic lands for public purposes. They also may be used to provide or improve public access to the waterfront.

Aquatic lands are all tidelands, shore lands, harbor areas, and the beds of navigable waters.

Grant Application Schedule

Item Date

Application Webinar, Applications Open

Watch Application Webinar for recreation-focused projects
Watch Application Webinar for conservation-focused projects

February 14, 2024 

Application Due

May 1, 2024 

Technical Review

Watch Live on YouTube

May 29, 2024 - May 30, 2024

Technical Completion Deadline

July 18, 2024 

Project Evaluation

August 27, 2024 - August 28, 2024

Board Approves Preliminary Ranked Lists

October 29, 2024 - October 30, 2024

Grant Award History

Most recent grants and evaluation results, listed by the application year.

Application Resources

Grant Manual


Changes to evaluation criteria for 2024


Outdoor Recreation Inventory: The 2023 Outdoor Recreation Inventory map and dashboard includes information on more than 23,000 outdoor recreation areas, facilities, trails, and water access sites. It is used to understand the quantity and distribution of key outdoor recreation opportunities across the state. The dashboard also includes a service area analysis for outdoor recreation opportunities, such as accessing a local park or trail. 

Current Grants and Program History
Project Celebrations

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

Who May Apply?

  • 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.


Funding generally is awarded every two years.

ALEA is funded almost entirely by revenue generated from aquatic lands and is used to improve those lands or access to them. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages the state-owned aquatic lands and generates revenue from activities such as leasing waterfront sites to marinas and selling harvest rights for geoduck clams.

Grant Limits

Project TypeGrant LimitAdministrative Cost Limit
Acquisition$1 million 5 percent of the total acquisition costs.
Restoration or Improvement $500,000
Development $500,000 20 percent of the total project cost
30 percent of the total project cost for Salmon Recovery Funding Board projects
Combination (acquisition and development or restoration) $1 million. Not more than $500,000 may be for development or restoration.

Match Details

Match may include the following:

  • Appropriations or cash
  • Bonds
  • Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
  • Federal, state, local, and private grants
  • Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials

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.

Ineligible Projects

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

What are Navigable Waters?

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.

Known navigable freshwater bodies in eastern Washington include the following:

  • Calispell Creek
  • Calispell Lake
  • Cle Elum Lake
  • Columbia River
  • Curlew Lake
  • Deer Lake
  • Diamond Lake
  • Eloika Lake
  • Fishtrap Lake
  • Kachess Lake
  • Keechelus Lake
  • Lake Chelan
  • Liberty Lake
  • Loon Lake
  • Lost Lake
  • Medical Lake
  • Methow River (lower)
  • Moses Lake
  • Newman Lake
  • Okanogan River
  • Osoyoos Lake
  • Pacific Lake
  • Palmer Lake
  • Pend Oreille River
  • Rock Lake
  • Snake River
  • Spirit Lake
  • Spokane River
  • Sprague Lake
  • Waitts Lake
  • Wenatchee Lake
  • Wenatchee River
  • West Medical Lake
  • Yakima River (portions)

Contact the Washington Department of Natural Resources aquatics land manager for your area to see if your project is in navigable waters.

Long-term Commitment

Property acquired, developed, or renovated with ALEA grants must be kept for public outdoor recreation use forever. More information is in Manual 7: Long-term Obligations.