ALEA Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account


$6.6 million


Grant Limit

$1 million


Match Requirement



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

February 13, 2020 

Application Due

June 1, 2020 

Technical Review

June 29, 2020 - June 30, 2020

Technical Completion Deadline

August 10, 2020 

Project Evaluation


September 29, 2020 - September 30, 2020 Revised

Board Approves Preliminary Ranked Lists

November 5, 2020 

Board Awards Grants

July 1, 2021 Estimate

Grant Award History

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

Application Resources

Grant Manual


NEW – The 2020 Evaluation Meetings are in process! View the meetings live on YouTube at the link below (Note: some meetings are live streams and others are recordings).

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 ALEA 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.

Application Question Mapping Tool

Use this map to answer the evaluation question about “Need.”

Map of Washington State

Application Workshop Webinar

This Webinar workshop and Q&A giveS participants information about grant programs, deadlines, requirements, changes for 2020, and how to apply for a grant.

Project Celebrations
Current Grants and Program History
For older versions, contact RCO

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 2 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.

Other Application Resources

2020 Application Webinar
Application Webinar Q&A