RCO administers dozens of grant programs for providing recreation, conserving habitat, preserving working farms and forests, and recovering salmon. The information below is general and will vary by grant program. For specifics, review individual grant program requirements in our grant manuals.

Planning Requirements

Most grant programs require an applicant to complete a planning process, such as developing a comprehensive plan or a salmon recovery plan, before applying for a grant. Check individual grant pages to see if one is needed.

Eligible Applicants

Eligibility varies by grant program, so please review the grant manuals for specific requirements. Generally, the following types of organizations are eligible for grants:

  • Colleges and universities
  • Federal agencies
  • Local governments (cities, towns, and counties)
  • Nonprofits
  • Special districts such as port, public utility, park and recreation, conservation, and school districts
  • State agencies
  • Tribal governments

Matching Contributions

Most grants require applicants to contribute to the project by providing either cash or other resources, such as staff labor or donations.

Most of the recreation and conservation grants require a 50 percent match, meaning the applicant must contribute the same amount as the grant. Most of the salmon recovery projects require a 15 percent match. Again, check grant manuals for specific requirements.

Match may be reduced for organizations in three grant programs:

  • Salmon recovery grants
  • Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s Local Parks, Trails, and Water Access Categories
  • Youth Athletic Facilities

Online Applications

All grant proposals must be submitted electronically, through RCO’s PRISM online database, with the exception of the Family Forest Fish Passage Program. You must get a user name and password before entering an application.

Competitive Process

All grant proposals are reviewed by staff and most also are reviewed by panels of experts. The evaluation meetings and most of the application materials are open to the public.

Grant Funding is Reimbursed

For most grant programs, grant recipients must pay the bills and then request reimbursement for those costs. Grant funding is not awarded upfront, with rare exceptions.

Archaeological Surveys May be Required

Governor’s Executive Order 21-02 on archaeological and cultural resources, directs state agencies to review all acquisition and construction projects for potential impacts to cultural resources to ensure that reasonable action is taken to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to these resources. The federal government, through section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, requires the same compliance for projects with federal involvement, for example, projects on federal lands, with federal funds, or those that require a federal permit.

RCO starts cultural resources review and consultation early to help keep projects on schedule. To do this, RCO requires grant applicants to map the project’s area of potential effect and answer a series of cultural resource questions in the application. These materials will be used to initiate cultural resources consultation with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and Native American tribes.


Instructional Video

Other Resources

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s website

Survey and Inventory Standards: Washington State Standards for Cultural Resources Reporting.

More Information

More information on protecting cultural resources is available online.

Project Length

The deadline for finishing projects varies by grant program. Most projects must be finished within either two years or four years. Be sure to read the grant manual for details.

Long-term Commitment

Many RCO grants come with long-term obligations to maintain and protect the project area so it remains dedicated to the use as originally funded.