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 two grant programs–the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s Local Parks, Trails, and Water Access Categories, and in the Youth Athletic Facilities program.

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 your 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.

Archeological Surveys May be Required

To protect archeological and cultural resources that may be damaged by construction, grant recipients must fill out a cultural resources form if they are disturbing land or buying land for later construction.

Governor’s Executive Order 05-05 requires RCO to send the information to the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and to consult with Native American Tribes. If a project is determined to affect resources, grant recipients may be required to conduct a professional survey or perform mitigation actions.

Please visit the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation’s Web site for more detailed information.

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

Other Resources

Project Length

The deadline for finishing projects varies by grant program. Most projects must be finished within either 2 years or 4 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.