Many RCO grants come with long-term obligations to maintain and protect the project area as originally funded.
The grant recipient, also called project sponsor, is responsible for complying with the terms and conditions of the RCO project agreement. Unless otherwise allowed by policy, program, or agreement, RCO expects that the project will continue to function as originally funded.
Length of Obligation
- Acquisition Projects: Compliance period is set by the rights that are acquired.
- Development and Restoration Projects: Compliance period is set by the type of control and tenure provided for the project.
- Recreation Projects: Grant recipients must maintain public outdoor recreation opportunities in a safe and attractive manner and at reasonable hours and times of the year.
- Habitat Projects: Grant recipients must manage and maintain the habitat values or functions.
RCO monitors acquisition, development, and restoration projects for long-term compliance.
Feasibility studies, planning, design, education, and enforcement projects are not monitored after completion.
RCO staff inspect projects to ensure they comply with the project agreements and notify grant recipients with the results and any concerns. If concerns are noted, grant recipients should consult with RCO staff on the actions needed to resolve the issue.
Consulting with RCO
RCO recognizes that changes occur over time and that some facilities may become obsolete or the land may be needed for another use. RCO’s response to a compliance issue is determined by the laws, administrative rules, project agreements, and the policies that were in effect at the time the project was completed.
Some changes in or to elements may be allowed depending on how they impact the funded project.
Examples of Changes
- A tennis court is changed into a skate park.
- A play structure becomes obsolete and is removed.
A conversion is the most serious form of non-compliance and occurs when the project area acquired, developed, or restored with an RCO grant is used for a purpose other than what it was funded for originally.
Examples of Conversions
- An easement is given to cross a trail.
- A road widening project takes a strip of park property.
- A portion or all of the grant-funded property is conveyed to a third party, not eligible for RCO grants
- An ineligible structure is built on grant-funded property.
Remedy for Conversion
If RCO assisted with acquiring the site, it must be replaced with new property of equal utility and market value in today’s dollars. If RCO assisted with development or restoration of the site, it must be replaced with new facilities or restoration of equal function.
Some Uses May be Allowed
A use that is not eligible for grant funding may be allowed if it is compatible with the objectives of the project agreement. Grant recipients must ask for approval by submitting a request to RCO that explains how the use will affect the project area and how the proposed use is compatible with the objectives of the project agreement.
For more information about your long-term obligations, contact RCO’s Compliance Specialist at RCOStewardship@rco.wa.gov or 360-902-3000.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what RCO has funded in my area?
You may search the RCO database for your organization’s projects.
How do I notify RCO of changes to my funded project?
Contact your outdoor grants manager.
What information is needed for approval of a change?
Manual 7: Long-term Obligations provides a description of the approval process.