Salmon Recovery Grants

Salmon recovery grants are awarded by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board to protect and restore salmon habitat.

The board funds projects that protect existing, high quality habitats for salmon, and that restore degraded habitat to increase overall habitat health and biological productivity. The board also awards grants for feasibility assessments to determine future projects and for other salmon releated activities.

Projects may include the actual habitat used by salmon and the land and water that support ecosystem functions and processes important to salmon.

The board believes that projects must be developed using science-based information and local citizen review. Projects must demonstrate, through an evaluation and monitoring process, the capacity to be implemented and sustained effectively to benefit fish.

Applicants must submit their proposals to their local lead entity rather than directly to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. The lead entity is responsible for assembling a ranked list of projects from its area and submitting them to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for consideration.

Typical Projects

  • Replacing barriers to fish migration
  • Replanting stream banks
  • Removing dikes and levies
  • Installing large woody material to slow rivers and create habitat
  • Buying pristine habitat

Funding Source

Funding comes from the sale of state general obligation bonds and the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.

Who can apply?

  • Local agencies
  • Special purpose districts, such as port, park and recreation, conservation, and school districts
  • State agencies
  • Tribes
  • Private landowners
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Regional fisheries enchancement groups

Match requirements

A 15 percent match is required. There is no match required for design-only projects. Match may include, but is not limited to:

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

Planning Requirement

Applicants must demonstrate how their projects address the goals and actions defined in the regional recovery plans or lead entity strategies.

Grant Caps

None, except for design-only projects, which are limited to $200,000

Funding Anticipated (Average)

$18 million annually

Eligible Projects

  • Acquisition. Includes the purchase of land, access, or other property rights in fee title or less than fee.
  • Restoration projects assist in the recovery of habitat conditions that have been degraded, damaged, or destroyed.
    • In-Stream Passage includes activities that provide or improve fish migration upstream and downstream of road crossings, dams, and other in-stream barriers. Passage projects may include replacing barrier culverts with fish passable culverts or bridges, removing barriers (dams, logjams), or constructing fishways.
    • In-Stream Diversion includes activities that protect fish from the withdrawal and return of surface water, such as screening of fish from a water diversion (dam, headgate), the water conveyance system (both gravity and pressurized pump), and the by-pass of fish back to the stream.
    • In-Stream Habitat includes activities that enhance freshwater fish habitat below the ordinary high water mark, such as adding boulders, gravel, or woody materials; relocating a channelized stream to a more natural channel configuration; reconnecting the channel to its floodplain or off-channel habitat; removing bank armor; or removing and controlling nonnative in-stream plants. Work may occur on the channel bed, bank, or floodplain.
    • Riparian Habitat includes freshwater, marine near-shore, and estuarine activities that will improve the riparian habitat outside of the ordinary high water mark or in wetlands, such as planting native vegetation, managing invasive species; or controlling livestock, vehicle, and foot traffic within protected areas.
    • Upland Habitat includes activities that improve habitat important to fish but occur upslope of the riparian or estuarine area. Activities may affect the timing and delivery of water, sediment, and large woody materials to streams; or improve water temperature or quality. Upland habitat projects may include, but are not limited to, upland erosion control, upland plant establishment and management, water conservation, or road decommissioning.
    • Estuarine and Marine Near-shore includes activities includes activities that enhance fish habitat within the shoreline riparian zone or below the mean high water mark, such as work conducted in or adjacent to the intertidal area and in subtidal areas; beach restoration; bulkhead removal; dike modification or removal; native plant establishment; and tidal channel reconstruction. Nearshore assessment projects spanning multiple lead entities are eligible for funding; however, they need to be on each lead entity list, within the target funding allocation for each lead entity, and have a total value that is prorated among lead entities.
  • Non-capital projects include assessments, project designs, inventories, and studies that do not directly result in an on-the-ground restoration project or property acquisition.
  • Design-only projects must result in either preliminary design (30 percent design) or final project design.
  • Combination projects are acquisition projects that include either restoration elements OR assessments and studies.

Ineligible Projects

  • Property acquisition through eminent domain
  • Leasing of land
  • Mitigation projects, activities, or funds
  • Monitoring, maintenance, and stewardship as stand-alone projects
  • Effectiveness monitoring costs associated with a project, including purchase of equipment to monitor a Salmon Recovery Funding Board restoration or acquisition project
  • Purchase of buildings or land not essential to the functions or operation and maintenance of the assisted site. Acquired buildings are to be removed from the habitat property
  • Construction of buildings or indoor facilities not essential to the operation and maintenance of the assisted site
  • Capital facilities and public works projects, such as sewer treatment facilities, surface and storm water management systems, and water supply systems
  • Converting from septic to sewage treatment systems
  • Operation or construction of fish hatcheries
  • Net pens, artificial rearing facilities, remote site incubation systems, and supplementation
  • Operation of hydropower facilities
  • Fish harvest and harvest management activities
  • Fishing license buy-back
  • Forest practices (Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plans) covered by the Forest Practices Act or the Forest and Fish Agreement, except when they are on forested lands owned by small private landowners.
  • Lobbying or legislative activities
  • Indirect organizational costs
  • Costs to apply for a Salmon Recovery Funding Board grant
  • Projects identified as mitigation as part of a habitat conservation plan approved by the federal government for incidental take of endangered or threatened species
  • Projects that do not address an important habitat condition or watershed process or focus mainly on supplying a secondary need

Grant Application Schedule

Applications are accepted annually. See this year’s schedule.

Grant Evaluation Process (3 months)

  1. Submit Application to Lead Entity: Grant applicant develops a proposal by working with the local lead entity. Applicants must submit their proposals to the local lead entity rather than directly to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. The lead entity is responsible for assembling a ranked list of projects from its area. Working with regional organizations as appropriate, the local lead entity establishes its own deadlines for applications to accommodate its review process.
  2. Early ApplicationReview: Lead entities may request technical review of proposals before the application deadline. Applicants need to coordinate with their lead entities to obtain this review.
  3. Submit Online Application: Grant applicants enter their lead entity-approved applications into the Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s online application database, PRISM.
  4. Project Evaluation: The evaluation happens in three phases. First, the local lead entity, coordinating with its regional organization, will evaluate and rank applications in its area. The lead entity and region may use locally developed information and criteria to prioritize projects, including criteria that address social, economic, and cultural values. Second, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board will review all projects for eligibility. Third, the Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s scientific Review Panel will evaluate each project proposal for technical merits and will identify specific concerns regarding the salmon benefits and certainty of success.
  5. Funding: The Salmon Recovery Funding Board will hold a public meeting to award funding.

Grant Review and Technical Panel

The Salmon Recovery Funding Board’s Review Panel reviews all grant applications to help ensure that they are technically sound. The panel evaluates whether an application provides a benefit to salmon, is likely to be successful, and doesn’t have costs that outweigh the anticipated benefits of the project. Applications not meeting those criteria are labeled projects of concern, and will continue to be forwarded to the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for funding consideration unless the lead entity withdraws the application. The review panel will not otherwise rate, score, or rank projects.

Help in Advance
To help develop the scientifically best projects, the review panel visits project sites, reviews applications, and hears project presentations, providing feedback to grant applicants along the way. After initial project reviews, the review panel also meets with each region and its lead entities to consider the region’s project list. The regions will present their lists, relate how the lists address priorities in the regional recovery plans and lead entities’ strategies, and how local citizen committees comments affected the ranking. After the region’s presentations, the panel will comment, in writing, on the technical merits of each project.

To develop final recommendations for the Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the review panel will use:

  • Written information submitted by project applicants, lead entities, and regions
  • Results of meetings with the lead entities and regions
  • Responses to follow-up questions
  • Comments on the draft report

Long-term Commitments for Funded Projects

Acquisition projects must be operated and maintained forever. Restoration projects must be operated and maintained for ten years after construction is completed.

Contact Salmon Recovery Grants

Contact Salmon Recovery Grants

Brian Abbott
1111 Washington Street SE
P.O. Box 40917
Olympia, Washington  98501
Phone: 360-902-2638
Fax: (360) 902-3026


Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Washington