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Grants to Wisconsin Governmental Units and Lake Associations for Boating Facility Improvements


Geographic Focus

USA: Wisconsin

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Recreational Boating Facilities (RBF) Grants

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Agency: State

GrantWatch ID #164651

Grant Description

Grants to Wisconsin governmental units and qualified lake associations for boating facility improvements. Applicants must contact the funding source prior to applying. Funding may be used for construction projects, the rehabilitation of existing facilities, equipment purchases, lock improvements, and navigation aids.

Eligible Projects:

  • Channel dredging - Dredging of inland water channels for recreational boating (not more than once in ten years).
  • Construction projects
    • Facilities such as ramps and boarding docks required to gain access to the water.
    • Harbors of refuge – structures such as bulkheads and breakwaters necessary to provide safe water conditions.
    • Dredging to provide safe water depths. Dredging of basins is an eligible activity only when it is associated with project development.
    • Support facilities include parking lots and signage, sanitary facilities, fencing and security lighting for the convenience of boaters.
  • Improvement and repair of locks - Cost of improvement and repair of locks and facilities that provide access between waterways for operators of recreational watercrafts.
  • Navigation aids - Cost of aids to navigation and regulatory markers including the cost of appropriate ground tackle.
  • Rehabilitation - Rehabilitation of capital improvements that are related to recreational boating facilities.
  • Trash skimming equipment - Acquisition of equipment to collect and remove floating trash and debris from a waterway.
  • Weed harvesting equipment - Acquisition of equipment that is necessary to cut and remove aquatic plants.

For more details about eligible projects, see:

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  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Governmental units and qualified lake associations are eligible to participate in the recreational boating facilities program. In s. 30.92, Wis. Stats., governmental units are defined as: cities, towns, counties, town sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts organized under ch. 33. The Milwaukee River Revitalization Council, the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board, the Fox River Management Commission, or any other local governmental unit, as defined in s. 66.299(1), that is established for the purpose of lake management. Lake Associations may also be eligible for applying for funding if they meet the qualifications under s. 281.68 (3m) (a).

Ineligible Costs
Recreational boating facilities funds may not be used for any of the following:
• Feasibility studies and eradication of Eurasian water milfoil projects are no longer funded.
• Costs incurred prior to the signed grant agreement will need approval by the department. The exception to this policy involves expenditures for engineering or planning costs necessary to develop a construction project for Commission review or the acquisition of navigational aids. Discuss with your project manager first.
• The cost of acquiring land associated with the project and construction of facilities commonly used to berth boats, e.g., finger piers for seasonal dockage.
• Any costs related to planning, engineering, dredging, handling, processing, transporting or depositing of contaminated dredge spoils; the purchase of land rights for a spoils deposition area or the costs of landfill storage of spoils; costs of land treatment to cover up spoils deposits; and the cost of testing or monitoring as a condition of a state or federal permit.
• Costs for the operation and maintenance of a lock, launch ramp or harbor of refuge.
• Ceremonial ad publicity expenses, bonus payments, charges in excess of the lowest bid, interest expense, charges incurred contrary to the policies and practices of the applicant, damage judgments arising out of the construction of a facility, costs of discounts not taken, and fees paid to legal counsel.
• Indirect costs

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be submitted to the Department by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline date.

Fiscal Year Application Deadlines:
June 1
September 1
November 1
February 1

WWC Meeting Dates (subject to change):
2nd Tuesday in August
November 2, 2022
2nd Tuesday in January
2nd Tuesday in April

Before filling out an application, you should contact your regional grant project manager to discuss the eligibility of your project.

Grant recipients may receive a grant for up to 50% of the total eligible cost for a recreational boating facility project. Grant recipients are encouraged to match recreational boating facilities funds with federal and local funds. The Commission may increase the cost share rate from 50% to 80% if it determines that the project is of statewide or regional significance. For more information, see

Applications for recreational boating facilities grants exceeding $250,000 are encouraged to be submitted to your regional DNR grants specialists in time for the June 1st, or September 1st, application deadlines. These larger grant requests take extra processing time and therefore are highly recommended for earlier evaluation, in the first two quarters of the fiscal year. Contact your regional DNR grants specialist as soon as possible, if you have a larger project and you are planning to apply for a recreational boating facilities grant.

Contact Information:

Submit applications to the relevant regional grant project manager listed below. For more information on grant project manager regions please see Supporting Documents.

Northeast Region
Jessica Terrien
2984 Shawano Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54313-6727

Northern Region
Ann “Annie” Loechler
810 West Maple St.
Spooner, WI 54801

South Central Region
Cheryl Housley
3911 Fish Hatchery Road
Fitchburg, WI 53711
(608) 275-3218
Mary Rothenmaier
3911 Fish Hatchery Road
Fitchburg, WI 53711
(608) 275-3322

Southeast Region
Sara deBruijn
2300 N Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53212

West Central Region
Gina Keenan
1300 W Clairemont
Eau Claire, WI 54701
(715) 836-6574

Grant Program Manager
Bobbi Winebar
2964 Shawano Avenue
Green Bay, WI 54313
(920) 662-5175

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