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Recreational Boating Facilities Grants

These grants may be used by counties, towns, cities, villages, tribes, sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts and qualified lake associations for recreational boating facility projects.

Past projects have included ramps and service docks to gain access to the water, purchase of aquatic weed harvesting equipment, navigation aids and dredging waterway channels.

FOR GRANT REQUESTS IN EXCESS OF $250,000: 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. DNR grants specialists can help with scheduling and grant processing.

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Who can apply

Eligible applicants

Counties, towns, cities, villages, tribes, sanitary districts, public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts and qualified lake associations are eligible to apply for funds.

Eligible items

DNR provides cost sharing of up to 50% for eligible costs.

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.


Applications are accepted at any time.

A five-member Waterways Commission, appointed by the governor, reviews and recommends projects for funding. Deadlines are established quarterly.

Tentative Application and WWC Meeting Schedule

Application Deadline WWC Rating & Ranking Meeting Notes
June 1, 2020 Aug. 18, 2020 

Conference Call:
Dial-In: 1 (855) 947-8255 US Toll Free

1 (630) 424-2356 US Toll
Passcode: 7424 681#

September 1, 2020 November 17, 2020 Zoom Meeting Held
November 1, 2020 January 12, 2021

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 999 5658 5836
Passcode: 339821

One tap mobile:

+19292056099,,99956585836# US (New York)

+13017158592,,99956585836# US (Washington D.C.)

Dial by your US location:

  • +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
  • +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
  • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
  • +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
  • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 999 5658 5836

Find numbers outside of the United States

February 1, 2021 April 13, 2021 TBD

Priority rank

The following factors are considered in establishing priorities for projects.

  • Distance of proposed project from other recreational boating facilities
  • Demand for safe boating facilities
  • Existing facilities
  • Projects underway
  • Commitment of funds
  • Location of proposed project with the region identified in s. 25.29(7)(a), Wis. Stats [exit DNR].


Grant related statutes and administrative codes


Contact information
For more information on RBF grants, please contact:
Your regional DNR grant project manager