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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 project.

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.

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 percent 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, 2019 August 13, 2019 (1st Quarter) Meeting location: Town of Rib Mountain Town Hall
3700 North Mountain Road, Wausau, WI.
Policy Meeting - No applications reviewed Cancelled
November 1, 2019 January 14, 2020 Conference Call; 10:00 a.m. 608-282-4712
February 1, 2020 April 14, 2020 Meeting location 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].


Contact information
For more information on RBF grants, please contact:
Your regional DNR grant project manager
Last revised: Wednesday January 08 2020