Floodplains by Design

Floodplains by Design (FbD) is our primary grant program for projects that help communities live better in their floodplain. Our competitive FbD grant program is a modern public-private partnership we and The Nature Conservancy lead, focused on re-establishing floodplain functions in Washington's major river corridors. 

Floodplains provide important habitat for salmon, rich soil for farms, and beautiful backdrops for state residents. In the past, attempts were made to control rivers, thinking flooding could be stopped by walling off rivers with levees, straightening them, and laying a grid of commercial and residential development across them. Now, salmon runs are disappearing, and more people live in the path of dangerous floodwaters.

Local and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations are using FbD grants to complete multi-benefit projects that reduce flood hazards to communities while restoring the natural functions of state rivers and their floodplains. Our FbD projects bring together many different stakeholders in the floodplain to:

  • Benefit an entire community and floodplain system.
  • Improve flood protection for towns and farms.
  • Restore habitat for salmon and other important aquatic species.
  • Improve water quality.
  • Enhance outdoor recreation.

Funding cycle

  • Amount of funding available: Varies - determined by the state Legislature
  • Funding allocated:
  • Grant award limit: Achievable in two to three years
  • Amount of matching funds required: 20 percent, waived for Economically Distressed Communities (see Appendix F of Guidelines)

Applications are not being accepted at this time.

Start date:
End date:

We use pre-applications to screen potential Floodplains by Design (FbD) projects to evaluate if they are a good match for FbD grant funding. We have completed our review of applications for 20 different FbD projects. We are in the process of compiling the results and coordinating with our partners to create a final ranked list. This list will support Ecology’s Capital Budget Request for $70 million in FbD project funding for the 2021-23 Biennium. We will release this list in the near future.

The next round of FbD grant solicitation will not begin until fall 2021. We have posted extensive information about the FbD program and what makes a good project in our 2021-23 FbD grant funding guidelines. We strongly encourage future applicants to review these guidelines.

Funding is available for the following entities:

Local and tribal governments, port districts, flood control zone districts, flood control and diking and drainage districts, conservation districts, municipal and quasi-municipal corporations, and non-profits that are recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt.

Flood hazard reduction projects that also contain an ecosystem restoration aspect as outlined in the funding guidelines.

More information about this funding program

Funding program guidelines: