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 fucionts 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 currently being accepted.

Start date:
End date:

We will accept pre-applications for new Floodplains by Design grants (Word document) from Nov. 4, 2019, through Jan. 31, 2020. The grants will be awarded for the 2021-23 Biennium, which starts July 1, 2021.

We use pre-applications to screen projects to help determine their suitability in matching the intent of the FbD program. Pre-application forms are available electronically.

On March 16, 2020, we will release the results of our pre-application review. Applicants for projects determined to be a good fit will be invited to give a proposal presentation and submit full FbD applications in spring 2020. We will schedule presentations by local sponsors between March 16 and May 1, 2020.

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 applicants to review these guidelines.

On Dec. 4, 2019, we will host a webinar from 9 to 10:30 a.m. with more information about the FbD program and offer suggestions about what makes a successful project. We will post more details, including the time and log-in information, in the near future. Webinar participation is recommended but not required.

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: