Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program
The Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program (WAC 222-23) is available to eligible Washington state landowners who would like to sell a permanent forestland conservation easement to the state.
Two types of land are eligible for the program: 1) forestland habitat critical for state-listed threatened or endangered species (Critical Habitat), and 2) a specific type of river habitat called unconfined channel migration zones (CMZ), which are islands of timber within a river channel that is actively shifting. Since 2002, when funding first became available, the program has protected 1,043 acres of important habitat through 16 conservation easements.
The application window is now open for the next 2025-2027 funding period! Please submit your application by May 31st, 2024.
Washington State Department of Natural Resources has $4.7million available to purchase Rivers and Habitat Open Space conservation easements for the 2023-2025 biennium. Generally, when the funding level exceeds $1 million, DNR expects to allocate approximately 70 percent of the funds for Critical Habitat and 30 percent for CMZs. If the demand is limited in either funding category, DNR may shift moneys between the funding categories.
Applications are provided funding in order of ranked priority. All remaining eligible applications are offered the opportunity to be considered for future funding. The program receives funding every two years, at the discretion of the WA State Legislature. Lands may be donated for a conservation easement at any time.
Applications will be prioritized for funding based on, but not limited to, the following elements for the two types of applications: