Grant Opportunities

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DEM’s GREEN SPACE GRANT PROGRAMS fund land conservation, recreational land acquisition and development, and recreational trail development and improvements. Each of these programs operates under a set of rules and regulations with Committee and Department oversight. The grant programs rely on State bond funding and Federal program funds. All funds require a local matching contribution which might be fulfilled with in-kind services or cash match from the grant applicant. Eligible applicants and matching fund requirements vary by program. Please review each program carefully to determine if your organization and project is eligible for funding. DEM Staff is available to guide you in this process and to help you get started.

The 2022 Open Space Grant round has been awarded! View Awardees

This grant program provides up to 50% matching funds to municipalities, land trusts and non-profit conservation land organizations to preserve valuable open space throughout the state. Applications are scored by the Rhode Island Natural Heritage Preservation Commission Advisory Committee and submitted to the Natural Heritage Preservation Commission for approval.



For questions or to submit an application, contact Michelle Sheehan at or 401-222-4700 ext. 2774436

The next grant round is pending voter approval of the 2022 Green Bond in November 2022

This grant program provides matching funds to cities and towns and recognized Native American tribes for the acquisition, development and renovation of outdoor recreational lands and facilities. The program is funded through State bonds. Funding categories include Large Recreation Development grants (up to 80% matching funds to a maximum of $400,000), Small Recreation Development Grants (up to 80% matching funds to a maximum of $100,000), and Recreation Acquisition grants (up to 50% matching funds to a maximum of $400,000). Applications are scored by the Recreation Resources Review Committee and submitted to the DEM Director for approval.

Additional Resources

Previous Grant Awards

For questions, contact Lisa McGreavy at or 401-222-4700 ext. 2777611

The Recreational Trails Program provides financial assistance to municipalities and non-profit organizations for the development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related projects. This federally funded program receives its funding from a portion of federal gas taxes paid on fuel. 2021 Recreational Trail Awards funded by the Program were announced in June 2021. The next grant round is pending Rhode Island receiving allocation of funds from the Federal Highway Administration.



    For questions, contact Lisa McGreavy at or 401-222-4700 ext. 2777611

    Frequently Asked Questions

    The Recreation Trails Grant Program is funded by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. In Rhode Island, the program is administered by the Department of Environmental Management in cooperation with the RI Department of Transportation. The goal of the program is to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities. More information about the Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trail Program

    Eligible applicants include:

    • Government agencies (state, local, and federal)
    • Other governmental bodies created under State law (e.g. land trusts, watershed councils, public school districts, etc.)
    • Federally recognized Native American tribes
    • Not for profit organizations

    The purpose of the program is to provide funding for recreational trail projects such as development of new trails, improvement or restoration of existing trails, and development of trail-side and trailhead facilities and trail linkages. Ineligible activities (those not eligible for funding) include projects on trails not open to the general public, research and planning projects, and landscaping.

    Application forms are available on the DEM website at Applications may be emailed or mailed/delivered to RI DEM, 235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908. Materials sent by mail or delivered to RIDEM must be in an envelope clearly marked “ATTN: Lisa McGreavey, P&D.” Applications must be received by the deadline date.

    The Rhode Island Trails Advisory Committee (TAC) will evaluate each application and will recommend funding for the highest scoring projects. The TAC seeks strong projects that:

    • Construct off-road recreational trail connections
    • Serve the diversity of Rhode Island residents
    • Fill critical gaps in existing trail networks
    • Have a detailed and reasonable budget and strong local match• Are ready for implementation – environmental and permitting challenges have been identified and alternatives and solutions have been fully explored
    • Respond to climate change impacts and employ resiliency methods to protect the resources
    • Provide access for users of all fitness levels
    • Provide access for users of all ages and abilities

    Allowable costs are those that are necessary for the safe and efficient completion of the project and that have been outlined in the grant application “scope of work” and approved by the Trail Advisory Committee.

    It depends. If the project impacts a wetland or other area where regulations require a permit, then yes, a permit is required. A review of cultural resources and endangered species may also be required. It is the grantee’s responsibility to obtain all permits that may be required, and to meet all requirements of those permits.

    Permitting can be a lengthy process. In order to ensure projects are completed within the grant period, it is important that the permit process be started as early as possible. Application materials should include a reasonable timetable for all elements of the project, including permitting.

    Find guidance for wetlands permitting at

    The federal share of the grant is limited to up to eighty (80) percent of total (eligible) project costs; at least twenty (20) percent of the project cost must be contributed by the grantee or other qualifying sources. This can be cash match (payment of expenses) or donations of materials and services (including volunteer labor). Only expenses in the approved scope of work are eligible for reimbursement, up to a maximum of 80% of the eligible project costs, up to the grant award.

    Grantees must follow the same policies and procedures used by state and local government. This includes obtaining quotes for purchases, invoices for materials and services, and submitting canceled checks or bank statements documenting payment. Volunteer match must be documented using sign in sheets listing the project, participants name, the task performed, as well as the number of
    hours worked.

    When the project is complete, submit copies of quotes, invoices, and proof of payment (bank statements and/or canceled checks). Materials may be emailed to or can be mailed or delivered toRI DEM, Attention Lisa McGreavey, Division of Planning & Development, 235 Promenade
    St., Providence, RI 02908.

    The project must be complete within 18 months of project award. Keep in mind that no work on the project may begin until the grantee has received an authorized contract number.

    Grantees must file a progress report every 6 months. Progress reports for the period January through June will be due by the following July 31; progress reports for the period July through December will be due by the following January 31.