Land & Water Conservation Fund

Land and Water Conservation Fund seal

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a federal grant program established by the LWCF Act of 1965, administered by the United States Department of the Interior (USDOI) / National Park Service (NPS) and managed in this State by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management / Division of Planning & Development. The program provides matching grants to state and local government entities for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of public outdoor recreation lands and facilities.

Under the provisions of section 6(f) of the Act, any property that benefits from the funds cannot be partially or entirely converted to any use other than for public outdoor recreation without the permission of the Secretary of the USDOI. Federal law requires a project sponsor to provide approved substitute property in the case of a use conversion, whether pre-authorized or retroactively. Examples of non-compliant uses include, but are not limited to, sale or surplus of land, development of unapproved indoor facilities, abutter encroachments, staging for unrelated and/or off-site construction projects, or exclusive use by a specific group or population.

Information on the federal provisions and encumbrances to such properties can be found in the Land & Water Conservation Fund Manual.


RIDEM Recorded Webinar 2/8/24

Recreation Land Acquisitions and Developments funded through LWCF must be inspected at five-year intervals to ensure their continuing viability. RIDEM has developed an application to facilitate these inspections by municipalities. The app runs on iOS and Android mobile devices or in a web browser. Staff training is available if desired. Download Quick Start Instructions.

Please direct any questions about LWCF to or (401) 537-4497.