River restoration projects often require contributions from a combination of different sources to piece together all of the necessary funding. Funders are more likely to invest in a project with multiple partners, strong state or local support, and effectively completed initial assessments. Each funding source has different interests, so project proponents need to determine which funding sources have some synergy with the likely benefits of their project. Also, project proponents should carefully consider funding deadlines relative to the project schedule, as many funders have a time limit on using their funds, potentially necessitating that a project be split into phases.

Property owners should not enter into a project with the expectation that the project will be free to them through the available funding sources. Most funders require matching contributions and are more likely to fund projects with a contributing owner. Dam removal and culvert retrofit projects generally range from $50,000 to $300,000 in construction costs; however, costs will vary based on region of the country, presence of other infrastructure, and sediment management needs. Floodplain restoration project costs vary widely depending upon the scope of work to be completed.

Potential funding sources might include:

*Types of projects: dam removal, floodplain restoration, culvert retrofit

Business for Water Stewardship Project Bank
Supports: All

FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program
Supports: floodplain restoration, culvert retrofit

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
Supports: All (if high hazard)

Federal Highway Administration Surface Transportation Block Grant Program
Supports: culvert retrofit

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Supports: All

National Fish Habitat Partnership
Supports: All

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center
Supports: All (need coastal connection)

Society for Non-Profits: Environmental Project Funders
Supports: All

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Law 84-99 Rehabilitation Assistance for Non-Federal Flood Control Projects
Supports: Floodplain restoration

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 206 Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects
Supports: All

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 1135 Environmental Restoration Program
Supports: All 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program
Supports: Culvert retrofit, floodplain restoration

U.S. Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants 
Supports: Culvert retrofit

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Fish Passage Program
Supports: Dam removal, culvert retrofit

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Agricultural Conservation Easement Program 
Supports: Floodplain restoration 

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Supports: Floodplain restoration, dam removal

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Healthy Forests Reserve Program 
Supports: Floodplain restoration

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Regional Conservation Partnership Program 
Supports: Floodplain restoration

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program
Supports: All

Wildlife Conservation Society Climate Adaptation Fund
Supports: All

State departments of transportation funding
Supports: Culvert retrofit

County conservation districts/departments
Supports: All

Other state/local/private funding sources (varies by location)
Supports: All

In some cases, pursuing mitigation funds will make sense for projects. State compensatory mitigation programs, such as in-lieu fee or mitigation banking programs, might be worth exploring and vary by state. This resource might be of interest to provide guidance on this topic:

Environmental Markets and Stream Barrier Removal: An Exploration of Opportunities to Restore Freshwater Connectivity through Existing Mitigation Programs

The resources below include more discussion on funding for dam removal projects.

Funding Options for Dam Removal in the United States, Resources for the Future, 2020

Federal Funding for Dam Removal in the United States, Resources for the Future, 2020