LWCF Suspension Bridge

LWCF logo
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants provide funding for the acquisition or development of land to create new outdoor recreation opportunities for the health and wellness of Californians.  Since 1965, over one thousand parks throughout California have been created or improved with LWCF assistance.


Next Anticipated Local Agency Application Deadline: June 2025

Amount Available: TBD

Local Agency Maximum Grant Request: $6 million

Match Requirement: 50% 

Eligible Local and Non-State Agencies:

  • Cities and counties
  • Federally recognized Native American tribes
  • Joint Powers Authorities (JPA) where all members are public agencies. A JPA can include a state agency if at least one member is a local (non-state) public agency or district, and the JPA was formed for the purpose of providing PARK and recreation areas.
  • Non-state agency recreation and park districts and special districts with authority to acquire, operate, and maintain public park and recreation areas.

Next Anticipated State Agency Application Deadline: September 2024. The State Coastal Conservancy must submit a letter of intent by June 1, 2024 in order to apply for the Director's Contingency Fund.

Eligible State Agencies: Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Fish and Wildlife/Wildlife Conservation Board, Department of Water Resources, and The State Coastal Conservancy.

State Agency Grant Amounts: State agencies will be notified of their next annual apportionment by OGALS when available. See the chart in the Additional Program Information section for more information on how the local and state agency funding is divided.

LWCF Program Technical Assistance Application Workshop Video (2023)

Application Guide 

Fillable LWCF Application Forms: 

  1. Application Form
  2. Resolution for the Local Agency Competitive Program
  3. Certification Letter (State Agencies Only)
  4. Budget Narrative
  5. CEQA Compliance Certification Form

 Application Resources:


The Community FactFinder Tool and Park Access Tool are both located on the Parks for All Californians webpage. 

Technical Assistance Video - how to use both tools to generate reports for the application.

Project Selection Criteria 4 Averages for 2023 Cycle (page 29 of the Application Guide):

  • The annual median household income figure for Project Selection Criteria 4, 1.b is $67,278.
  • The California state average of residents living further than a half-mile from a park for Project Selection Criteria 4, 2.a is 21%.
  • The California state average of residents living in areas with a ratio of less than three acres of parkland per 1,000 people for Project Selection Criteria 4, 2.b is 61%.

Post Selection Federal Requirements

LWCF Grant Administration Guide,  August 2023

Grant Payment Forms: 

All Payment Forms Combined , (Use DPR212F) includes these individual forms:

Provide a sample timesheet if seeking reimbursement for in-house employee services.

Project Completion Certification Form (Final payment only)

Funding Sources Form (Final payment only, if sources/amounts change from original submission)

Sample LWCF Boundary Map and Instructions (If revised from original submission)

Grant Administration Resources 


LWCF Sign Guidelines

A sign acknowledging the Land and Water Conservation Fund program as a funding source must be installed upon project completion and must remain in place in perpetuity.  Additionally, if the total project cost is $500,000 or more, a sign must be installed during the construction phase as well.  If appropriate, the same sign may be used both during construction and post completion.  See LWCF Administration Guide for sign requirements.

Sign examples and additional guidance

LWCF outdoor recreation parks must remain accessible and protected for public outdoor recreation within the LWCF Boundary Area Map (boundary area) – formally the LWCF 6f3 Boundary Map of Record.  The land within this boundary is considered to be under federal protection.  LWCF Act at 54 U.S.C. §200301 et seq. 

To verify that LWCF parks remain open, accessible, and maintained, OGALS conducts periodic compliance inspections. If operation and maintenance concerns are discovered, OGALS contacts the grantee.

Keep in mind, changes to the or within the boundary area may require converted property be replaced with non-park property of equal or greater recreational utility and value.

A conversion is the changing of the use of public park land to non-recreational purposes.  Changes may need to be reviewed and approved by the National Park Services.

While some changes may not be considered a "conversion", National Park Service requires a process to review and document certain proposed changes. Contact your Grant Administration Project Officer if any of the following has occurred, or is being considered, for a park acquired or developed with LWCF funds:


  • Changes to the LWCF boundary area.  Such as a nearby public roadway expansion that encroaches on park property, construction of new buildings within the park, or any other changes that impact the amount of land available for outdoor public recreation use.
  • Changes to the use of any portion of the park to private, commercial, or non-public outdoor recreation use.
  • Construction of new or expansion of existing utilities (above and underground), rights of way and easements.
  • Construction or installation of any indoor facility within the park that does not support outdoor public recreation, such as community centers, schools and pre-schools, gymnasiums, housing, police substations, and libraries.
  • Closure (permanently or temporarily) of any portion of the park.
  • Removal or replacement of a facility, obsolete or otherwise, developed with LWCF funds.

  Changes that do not need to be reported to OGALS: 

  • Construction or expansion of indoor support facilities that directly support outdoor public recreation of the LWCF funded park, such as restroom or maintenance buildings.  
  • Removal, renovation, or replacement of any pre-existing outdoor recreation facility NOT developed with LWCF funds.
  • Renovation of any facility developed with LWCF funds.
  • Changes to landscaping, lighting, walkways.
  • Expansion of parking lots that serve the park.
  • Expansion of interior roads that serve the park.
  • Other outdoor recreation infrastructure improvements such as development of new outdoor recreation features.


Interested in how California’s LWCF Apportionment is Divided?  

NPS gives states an annual apportionment, determined by Congress.  California’s funds are further divided by Public Resources Code §5099.12.  The diagram below show an example of how an annual apportionment is separated.

LWCF Flow Chart

  • Open Project Selection Process (OPSP) – OGALS announces an upcoming LWCF funding opportunity approximately 6 months prior to a competitive cycle application deadline. Email notifications are sent to over 5,000 individuals representing over 600 public agencies in California through a listserv registry. Application workshops are held to assist applicants in understanding the LWCF Application Guide in conformance with the OPSP. The LWCF Application Guide includes Project Selection Criteria that align with California's SCORP priorities. The Application Guide is subject to change based on LWCF Manuals that are issued (currently using Volume 71, released in March 2021. NPS is currently updating Volume 71 for a release of Volume 72). Once projects are selected, the LWCF Grant Administration Guide is used by the successful grantees.
  • Cost Overruns for Awarded Projects: The federal LWCF Financial Assistance Manual allows for an amendment to the grant amount when project costs increase beyond the original cost estimate. To request and receive an amendment, all of the following must occur:
  1. Grantee explains to OGALS that the project cost has increased and an amendment to the LWCF grant amount is needed.
  2. In rare cases OGALS may consider an amendment to the LWCF grant amount when both a and b are applicable:
    1. California has LWCF funding that could revert within the next twelve months.


    2. There is not a sufficient amount of actionable applications ready for NPS obligation with completed post-selection federal requirements (Section 106 and Environmental Review documents)  to cover the balance of LWCF funding that could revert in the next twelve months. And, the proposed amendment for cost overruns is for the same original project scope that remains consistent with the approved Section 106 and Environmental Review documents that have already been approved by NPS.
  3. If OGALS determines that both a and b above are applicable, OGALS will work with the grantee and NPS to submit a request to amend the grant amount for NPS' consideration. If NPS approves the request, OGALS will issue an amended grant agreement to the grantee.    

National Park Services Website

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

State Parks has administered LWCF since 1965.  State Parks monitors more than 1,550 LWCF sites that require compliance inspections every 5 years, in perpetuity.  For a list of previously funded LWCF grants, visit the link below.
LWCF Projects 1964  (Excel) / PDF