The Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects (AERP) is a new, competitive grant program that will provide funding for the study, design, and construction of aquatic ecosystem restoration and protection projects in Reclamation states (the 17 states west of the Mississippi River). Projects that are collaboratively developed, have widespread regional benefits, and result in the improvement of the health of fisheries, wildlife, and aquatic habitat through restoration and improved fish passage will be prioritized.

Eligible Uses

Projects must be likely to improve the health of fisheries, wildlife, or aquatic habitat and may include habitat restoration and improved fish passage (e.g., dam removal, fishway construction). Eligible project activities include:

  • Removal or Modification of Barriers to Fish Passage
  • Restoration of Connectivity
  • Restoration of Aquatic Habitat
  • Improvement of Water Availability, Quality, and Temperature
  • Monitoring Plan Development, Baseline Assessment, and Equipment Installation

Eligible Recipients

 State, Tribes, local government, irrigation districts, regional authorities, or organizations with power or water delivery authority, and non-profit conservation organizations working in partnership with an entity that has water or power delivery authority are eligible recipients. 

Approx Annual Funding Amount

The BIL provided $250 million total for FY2022-FY2026 for this program, with an additional $100 million available for WaterSMART projects that will improve natural or nature-based features.

Cost Share Requirements

Applicants may apply for a Federal cost share of up to 65% of total project costs. 

Application Cycle

  • The first application period typically ends in June 
  • The second application period typically closes in January


 For more information please contact Ms. Avra Morgan (Program Coordinator) at

Other Info

  • Funding may be provided for the removal or modification of dams or diversion structures under AERP. Applicants may apply for project funding for one of two phases of project development: Task A: Study and Design or Task B: Construction.
  • Operation and maintenance costs are not eligible under the program.
  • This program is covered under the Justice40 Initiative.