The 2021 Application Season is underway
Please read grant requirements carefully. Be aware that a site visit must be performed before you apply for a grant.
Funding and technical advice for projects that protect and improve water resources
The Watershed Stewardship Grant program offers financial support and resources for clean water projects to residents and organizations in the watershed district. Some examples include raingardens, native plant buffers, wetland restorations, rainwater reuse, erosion control, or tree trenches. See program guidelines here.
Who can apply
- Individual homeowners
- Non-profits (including home, townhome and lake associations)
- Local government
- Homeowners: Up to 75% of the project cost ($5,000 maximum)
- Non-profits: Up to 75% of the project cost ($20,000 maximum)
- Gov/school/business: Up to 50% of the project cost ($50,000 maximum)
The grant review committee evaluates applications for their level of benefit to water resources. The award percentage for eligible projects may range from 25% to 75%.
How it works
Before submitting a grant application, you must first request a site visit with a District representative. Site visits are scheduled on weekdays during business hours and subject to staff availability. The site visit allows evaluation and discussion with the property owner about the potential project site.
After completion of the site visit , you may submit a grant application. The application is first reviewed by the grant program coordinator to determine if the application contains sufficient information. If the application is complete, it will be forwarded to the grant review committee, which meets about once a month to evaluate and make decisions on applications. Decisions may include a request for more information, adjustments to project design, denial of a grant award, or offer of a grant award.
Typical grant award offers range from 25% to 75% of project cost. Projects with a greater water quality benefit tend to score higher than those with a smaller water quality benefit.
If a grant award is offered, the applicant must review and sign the grant agreement. Once the grant agreement has been signed by the applicant (grantee) and approved by the District administrator, the project may begin.
The grantee pays for all project costs up front. Once the project is complete, the grantee submits a project report including receipts. The grant coordinator will review the project report and schedule another site visit. If all looks good, the grant coordinator will submit a grant payment request and a check will be mailed to the grantee.
The application process
Before you apply
- Read the program guidelines.
- Fill out/submit the Request a site visit form.
- We will notify you by email about a site visit day/time from the Carver County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) Technician. (Please allow up to 7 business days for this email.) [IMPORTANT: Sometimes this email gets caught in spam/junk folders. Check these folders in your email account or add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email contacts.]
- Design your project. You can design the project yourself based on recommendations from the technician, or you hire a private company/contractor to design the project. If you work with a private company (or design it yourself), we encourage you to submit the plan to technician for preliminary review. The technician can help calculate the water quality benefits portion of the application.
- Before you submit the application, review a reference copy of the grant application form (pdf ). NOTE: This pdf is for reference only - do not use this when submitting an application. You need to use the online form to submit your application. Questions? Email the grant coordinator.
- Gather all of the necessary information needed BEFORE submitting an application. The more detailed information you provide, the less likely we'll have to go back-and-forth to ask for more information. Information/materials you will need to provide:
- Photos of the project area: Include at least two photos that show the project area.
- A map of where the proposed project location: We want to know where the project would be located on your property. This can be very simple such as a hand-drawn line on a aerial image of your property. Take a look at these examples: Example 1, Example 2, Example 3. [Tip: Find a map of your property using Google Maps or use the Hennepin County or Carver County online property maps listed in the "Tools & resources" section at the bottom of the page. If you need assistance, please reach out to the grant coordinator.]
- Project sketch (layout): We want to know the approximate size of your project and what elements, features, and/or treatments are planned. If your project is simple, like adding a rain barrel to a downspout, this may not be needed.
- Plant list: If your project includes plants, we'll need a plant list and planting plan to evaluate if your selected plants are appropriate for the site. In other words, let us know what plant is going where. For habitat and/or shoreline restoration projects, only native plants/seeds are allowed and you MUST submit a native plant list with scientific names. (Example of common name/scientific name: Butterfly Milkweed/Asclepias tuberosa)
- Cost estimate: If you plan to do the project yourself, you'll need to submit cost estimates (materials, equipment rentals, in-kind labor, etc.). If you plan to hire a company/contractor to do part or all of the project work, please provide a detailed quote or bid from that company.
- Once you have gathered all information and materials, fill out and submit the online grant application form. Be prepared to complete this step all at once as your form responses may not be saved on your local device. Tip: Use a word processing program (e.g. Word) to put together your application responses in advance, then copy and paste these into the form.
If you've reached the maximum file upload in the application form, you can email additional files to the grant program coordinator at email@example.com.
If your project is approved
- We will send you a grant agreement contract. Once this is signed, you can get started!
- Keep track of your expenses including all receipts.
- Issues come up. If you think you need to make a change to your plan, contact us for approval
- Take lots of photos! Before, during, and after. You’ll need photos to submit in your project report.
- You’ve got ONE YEAR to complete your project once grant has been approved.
After you complete your project
- Submit a project report to the grant coordinator. Your report must include:
- Total project cost
- Copies of receipts that show vendor information, date of purchase, and item name/cost (invoices must be marked as "paid in full" or have proof of payment to be considered a receipt). If your receipt includes items not used for the project (e.g. candy bar), please draw a line through these on the receipt or communicate these items to the grant coordinator.
- List of in-kind contributions (e.g. personal labor hours) you would like credited to the project
- Photographs of completed project
- Short written description about project (how did it go, what did you learn, how do you plan to maintain the project site, etc.)
- After you submit your project report, the CCSWCD technician will schedule a project close-out visit.
- Once your project has been approved by the CCSWCD technician, the grant coordinator will submit a payment request to the District administrator for approval. Once approved, the reimbursement will be in the form of a check mailed to your address.
When will I receive my grant reimbursement payment? That depends on when you submit your project report. If you submit all required information (including receipts) and there's enough time to perform a close-out site visit by the 15th of the month, then your reimbursement is likely to be mailed to you during the first full week of the following month. If your report and close-out site visit occur after the 15th of the month, then your reimbursement would likely be pushed back to the next District finance cycle (month after next).
- Take care of your project. Depending on the type of project/location, you are required to to maintain your project for 5 years or 10 years (see program guidelines for full details).
- Complete an online project report each year to let us know how things are going. Please do this annually for 5 to 10 years (depending on what's stated in your grant agreement).
- At the end of year two, the CCSWCD technician will stop out for a progress visit.
- Stay in contact! The watershed district often offers continuing education on topics such as maintenance plus other opportunities to learn and get involved.
Complete applications are accepted on a rolling basis from April 19th-October 31st. The application review committee typically meets once a month to review applications and make a decision.
Contact the grant coordinator:
Tools & resources
- RPBCWD Plant List for Raingardens (pdf) - information about proper plant placement and list of plants suitable for raingardens
- Restore Your Shore: Native Plant Encyclopedia (MnDNR website)
- Native Plant Finder (The National Wildlife Federation website) - explore native plants by zipcode
- List of native plant suppliers, landscapers, and restoration consultants (MnDNR website)
- List of native plant nurseries and landscaping consultants (Wild Ones website)
- City of Eden Prairie Shoreland Handbook (City of Eden Prairie website) - includes info about shoreland regulations
- University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory (website)
- Bee lawn information from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab (website)
Property Maps & PID - Look up your address to find a map of your property and your Property Identification (PID) number.
- Hennepin County online property map with natural resources info (click "Map layers" and select "Hybrid" to add an aerial basemap; add topographic/contour lines by selecting "2 Foot Elevation Contours" )
- Hennepin County online property map (basic property map that does not include contour lines)
- Carver County online property map (click "Basemap" to see aerial basemap options; click "Theme" to turn on contours lines and other features)