Opportunity for Watershed Conservation Projects: Fall 2020 Request for Proposals

The MWCC Watershed Fund has funding to assist our community-based partners in implementing conservation projects on private land. A total of $205,000 is available, with individual awards up to $30,000. Funding will be distributed on a reimbursement basis. There is a 1:1 non-federal match requirement that can be met through cash or in-kind service contributions.

Applications are due by 5 pm on Friday, November 6, 2020 and must be submitted via the online proposal form linked below. Projects must be completed by December 31, 2021, with final reporting documents due by Friday, January 14, 2022.

Purpose of This Funding

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to help MWCC’s local watershed conservation partners accomplish on-the-ground natural resource conservation projects with private landowners in their watersheds. This funding does not support education, outreach, project planning, or other efforts that do not directly implement conservation. An additional purpose is to support projects that:

  • Align with local watershed priorities
  • Measurably improve local resources, and
  • Address existing conservation and watershed plans, such as Watershed Restoration Plans, regional Water Plans, local water quality plans, and other community-based conservation plans. Projects included in a local NRCS Technical Implementation Plan (TIP) will be given special consideration.

Who Qualifies for Support?

MWCC’s partnering organizations are eligible, excluding Federal and State agencies and for-profit entities. Proposals must demonstrate the applicant is closely working with local watershed partners in the basin where a project is being proposed.

Examples of Eligible Projects:

The following are merely examples. MWCC encourages and supports innovative projects to benefit local watershed resources.

  • Drought mitigation and management
  • Forest stand improvement to achieve desired objective(s) (mitigating risk of insects or disease, reducing fire risk, improving habitat, manipulating water yield, increasing carbon storage, etc.)
  • In-channel habitat improvements (bank work, beaver dam analogues, fish passage structures, etc.)
  • Invasive species treatment and management (integrated pest management, targeted herbicide application, biocontrol, etc.)
  • Natural water storage
  • Pollution reduction infrastructure (relocating animal feeding areas, building manure composting systems, etc.)
  • Pollinator habitat (establishment, enhancement, etc.)
  • Restoration project maintenance
  • Riparian infrastructure and management improvement (fencing, livestock water access, grazing plans, riparian pastures, etc.)
  • Riparian vegetation planting and protection (containerized plantings, willow stakes, seeding, etc.)
  • Soil health improvements (cover crop planting, erosion reduction, etc.)
  • Source water protection
  • Stream discharge improvements (minimum flow management, reductions in artificially high runoff, etc.)
  • Wildlife management enhancements (wildlife friendly fencing, habitat improvements, carcass composting, range riding, etc.)

What is Required of Participants?

Participants will be expected to report to MWCC on:

  • Project deliverables
  • Project-related outreach and communications
  • Funding opportunities leveraged for the project, including a full project budget that details total project income and expenses.
  • How the project addresses or implements local watershed and conservation plans, especially NRCS Targeted Implementation Plans.
  • Number of stakeholders engaged
  • Number and type of conservation practices implemented
  • Number and type of acres made more resilient
  • Number of stream and lakeshore miles improved
  • Before-and-after photos of project work
  • Mention of the MWCC Watershed Fund and the Natural Resources Conservation Service as funding partners in project-related communications and outreach, and sharing of project stories and photos with MWCC upon request. 

2020 Project Support Timeline

Funding must be expended by December 31, 2021, with final reporting documents due by January 14, 2022.

  • Friday, November 6, 2020 at 5 pm: Deadline to submit proposals via the online proposal form linked below.
  • On or before Tuesday, December 22, 2020: MWCC will notify applicants whether they were selected to receive funding.
  • December 2020 – January 2021: MWCC will work with grantees to establish Memoranda of Understanding for project work and distribution of funds.
  • Friday, July 16, 2021: Interim project reports due to MWCC for work completed through June 30, 2021. Reports submitted via the online reporting form MWCC will provide.
  • Friday, January 14, 2022: Final project reports due to MWCC for work completed through December 31, 2021. Reports submitted via the online reporting form MWCC will provide.

How to Apply

Submit a project proposal by 5 pm on Friday, November 6 via the online 2020 Watershed Fund Project Support Proposal Form in Submittable. If you are new to Submittable, you can click here to learn more about how to submit a proposal. To upload your project budget in Submittable, please use the 2020 Project Support Budget Proposal Template linked at the bottom of this page. If you wish, you may also upload a more detailed, internal project budget in addition to the template provided. At the bottom of this page you will also find a Word document with all proposal form questions. This document is for applicants’ convenience only and may not be used to submit proposals.

***If your organization has an existing Submittable account that you have used to submit previous proposals to the Watershed Fund, please ensure that you are logged into that same account before clicking on this link or filling out this proposal form. Also ensure that your organization’s account name is the name of your organization, not the name of an individual. (You can change this in your profile.) Do not create a new Submittable account or submit proposals using another account. This helps hugely with Watershed Fund tracking, and we appreciate your attention to this detail. If you have any questions, contact Terri Nichols at terri@mtwatersheds.org or (406) 210.1217.

Selection Process

MWCC Watershed Fund Reviewers will review and select projects based on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with resource issues identified in the project proposal
  • Conservation impact
  • Technical feasibility
  • Implementation of existing local watershed and conservation plans, especially NRCS Technical Implementation Plans.
  • Reliance on Watershed Approach principles, in particular engaging a broad and inclusive range of stakeholders and partners in the watershed
  • Demonstration of community support
  • Incorporation of outreach and communications to increase awareness of the proposed project and potentially build momentum for future projects elsewhere in the watershed
  • Ability to leverage diverse resources and funding sources to complete the project
  • A project budget and details that are concise, understandable, and reasonable
  • A project timeline that is concise, understandable, and reasonable
  • The extent to which the project serves a historically under-served or under-resourced community or group
  • Level of innovation the project demonstrates


Please contact Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols with any questions, and to discuss your funding ideas. Contacting Terri in advance allows us to provide feedback on project ideas and helps you to submit your best possible proposal! terri@mtwatersheds.org, 406.210.1217.