The Watershed Fund

Watershed Fund Logo Color

Proposals for Watershed Fund Project Support are now being accepted. Awards of up to $30,000 are available for on-the-ground conservation projects on private land. Proposals are due by 5 pm on Friday, November 6. Go to the Fall 2020 Project Support Request for Proposals page to learn more.

The MWCC Watershed Fund provides direct support to our community-based Partners for capacity-building, professional development, and on-the-ground projects. Since 2015, the Fund has generated nearly $780,000 to help our local partners coordinate and implement natural resource management efforts.

The two primary goals of the Watershed Fund are:

  1. Increase the capacity of local communities to advance community-based, locally led conservation using the Watershed Approach.
  2. Provide a model for streamlining, consolidating, and leveraging resources for locally led conservation statewide.

Award amounts vary. Up to $30,000 is available for on-the-ground stewardship projects. Smaller amounts are available for non-project funding.

MWCC partner organizations who are increasing the capacity of local communities to advance community-based, locally led conservation using the Watershed Approach to conservation are eligible. Federal agencies, state agencies, individuals, and for-profit entities are not eligible, regardless of their Partnership status. For more information about MWCC’s Partnership program, click here.

Most Watershed Fund grants require matching funds. Each of our Partners has leveraged Watershed Fund dollars with other contributions, grants, local cash, and in-kind resources. We are proud to be merely one significant financial resource among the many that are creatively brought to the table by our watershed partners.

The MWCC Watershed Fund Committee provides vision, guidance, and oversight to the administration and development of the Watershed Fund. Watershed Fund reviewers (listed at the bottom of the Watershed Fund Committee web page) are approved by the MWCC Board of Directors and make final award decisions for all grant cycles. Project support award decisions are made in consultation with technical experts on the MWCC Water Committee.

MWCC tracks Watershed Fund success through:

  • Stakeholders engaged
  • Conservation practices implemented
  • Acres made more resilient
  • Stream and lakeshore miles improved

Watershed Fund Opportunities

Funding Timeline for 2020-2021

General Project Support – First round

  • October 1, 2020: Announcement of funding opportunity
  • November 6, 2020: Proposals due
  • December 2020: Funding decisions made

BSWC Project Support – For projects that reduce nonpoint source pollution and implement Watershed Restoration Plans

  • February 4, 2021: Announcement of funding opportunity
  • March 12, 2021: Proposals due
  • April 2021: Funding decisions made

General Project Support – Potential second round (dependent on funds left over from the first round in the fall)

*Note same schedule as BSWC Project Support Funding

  • February 4, 2021: Announcement of funding opportunity
  • March 12, 2021: Proposals due
  • April 2021: Funding decisions made

Capacity Support

  • June 10, 2021: Announcement of funding opportunity
  • July 8, 2021: Proposals due
  • August 16, 2021: Funding decisions made

Professional Development Support is available on a rolling basis, depending on funds available.

Project Support

The Watershed Fund supported 12 on-the-ground projects completed by 10 locally driven Montana watershed organizations in 2018-2019. Click on the map links below to learn more. Scroll past the map to see a list of 12 additional projects that have been funded for 2020.

Projects Funded for 2020

Watershed Organization Project Title
Big Hole Watershed Committee East Fork Divide Creek Natural Water Storage 2.0
Bitter Root Water Forum Project Maintenance by Watershed Enhancement Team
Bitter Root Water Forum Bitterroot River Park Revegetation
Blackfoot Challenge Building Drought Resilience through Soil Health
Clark Fork Coalition Maclay Ditch Fish Screen
Clark Fork Watershed Education Program Burnt Hollow Ranch Beaver Mimicry
Gallatin Watershed Council Stewardship on the East Gallatin
Lolo Watershed Group Riparian Vegetation Restoration at John Creek
Montana Trout Unlimited Upper Ninemile Creek Revegetation
Sun River Watershed Group Crossing Replacement and Habitat Improvement
Swan Valley Connections Elk Creek Conservation Area Restoration Project
Upper Musselshell Conservation District for Musselshell Watershed Coalition Two Dot Bank Restoration

Capacity Support

The Watershed Fund supported 16 locally driven Montana watershed organizations with capacity-building support in 2019 and 2020. The following list includes both support for hosting Big Sky Watershed Corps members as well as more general capacity support.

  1. Blackfeet Nation Fish & Wildlife, in partnership with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation
  2. Blackfoot Challenge
  3. Big Hole Watershed Committee
  4. Bitter Root Water Forum
  5. Clark Fork Watershed Education Program
  6. Clearwater Resource Council
  7. Crown Managers Partnership
  8. Flathead Basin Commission
  9. Flathead Lake Biological Station
  10. Gallatin River Task Force
  11. Greater Gallatin Watershed Council
  12. Lake County Conservation District
  13. Lolo Watershed Group
  14. Musselshell Watershed Coalition
  15. Ruby Valley Conservation District
  16. Sun River Watershed Group