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Watershed Fund Project Support

The MWCC Watershed Fund provides competitive funding to assist our Watershed Partners with implementing on-the-ground projects to benefit water quality, water quantity, natural resources, conservation stewardship, community health, and local livelihoods. Up to $30,000 may be awarded to each recipient, depending on the funding source. Project support opportunities vary, with different requirements for match, reporting, and reimbursement. Watch this page for upcoming project support opportunities.

The Watershed Fund currently has project funding available to assist our community-based partners with implementing conservation projects on private land and supporting Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) priorities in local watersheds. Proposals are due by 8 am on Monday, April 26, 2021. For more information, see the Request for Proposals.

2021 NRCS-Funded Project Support Awards

Organization Project Title
Big Hole Watershed CommitteeMossop Bank Riparian Planting and Suenram Phase 1
Blackfoot Challenge Blackfoot Process-based Restoration: Chimney Creek Phase II + Future Project Planning
Clark Fork Coalition
Willow Creek Beaver Conflict Resolution Project
Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group
East Fork Bull River Revegetation Project
Musselshell Watershed Coalition
Kilby Butte Bank Restoration Project
Prickly Pear Land Trust
Post-Fire Weed and Sedimentation Mitigation on Sevenmile Creek
Stillwater Valley Watershed CouncilStillwater Valley Hazardous Fuels Mitigation Project
WestSlope Chapter Trout Unlimited
South Fork Lower Willow Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project

2020 NRCS-Funded Project Support Awards

OrganizationProject Title

Big Hole Watershed Committee

East Fork Divide Creek Natural Waters Storage 2.0

Bitter root Water Forum

Project Maintenance by Watershed Enhancement Team
Blackfoot Challenge

Building Drought Resilience Through Soil Health
Clark Fork Coalition

Maclay Ditch Fish Screen

Musselshell Watershed Coalition

Two Dot Bank Restoration

Sun River Watershed Group

Crossing Replacement and Habitat Improvement

Swan Valley Connections

Elk Creek Conservation Area Restoration Project


The purpose of these dollars is to help watershed groups accomplish on-the-ground work on projects that align with local watershed priorities and measurably improve local resources.

Who Qualifies for Support?

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. This includes watershed groups; conservation, irrigation, and water quality districts; non-profits; forest collaboratives; tribal communities; and tribal government agencies. Federal agencies, state agencies, individuals, and for-profit entities are not eligible. Some project opportunities are available only to Big Sky Watershed Corps host sites.

What is Required of Participants?

Participants are expected to report to MWCC on both quantitative and qualitative outcomes, impacts, and deliverables, and to provide other information as needed. Required reporting information may include:

  • A description of how the project implements local watershed and conservation plans, including Watershed Restoration Plans, NRCS Targeted Implementation Plans, State and Regional Water Plans, and local conservation plans
  • Project maps and location coordinates
  • Total square footage of project
  • Number of stakeholders engaged
  • Number of volunteers recruited
  • Number of stream and lakeshore miles improved
  • Number of conservation practices implemented, including changed land management practices
  • Number of acres made more resilient
  • Photos of project work, including before-and-after photos
  • Project-related outreach and communications
  • Stories about local stakeholders who will benefit from or are involved in the project

Examples of Eligible Projects:

The following are merely examples. Eligible projects vary by funding source, so be sure to check out the current Request for Proposals for more details.

  • 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.)
  • 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.)

Project Application Review

Watershed Fund Reviewers are approved by the MWCC Board of Directors. Reviewers make award recommendations, sometimes together with staff from state and federal funding agencies. Project support award decisions are made in consultation with technical experts on the MWCC Water Committee.

Review criteria vary depending on the requirements of specific project funding sources, but they generally include:

  • Use of Watershed Approach principles by the applying organization, and within the proposal
  • Conservation impact, including:
    • Number of stakeholders engaged
    • Number of stream and lakeshore miles improved
    • Number of conservation practices implemented
    • Number of acres made more resilient
  • Connections to local watershed and conservation plans, including Watershed Restoration Plans, NRCS Targeted Implementation Plans, State and Regional Water Plans, and local conservation plans
  • Demonstration of measurable project benefits to water quality, water quantity, natural resources, community health, and local livelihoods
  • Community support for the project
  • Scope of funding leveraged for the project
  • Ability to deliver the proposed project within the proposed budget and timeline


Please contact Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols with any questions, and to discuss your funding ideas.

Terri Nichols