* Municipal partners may submit applications year-round. Previous grantees may qualify to apply after the Oct. 31 deadline (reach out to the grant program coordinator to see if your proposed project would qualify). Others may continue to reach out to staff to discuss potential projects to get ready for the 2024 application season opening March 1st.
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 habitat restorations, shoreline restorations, waterbody buffers, raingardens, and tree trenches.
Before submitting an application, you need to request and complete a site visit. A representative of RPBCWD will meet you at the potential project site to discuss your idea, offer advice, and answer questions.
After the site visit, you may submit a grant application. The grant process from application, project installation, and reimbursement is detailed in the task timeline. The timeline highlights what actions are to be taken by the applicant/grantee (that's you!) and District staff.
The three main parts to the grant process are:
After your project is complete, you are required to maintain that project for 5 years if you are a homeowner and 10 years for other applicant categories. We will ask for annual reports depending on the type of project.
Are you in the District? Enter the potential project address to make sure it's located within the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District: www.rpbcwd.org/map
What Projects Qualify for a Grant?
There are seven general categories for types of projects that qualify for a Stewardship Grant. Click below to learn more.
Native Plant Requirements
Some types of projects have native plant requirements including ecologically friendly maintenance.
There are three application forms. One application for a Native Planting, one for a Rain Barrel, and one for all other eligible projects types. You must have a site visit before you submit an application!
Projects eligible for a grant include:
Each type of project has requirements in order to qualify. Learn more about project requirements.
Buckthorn removal is not covered in the grant program. However, you may use grant funds to purchase native plants or native seeds to enhance a wooded area that is undergoing or has already undergone buckthorn removal.
The Habitat Restoration grant is intended to restore developed or highly degraded sites back to natural habitat. Examples of developed sites include lawn/turfgrass, hard surfaces such as pavement/asphalt (patios, driveways, parking lots, etc.), or other site that is impervious, has low-permeability, or produces signficant stormwater runoff. Some highly degraded natural areas (with or without buckthorn) with conditions such as severe erosion may qualify as habitat restoration.
All projects must occur within the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District. Check to see if your property is located in the District.
Applicants must be the property owner or authorized representative. Eligible applicant categories include:
The maximum award depends upon the applicant category and type of project. 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%.
Overview of maximum grant awards
Cost share percentage
Maximum total cost share award (or reimbursement) per calendar year
Up to 75%
$1,500 to $5,000
[Rain barrel: $100 maximum]
Up to 75%
$10,000 to $20,000
Up to 75%
$10,000 to $50,000
An individual or organization may apply for more than one Stewardship Grant per year. However, in addition to a project type maximum, there is a yearly maximum that an individual or organization may be awarded in a calendar year, regardless of the number of projects or project categories they apply for.
YES, but you must include this as part of your project cost estimate when you apply for a grant!
If you plan on installing the project yourself, include your in-kind labor (estimated number of hours) in your estimated project cost when you submit an application. If you hire a professional but still do some of the project installation yourself, you can also include in-kind labor in your cost estimate.
We willl credit $15/hour for your in-kind labor (also known as sweat equity) to install the project. To take advantage of this, you must plan ahead and include an estimate of the number of hours you (and/or your household members) would need to install the project as part of your cost estimate in your application.
Requirements for getting in-kind labor credit:
Take a look at the example below to see how including a reasonable estimate of in-kind labor can reduce your final out-of-pocket cost.
|EXAMPLE||You did include in-kind labor in project estimate||You did NOT include in-kind labor in project estimate|
|Project cost: Materials||$1,500||$1,500|
|Project cost: Labor credit||$300 (20 hours x $15/hr)||$0|
|Total Project Cost||$1,800||$1,500|
|Cost share award by percent||75%||75%|
|Cost share award in dollars||$1,350||$1,125|
|Your share by percent||25%||25%|
|Your share in dollars||$450||$375|
|Labor credit (from above)||$300||$0|
|Final out-of-pocket cost||$150||$375|
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 idea.
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. Non-profits and businesses will also have to sign and file a maintenance declaration with their county recorder office. Once approved by the District Administrator (in some cases the Board of Managers must also approve), the project may begin.
The grantee pays for all project costs up front. Once the project is complete or near complete, the grantee will need to schedule a project inspection. The grantee must also submit a project report including receipts and photos. After inspection and report submisstion, the grant coordinator will submit paperwork for the grant reimbursement. The actual grant payment (in the form of a check) will mailed to the grantee following the next available Board of Managers meeting.
Work that goes above and beyond permit requirements or the cost difference of a BMP upgrade is eligible for grant funds. You can also receive grant funds for ancillary work, performed under the same project, that is not subject to district rules.
Shoreline restoration projects are an exception to the above. Grant funds may be used for bioengineered compoments (native plants, bio-log, etc.) of a shoreline restoration even if installing the components requires a permit.
Learn more about District Permits.
Residential projects must be maintained by the grantee for 5 years following installation of the project. If a grantee sells their home before the end of the 5-year maintenance period, the cost share (grant) agreement does not transfer to the new homeowner. If you're thinking about applying for a Stewardship Grant and are also thinking about selling your home within a few years, reach out to the grant coordinator before you apply for a grant. Depending on the type of project, it may not be in the watershed district's best interest to offer cost share funds for a project if the maintenance requirement is voided because of a property sale.
Every cost share (grant) agreement comes with a percent cost share with a not-to-exceed amount. This not-to-exceed amount is the maximum that a grantee will be reimbursed, regardless of the project's final cost.
A grantee can choose to pay the extra themselves or talk to the grant coordinator about how project costs may be reduced and still achieve project goals (this may not always be possible). We strongly encourage applicants to have a solid cost estimate in their application to reduce the risk of their project going over budget.
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.
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).
Request a site visit
The first step in the grant process is to request a site visit for a consultation. Any requests that come in when the ground is frozen, will be held until spring thaw.Request a site visit
Submit a grant application
There are three different applications: One for a native planting, one for a rain barrel, and one for all other project types. The application period for new applicants is March 1st through October 31st.Submit an application
Submit a project report
Is your project complete? You'll need to submit a report to begin the project close-out review process.Submit your report
Annual reporting - long-term
Depending on the type of project/location, you are required to to maintain your project for 5 years or 10 years.Complete annual report
Were you awarded professional maintenance support for the first 3 years after project installation?
Applications are typically accepted on a rolling basis from late winter/early spring through October or until funds are committed.
Contact the grant coordinator:
Your city, county, lake owners association, or other local organization may also offer grant funds to help protect water quality and other natural resources. You can pair another grant award with the RPBCWD Stewardship Grant as long as you don't double dip (get paid twice for same thing).
The District appreciates its partnership with Carver Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in their assistance with site visits and project inspections for this grant program.
Find a broken link? Please send an email to LForbes@rpbcwd.org.
Selecting Native Plants
Native Plant Suppliers
To save shipping fees if ordering plants, you may be able to order directly from vendors and pick up at a nearby community native plant market.
Community Native Plant Markets
Native plant markets in 2023 (search online for more information):
Looking at maps is fun! Enter your address in the appropriate county online map. You'll be able to bring up aerial photos of your property, look up your Property Identification (PID) number, and play around with measuring and drawing tools to plan your Stewardship Project.
You can export maps you've created (look for "print" which exports map as a PDF or other format) or take screen shots to save your work.
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"View map
Jumping worms (Amynthas spp.) are an invasive species native to eastern Asia. In Minnesota, they harm forest ecosystems, yards, and gardens by disrupting soil structure and reducing plant growth.
Stop the spread by following this advice from the University of Minnesota Extension:
Don’t buy worms advertised as jumping worms, snake worms, Alabama jumpers, or crazy worms for any purpose.
Anglers: Dispose of unwanted bait worms in the trash. Never release any worm into the environment — all earthworms are non-native in Minnesota.
Gardeners: Be on the lookout for jumping worms in soil, potted landscape plants, mulch or compost. If you see soil that looks like coffee grounds or notice unusually jumpy worms in your mulch:
Composters: If you purchase worms for composting, know how to identify the species you are buying. Make sure your order doesn't contain jumping worms.
When enjoying nature, follow the recommendations of PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks:
REMOVE plants, animals, and mud from boots, gear, pets and vehicles.
CLEAN your gear before entering and leaving a recreation site.
STAY on designated roads and trails.
Learn more about management of the invasive species in the University of Minnesota Extension Jumping Worm Management Report.