Natural resources grants are paused for evaluation and review in 2021. Check back in 2022.
Type of grants available
Good steward grants
These are primarily for smaller projects that improve water quality, enhance natural areas and promote environmental stewardship to the community. A typical grant amount is $5,000 to $15,000, with a maximum amount of $25,000.
These are ideal for larger projects seeking to leverage multiple funding sources. These grants are intended to help partners take advantage of opportunities to implement large projects that improve water quality or preserve, establish or restore natural areas. Applicants are encouraged to use these funds as match funding dollars for other funding sources. A typical grant amount is $25,000 to $50,000, with a maximum amount of $100,000.
All landowners are eligible to apply, including:
- Nonprofit and non-governmental organizations
- Local government agencies
Applying for natural resources grants
Opportunity and Good Steward grants
The County is in the process of rewriting our Natural Resources Strategic Plan. As part of that process, we are suspending the Natural Resource grant program for evaluation and review. There will be no open RFP for Good Steward grants in 2021, and we will not be accepting new inquiries for Opportunity Grants. Through our strategic planning we intend to thoroughly review the program and determine how to better administer this work in the future.
If you have any questions on the grant program or other funding opportunities, contact Kris Guentzel, firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-596-1171.
Funding guidelines and project examples
Funding may be used for environmental or engineering consulting fees, materials, supplies, labor and inspection fees.
Good Steward grants
- Ideal for smaller, community-based or single applicant projects. Typical projects include constructing rain gardens, stabilizing stream banks, restoring native vegetation, installing vegetated filter strips or implementing other best management projects.
- Typical funding amount of $5,000 to $15,000; maximum funding amount of $25,000
- Grant funding can cover up to 75 percent of the total eligible project cost. Landowners must contribute the remaining 25 percent of project costs, which can be cash or in-kind.
- Ideal for larger projects seeking to leverage multiple funding sources from more than one partner.
- Ideal for projects identified as priorities in the applicant's management plans (such as a comprehensive plan or watershed management plan).
- Typical funding amount of $25,000 to $50,000; maximum funding amount of $100,000.
- No match required. Funds are often used for required match for other funding sources.
Good steward grants awarded in 2021
City of Minnetonka and the Friends of Cullen Nature Preserve, Minnetonka
$25,000 to implement the first phase of a habitat management plan to restore degraded mature oak woodland brushland and savannah and protect critical habitat in the 31-acre Cullen Nature Preserve in Minnetonka. For this grant, restoration and enhancement funding from the Department’s Outdoor Heritage Fund grant will be used.
Children’s Dental Services, Minneapolis
$25,000 to install permeable pavement in a parking lot at the company’s headquarters in NE Minneapolis. The project will capture runoff and pollutants, including 195,000 gallons of rainwater, 58 pounds of sediment, 0.32 pounds of phosphorus each year. Children’s Dental Services is also developing innovative materials to educate patients and other visitors about water including coloring pages and interpretive, multilingual signage.
Back Channel Brewing, Spring Park
$25,000; to install a 2,000 square-foot rain garden on the brewery’s property directly adjacent to Lake Minnetonka in Spring Park. Currently, runoff from 4.67-acre commercial property discharges directly into the lake untreated. This project will capture and treat 130,000 cubic feet of water per year and keep 1,645 pounds of sediment and 2.3 pounds of phosphorus out of the lake annually, while also providing pollinator habitat. For this grant, half of the grant funds will be provided by State Cost-Share funding from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.
City of New Hope Meadow Lake Road property, New Hope
$18,355 to develop a public-private partnership with a private landowner to install a curb-cut rain garden on their Meadow Lake Road property. The anticipated 600 square-foot rain garden is estimated to keep 1.5 pounds of phosphorus per year out of Meadow Lake, which is impaired for excess nutrients. The city plans to use this as a demonstration project for other residents to adopt similar practices.
Heirloom Properties, LLC, Minneapolis
$17,000 to implement an innovative rainwater harvesting system in a new apartment complex to be constructed in south Minneapolis. This system will capture stormwater runoff from the roof and other impervious surfaces on the property and store it in a 3,500-gallon tank for reuse in toilets inside the building and irrigation outside of the building. Project partners estimate this project will capture 90,000 gallons of water annually and offset potable water use inside the building by 76,000 gallons and outdoor irrigation by 14,000 gallons. In addition, the stormwater management features, including a rain garden, will annually keep 34 pounds of sediment and 0.19 pounds of phosphorus from entering the Mississippi River.
University Baptist Church, Minneapolis
$6,900 to install rain gardens and other stormwater management practices on its property in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Grant dollars will go specifically toward stormwater conveyance improvements outside the church, which will be paired with other partner investments to install four rain gardens. Collectively, rain gardens and other conservation practices on the church’s property will treat 133,000 gallons of water per year and will annually keep 179 pounds of sediment and 0.64 pounds of phosphorus out of the Mississippi River. Educational signage and activities specifically for children, as well as for the public, is also planned.
Opportunity Grants awarded in 2021
Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission
$75,000 to install an iron-enhanced sand filter along a channel north of nutrient-impaired Upper Twin Lake in the City of Crystal. Currently, a wetland just east of Crystal Airport is exporting large amounts of water-soluble phosphorus that is difficult to treat with conventional strategies. This project will build off successes of a small pilot, to construct a filter along approximately 400 feet of the channel banks. The project is estimated to capture 50 pounds of phosphorus per year.
Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission
$74,743 to dredge man-made lagoons along Bassett Creek in Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. The lagoons, built in the 1930’s for aesthetic and recreational purposes, are acting as de facto stormwater ponds and have filled up with sediment over the last 90 years. This project will excavate and properly dispose of these pollutant-laden sediments, increasing both the water quality and flood capacity of these water features as well as downstream waters. Because of the large, 40 square-mile drainage area to the site, this project could have annual benefits approaching 156,000 pounds of sediment and 600 pounds of phosphorus captured annually.
Three Rivers Park District
$50,000 to conduct a second alum treatment dosing in Hyland Lake in Bloomington. Alum, or aluminum sulfate, binds to and immobilizes phosphorus in lake bottom sediments and effectively inactivates the phosphorus, greatly reducing the likelihood this phosphorus can contribute to poor water quality algae blooms that occur due to excess phosphorus. Three Rivers Park District partnered with the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District to conduct the first treatment in 2019 and sought additional dollars to complete the recommended second treatment. This alum treatment will control 50% of phosphorus originating from the lake-bottom sediments, equivalent to approximately 218 pounds. Completion of this project will make substantive progress to removing this lake from the State of Minnesota list of impaired waters.
$40,257 to complete Phase 2 of stormwater management and green space accessibility improvements in Brook Gardens, an affordable housing community in Brooklyn Park. The project will install nine rain gardens across the community, annually keeping 1,670 pounds of sediment and 4.5 pounds of phosphorus out of Shingle Creek, which is directly adjacent to Brook Gardens. Hennepin County funded Phase 1 through an Opportunity Grant in 2020.