Grants are available to landowners, which include individuals, government organizations, nonprofit organizations and businesses, for projects that preserve and restore the county’s natural resources. These grants support projects that preserve and restore natural areas and reduce the amount of nutrients and sediment flowing into lakes, streams and rivers while engaging residents in natural resource management issues.
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. Funds are often used for required matches for other funding sources. A typical grant amount is $25,000 to $50,000, with a maximum amount of $100,000.
See the Natural Resources Grants flyer (PDF) to learn more about the difference between the grant types.
All landowners are eligible to apply, including:
- Nonprofit and non-governmental organizations
- Local government agencies
Applying for good steward grants
Applications for the 2019 round of Good Steward grants will be accepted in the fall.
Applying for opportunity grants
Applications are accepted at any time. Funds are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contact Jim Kujawa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-348-7338 for more information.
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.
The county awarded 11 natural resources grants totaling $400,000 in January 2019.
Good steward grants awarded January 2019
Fairway Woods Condominium, Inc., Eden Prairie
$24,750 to divert the roof water from a condominium building into four rock swales that will flow into two rain gardens. In addition, four eroded areas will be regraded and restored with erosion control mats and reseeded with a lawn mix or native prairie mix. This project will directly improve the water quality of Purgatory Creek.
Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, Minneapolis
$12,000 for a neighborhood-based effort to install up to 20 rain gardens on private property. The rain gardens will filter stormwater and improve the water quality of Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Creek.
Private landowner, Winchester Pond, Bloomington
$9,000 for the second phase of a project to improve Winchester Pond. Two additional rain gardens will be constructed within the watershed draining to this pond/wetland, and two additional floating islands will be installed in Winchester Pond to help filter pollutants. Along the shoreline, invasive species will be removed and native vegetation will be planted. This project will improve water quality in Nine Mile Creek and the Minnesota River.
Schmidt Lake Improvement Association, Plymouth
$12,225 for a neighborhood-based effort to install up to 15 rain gardens and native plant buffers on private property. These projects will filter stormwater and improve water quality of Schmidt Lake.
Opportunity grants awarded January 2019
The following larger projects will leverage multiple funding sources:
Bull’s Horn, Minneapolis
$32,500 to install a rain garden, two 500-gallon cisterns, and two permeable paver parking stalls to treat parking lot and roof runoff before it flows into the city storm sewer system. This project will improve water quality in Minnehaha Creek.
City of Crystal, Becker Park
$100,000 to install a 72,000-square feet underground infiltration system in Becker Park. The project will reduce total phosphorus to Upper Twin Lake, an impaired water.
City of Medina
$60,000 to construct a new stormwater quality pond and stabilize and reduce runoff to an existing gully during a street and utility improvement project. This project will improve water quality in Elm Creek.
Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission, Fish Lake, Maple Grove
$20,000 for the second year of alum treatment in Fish Lake to reduce the internal phosphorus load in the lake by at least 310 pounds per year. This project is projected to result in Fish Lake meeting water quality standards for phosphorus for at least the next 20 years. It will also improve water quality in Elm Creek.
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Minnehaha Creek, Edina
$32,500 to restore 2,150 feet of Minnehaha Creek. This will include adding 230 feet of new stream and removing a 4-foot high dam. Additionally, stormwater from an 84-acre area will be treated in filtration structures and swales to remove 33 pounds of phosphorus and 1,800 pounds of sediment each year. The project will enhance six acres of wetland, restore 10 acres of woodland, and improve wildlife habitat.
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Columbia Golf Course, Minneapolis
$100,000 to modify storm sewers and install regional water filtration and infiltration systems, such as ponds, engineered soils, and native plantings, in the northern portion of Columbia Golf Course. The practices will capture and treat stormwater from 600 acres that currently drains to the Mississippi River untreated. The project will improve water quality in the Mississippi River by removing 20 tons of total suspended sediments and 100 pounds of total phosphorus each year.
Northgate Academy, Minneapolis
$55,000 for the installation of rain gardens during reconstruction of the building and parking lot. The rain gardens will reduce the amount of water runoff, phosphorus and sediments flowing into the city storm sewer by 96 percent. The stormwater practices at this site will be used as part of training program for careers in hydrology, civil engineering, soil science, horticulture and related topics. This project will improve water quality in the Mississippi River.