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Grants to Wisconsin Agencies, Tribes, and IHEs to Protect Natural Resources

Surface Water Grants - Automatically Eligible Organizations


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: Wisconsin

Important Dates
LOI Date: 09/15/23
Deadline: 11/15/23 11:59 PM Email submission or Postmarked by date Save

Grant Description
Grants to Wisconsin government agencies, tribal governments, and IHEs to protect natural resources. Applicants must submit a pre-application prior to submitting a full proposal. The purpose of the program is to support surface water protection and restoration. Funding is available for education, ecological assessments, planning, implementation, and aquatic invasive species prevention and control.

Funds can be used for a wide variety of projects related to surface water under one of two general categories:

  1. Education and Planning Projects help communities understand surface water conditions, determine management goals, and develop strategic management plans
  2. Management Projects protect and improve water quality and aquatic habitat and prevent and control aquatic invasive species (AIS). Some projects require an approved recommendation in a management plan to be eligible for funding.

For more details on Grant Project Types, see:

For information about eligible costs, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Automatically eligible (no organizational eligibility application required):
- Counties
- Natural resource agencies
- Municipalities
- Tribal governing bodies
- Other local units of government
- Accredited colleges, universities, technical schools
- Inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts
- Town sanitary districts

To ensure that the application will be deemed eligible, it is imperative that the applicant determine whether or not the waterbody of interest meets the minimum public boating access standards.
See: for more information.

The department can help the applicant determine whether it is eligible. If the organization has not received written confirmation of its eligibity within the past 10 years or if they have made changes to the organization’s bylaws, it must submit an organization eligibility application prior to the final application deadline.

Under NR 193 code, nonprofit organizations will need to reapply as Surface Water Management Organizations before receiving a grant.

Additional Geographic Information:

Interactive Map of Surface Water Grants:

Pre-Application Information
Grant Cycle Timeline:
- July 1: Updated guidance and forms published on the Surface Water Grant webpage
- June - September: Identify project goals, objectives, activities, and methods, develop a budget
- September 15, 11:59:59 PM Deadline: Submit pre-application. The biologist will determine whether a pre-application meeting is required.
- September - October: Meet with biologists, complete application and attain all supporting documentation (e.g., Authorizing resolution, project maps, lab forms, etc.)
- November 15, 11:59:59 PM: Grant application deadline
- February 15 (approximate): Grant awards announced
- March 15: Start of grant period

Because numerous applications are submitted for one deadline, it may take up to 4 months to receive news of grant award or funding denial.

Most applicants must submit one pre-application for each grant sought.

If November 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline will fall on the following Monday. (Exception: AIS early detection and response grant applications are accepted year-round).

The minimum percentage of the total project costs required as grantee match is determined by the grant category.

An applicant may seek multiple grant awards in a single cycle.

Claims for payment of project expenditures are made on a reimbursement basis.

- Application forms: See Supporting Documents below.
- Other application materials: See the Full Grant Text URL
- For technical assistance in developing a project, contact the regional Lake, Streams or AIS biologist (list is in Supporting Documents below)
- For information on the surface water grant program, email the address in Contact Information below.

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant
There is a $50,000 combined annual limit for education & planning per waterbody or per applicant.

For information on funding caps for different project types, see:

Term of Contract
For information on maximum grant terms for different project types, see

Contact Information
Submit pre-application to:
The preferred method of application submittal is via email to the above email address.

Applicants who are not able to submit an application by email may send the application to:
DNR Surface Water Grants – WY/3
101 S. Webster St., PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921

For general information on DNR grant programs, contact CFA Bureau staff:

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