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

Surface Water Grants - Automatically Eligible Organizations

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

11/15/22 11:59 PM Email submission or Postmarked by date


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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 this 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. With many different projects eligible for grant funding, surface water management can be supported at any stage from organization capacity development to project implementation.

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 the different kinds of projects the Surface Water Grant Program supports, see Grant Project Types at

For eligible costs, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 146948

Estimated Total Program Funding:


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

Must apply to be an eligible organization (refer to Appendix K for qualifications):
- Qualified lake associations
- Qualified surface water management organizations
- Qualified river management organizations
- Nonprofit conservation organizations
- Qualified school districts

For more information, see Appendix K: Organizational Eligibility:

Counties, municipalities, other local units of government, lake districts, natural resource agencies, tribal governing bodies, town sanitary districts and accredited colleges, universities and technical schools are automatically eligible. No eligibility application is required.

Other entities must seek a determination of eligibility (Form 8700-380) as a qualified surface water management organization, qualified lake association, qualified river management organization, nonprofit conservation organization or a qualified school district.

For ineligible costs, see

Pre-Application Information:

All emailed grant applications must be sent to the department by 11:59:59 p.m. on Nov. 15. Mailed
applications must be postmarked by Nov. 15.

If Nov. 15 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline will fall on the following Monday.

Applicants must submit their pre-application by Sept. 15, applications are due Nov. 15.

Grant Cycle Timeline:
- May 1: Deadline: Confirm organization’s eligibility to apply by contacting your local environmental grants specialist
- June 1: Updated guidance and forms are published on the Surface Water Grant webpage
- June - September: Identify project goals and objectives, define activities and methods, and develop a budget
- September 15 Deadline: Submit your pre-application to Your biologist will then determine whether a pre-application meeting is required.
- September - October: Meet with your biologists, complete application and attain all supporting documentation (e.g. Authorizing resolution, project maps, lab forms, etc.)
- November 15 Deadline: Grant application deadline.
- February 15 (approximate): Grant awards announced
- March 15: Start of grant period

Most grants are required by state statute to be cost-shared, that is, grantees must contribute a percentage of the project’s total costs. The portion paid by the grantee is called grantee match, while the department’s contribution is called the DNR cost share. All planning grants provide a 67% cost share, while all management grants are shared at a rate of 75%. For more information, see

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

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

The preferred method of application submittal is via email to

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

If you would like to confirm your organization’s eligibility for grant funding, contact your regional environmental grant specialist (see Supporting Documents below).

For technical assistance in developing a project, contact your regional Lake, Streams or AIS biologist (see Supporting Documents below).

For information on the surface water grant program, email:, or
Laura MacFarland at— grant financial coordinator
Alison Mikulyuk at — lakes and rivers grant coordinator

Grant Coverage Areas:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Wisconsin

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