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Colorado Watershed Restoration Grant Program

Grants to Colorado Nonprofits and Agencies for
Watershed Restoration and Flood Mitigation

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Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB)

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Grants to Colorado nonprofit organizations, government agencies, conservation districts, watershed coalitions, and tribes for flood mitigation projects or the restoration of watersheds and streams. Applicants must discuss proposals with program staff prior to applying.

Grant money may be used for planning and engineering studies, including implementation measures, to address technical needs for watershed restoration and flood mitigation projects throughout the state. Special consideration is reserved for planning and project efforts that integrate multi-objectives in restoration and flood mitigation.

This may include projects and studies designed to:
-Restore stream channels, ­
-Provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species, ­
-Restore riparian areas, ­
-Reduce erosion, ­
-Reduce flood hazards, or ­
-Increase the capacity to utilize water.

Four categories of grants will be available under the Colorado Watershed Restoration Program:
-Watershed/Stream Restoration and/or Protection (Restoration) Grants
-Flood Mitigation Grants
-Stream Management Plan Grants
-CWCB Monitoring Projects

Restoration, Flood Mitigation, and Stream Management Plan grants are available to qualified applicants outside of the CWCB (see basic applicant qualifications). Applications that integrate multiple objectives in restoration, flood mitigation, and stream management are highly encouraged.

CWCB staff may initiate studies or demonstration projects (restoration or flood mitigation) utilizing up to 25% of the annually authorized Program funding amount.

Watershed/Stream Restoration Grants:

Projects and plans designed to protect or restore watershed health and stream function will be considered in this category. This may include projects and plans designed to stabilize perennial, ephemeral, & intermittent stream channels, provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species, re-vegetate riparian areas, reduce erosion in upland and riverine environments, improve recreational opportunities, provide fish passage, and improve channel/floodplain connectivity. Restoration is a general term that may include the restoration, reconfiguration, rehabilitation, or resurrection of stream channels and floodplains. More background information on watershed health can be found in Chapter 7.1 of the Colorado Water Plan.

Flood Mitigation Grants:

Flood Mitigation Grants include many of the same elements as Restoration Grants. In addition, they include elements that protect life and property. Applications for planning or project implementation should consider the watershed’s hydrologic function and flow regime in its approach to flood mitigation. This includes channel design that contemplates low flow channels, average high water (bankfull) channels, flood prone benches, transitional zones, and 100 year or greater recurrence interval floodplains. In extreme cases, the amount of the required cost-share for each project can be reduced. CWCB staff will take into account benefits to the State with a strong emphasis on public health, safety, and welfare.

Stream Management Plan Grants:

Well-developed Stream Management Plans should be grounded in the complex interplay of biology, hydrology, channel morphology, and alternative water use and management strategies. They should also consider the flow and other structural or management conditions needed to support both recreational uses and ecosystem function. A stream management plan should: (1) Involve stakeholders to ensure their acceptance of the plan; (2) assess existing biological, hydrological, and geomorphological conditions at a reach scale; (3) identify flows and other physical conditions needed to support environmental and recreational water uses; (4) incorporate environmental and recreational values and goals identified both locally and in a basin roundtable’s BIP; and (5) identify and prioritize alternative management actions to achieve measureable progress toward maintaining or improving flow regimes and other physical conditions. For basin roundtables, local stakeholder groups, and decision makers, such plans can provide a framework for decision-making and project implementation related to environmental and recreational water needs..

The necessary steps for the development of a stream management plan include: (1) Gathering stakeholders to participate in plan development; (2) identifying the plan’s objectives; (3) identifying and prioritizing ecological and recreational values; (4) establishing goals for flows and other physical conditions in order to protect or enhance environmental and recreational attributes on streams and rivers within a given watershed; (5) collecting and synthesizing existing data describing flows for river ecosystems, boating, or other needs in the watershed; (6) assessing existing physical conditions of stream reaches, including geomorphological and riparian conditions; (7) selecting quantitative measures that can be used to assess progress made toward articulated goals; (8) determining what new information is needed and the best methods for obtaining that information; (9) quantifying specific numeric flow recommendations (or ranges of flow) and physical conditions and assessing the potential for channel reconfiguration to support environmental and recreational values; (10) identifying temporal, geographical, legal, or administrative constraints and opportunities that may limit or assist in the basin’s ability to meet environmental and recreational goals; and (11) implementing a stakeholder-driven process to identify and prioritize environmental and recreational projects and methods. Stream management plans should provide data-driven recommendations that have a high probability of protecting or enhancing environmental and recreational values on streams and rivers. More information on environmental and recreational projects and plans can be found in Chapter 6.6 and 7.1 of the Colorado Water Plan.

CWCB Monitoring Projects:

CWCB may reserve 10% of the annually authorized Program funding for monitoring and evaluation of existing projects.

The CWCB will strive to achieve geographic diversity by approving qualifying projects west and east of the continental divide.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163986

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Established nonprofit organizations, watershed coalitions, State of Colorado departments and agencies, local governments, conservation and water conservancy districts, and Colorado’s two Ute Tribes are eligible.

Federal agencies and private landowners are not eligible to receive grant funds; however, projects may be conducted on private, state, or federal lands with appropriate permissions and under the sponsorship of an eligible entity.

Pre-Application Information:

The timeline for the grant application cycle is:
-Deadline to submit applications: November 2, 2018
-Applications reviewed and approved: January 31, 2019
-Grant award announcement: January 31, 2019
-Annual progress report due: One year from date of contract

Interested parties are strongly encouraged to call the CWCB to discuss potential applications.

Restoration, Flood Mitigation and Stream Management Plan grants will be funded by the CWCB on a cost-share basis. CWCB funds from the Colorado Watershed Restoration Program shall not exceed 50% of the total cost of the individual plan or project. Other CWCB funds may be used for plans and studies, but the total CWCB funding shall not exceed 75% of the total cost. CWCB contributions to federally sponsored studies or plans shall not exceed 50% of the total cost.

Costs associated with forest health project initiatives, e.g. forest fuels mitigation, can be used as match for projects having components that qualify for Watershed/Stream Restoration or Flood Mitigation Grants.

Project costs may consist of a combination of in-kind and cash match, but no more than half of the match may be in the form of in-kind services.

The Watershed and Flood Protection section chief will have approval authority for funding recommendations less than $100,000. Staff will submit funding recommendations for grants greater than $100,000 for Board action at the January CWCB meeting.

Contact Information:

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

Chris Sturm
303-866-3441, ext. 3236

Colorado Water Conservation Board
1313 Sherman Street, Room 721
Denver, CO 80203

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado