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Conservation District

Grants to Montana Conservation Districts
for Projects to Protect the Environment

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Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC)

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Grants to Montana conservation districts for the implementation of a broad range of activities to protect natural resources. Funding is intended to support the purchase of equipment related to conservation needs, as well as projects focusing on saline seep and weed control, soil survey, education and information, and other water and soil conservation related projects.

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) distributes these funds on the basis of need to conservation districts for any purpose that they are authorized to perform pursuant to MCA, Title 76, Chapter 15, Part 4. 

Projects must demonstrate a public and conservation benefit. All projects must be part of a conservation district plan.

Funds may be used for any project a conservation district is authorized to carry out, including but not limited to, planning, education, feasibility studies, demonstration projects, farm experiments, equipment, or construction of projects. Conservation districts may receive funds as grants as long as funding requested advances the purpose of conservation district programs.

Applications must include a plan to monitor the effectiveness of the project. Public information and education efforts also must be included as part of the application.

Projects will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  1. Promotes or results in conservation
  2. Demonstrates a public benefit
  3. Demonstrates cost-effective outcome for the district
  4. Fills an immediate need
  5. Fits the district program’s needs
  6. Produces matching funds or in-kind services
  7. Impacts a large number of people or acres
  8. Produces long-term benefits
  9. Requires funding only for the duration of the project  

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178927

Estimated Size of Grant:

The grant limit for “on the ground” conservation projects is $20,000. Conservation districts may request more than $20,000, but 50:50 cash match is required for the entire amount.

The grant limit for education projects (excluding demonstration and educational events) is $10,000. A 223 award for an educational event can only be used for expenses that exceed revenues.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

In order to be eligible to receive a grant, a conservation district must: a) Have levied the maximum county mills allowed for the current fiscal year; b) have or are in the process of developing a special project as authorized in Montana Codes Annotated, Title 76, Chapter 15; and, c) have need for additional funds above the maximum statutory authority.

Conservation districts participating in the program must submit an annual budget to the Conservation Districts Bureau, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Applications for administrative grants may serve this purpose, however, conservation districts that do not receive administrative grants must submit an annual budget prior to receiving grant funds.

Funds cannot be used to purchase food, common items that can be easily borrowed, equipment for contractors, or items not considered essential to conducting a project or meeting project goal.

No monies will be given to a project which is strictly for private benefit.

Pre-Application Information:

Quarterly Deadlines:

- July 15, 2020
- October 15, 2020
- February 17, 2021
- April 7, 2021

A signed hard copy must be mailed and an electronic copy of the application must be submitted to the Conservation District Bureau by the posted deadline.

An application to purchase equipment must include a maintenance plan that includes rental fees, user deposit (if applicable), funding repair and maintenance, and long-term lease options of equipment (if applicable).

Irrigation construction or design projects, including sprinklers and drip systems must have a 50:50 cash match from the landowner(s) or other beneficiary (such as an irrigation district, ditch company, or community garden host).

Applications for weed projects must first demonstrate that funding was sought through the Noxious Weed Trust Fund at the Montana Department of Agriculture. All weed projects must be coordinated with local weed districts—especially for the purchase and application of chemicals.

Applications for aquatic invasive species projects must first demonstrate that funding was sought through the DNRC Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

Applications for the purchase of equipment shall be accompanied by a maintenance plan that includes rental fees, repair and maintenance costs, deposits (if applicable), and long-term leases (if applicable). Reasonable rental fees must be charged to cover maintenance and replacement costs.

Preferential consideration may be given to applications that include money or in-kind services from other sources or that are for less than 100 percent of the total project costs.

All grantees must write and disseminate a press release to the local newspapers.

Contact Information:

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

Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
Conservation Districts Bureau
Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601

DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074
Fax: (406) 444-2684

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Montana

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