Funding for Infrastructure and Watershed / Stream Management Plans

Helping to keep ag water connected with ag land

State Grant Programs: Funding for infrastructure improvements, as well as watershed and stream management planning is available from a variety of state, federal and non-profit organizations. 

 

CWCB Water Plan Grants are intended to facilitate progress on the critical actions identified in Colorado’s Water Plan (CWP) and its Measurable Objectives.  Funding categories are listed below.  Applicants may be eligible for more than one funding category.

  1. Water Storage and Supply Projects – Projects that facilitate additional storage, artificial recharge into aquifers, and dredging existing reservoirs to restore storage capacity, multi-beneficial projects, and Basin Implementation Plan projects that address the water supply and demand gap.
  2. Conservation & Land Use Projects – Activities that implement long-term strategies for conservation, land use, and drought planning.
  3. Engagement & Innovation Activities - Activities that support water education, outreach, and innovation efforts.
  4. Agricultural Projects – Projects that provide technical assistance, infrastructure improvements, projects that further demonstration of on-farm conservation and efficiency, ATM development, and ditch-wide and regional planning that address water shortages. 
  5. Environmental & Recreation Projects – Projects that promote watershed health, environmental health, and recreation. 

Eligibility:  Governmental entities, municipalities, districts, enterprises, counties and state agencies, mutual ditch companies, non-profit corporations, and partnerships. 

Maximum Funding Available: no limit indicated.

Match Requirement: 50%. Other CWCB funds may be used for plans and studies, but the total CWCB funding cannot exceed 75% of the total cost. No more than half of the match may be in the form of in-kind services.

Website:  https://cwcb.colorado.gov/loans-grants/colorado-water-plan-grants

 

 

Water Supply Reserve Fund (WSRF) - Severance Tax Funded Statewide and Basin WSRF grants assist Colorado water users in addressing their critical water supply issues and interests. The funds help eligible entities complete water activities, which may include technical assistance, feasibility studies and environmental compliance; ­watershed planning support, studies or analysis of consumptive and non-consumptive water needs, projects or activities; and structural and nonstructural water projects or activities. An applicant's grant proposal must be approved by a Roundtable in the Basin where it will occur before it is submitted to CWCB, and it must support an identified basin need or a state water plan need. The request is then reviewed by the CWCB for a final decision on funding.

Eligibility: Governmental entities, municipalities, districts, enterprises, counties and state agencies, mutual ditch companies, non-profit corporations, and partnerships. Non-incorporated individuals, partnerships and sole-proprietorships are eligible for basin funding but not state WSRF funding. 

Match Requirement: Basin WSRF: 25% match required.  Statewide WSRF: 50% match required  (see further details below).

For basin roundtable account funding only, the required 25% match may be provided by the applicant or a third party and may consist of any combination of cash, in-kind services or materials. The applicant can request a waiver for the 25% match. The match requirement for statewide account funding supersedes basin requirements if statewide funds are requested.

For statewide funding the applicant must have at least a 50% match of the statewide Account grant request with the following stipulations: a) At least 10% of the required Statewide Account Grant request match must be cash from one or more Basin Account funds; and b) The remaining 40% of the required match may be from any source, including other grants, cash from the Basin Account, or a combination of cash, in-kind services, or in-kind materials. The applicant can request a waiver for half of the 50% match. 

Maximum Funding Available: ~$25,000 currently for basin accounts, no limit indicated for statewide account

Website: https://cwcb.colorado.gov/loans-grants/water-supply-reserve-fund-grants

 

CWCB Colorado Watershed Restoration Grant funds 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

Eligibility: Non-profit organizations, watershed coalitions, State of Colorado departments and agencies, Ute Tribes, local governments, and conservation and water conservancy districts.  

Maximum Funding Available: no limit indicated.

Match Requirement: 50%. Other CWCB funds may be used for plans and studies, but the total CWCB funding cannot exceed 75% of the total cost. 

Websites: https://dnrweblink.state.co.us/CWCB/0/edoc/213039/cwrp_guidance_FINAL.pdf

 

Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund was established jointly by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Water Quality Control Commission, in cooperation with the Colorado Watershed Assembly. The program grants money to local watershed organizations. 

Eligible Activities:

  1. Project Grants: Water quality and/or water quantity monitoring; implementation of watershed-related best management practices (BMPs), flood protection; channel stability;  total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) development, and a wide variety of other riparian, streambank and habitat restoration efforts.
  2. Planning Grants: Data collection and assessment; analysis of project alternatives; project permitting; acquisition of funding for a project; and outreach efforts to ensure the education, involvement and support of the local community.

Eligibility: Locally-based watershed groups

Maximum Funding Available: ~ $20,000

Match Requirement: 20% cash

Websites: https://cwcb.colorado.gov/colorado-healthy-rivers-fund and https://www.coloradowater.org/colorado-healthy-rivers-fund-1

 

Colorado Emergency Drought Response Program provides up to $1 million annually, in the form of loans or grants, for emergency drought-related water augmentation purposes to Colorado’s agricultural water users.

Grant funds from the program can be used for the lease of augmentation water during drought years. Loan funds from the program can be used to purchase water rights for augmentation purposes and/or for the construction of structures necessary for the delivery of augmentation water back to the river.  Program funds can be used for engineering, attorney fees and other water acquisition administrative costs equal to 5% of the grant amount. This program does not provide loans or grants for general operational expenses, maintenance of facilities, research or individuals.

Requests are reviewed by the Director of the CWCB, the State Engineer (DWR), the Commissioner of Agriculture and the Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and are either approved or denied. After a request is approved, the CWCB writes a contract for the loan or grant. Funds are then available after an executed contract is in place.  

The annual application deadline is 3 months after the end of any fiscal year during which a drought was declared (i.e. September 30th)

Eligibility: Agricultural organizations located in areas where a disaster emergency has been declared due to drought.

Maximum Funding Available: No limit, however $1M is allocated to the fund in drought-declared years and funding is competitive.

Match Requirement: None

Website: https://cwcb.colorado.gov/loans-grants/agricultural-emergency-drought-response-program

 

Colorado Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program funds fuel reduction and forest health projects, and/or capacity building projects on non-federal lands in Colorado. The FRWRM program is administered by the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS).  The program was established through Senate Bill 17-050 to provide competitive grant funds that encourage community-level actions across the state to: reduce the risk of wildfire to people, property and infrastructure in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), promote forest health and forest restoration projects, encourage utilization of woody material for traditional forest products and biomass energy.

Applications are not currently being accepted; however, additional information about the program purpose, requirements and eligibility can be found in the previous request for applications (RFA). Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact local CSFS Field Offices for support and guidance in developing projects and applications for future rounds of funding. Past project awards have ranged from roughly $4,400 - $231,750 for both capacity and fuels and forest health treatments in communities across Colorado.

Eligibility: Local community and government entities such as fire protection districts, public and private utilities, conservation districts, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profit groups. 

Maximum Funding Available: $250,000

Match Requirement: 50% for most project locations, 25% for areas with fewer economic resources

Websites: https://csfs.colostate.edu/funding-assistance/  

 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Wetlands to Wildlife Program grant funds wetland and riparian restoration, enhancement, and creation projects to support the Wetlands Program Strategic Plan. CPW will award up to $2.5 million in funds from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Colorado waterfowl stamps to projects in Colorado that support the Wetlands Program Strategic Plan’s two main goals: 1. Improve the distribution and abundance of ducks, and opportunities for public waterfowl hunting. 2. Improve the status of declining or at-risk species. The application deadline for this year’s funding is January 27, 2021.

Eligibility: Local governments, other state and federal land management agencies, tribes, non-profit habitat conservation organizations, and private companies.

Maximum Funding Available: $150,000

Match Requirement: None, but match is encouraged

Website:  CPW Wetlands for Wildlife Program Grant

 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution Grant funds NPS projects that implement on-the-ground structural improvements which restore and/or protect waterbodies from NPS pollution.

Eligibility: A wide variety of entities are eligible, see https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HkOgrqaOju7nA50NtFDW3TgRTBx0ZMVj/view for more information.

Maximum Funding Available: Typical project budgets range from $200,000 to $500,000

Match Requirement: 40% cash / in-kind

Website: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/nonpoint-source-pollution-management

 

CDPHE Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are projects that benefit the environment or public health, funded through environmental enforcement actions. Most enforcement settlements include monetary penalties and in some cases, a SEP may be used to mitigate a portion of a penalty. SEPs must create measurable environmental or public health benefits within the geographic area impacted by the violation. SEPs do not require a media nexus (for example, an air violation settlement may include a SEP to benefit water quality).

CDPHE accepts project ideas from interested third parties to be included in their internal SEP Idea Library. Projects are kept for two (2) years for consideration in future enforcement cases. All project ideas are screened for compliance with the CDPHE SEP Policy and there are no guarantees that any project will be selected. If a regulated entity is interested in funding a specific project idea, the SEP Coordinator will contact the entity proposing the idea and may request a full project proposal form with additional project details. Funding categories include pollution reduction and prevention, environmental education and restoration, and public health protection.

Eligibility: 501(c)(3) non-profits and governmental entities including conservation districts

Maximum Funding Available: No limit, <$20,000 projects are selected from the SEP Idea Library

Match Requirement: none

Website: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/sustainability-programs/supplemental-environmental-projects

 

Federal Grants

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) grant promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land. Colorado's conservation priorities are:

  • Water Quality and Quantity: irrigation systems, water control structures and irrigation water management
  • Grazing management: fencing, stockwater systems, range and pasture planting
  • Nutrient management: manure storage structures, planned nutrient applications, soil testing
  • Soil Health: conservation crop rotation, cover crops and conservation tillage
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement: buffer practices, upland wildlife habitat establishment
  • Forest Health: forest timber removal and woody residue treatment

Eligibility: Agricultural producers, forest landowners, ditch companies, groundwater management districts, acequias, irrigation                water districts, potentially other public or semi-public entities that assist in managing and delivering water to agricultural producers.

Maximum Funding Available: Not indicated

Match Requirement: Varies; NRCS payment rates are set annually and may change. The FY2021 Payment rates are available at:

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/co/programs/financial/eqip/?cid=nrcseprd1361683#RT%202

Website:  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/co/programs/financial/eqip/https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/co/newsroom/releases/?cid=NRCSEPRD1730079or check with your local NRCS office

 

NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is a standalone program with its own funding of $300 million annually. NRCS may award up to fifteen Alternative Funding Arrangement projects, which are more grant-like and rely more on partner capacity to implement conservation activities. RCPP has two funding pools: 1) Critical Conservation Areas and 2) State / Multistate pool.

RCPP Classic projects are largely implemented using contracts and easements between NRCS and a producer or landowner. NRCS and partners collaborate on technical assistance and other project components. In AFAs, the Lead Partner (and any supporting partners as identified by the lead partner) is expected to identify participating producers/landowners, contract directly with those producers/landowners, and carry out all required technical assistance (except for inherently governmental functions). In addition, through the AFA provision, NRCS has authority to pursue innovative conservation approaches, such as pay-for-performance, that are not possible under RCPP Classic.

RCPP partners propose projects that generate conservation benefits by addressing specific natural resource objectives in a State/multistate area or address one or more priority resource concerns within an NRCS-designated critical conservation area (CCA). NRCS and partners collaborate to design, promote, and implement RCPP projects on agricultural and nonindustrial private forest land. Through RCPP, NRCS may provide both financial and technical assistance funds to project partners and agricultural producers to carry out projects. RCPP proposals are evaluated through a competitive proposal process based on four criteria: 1) impact, 2) partner contributions, 3) innovation, and 4) partnership and management.

Eligibility: Agricultural groups, tribes, state or local government, farmer cooperatives, water districts, conservation districts, non-governmental environmental organizations with a history of working cooperatively with agricultural producers.

Funding Available: $250,000 - $10,000,000

Match Requirement:

Websites: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/rcpp/

Funding Announcement: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=328578

 

NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program provides support to help landowners in their recovery efforts after a natural disaster. EWP was established by Congress to respond to emergencies by relieving hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the EWP program and all projects undertaken, with the exception of the pur­chase of floodplain easements, MUST have a project sponsor. NRCS may bear up to 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency measures. The remaining 25 per­cent must come from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services. EWP is designed for installation of recovery measures. Activities include providing financial and technical assistance to remove debris from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges, reshape and protect eroded banks, correct damaged drainage facilities, establish cover on critically eroding lands, repair levees and structures, and repair conservation practices

Eligibility: Agricultural groups, tribes, state or local government, farmer cooperatives, water districts, conservation districts, non-governmental environmental organizations with a history of working cooperatively with agricultural producers.

Funding Available: not indicated

Match Requirement: 25%

Website:  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/co/programs/financial/ewp/?cid=stelprdb1193198

 

 

Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart Cooperative Watershed Management Program Phase I grant supports the establishment of a new watershed group, expanding an existing group and completing restoration planning efforts. The Cooperative Watershed Management Program encourages diverse stakeholders to form local solutions to address their water management needs. A watershed group is a self-sustaining, non-regulatory, consensus-based group that is composed of a diverse array of stakeholders.

Eligibility: States, Indian tribes, local and special districts (e.g., irrigation and water districts), local governmental entities, interstate organizations, and non-profit organizations.

Maximum Funding Available: $100,000

Match Requirement: No match required

Websites: https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/cwmp/index.htmlhttps://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=329878

 

 

Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart Cooperative Management Program Phase II grant provides funding for projects to established watershed groups that have a watershed restoration plan in place. Funding may be used to implement on-the-ground watershed management projects that will address critical water supply needs, water quality concerns, and restoration needs. Eligible projects may include restoring stream channel structure, improving channel/floodplain connectivity, stabilizing streambanks, improving water delivery systems to increase efficiency or other projects to address water supply needs, providing fish passage, removing invasive species and restoring vegetation, influencing water temperature or improving the timing or volume of available flows at particular locations to improve aquatic conditions, and other watershed management projects that will address water supply needs, water quality concerns, and restoration needs in the watershed.

 

Eligibility: Incorporated non-profit watershed groups with a completed watershed restoration plan

Maximum Funding Available: $300,000

Match Requirement: 50% cash

Website:https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/cwmp/index.htmlhttp://usbr.gov/watersmart/index.htmlhttps://apply07.grants.gov/apply/opportunities/instructions/PKG00263419-instructions.pdf

 

 

Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart Energy Efficiency Grant cost-shares on projects that seek to conserve and use water more efficiently; increase the production of hydropower; mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict; enable farmers to make additional on-farm improvements in the future, including improvements that may be eligible for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding; and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States

 

Eligibility: States, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority

Maximum Funding Available: $2,000,000 in FY 2021

Match Requirement: 50% cash

Website: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=327729

 

 

Bureau of Reclamation Small-Scale Water Efficiency Grant provides 50/50 cost share funding to irrigation and water districts, tribes, states and other entities with water or power delivery authority for small water efficiency improvements that have been identified through previous planning efforts. Projects eligible for funding include installation of flow measurement or automated water control in a specific part of a water delivery system, piping or lining a section of a canal to address seepage, or other similar projects that are limited in scope.

 

Eligibility: States, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority

Maximum Funding Available: $75,000

Match Requirement: 50% 

Website: https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=71443

 

 

The websites below also provide information on funding sources:

Colorado Water Conservation Board:  http://cwcb.state.co.us/LoansGrants/Pages/LoansGrantsHome.aspx

Colorado Ag Water Alliance:  https://www.coagwater.org/

Colorado Watershed Assembly:  https://www.coloradowater.org/funding-opportunities



 

Partial project funding for the Ag Water NetWORK is provided by a 2020 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
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