The MWCC Watershed Fund provides direct support to our community-based Watershed Partners for capacity-building, professional development, and on-the-ground projects. The Watershed Fund increases the capacity of local communities to advance community-based, locally led conservation using the Watershed Approach to conservation by filling critical funding gaps.

To learn more about the MWCC Watershed Fund, click Here. For information about different types of Watershed Fund support, see our Project Support, Capacity Support, Professional Development Support, and Big Sky Watershed Corps Support pages. You may also contact MWCC Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols at terri@mtwatersheds.org.

Currently available funding opportunities are listed below.

The MWCC Watershed Fund has funding from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help local watershed organizations implement DEQ-accepted Watershed Restoration Plans (WRPs) by hosting a Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) member in 2023. A total of $30,000 is available. Up to $6,000 may be awarded to each qualifying organization for either: 1) offsetting the $12,250 cost share payment for hosting a BSWC member, 2) assisting your member with housing costs, or 3) a combination of the two.

Award decisions will be based in part on what percentage of the member's time will be dedicated to implementing DEQ-accepted Watershed Restoration Plans and to reducing and preventing nonpoint source pollution. (Find information on all local WRPs at DEQ's Water Quality Planning Bureau website by scrolling down to Water Protection.) Additional funding proposal review criteria are listed below. There is a non-federal, 1:1 match requirement that can be met through cash or in-kind contributions.

Proposals are due by 5 pm on Monday, August 29, 2022. Funding decisions will be made by Monday, September 12, so applicants will know whether they have received funding prior to committing to hosting a BSWC member for 2023. BSWC Program Host Site Applications are due by Friday, September 2, and host site selection will occur soon after this date.

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to:

  • Provide local watershed organizations with the resources necessary to implement DEQ-accepted WRPs and reduce nonpoint source pollution in their watersheds.
  • Increase the capacity of local watershed communities to achieve long-term conservation goals related to improving water quality.
  • Build the next generation of conservation leaders in Montana.
  • Allow young conservation professionals with less financial means the ability to serve with the BSWC AmeriCorps program by offsetting their housing costs.

Eligibility

Local watershed organizations are eligible to apply for this funding if they plan to host a BSWC member in 2023 and if that member will spend 25% or more of their time on WRP implementation related to preventing or reducing nonpoint source pollution. The greater the amount of time a member will spend on these activities, the greater the amount of funding the host site is eligible for. Federal agencies, state agencies, and for-profit entities are not eligible.

Requirements

BSWC members supported with this funding will be required to submit one interim and one final report on their WRP-implementation activities, in late May 2023 and early November 2023, respectively. Reporting will be based on the work plan you outline in your online funding proposal form. (Details below.) There is a non-federal, 1:1 match requirement that can be met through cash or in-kind contributions.

Qualifying Activities

Activities that qualify for this funding are those that implement a DEQ-accepted WRP, help to reduce or prevent nonpoint source pollution, and employ the Watershed Approach to conservation. Qualifying activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Work on restoration and pollution-prevention projects
  • Post-restoration maintenance and monitoring
  • Monitoring under a DEQ-approved Sampling and Analysis Plan
  • Community outreach
  • Volunteer recruitment, management, and retention
  • Education
  • Creation of education and outreach materials

The following activities do not qualify for this funding:

  • Establishing or updating WRPs
  • Monitoring not called for in a DEQ-approved Sampling and Analysis Plan
  • Work on aspects of a WRP that do not prevent or reduce nonpoint source pollution

How to Apply

Proposals are due by 5 pm on Monday, August 29, 2022. They must be submitted via this online form in Submittable. If at all possible, the person who submits your proposal should be the person who will be working most closely with the BSWC member. In most cases, this will be the proposed host site supervisor.

Please use your organization’s existing Submittable account to fill out the online proposal form. If you do not yet have a Submittable account, please set one up under your organization’s name, not under your personal name. If you’re new to Submittable, here’s a link explaining how to get started as a submitter.

Funding decisions will be made by Monday, September 12, so applicants will know whether they have received funding prior to committing to hosting a BSWC member for 2023. BSWC Program Host Site Applications are due by Friday, September 2, and host site selection will occur soon after this date.

Funding Proposal Review Criteria

  • Proposed member activities will directly implement a DEQ-accepted Watershed Restoration Plan.
  • Proposed member activities fall within the qualifying activities for this funding.
  • Proposed member activities will reduce and/or prevent nonpoint source pollution.
  • Proposed deliverables are reasonable and in alignment with proposed activities.
  • Proposed nonfederal match is reasonable.
  • The BSWC member's work will increase the host site organization's capacity to implement a DEQ-accepted WRP and to reduce nonpoint source pollution.
  • Hosting a BSWC member will bring additional benefits to the organization.

Additional BSWC Funding Opportunity

MWCC will announce in February or March 2023 an additional funding opportunity for BSWC member-led, on-the-ground projects to reduce and prevent nonpoint source pollution. Up to $7,000 may be awarded for these competitive grants, and a total of $28,000 will be available. These project grants must be distinct from activities funded by host site cost share support dollars.

For more information, contact MWCC Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols at terri@mtwatersheds.org or (406) 210.1217.

Thank you for your professional development funding request. The purpose of Watershed Fund Professional Development Support is to allow MWCC’s local watershed conservation partners to acquire skills, knowledge, and resources relevant to watershed health in their communities. Typical award amounts are $500 or less, but we will consider larger amounts based on need if we have sufficient funding. At this time, we can only fund professional development opportunities that happen in Montana or remotely.

If your request is approved for funding, you will be required to fill out a separate form to receive reimbursement for your workshop, training, or conference. You must also provide receipts for event registration, lodging, car rentals, and other approved expenses. MWCC will send you this form upon approval of your funding request.

Please contact Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols with any questions: terri@mtwatersheds.org

Thank you for your interest in attending the 2022 Fall Watershed Tour with the Blackfeet Nation and MWCC!

The deadline to apply for Watershed Tour scholarships is midnight on August 1. Scholarships may cover registration, travel, and lodging costs, depending on the applicant's need and funds available. Travel and lodging costs will be provided on a reimbursement basis, within 30 days of the end of the Tour.

Please register for the tour at the same time that you fill out this scholarship application form, since space is limited. Choose the payment option "Apply for a Scholarship," and you will not be required to pay when you register. If you do not receive a scholarship, MWCC will work with you to determine if you will still be able to attend the Tour.

If you are applying for a scholarship on behalf of a local watershed conservation organization, please include expenses for everyone in your organization who will be attending; do not fill out individual requests for individual staff or board members.

Individuals representing state and federal agencies and for-profit organizations are not eligible for scholarship funding.

MWCC will notify applicants whether they have received funding the week of August 15.


Please contact Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols with any questions: terri@mtwatersheds.org, (406) 210-1217

Montana Watershed Coordination Council