Conservation and Development Grants and Loans

DNRC administers a wide range of grants and loans for Montana, assisting cities and towns, conservation districts, private landowners, and other groups in managing natural resource issues at the local level. 

Visit DNRC's Grants & Loans Page for information about funding opportunities, eligibility, and how to apply.

Current  Opportunities
Conservation District Grants Current  Opportunities

                

Forestry Division - Grants

  • Cooperative Fire Protection Capacity Grant - Funding aimed at cooperatively increasing local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities. Through this opportunity, DNRC seeks to fund and leverage staff capacity or projects in support of local fire response coordination needs while also supporting DNRC County Coop fire protection related functions. Now accepting applications. Applications for the first review period are due by April 1, 2024, at 5pm. If funding remains after the first review, additional applications will be accepted through March 31, 2025, or until all funds are awarded.
  • Volunteer Fire Capacity Grants - The Volunteer Fire Capacity (VFC) Grant Program is authorized by the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1990, (Farm Bill) and assists rural volunteer fire departments by providing cost-share grants for training, equipping, and organizing. Rural fire departments represent the first line of defense in coping with wildfires and other emergencies in rural areas and rural communities. These departments are charged with the protection of lives, homes, and business investments. Now accepting applications. Closes May 18, 2024.
  • Conservation Education Small Grant Program - Funds will be awarded to proposals deliver quality youth educational experiences. Now accepting applications on an open and rolling basis. The first review period is closed. Additional applications will be accepted through December 31, 2024, or until all funds are awarded.


NEED HELP ACCESSING YOUR SUBMITTABLE ACCOUNT INFORMATION? YES! 

NEED HELP ADDING COLLABORATORS?  YES!

DO YOU NEED HELP APPLYING FOR A RENEWABLE RESOURCE PLANNING GRANT? 

DNRC is offering local governments Technical Assistance to apply for planning grants. Technical Assistance funds are designed to assist local governments that: 

  1.  Do not have an established relationship with a professional engineering firm. OR 
  2. Have not been successful in applying for DNRC planning grants in the prior biennium

DNRC will prioritize requests for Technical Assistance from local governments who meet the above criteria. 

If Technical Assistance is approved, DNRC will assign a contracted technical service provider to assist the local government with a Renewable Resource Planning Grant Application. 

Technical Assistance is limited to $3,000 or 20 hours @ $150/hour. Technical service providers are contracted with and paid by DNRC once a Renewable Resource Planning Grant Application is submitted. 

If you have questions, please contact Kylee Hughes kylee.hughes@mt.gov

Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program
Private Grant Program
A. PROGRAM PURPOSE:
The private water grant program is in place to support water projects funded by non-government entities such as individuals, associations, and watershed groups.  Grants are available for projects that meet the following criteria:
1. The project benefits a water resource;
2. The project is required by a government entity such as a county, conservation district or state agency;
3. Project costs are incurred before a grant agreement is signed;
4. The applicant is not a government entity
5. The applicant has not received a grant from the Private Grant Program in the last five years


B. FUNDING REQUIREMENTS:
1. Private water grants are available up to $5,000 or 25% of the project cost, whichever is least;
2. Reimbursement is based on actual provided receipts;
3. Reimbursement will be done on a one-time only basis;
4. Match funding includes professional services, contracted labor, and materials. Receipts will be requested;
5. The project has not been constructed yet;
6. The project must provide public benefits;
7. The project will be constructed in Montana;
8. The project will be an efficient use of a natural resource including water, energy, land, and air without diminishing the quality;
9. The project cannot be accomplished without the assistance of a loan or grant; cannot be an income property per MCA 85-1-610.

DNRC Emergency Grant

Grant assistance is limited to only serious emergencies that meet program requirements. The emergency must pose an immediate threat to the beneficial management of a renewable resource, and all reasonable funding sources investigated before an emergency grant will be awarded. DNRC will award grants or loans for an emergency project that, if delayed until legislative approval can be obtained, will cause substantial damages or legal liability to the entity seeking assistance.

Typical types of projects have included:

  • dike failures,
  • emergency dam repairs, and
  • emergency repairs to municipal drinking water and wastewater systems.

Emergency grants are available to:

  • counties,
  • incorporated cities and towns,
  • conservation districts,
  • irrigation districts, and
  • water and sewer districts.

For the most up to date grant guidelines, please visit the CD Resource Documents Site.
 

To inquiry about ideas, and/or project feasibility, contact the CD Specialist for your District who will work with you to develop the proposal including a detailed scope, schedule, and budget.
 

https://dnrc.mt.gov/Conservation/Conservation-Programs/Conservation-Districts/
 

Stephanie Criswell, Steph.Criswell@mt.gov, 406-444-6669
Mary Hendrix,  Mary.Hendrix@mt.gov, 406-431-2639
Veronica Grigaltchik, Veronica.Grigaltchik@mt.gov, 406-437-4501
Catey Bauer, catey.bauer@mt.gov, 406-465-0948

Kasydi Lucas, kasydi.lucas2@mt.gov, 406-594-0726

GENERAL INFORMATION:
The 47th Legislature provided to Montana conservation districts one half of one percent of the coal severance tax monies for use for any purpose that they are authorized to perform pursuant to MCA, Title 76, Chapter 15, Part 4.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) Conservation Resource Development Division (CARDD) offers CD Administrative Grants to provide funding to conservation districts that do not have adequate funds to cover basic operation costs, such as administrative salaries, office supplies, communications, and insurance. 

Through the CDA application, districts will be able to opt-in for $3,500 in funding for Montana Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) annual dues. The district agrees to supplement these funds with $500 in non-CDA funding. Through association dues, MACD provides statewide programming and services to all districts in Montana.

All conservation districts in Montana are eligible. The following criteria will be considered to demonstrate need for evaluating CDA funding requests. 

  1. CD has a need for funds beyond mill for general operations. 76-15-530 MCA 
  2. CD has levied the maximum county mills allowed for the current fiscal year. MCA 76-15-530
  3. CD has submitted its Annual Financial Report to the Department of Administration- Local Government Services. MCA 2-7-503 
  4. CD has prepared and submitted a preliminary budget to the county clerk and recorder. MCA 7-6-40
  5. A statement of assets including account balances and the district’s plans and timeline for expending.
     

APPLICATION DEADLINE: June 30, 2024 by 5:00 pm
For additional information about Conservation District Grant Programs, visit dnrc.mt.gov.

For Additional Information Contact:

Contact your CD Specialist



 

 

Applications will be accepted on an open and rolling basis until available funding is awarded.

First review period closes for applications: April 15, 2024.

Additional review periods: ongoing until December 31, 2024, or sooner if all funds are awarded.

 

The funding for the Conservation Education Program is derived from the State of Montana Fire Suppression Fund and from federal awards from the United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Forestry and Trust Lands Division. 


  The intent of these funds is to provide program assistance and outreach efforts to children (pre-K through 12th grade) and their educators in both classroom and informal settings.
 


OBJECTIVES
      Funds will be awarded to proposals deliver quality youth educational experiences. Examples of appropriate uses of these funds include:
 

  • Outdoor education activities for youth pre-K through 12th grade.
  • Facilitator training activities and associated costs.
  • Professional development in the field of conservation education.
  • Facilitation costs, meeting space, refreshments, and other expenses associated with hosting the aforementioned activities or events.
  • Travel to and registration for training or professional development opportunities associated with conservation education.

 
 ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
     Montana state, local, or tribal governments, non-profits, community groups, educational institutions, educators, or individuals.

 FUNDING AND CRITERIA

  • Up to $30,000 is available for awards in this cycle. 
  • Awards are typically $3,000 or less, although the program manager may approve larger amounts, on a limited basis. 
  • Funds must be expended within one calendar year of the date of approval. 

 
 MATCH
      Applicants are encouraged to show match from the organization and partners to increase the competitiveness of their proposal, but match is not required.

Notice of Funding Available and Request for Proposals

Proposals Due By: The application is open and rolling until funding is awarded.

  • First review period closes for applications : April 1, 2024.
  • Additional review periods: ongoing until March 31, 2025 or sooner if all funds are awarded.

Purpose

DNRC’s fundamental intent in areas of State/County Cooperative Fire Protection (County Coop) is to build and maintain the capacity of local governments so that local firefighters routinely succeed on the initial attack of wildland fires and avoid the need for large-scale involvement by the DNRC or our federal partners. The County Coop Fire Protection arrangement builds upon the fire suppression capacity of communities and local government and has been a highly effective fire protection model in Montana for the past 50+ years. This success can be attributed to the strong partnerships and cooperation that exist across the state.

To better support this fire protection arrangement in an ever-changing wildfire environment, DNRC has made funding available aimed at cooperatively increasing local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities. Through this opportunity, DNRC seeks to fund and leverage staff capacity or projects in support of local fire response coordination needs while also supporting DNRC County Coop fire protection related functions. 

 

Desired Outcomes

  • Actions and investments that further the capacity of rural fire protection entities at the local level, while also supporting the fundamental intent of the DNRC County Coop program.
  • Well-coordinated, safe, and effective local wildland fire response.
  • Increased wildfire preparedness efforts and improved coordination between local, state, and federal fire response organizations.

 

Source of Funding

Funding sources for this grant are from appropriations in the State of Montana made available through the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Forestry and Trust Lands Division. State General Fund (HB2) is expected as an on-going funding source. There has also been a one-time increase from the Fire Suppression Fund through HB 883 for this cycle of grant opportunity. Grant funds will be distributed on a reimbursement basis.

 

Eligible Applicants

Montana counties with a current Cooperative Fire Protection Agreement with the State of Montana as outlined in MCA 7-33-2202 (4b) are eligible to apply.

 

Allowable Activities

This grant opportunity is intended to further the capacity of rural fire protection entities at the local level, while also supporting the fundamental intent of the DNRC State/County Cooperative Fire Protection program. The following are items are examples of potentially eligible projects. DNRC encourages innovative approaches to furthering local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities.
 

Note: These funds are intended to supplement activities or fulfill unmet needs--they cannot be used to replace previously allocated funding.

 

Examples of eligible high priority activities include:

  • Funding County Fire Warden, Deputy County Fire Warden, or Rural Fire Coordinator positions that are currently unfunded, part-time, ad hoc, or volunteer.
  • Reimbursement/stipends for other unfunded or volunteer fire leadership positions such as County Rural Fire Chiefs, Fire Chiefs or Duty Chiefs/Duty Officers during periods of heightened fire activity.
  • Reimbursement/stipends for County Rural Fire Department or Rural Fire District Personnel for fire response.
  • Other projects that further the capacity and capabilities of local fire response entities.

Another example of eligible, are more of a one time funding that would be more focused towards the following activities include:

  • IT Infrastructure that better supports well-coordinated, safe, and effective local wildland fire response (Dispatch, CAD, GIS, Mutual Aid Communications).
  • Wildland fire leadership and incident command training.
  • Other items that directly support high priority activities listed above with a reasonable justification.

If funding staff/personnel time or positions, Grantee will administer payment and/or payroll responsibilities for those individuals. The Grantee is also responsible for making sure that it and its employees are covered by Workers’ Compensation Insurance and in compliance with the coverage provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

 

Restrictions

This grant funding is subject to the following restrictions:

  • Grant funding must result in a net increase in fire response capacity. It cannot be used to repurpose or replace funding of positions that are already funded.
  • Funds are not intended for fire suppression equipment or personal protective equipment. Other grant funding sources exist for these types of items.
  • Projects not directly related to furthering local fire leadership, preparedness, and fire response capabilities are ineligible.

 

Grant Amount

Grants awarded will typically range from $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000. DNRC may consider proposals exceeding the $100,000 limit on an exceptional basis. Award amounts may vary due to funding availability and the number and quality of applications received. Multi-year applications will be considered with a 3-year maximum.

 

Match Requirement

This grant does not require match. However, cash and/or in-kind contributions are encouraged to support the cooperative intent of this opportunity. 

 

How To Apply

Scroll down and select "login" (if you already have a Submittable account) or "create a new account" to start filling out the application. Submit your application by 5 p.m. on April 1, 2024 for consideration in the first review period. 

  • You can use this worksheet to start brainstorming your ideas. You can then copy and paste your answers into the Submittable application.

Letters of support for the funding request from participating fire departments, rural fire councils, and other organizations are not required but will strengthen an application.

After the initial round of proposals are reviewed, if funding remains, additional proposals will be reviewed up until the final submission deadline of March 31, 2025. The panel may choose to immediately award funding to a proposal, may reject a proposal for funding or may choose to place a proposal in a pending approval status. Pending approval proposals may or may not be subsequently awarded funds and may be passed-over for funding in favor of a later submission that the panel deems to have more merit. The opportunity will remain open and will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until March 31, 2025 or earlier if all funding is awarded.

 

Award and Disbursement 

Applications received will be reviewed for funding by DNRC Fire Protection staff. Applications will be evaluated on how well they meet the goals of the grant program. If funding remains after first-round selections, or if additional funding becomes available, DNRC may consider funding additional applications at that time.

Upon selection of funding, DNRC will proceed with developing grant award documents with identified points of contact. Applicants selected in the first review period must be capable of returning a signed grant agreement to DNRC by June 20, 2024.  Funded activities may start July 1, 2024.

Funds may only be used as described in the executed grant agreement unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the DNRC. Disbursement of grant funds by DNRC will be upon approval of submitted documentation of reimbursable costs. Documentation may include itemized receipts, invoices, financial reports, and other documents that clearly show expenditures.

 

Reporting Requirements

Grantees will be required to report to DNRC on a quarterly basis to describe project accomplishments and how funds are being utilized. A final report will be required stating how the funds were used and the outcomes that were achieved.

 

Helpful Links

Questions? 

David Hamilton

State/County Cooperative Fire Program Manager

DNRC Fire Protection Bureau

406-431-1948

dahamilton@mt.gov