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 and Upcoming Opportunities


  • RRGL Project Grants - POSTED 02/2024 applications accepted through May 15, 2024
  • Renewable Resource Program Watershed Management Grants -TBD
  • Renewable Resource Program Irrigation Development Grants - TBD
  • Renewable Resource Program Technical Assistance Planning Grants - POSTED 02/2024

                

Forestry Division - Grants

  • Forest Stewardship Request for Proposals - DNRC Forest Stewardship Grants provide funding to support a portion of the expense involved in implementing treatments that reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health. This RFP is a required first step in applying for a Landscape Scale Restoration, Wildland Urban Interface, Community Wildfire Defense, or Montana Forest Action Plan award in the Stewardship Program's 2024 cycle. Now accepting applications. Closes March 15, 2024.


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

PURPOSE

The purpose of the RRGL Planning Grant Program is to provide funding to governmental entities for professional and technical services necessary to produce a high quality RRGL grant application which leads to a project that conserves, manages, develops, or protects Montana’s renewable resources. PLANNING GRANT GUIDELINES.

ELIGIBLE PROJECT EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR TO THE GRANT AWARD LETTER ARE ELIGIBLE FOR REIMBURSEMENT IF THEY OCCURRED AFTER JULY 1, 2023. This effective date is only for planning grant applications approved prior to 04/01/2024. 

GRANT LIMITS

Infrastructure PER $40,000

Irrigation PER/ Technical Narrative $30,000

PER or Technical Narrative Update $20,000

Resource Services (Plans or Studies) $15,000

Watershed Restoration Plan $40,000

Watershed Restoration Project Plan $30,000

 FUNDING CYCLES

House Bill 6 includes $3,500,000 for Planning Grants. Application funding is available as revenue is received. Reimbursement for 

Planning Grant Cycle #1 – December 2023 – April 2024

  • Review and award – January 2024
  • Review and award – April 2024

Planning Grant Cycle #2 September 2024 – December 2024

  • Review and award – October 2024
  • Review and award – January 2025

Future cycles will be announced at the DNRC’s discretion.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

DNRC will be offering local governments assistance to apply for planning grants. These 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 evaluate requests from local governments for technical assistance based on demonstrated need. If approved, DNRC will assign a contracted technical service provider to assist the local government with a planning grant application. Technical assistance is limited to $3,000 or 20 hours. Technical service providers will be contracted directly with DNRC and assigned at random as local government requests are approved.

  • Technical Assistance Opportunity Coming Soon – January 2024

PROGRAM CONTACT

Lindsay Volpe

Phone: 406-444-9766

lmvolpe@mt.gov
 

The current challenging conditions of Montana's forests require strategically identifying opportunities to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk. The 2020 Montana Forest Action Plan identifies where priority forest treatments should be focused statewide while acknowledging the need to work collaboratively to achieve cross-boundary landscape scale success. DNRC Forest Stewardship Grants provide funding to support a portion of the expense involved in implementing treatments that reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health.

Prior to submitting your application, be sure to read the Stewardship Grant Guide. The guide describes each available grant opportunity and the associated types of projects supported by each grant, through the following grants:

  • Montana Forest Action Plan Grant
  • Western States Wildland Urban Interface Grant
  • Landscape Scale Restoration Grant
  • Community Wildfire Defense Grant

Applications are due by 5pm on March 15th, 2024.  You may find it helpful to use this worksheet to draft your application. All applications must be submitted via Submittable.

If you have questions about the DNRC Stewardship Grant Opportunities, please contact Ashley Juran – ashley.juran@mt.gov - 406.542.4280.


 

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.
http://dnrc.mt.gov/divisions/cardd/conservation-districts/cdb-bureau
Stephanie Criswell, Steph.Criswell@mt.gov, 406-444-6669
Mary Hendrix,  Mary.Hendrix@mt.gov, 406-444-4253
Veronica Grigaltchik, Veronica.Grigaltchik@mt.gov, 406-874-2046
Hailey Graf, Hailey.Graf@mt.gov, 406-437-4435

DNRC Reclamation and Development Grants Program - Project Grant Application 

General Information

The Reclamation and Development Grants Program (RDGP) is a state-funded grant program designed to fund projects that protect Montana citizens from the effects of mineral development on public resources, and that meet other crucial state needs, serve the public interest, and benefit the total environment of the people of Montana. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) administers the program.

Program Purpose

The purposes of the RDGP are (1) to repair, reclaim, and mitigate environmental damage to public resources from non‑renewable resource extraction and (2) to develop and ensure the quality of public resources for the benefit of all Montana citizens.

Eligible Applicants

Any department, agency, board, commission, or other division of state government, city, county, or other division of local government, or tribal government within the state may apply. Private persons or companies and federal agencies are not eligible for RDGP funding.

Eligible Projects

Proposed projects must provide benefits in one of two categories: (1) mineral development (reclamation of impacts from non-renewable resource extraction, also called reclamation projects) or (2) crucial state need. Mineral development impacts and crucial state need projects will be given equal preference in the ranking process. Projects not fitting into either of these categories will not be eligible for RDGP funding. DNRC will conduct a review and screening of all applications to determine eligibility under these two categories.

Reclamation (Mineral Development) 

To be considered a reclamation project, the project goals and objectives must achieve at least one of the following:

  1.  Reclaim land, water or other resources adversely affected by mineral development.
  2. Mitigate damage to public resources caused by mineral development.
  3. Research, demonstrate, or provide technical assistance to promote the wise use of Montana minerals, including efforts to make processing more environmentally compatible.
  4. Investigate and remediate sites where hazardous wastes or regulated substances threaten public health or the environment.
  5. Research to assess existing or potential environmental damage resulting from mineral development.

Crucial State Need

Projects that meet a crucial state need must prevent or eliminate severe and unacceptable damage to natural resources or capture extraordinary public benefit that would otherwise be lost. They must have a regional or statewide importance. Public benefit from implementation of this type of project must directly relate to natural resources. The critical and urgent nature of the proposed project must be clearly demonstrated in the application. Crucial state need projects must fit into one of the following categories:

  1.  Drought Mitigation:  Projects that address drought as the main purpose of the project and have been identified in an existing plan such as a drought management plan or watershed management plan that ties the need for the project to a specific watershed or region of the state. 
  2.  High Hazard Dams: High hazard dam (Montana Dam Safety Act, MCA 85-15-106) projects that will mitigate damage to natural resources as a result of failure. 
  3.  Other Crucial State Need:  Other projects that meet the criteria of a crucial state need project as described above. Projects must clearly be identified in an existing plan that identifies the need for this project to a specific watershed or region of the state, or include a letter of support from a knowledgeable and authoritative source, preferably a state agency, describing the need for this project for a specific watershed or region of the state. 

Grant Amount 

DNRC will recommend up to $300,000 for most projects. DNRC may recommend up to $500,000 for a project if the applicant has clearly demonstrated significant natural resource benefits and the financial need and unavailability of other funds to complete the project. The Legislature may choose to award a lower or higher amount. An applicant proposing more than one project must submit a separate application for each. There is no minimum funding requirement.

Application Evaluation, Scoring, and Ranking

DNRC solicits, evaluates, and ranks each application submitted to the RDGP and forwards its recommendations for funding to the Governor’s Office before each regular legislative session. With the Governor’s approval, these recommendations are submitted to the Legislature. DNRC will prepare a report and submit it to the Legislature to document the approved ranking and recommendations. The Legislature makes the final decision on which projects will be funded. DNRC will provide updates to the applicant throughout this process. Contracting of projects cannot begin until the bill authorizing funding for the projects becomes effective and funding becomes available for the project. 


For an outline of the ranking criteria, please see page 5 of the Project Grant Overview and Application Instructions.

Submittal Instructions

DNRC requires two forms of applications to meet the needs of multiple reviewers during the evaluation, scoring, and ranking process. Application forms must be submitted online at https://grants.dnrc.mt.govand application documents must be postmarked to the DNRC office no later than 5 PM May 15, 2024.

Submitted Online:  Online application at https://grants.dnrc.mt.gov
Submitted by Mail:  One unbound hard copies of the entire application including a copy of all supporting documentation.


Montana DNRC
Resource Development Bureau
P.O. Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601
Phone: (406) 444-6668

Program Overview and Application Instructions:

Project Grant Overview and Application Instructions

Questions?  Please contact:

Samantha Treu
RDG Program Manager
Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
P.O. Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601
(406) 422-3369
Samantha.Treu@mt.gov
 

DNRC Reclamation and Development Grants Program - Planning Grants


The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) manages the Reclamation and Development Grants Program (RDGP) to fund projects that indemnify the people of the state for the effects of mineral development on public resources and that meet other crucial needs to protect Montana’s environment. Crucial state need projects must serve the public interest and the total environment of the citizens of Montana.  The purposes of the reclamation and development grants program are to:
 

  • repair, reclaim, and mitigate environmental damage to public resources from nonrenewable resource extraction; and,
  • develop and ensure the quality of public resources for the benefit of all Montanans.

The purpose of the RDGP planning grant program is to assist local governments with planning and preparation for these types of projects.


Applicant Eligibility
Reclamation and Development Grants Program planning grants are available to city, county, or other local political subdivisions or Tribal governments within the state.  Federal agencies, private corporations, non-profits and individuals are not eligible to receive RDGP planning grant funding.
 

Project Eligibility
The RDG Program funds planning for the following project types:

  1. Reclamation ($75,000):  Projects that repair, reclaim, and/or mitigate environmental damage to public resources from non-renewable resource extraction (mining, hazardous waste, and oil and gas)
  2. Drought Management Plan ($50,000): Development of a drought management plan for a watershed or region of the state. Drought management plans must identify drought mitigation projects (see below) to implement.
  3. Drought Mitigation Project Planning ($50,000): Planning for specific projects that address drought across a watershed, as the main purpose of the project. The project must be identified in an existing plan such as a drought management plan or a watershed management plan that ties the need for the project to the watershed for region.
  4. High Hazard Dams ($75,000):  High hazard dam (Montana Dam Safety Act, MCA 85-15-106) projects that will mitigate damage to natural resources as a result of failure.  Planning grants must clearly demonstrate natural resource benefits.
  5. Channel Migration Zone (CMZ) Mapping ($75,000):  Channel migration zone (CMZ) mapping projects that plan for large-scale flood assessment or other natural resource benefits to a watershed or region of the state. Projects must identify the natural resource needs of the area and include prioritization of projects benefiting natural resources. 
  6. Other Crucial State Need ($50,000):  Projects that meet a crucial state need must prevent or eliminate severe and unacceptable damage to natural resources or capture extraordinary public benefit that would otherwise be lost.  They must have a regional, watershed, or statewide importance.  Public benefit from this type of project must directly relate to natural resources. 


 

Program Guidance and Application Instructions are available on the DNRC Planning Grants page.   This application must be submitted by someone within the applying entity (city, county, conservation district, etc.).  


Questions?  Contact:
Samantha Treu, samantha.treu@mt.gov, 406-422-3369

Jorri Dyer, Jorri.Dyer2@mt.gov, 406-444-6839

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. 

Conservation District Grant Guidelines

Stephanie Criswell, Steph.Criswell@mt.gov, 406-444-6669 

Mary Hendrix,  Mary.Hendrix@mt.gov, 406-444-4253 

Veronica Grigaltchik, Veronica.Grigaltchik@mt.gov, 406-874-2046 

Kasydi Lucas, Kasydi.Lucas2@mt.gov, 406-594-0726

Catey Bauer, Catey.Bauer@mt.gov, 406-465-0948

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: March 1, 2024 by 5:00 pm
For additional information about Conservation District Grant Programs, visit dnrc.mt.gov.

For Additional Information Contact:

Abby Weimer, abigail.weimer@mt.gov, 406-444-6852

Or contact your CD Specialist