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


Forestry Division - Grants

  • Urban and Community Forestry - Program Development and IRA Grants - Projects may include but are not limited to: identifying areas lacking canopy cover to strategically plant trees; supporting the use of food forests; education; trial projects for climate adaptation or a specific function such as pollution control, stormwater, human health, and wellness; workforce development and training; inventory and management plans; hazardous tree removal and replacement; and management and planning for trees at risk. Now accepting applications. Closes January 31, 2024.

  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant - Provides financial, technical, and related assistance to rural volunteer fire departments to conduct preparedness and mobilization activities, including training, equipping and otherwise enabling response to requests for the prevention, control, and suppression of fires occurring on rural lands and threatening rural communities. Now accepting applications. Closes January 20, 2024.








Funding for the Urban and Community Forestry Grants is derived from a federal award of the United States Forest Service, Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Forestry Division. Funding sources include Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Urban and Community Forestry Program funds. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Urban and Community Forestry Grants

Program Overview

FY24 Urban and Community Forestry Grants are different than previous years. Please read the entire Request for Proposals (RFP) carefully.

This year’s RFP has funding from two USDA Forest Service sources. These sources fund similar activities but have different eligibility criteria and different match requirements. Organizations can apply to receive funds from both sources depending on project eligibility. 

Urban and Community Forestry Program Funds - $100,000 available (3:1 match requirement) the traditional Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Program Development Grants offered with a reduced match requirement for 2024. Project locations throughout the state.

New: Inflation Reduction Act Funds (IRA) - $300,000 available (no match requirement) for projects that take place entirely within a disadvantaged area as defined by the Montana Urban and Community Forestry Grant Tool. This tool identifies areas that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution in national datasets. No match is required for these funds, but additional tracking and reporting requirements may be required.

DNRC will offer at least one other round of IRA funding in the fall of 2024. 

The projects are meant to be large-scale and have long-term community impact. Minimum request is $10,000; Maximum request is $50,000 including indirect costs (if requesting). Grant funds are distributed on a reimbursement basis.

DNRC will host a webinar to discuss the requirements of this new IRA funding source on December 12, 2023, at 1 P.M.

Eligible entities for both funding sources include Montana cities, towns, counties, community-based organizations, public and state institutions of higher education, nonprofits, and tribal governments interested in conducting innovative projects in urban forestry. 

When developing a proposal, contact with the area DNRC Forestry staff is important. They will help you through the project design and planning process.

Find your local Forester HERE.

Application Deadline: January 31, 2024

Approximate Notification Date: April 2024

Grantees will be given 24 months to complete the project from the date the agreement is activated. Grantees should plan to begin funded activities in May 2024. Funded activities cannot begin until the grant agreement is signed.

Program Purpose

UCF Grants support goals identified by the Forest Service and DNRC for 2024.

Federal and State Program Goals

Your proposal should tie to the Federal and State goals, by creating relevant objectives, and public awareness specific to your community. The use of these funds should align with the following plans and initiatives:

  • National 10-year Urban Forestry Action Plan Goals 1-7: Planning; Human Health; Diversity, Equity, and Leadership; Environmental Health; Management; Funding; and Education and Awareness.
  • Montana’s State Forest Action Plan Recommendations: Diversity, health, and resilience for urban forests; Urban tree canopy cover for ecosystem benefits; Mitigate impacts of Emerald Ash Borer; Restoration with plant nurseries; Human and community health; Working forests and economies; Climate change.
  • Montana Climate Solutions Plan Recommendations: Preparing Montanans for climate impacts, strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, and climate adaptation. 
  • Justice40 Initiative Recommendations: Broadened community engagement in local urban forest planning, and improved resilience to climate change, pests, and storm events through best management and maintenance practices.
  • Inflation Reduction Act Recommendations: Increased and equitable access to urban tree canopy and associated human health, environmental, and economic benefits in disadvantaged communities.

Projects may include but are not limited to: identifying areas lacking canopy cover to strategically plant trees; supporting the use of food forests; education; trial projects for climate adaptation or a specific function i.e., pollution control, stormwater, human health, and wellness; workforce development and training; inventory and management plans; hazardous tree removal and replacement; and management and planning for trees at risk. 

Project Budget Information

Project grant funds are distributed on a reimbursement basis. Reimbursement will not be made until expenditures have been paid and all required documentation has been received by DNRC. Recipients may submit multiple requests for reimbursement throughout the period of performance, as often as once per month.

The U.S. Forest Service and Inflation Reduction Act will be acknowledged as a funding source for each project funded out of this grant according to USFS guidance and any future signage requirements. The cost of signage is reimbursable and may be included in your budget.


Personnel Expenses - Cost of hiring seasonal employees or special staff to carry out the project. (Costs for regular or established personnel may not be charged to grant funds but may count as match if required.)

Operating Expenditures - Cost of purchasing appropriate supplies and materials to complete the project. Examples: trees, planting supplies, some types of irrigation, equipment rental, media (public service announcements), printing, or educational elements related to urban forestry (workshops, speaker costs, educational publications, facility fees).

Contracted Professional Services - Costs related to hiring a consultant or contractor (arboriculture, forestry, landscape design, or planning) or other professional for the project.

Indirect Costs - An organization’s Indirect Rate for administration and expenses not directly allocable to the grant – such as electricity and insurance. 


Capital assets - Purchases of large equipment (value of $5,000+) and some types of hardscaping.

Other examples include food (exceptions may apply), entertainment, gifts, promotional items, and alcohol. Please review the DNRC Subaward Manual, p.7, for more guidance.

Match - If required

ALLOWABLE MATCH Expenses May Include:

Match may be in the form of cash expenditures or in-kind contributions; no match may come from Federal or DNRC sources. State funds from other agencies are allowable.

Cash contributions

Cash contributions are direct out-of-pocket expenditures for eligible project activities that are documented by paid invoices, canceled checks, signed receipts, or payroll records.

In-Kind Contributions 

Include third-party donations of supplies or equipment, and value of time by volunteers on eligible project activities. Assistance provided by Federal employees and DNRC employees may not be claimed as part of the project match.

In-Kind Contribution Guidelines

Volunteers - (must include a list of volunteers, date, type of work done, hours worked, and rate.) Log their efforts by listing the activity date, time spent/hours, number of individuals, and description of their activity.  A sample tracking sheet is available here

Donated professional services – use customary rates for services provided.

Donations of materials – use current retail rates.

For more information about reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses, and suitable forms of match, please refer to the DNRC Subaward Manual.

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed and scored by a selection committee. Applicants will be notified of their award status in April 2024.

Projects that are eligible for IRA funds within disadvantaged areas will be reviewed competitively within that category. Projects that are eligible for the Urban and Community Program Development funds will be reviewed competitively within that category.

Proposal scoring is based on how each project meets the Federal and State program goals, sustainability, and community impact. Pictures, maps, and other relevant materials are encouraged to better illustrate your project.

For additional information contact:

Alexis Armstrong, Forestry Assistance Program Support Technician. 

Montana DNRC, 2705 Spurgin Road Missoula, Montana 59804-3199. 

Telephone: 406-542-4207. 


To aid in your application preparation, DNRC has developed a WORKSHEET of the questions for you to preview. You can use this Microsoft Word file as a place to develop your responses. When ready to submit your application, copy and paste the answers into the Submittable form.

Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program

Private Grant Program


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


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;

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.
Stephanie Criswell,, 406-444-6669
Mary Hendrix,, 406-444-4253
Veronica Grigaltchik,, 406-874-2046
Hailey Graf,, 406-437-4435

Aquatic Invasive Species Grants
IMPORTANT DATES: Grant Applications Due Sunday, January 7, 2024
For additional information about the AIS Grant Program and to access the AIS Grant Program guidelines, visit

 The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) administers the Aquatic Invasive Species Grant Program in coordination with the Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC). DNRC provides fiscal management of the grant program and approves funding decisions. MISC manages the application process, reviews, and provides recommendations to the DNRC Director. Funding in the amount of $278,000/year for fiscal year FY24 and FY25 was appropriated by the legislature for this program. DNRC may incur up to 10% of the yearly appropriation for administration of the program.

WHO WE FUND: AIS grants are available to Montana communities or local, state, tribal, or other entities within the state and to Montana-based non-governmental entities.
WHAT WE FUND: AIS grants are intended to increase local capacity and involvement to address AIS issues. Projects that address the following AIS management components are eligible and include:

  • Prevention
  • Early detection
  • Education and outreach
  • Research
  • Treatment

Current state-wide priorities that have been identified and vetted with former grantees and stakeholders for the upcoming AIS grant cycle include grants related to:

  • Monitoring / early detection projects to expand local capacity and involvement in multi- AIS taxa early detection efforts.
  • AIS outreach projects that expand AIS awareness at the local level.
  • AIS research projects.

Locally-led proposals that address the state-wide priorities will receive ranking preference, however all eligible grant requests will be evaluated and considered.
 The state AIS program includes the Clean, Drain, Dry campaign and associated materials and products. Education and outreach projects must be coordinated with the state campaign for consistency, accuracy, and brand recognition to ensure maximum effectiveness. FWP will provide outreach materials for distribution and customization. For more information about AIS education and outreach, call Tom Woolf at 406-444-1230.
 Preference will be given to: AIS species on the Montana Noxious Weed List and AIS under the authority of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) (see Appendix A); and to locally-led on-the-ground projects such as surveys and removal that result in measurable control of AIS.
 The project must align with state AIS priorities, must show local support, and must be coordinated with related AIS efforts in the area and comprehensive invasive species plans. Priority will be given to local partnerships that demonstrate the administrative, financial, and management capacity to implement the project. The project must commit to using statewide AIS protocols and reporting.
 While match funding is not required, it will be considered in the grant review and ranking process.

For the complete AIS Grant Program Guidelines, including the application process and ranking criteria, visit:
FUNDING LIMITS: Grants may be awarded for up to $50,000 for most projects depending on available funding, the intended activities, and based on a budget that is supported by a clear scope of work.
For Additional Information Contact:
 Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
 Conservation and Resource Development Bureau
 1539 Eleventh Avenue
 P.O. Box 201601
 Helena, Montana 59620-1601

Liz Lodman



Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - Volunteer Fire Assistance

Grant Opportunity opens on December 1, 2023 

Closes on January 20, 2024 



Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) funding  supported by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as  the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), will provide financial, technical,  and related assistance to rural volunteer fire departments to conduct  preparedness and mobilization activities, including training, equipping and  otherwise enabling response to requests for the prevention, control, and  suppression of fires occurring on rural lands and threatening rural  communities. 



A rural fire department which is  defined as - an organized, not-for-profit, fire protection organization that  provides service primarily to a community or city with a population of 10,000  or less in a rural area, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, whose  firefighting personnel is 80 percent or more volunteer, and that is recognized  as a fire department by the laws of the State. 16 U.S.C. 2106. 



  • Match for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant requires a 50/50 cost share match. 



  • National Fire Incident Reporting (NFIRS) compliant by reporting ALL fire occurrences to NFIRS as required by Montana Law (MCA  7-33-2201). 
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant.
  • At the time of application for a VFA grant, the applicant must be registered in Systems for Award Management (SAM) and hold an active Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). 
  • Taxpayer/Federal Identification Number (TIN).
  • Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion - Lower Tier Covered Transactions, Form AD-1048.
  • Each Grantee must certify that no vendor or contractor debarred or suspended from being able to work under a federal grant, according to the terms of 2 CFR Part 180, has received any money under this grant project by signing the Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion - Lower Tier Covered Transactions, Form AD-1048. 
  • Financial assistance on any project requires a non-federal match for project expenditures. The funding must be matched on a 50 percent basis (50% VFA-50% match).



  • Wildland Training for Department Personnel
  • Wildland Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Wildland Equipment and Water Handling
  • Radio Communications (P25 Compliant)
  • Fire Department Organization and Planning. 
  • Formation of a NEW rural or volunteer fire district



  • Any single item costing $5,000 or more will not be eligible for grant funding consideration.
  • Construction or improvement of fire stations for housing equipment, normal operational expenses and maintenance do not qualify for VFA funds.
  • Structural PPE and equipment.


How To Apply

  • The Application can be downloaded HERE.
  • The Application Guide can be downloaded HERE.
  • Paper copies of both the Application and the Guide can be acquired by calling (406) 542-4267.
  • Upload and submit your completed application and Appendix A forms electronically using the form below.
  • Or send completed applications to DNRC VFA Grant Program Manager at 
  • Or returned completed applications via USPS to DNRC, Attention: Rhea Blankinship, 2705 Spurgin Road, Missoula MT 59804

All applications due by January 20, 2024.