Watershed Assistance Grant Program

Chesapeake Bay Trust

Grant amount: US $5,001 - US $75,000

Anticipated deadline: Sep 27, 2019 1:00pm PDT

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Maryland

Location of residency: Maryland

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Maryland Department of the Environment welcome requests from local governments and non-profit organizations for assistance with the earliest phases of watershed restoration projects. This program will support watershed restoration project design assistance, watershed planning, and programmatic development associated with protection and restoration programs and projects that lead to improved water quality in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Maryland portion of the Youghiogheny watershed, and the Maryland Coastal Bays.

What this funds

 The purpose of this assistance is to promote local engagement in the Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) process by pursuing projects that advance the near term goals of the WIPs. The WIP milestones reflect the near-term commitments of Maryland’s partners in the collaborative effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay and our local rivers, lakes and streams. The framework is designed to accelerate nutrient and sediment reductions to benefit local communities and the Chesapeake Bay. Funding will help grantees accomplish the earliest phases of restoration projects, and will assist with programmatic project support. Grantees may apply for funding to:

  • Leverage resulting designs, plans, or projects to craft future proposals for implementation funding to the Maryland Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund, grant programs at the Chesapeake Bay Trust, or other sources of support; and/or
  • Develop deliverables that will implement Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) strategies.

Project Type 1 – Project Design

Applicants may request funding to create construction-ready designs for specific watershed restoration projects identified in the WIP Milestone commitments submitted or anticipated to be submitted to MDE by local jurisdictions. The strongest design proposal will request funds to develop 100% design(s) and specifications for the top priority project(s) listed in an existing detailed watershed action plan. For projects that are not specifically identified in a detailed watershed action plan or that are not among the top priority projects, additional justification for project and/or site selection must be provided. A strong design proposal would also take into account land uses upstream of the project and any upstream restoration activities or other changes in land use.

Eligible project types include bioretention cells, large-scale rain gardens, other low impact development stormwater techniques, environmental site designs, stream restoration, wetland and marsh creation, and any of the suite of agricultural water quality best management practices. Although water quality and water quantity problems often intersect, proposed projects that deal solely with water quantity issues will not be competitive in this program. Vegetation included in designs must be native. Applicants must explain why a particular technique was chosen relative to other techniques; it is strongly encouraged that the most cost-effective technique is used unless otherwise justified, see below for additional information related to the required alternative analysis.

The output of the grant award, i.e., the design and specifications, must be permittable by the Maryland Department of the Environment and all other appropriate local, state, and federal entities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the appropriate department at MDE during the conceptual design phase. Appropriate departments can be identified through MDE Permitting and Customer Service (410-537-3772).

Please note, while generally funding requests will be less than $75,000, stream restoration design projects may request up to $200,000.

Project Type 2 – Watershed Planning and Program Development

Applicants may request funding for specific projects identified in the existing Programmatic Milestones submitted to MDE by local jurisdictions, including projects addressing legal authority development or enhancement, organizational enhancement, watershed characterization, watershed action plans, or resource enhancement. Local entities may use these funds to help establish local area planning goals and/or to support their participation in the jurisdictions’ planning efforts to advance Phase III WIP goals. Watersheds and topics of focus can be predominantly agricultural, urban, suburban, or any combination of these. Planning efforts may focus on one or more of the activities (A-E) found below. Please note that all of the criteria itemized under each area of activity must be answered in the applicant’s proposal to be considered for funding. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Trust or DNR staff prior to applying to discuss spatial and geographic scale (for watershed planning projects). The proposal should address one of the following five areas of activity with the ultimate intent of accelerating the reduction of nutrients and sediment loads. For all projects, scopes of work must clearly articulate deliverables and include detailed budget requests. Before submitting a project in the watershed planning and program development track, please determine whether a watershed plan already exists for all or part of your watershed. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Who can apply:
    • The Funding partners welcome requests from local government and non-profit applicants seeking to fund projects consistent with 2018-2019 Two-year Milestone commitments that have been provided to the Maryland Department of Environment
    • Please note that project personnel listed on the application as Executive Officer or Project Lead must be staff of or otherwise associated with the applicant organization.
      • Neither role can be filled by staff of for-profit or not-for-profit partner entities. Applications with such listing will be considered incomplete and may be returned to the applicant without review.
  • Eligible budget items include, but are not limited to:
    • Staff time and consultant costs:
      • Staff and consultant time that directly support project-related tasks will be considered upon review of a detailed description of the deliverables, scope of work, and hours spent per project task by a proposed staff person(s) and/or consultant.
      • Benefits must be listed in a separate line (do not combine with salary) and hours and the percent time devoted by each staff member to the project must be shown.
      • Salary costs must match payroll costs: Hourly rates may not include any other cost, such as benefits or indirect costs. Those costs, if requested, must be listed separately.
    • Indirect costs: this line item may not exceed 10% of the sum of direct costs requested. Indirect costs cannot be included in salary line requests. Please refer to the Trust’s Indirect Cost Rate Policy document for clarification.
    • Permitting costs: Costs related to submitting permits for project designs.
    • Other costs associated with developing a project design, watershed plan, or program, upon justification of costs.
    • Only projects within the State of Maryland are eligible for this grant opportunity.


  • In light of the Trust’s goals to engage under-engaged and underrepresented audiences, projects initiated by and/or involving underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged.
  • Match is encouraged but not required.


  • Ineligible budget items include, but are not limited to:
    • Costs associated with lobbying and political activity.
    • Projects or programs that are wholly required by a separate Federal, state, or locally issued permit, decree, or enforcement action cannot be supported through this opportunity, with the exception of goals in relation to the WIPs (see above).
    • In some cases, funding partners may elect to fund optional portions of required projects that are in excess of regulatory requirements

About this funder:

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