Colorado Watershed Restoration Grants

Colorado Department of Natural Resources (CO DNR)

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Deadline: Nov 4, 2021 5:00pm PDT

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Fields of work: Habitat & Ecosystem Restoration Water Resource Management

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit, Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Colorado

Location of residency: Colorado



The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is the state executive branch agency responsible for state water policy and planning. The Board’s mission is to conserve, develop, protect, and manage Colorado’s water for present and future generations. Its major program sections include Watershed & Flood Protection; Water Supply Planning; Finance; Stream and Lake Protection; and Intrastate & Federal.

The Program provides grants for watershed/stream restoration and flood mitigation projects throughout the state. 

Grant Categories

Four categories of grants will be available under the Colorado Watershed Restoration Program:

  • Watershed/Stream Restoration and/or Protection (Restoration) Grants
  • Flood Mitigation Grants
  • Stream Management Plan Grants
  • CWCB Monitoring Projects 

Grant money may be used for planning and engineering studies, including implementation measures, to address technical needs for watershed restoration and flood mitigation projects throughout the state. Special consideration is reserved for planning and project efforts that integrate multi-objectives in restoration and flood mitigation. This may include projects and studies designed to:

  • Restore stream channels
  • Provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species
  • Restore riparian areas
  • Reduce erosion
  • Reduce flood hazards
  • Increase the capacity to utilize water

Watershed/Stream Restoration Grants

Projects and plans designed to protect or restore watershed health and stream function will be considered in this category. This may include projects and plans designed to stabilize perennial, ephemeral, & intermittent stream channels, provide habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species, re-vegetate riparian areas, reduce erosion in upland and riverine environments, improve recreational opportunities, provide fish passage, and improve channel/floodplain connectivity. Restoration is a general term that may include the restoration, reconfiguration, rehabilitation, or resurrection of stream channels and floodplains. More background information on watershed health can be found in Chapter 7.1 of the Colorado Water Plan.

Flood Mitigation Grants

Flood Mitigation Grants include many of the same elements as Restoration Grants. In addition, they include elements that protect life and property. Applications for planning or project implementation should consider the watershed’s hydrologic function and flow regime in its approach to flood mitigation. This includes channel design that contemplates low flow channels, average high water (bankfull) channels, flood prone benches, transitional zones, and 100 year or greater recurrence interval floodplains. In extreme cases, the amount of the required cost-share for each project can be reduced. CWCB staff will take into account benefits to the State with a strong emphasis on public health, safety, and welfare. 

Stream Management Plan Grants

Well-developed Stream Management Plans should be grounded in the complex interplay of biology, hydrology, channel morphology, and alternative water use and management strategies. They should also consider the flow and other structural or management conditions needed to support both recreational uses and ecosystem function. A stream management plan should:

  • Involve stakeholders to ensure their acceptance of the plan;
  • assess existing biological, hydrological, and geomorphological conditions at a reach scale;
  • identify flows and other physical conditions needed to support environmental and recreational water uses;
  • incorporate environmental and recreational values and goals identified both locally and in a basin roundtable’s BIP; and
  • identify and prioritize alternative management actions to achieve measureable progress toward maintaining or improving flow regimes and other physical conditions.

For basin roundtables, local stakeholder groups, and decision makers, such plans can provide a framework for decision-making and project implementation related to environmental and recreational water needs.

CWCB Monitoring Projects

CWCB may reserve 10% of the annually authorized Program funding for monitoring and evaluation of existing projects.

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


  • Established non-profit organizations, watershed coalitions, State of Colorado departments and agencies, local governments, conservation and water conservancy districts, and Colorado’s two Ute Tribes are eligible
  • CWCB funds from the Colorado Watershed Restoration Program shall not exceed 50% of the total cost of the individual plan or project. Other CWCB funds may be used for plans and studies, but the total CWCB funding shall not exceed 75% of the total cost.
  • Basic Applicant Qualifications: Grant applicants must demonstrate:
    • a commitment to collaborative approaches, involving locally and/or regionally based diverse interests within the watershed in question, with participation open to all interested persons in the watershed. Basin roundtable support is encouraged but not required;
    • a commitment to restoring or protecting ecological processes that connect land and water while protecting life and property from flood hazards;
    • that the purpose of the application is to implement or plan for a project intended to
      • restore and/or protect the water, lands and other natural resources within the watershed,
      • mitigate flood hazards, and/or
      • integrate a multiple objective approach;
    • a broad based involvement in or support for the grant application, including relevant local, state, or federal governmental entities; and
    • an ability to provide the appropriate in-kind and cash match for the activities proposed.


  • Applications that integrate multiple objectives in restoration, flood mitigation, and stream management are highly encouraged.


  • Federal agencies and private landowners are not eligible to receive grant funds; however, projects may be conducted on private, state, or federal lands with appropriate permissions and under the sponsorship of an eligible entit

This page was last reviewed October 04, 2021 and last updated September 27, 2021