Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds Grant Program: Project Grants

Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

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Grant amount: Up to US $20,000

Next anticipated deadline: Aug 14, 2020 (Letter of inquiry)

Later anticipated deadlines: Sep 18, 2020 (Full proposal), Feb 14, 2021 (Letter of inquiry), Mar 17, 2021 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program

Location of project: Pennsylvania

Location of residency: Pennsylvania

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About this funder:



The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, formerly known as the Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program, is a grant-making foundation that invests in efforts to protect healthy, natural streams around the state — and also to clean up pollution and repair damaged wildlife habitat.

Our mission is to foster stewardship for the protection, preservation and restoration of Pennsylvania’s unique water resources and watersheds, while leveraging local, state and federal agency funds. Our primary service area extends from the Ohio border to the mainstem of the Susquehanna River. We achieve success through partnering with federal, state, and local governments as well as partnering with YOU–our grantees. Our work would not be possible without the support of our fiscal managers, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

Program Areas

Nonpoint Source Pollution

We invest in projects that seek to reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering a stream, or to prevent such pollution from occurring in the first place. For example, you can apply for grants to help developers implement responsible building practices on their sites, to replant stream banks with vegetation that absorbs pollution, or to help farmers adopt best management practices to protect their streams from their animals and their chemicals. Read more.

Abandoned Mine Drainage

If you are working to clean up pollution from an abandoned coal mine, The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds wants to help. Funding in this Program Area covers studying mine drainage, treatment system design and treatment system construction. We encourage grant seekers to use our funds to match federal and state abandoned mine drainage reclamation funds. Priority is given to projects that address headwaters degradation or the largest discharges in a given watershed. Read more.

Riparian Buffer Zones

The Foundation invests in projects that seek to create and/or restore riparian buffer zones, utilizing the “Three Zone Buffer System.”

  • Zone One contains undisturbed forests with human impacts being kept to a minimum.
  • Zone Two can be comprised of a managed forest, providing nutrient uptake, filtration and other natural processes.
  • Zone Three is for runoff control and the dispersal of water flow into slower, less concentrated flow, aiding in filtration. This type of system is applicable for both rural and urban settings.

Read more.

Resource Recovery

If you are an inventor, business, or citizens group that is trying to turn unwanted pollution into valuable raw materials, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds may be able to help. We help community groups arrange for scientific studies of the pollution in their water, to determine if the pollutants could potentially be put to good use. One such study led to the formation of EnvironOxide, which is successfully marketing abandoned mine treatment sludge as a paint pigment. Read more.

New Technologies

Across much of Pennsylvania, communities are installing treatment systems to protect their local streams from abandoned mine drainage. If you have an innovative idea for how to do this better or cheaper, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds wants to hear your idea.

The Foundation offers grants to make it easier for communities to adopt — and help perfect — innovative pollution control techniques that have promise for accelerating the overall pace of abandoned mine cleanup around the state. We are interested in funding technologies that reduce ongoing operation, maintenance and produce a marketable treatment system byproduct. Read more.

Watershed Preservation and Design

We provide grants to conduct scientific inventories — the waters, the soils, the wildlife, the plants — of threatened natural areas before it’s too late. We can help you provide local leaders with the information they need to make responsible decisions about proposed development — balancing business needs with community needs for natural areas where wildlife lives and families can play together. Farmers and developers can use the information in these inventories to plan ahead – adopting new practices that reduce pollution and working around areas too precious to plow or pave. Read more.

Land Protection and Acquisition

We can provide grants to cover legal fees, deed recording fees, convening fees and other unavoidable expenses that are not eligible for reimbursement from federal and state agencies. Read more.

Cold Water Heritage Fisheries 

If you are working to protect or restore the clean, cold, free-flowing streams that support brook trout and other sensitive species, you can apply for a “Cold Water Heritage Fisheries” grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in partnership with Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited and Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, for communities to plan ahead and identify opportunities to balance growth and the need to protect nature. But there’s a catch — local communities must match the state money with private funds.

That’s where the Foundation steps in. Trout Unlimited chapters, watershed associations, and other citizen groups can apply for grants from the Foundation to match state funds and bring local leaders together to work together, plan ahead, and protect something important for future generations of community residents.

Clean Water Policy

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


  • The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds awards grants to citizens groups that have IRS 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
  • Organizations with out of state IRS determination letters must provide a valid certificate of good standing with the Pennsylvania Bureau Of Charitable Giving.
  • Our primary service area is from the Ohio border to the Susquehanna River’s mainstem.


  • Individuals, businesses and government agencies are not eligible for Foundation grants.