OWEB Council Capacity Grants

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB)

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Next anticipated deadline: Feb 28, 2019 5:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: May 6, 2019 6:00pm PDT (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit Government Entity

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Oregon

Location of residency: Oregon

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Note: Eligibility determination must be made through the OGMS website by the November 'Pre-proposal' deadline listed above. 

Purpose of Council Capacity Grants

Council Capacity Grants help support the operations of effective watershed councils that engage people and communities in their watershed to participate in collaborative, voluntary restoration and protection of native fish or wildlife habitat and natural watershed functions to improve water quality or stream flows.

Vision of Resilient, Sustainable Local Capacity

OWEB envisions a statewide watershed restoration system that is resilient, sustainable and achieves ecological outcomes. Experience gained from supporting watershed work since 1997, and studies of successful watershed groups, demonstrate this vision can be achieved with watershed councils that:

  • Are strong organizations with access to diverse skillsets.
  • Have broad and deep support from local and regional communities.
  • Engage a balance of interested and affected people, businesses, and communities in their watershed to participate in voluntary, cooperative conservation.
  • Secure diversified funding and/or build strategic collaborations with other councils and/or organizations to increase collective local capacity.


OWEB Strategic Plan 

  • Goal 2, Local Infrastructure: Support an enduring, high-capacity local infrastructure for conducting watershed and habitat restoration and conservation. 
  • Strategy 2: Evaluate and adjust watershed council support grant review and funding processes to build capacity, provide base funding, and promote strategic partnerships. 
  • Strategy 3: Provide technical assistance to build capacity, secure additional funding and increase local organizational resilience.

Long-Term Investment Strategy for Conservation

Operating Capacity Investments are a core element of OWEB’s Long-Term Investment Strategy. Council Capacity Grants:

  • Help support operating costs of effective watershed councils;
  • Are performance and outcome-based; and
  • Contain high standards for eligibility, reporting and accountability.

Why did OWEB Change how it Funds Councils?

Oregon’s waterways, uplands and natural habitats are healthier because of the dedicated work of watershed councils. Engaging Oregonians in voluntary, collaborative restoration and enhancement is still necessary to address the effects of climate change, loss of habitat for native fish and wildlife, and other locally prioritized challenges. See additional information here.

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


  • Eligibility Criteria:
    • Local government designation as a watershed council - OWEB will determine local government designation by reviewing the local government ordinance or minutes of a local government action and, for IV.A.2 below, reviewing the map of the geographic area designated by the county.
      • For watershed councils previously awarded a Watershed Council Support Grant, the council shall be designated as a watershed council by a local government. 
      • For new or reorganized watershed councils, the council shall be designated as a watershed council by a county commission, county board, or county court. The documentation submitted to OWEB shall include a map of the geographic area designated by the county commission, board, or court.
    • Geographic Area and Population
      • A geographic area served by a council or group of councils can change. However, to be eligible, OWEB shall determine that a council or group of councils serves an area:
        • In which a council or group of councils previously received a Watershed Council Support Grant or Council Capacity Grant; and 
        • That is the same or larger than the geographic area served by a council or group of councils as of July 1, 2013. To make the determination of “the same or larger,” OWEB shall use the OWEB Watershed Council Map which was updated in June 2014 to correct council boundaries based on information supplied by councils; and 
        • That includes a minimum population of 500 individuals within its designated boundary or boundaries. 
          • If there is a question on population OWEB will use the most current U.S. Census Bureau’s census block shapefile for the state of Oregon and if necessary, absentee landowner information from county records.
      • No more than one applicant shall be eligible in the same geographic area.
      • If a council is considering changes in its watershed area coverage or organizational structure, contact OWEB as early as possible to discuss whether the changes might affect eligibility to apply.
    • Councils that are part of a group of councils with one Council Capacity Grant may need to meet additional eligibility criteria in Section III.C
    • See full details of eligibility review here.
  • Council Capacity Grants help fund staff, contractors and other costs of watershed councils.


  • OWEB shall not accept an application for a Council Capacity Grant unless OWEB determines the council or group of councils meets the eligibility criteria.