Urban and Community Forestry: Virginia Trees for Clean Water Grant Program

Virginia Department of Forestry

Grant amount: US $1,000 - US $10,000

Anticipated deadline: Feb 1, 2019 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Individuals Indigenous Group College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Virginia

Location of residency: Virginia

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Virginia Trees for Clean Water Grant Program

Through funds from the USFS Chesapeake Watershed Forestry Program and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, VDOF has developed the Virginia Trees for Clean Water program which is designed to improve water quality across the Commonwealth through on-the-ground efforts to plant trees where they are needed most. 

Projects include tree planting activities of all types: riparian buffer tree planting, community and neighborhood tree plantings etc. Winning proposals will demonstrate the merit of the project and how the trees will be maintained in perpetuity. The objective is to use on-theground accomplishments to obtain clean water in Virginia. Grant funds will be reimbursed at the conclusion of the project and funding is available on a 50/50 match basis. In-kind match including volunteer time is permissible. 

Grants are awarded through this program to encourage local government and citizen involvement in creating and supporting long-term and sustained canopy cover. 


The specific objectives of the program are to:

  • To plant trees that restore and improve Virginia’s waters for the benefit of current and future citizens of the Commonwealth.
  • Achieve long-term improvements in water quality through long-lived tree cover and increased public involvement.
  • To raise public awareness about the benefits of planting trees for the health of our streams and rivers.

Proposal Categories

The following project work areas are examples, projects are not limited to these:

  • Riparian tree planting in non-Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) areas, including urban areas and private lands. These plantings should be an average of 35 feet wide or greater which is usually 3-4 rows of seedlings. Seedlings are generally planted at 10 -15 ft. centers or 195 to 435 per acre. A maximum of 435 seedlings per acre will be paid for by the grant. Riparian plantings generally need tree protectors as well, because of the deer browse and destruction. The accepted rate per seedling for a full turnkey planting project including; providing the seedling, planting labor, using a tree protector, mulch, all together is $9.00/seedling total. This may not be your cost as project needs and requirements differ. When budgeting please use your anticipated real cost. 
  • Community tree planting projects include tree plantings on any public lands. A long term maintenance plan must be included with the grant application. 
  • Street Tree planting projects including planting strips and cutouts should be as large as possible to provide ample growing space for the tree. Cutouts must be at least 4’x10’ or equivalent to be considered for funding under the program. Also, proposed projects with planting strips or cutouts less than 3’ wide will not be considered. 
  • Neighborhood Tree plantings may be organized by the local civic association or home owners association or by the community government. Projects should be located on common ground or within 35 feet of the road way on private land. 
  • NeighborWoods tree plantings, where citizens in a neighborhood organize themselves for a volunteer focused community tree planting. 
  • Turf to Trees projects include conversion of regularly mowed lawns greater than 0.5 acres to trees, usually using tree seedlings or small saplings. Annual mowing between the seedlings is allowed during establishment. 

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


  • Grants may be awarded to local units of government, approved non-profit organizations, community civic organizations, educational institutions or private citizens. 
  • There is a 50/50 match requirement. 
  • See complete planting criteria here.


  • NO large shade trees shall be planted under power lines.
  • Grant funds will not be approved for projects that have been completed or materials that have been purchased prior to grant award. 
  • Grant funds will not be approved for projects that are initiated as a requirement of landscape ordinance, zoning, mitigation etc.