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Montana Watershed Coordination Council | P.O. Box 1416 Helena, MT 59624 | info@mtwatersheds.orgClick Here to Sign-up for our Watershed Newsletter

BSWC Projects to Reduce and Prevent Nonpoint Source Pollution: 2022 Request for Proposals

The MWCC Watershed Fund, in partnership with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), has funding to assist local watershed organizations currently hosting Big Sky Watershed Corps (BSWC) members with implementing nonpoint source pollution-reduction projects. Proposed projects must impact water bodies listed as impaired on Montana’s 2020 List of Impaired Waters and included in a DEQ-accepted Watershed Restoration Plan (WRP). (Scroll down to “Watershed Restoration Plans” to find your basin’s WRP on this page.) Projects occurring on or along tributaries of impaired water bodies are also eligible if the proposed project addresses a pollutant listed as an impairment for the downstream water body.

The organization’s current BSWC member must submit the proposal for funding, play a lead role in implementing the project, and complete interim and final project reports. Proposals are due by 5 pm on Wednesday, March 16. Details on how to apply are below.

Up to $7,000 may be awarded to each recipient. A total of $26,250 is available for 2022. There is a 60:40 non-federal match funding requirement that can be met through state, local, and private dollars or through state, local, and private in-kind contributions. To come up with your match requirement, use this formula: (319 funds requested/0.6) – 319 funds requested = minimum non-federal match requirement. Project dollars are awarded on a reimbursement basis, with reimbursement occurring after receipt of interim and final reports in July and November 2022. Projects must be completed by November 1, 2022.


The purpose of this funding is to help local watershed organizations accomplish on-the-ground work to reduce and prevent nonpoint source pollution (NPS) as outlined in local WRPs. Additional goals of this funding include:

  • Supporting projects that align with local watershed priorities
  • Measurably improving natural resources
  • Increasing local capacity to reduce and prevent NPS
  • Providing professional development experience for BSWC members

Who Qualifies?

Watershed conservation organizations that are increasing the capacity of local communities to advance conservation using the Watershed Approach and are hosting a BSWC member in 2022 are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Qualifying organizations include:

  • Watershed groups
  • Conservation, irrigation, water quality, and other special districts
  • Tribal entities and tribal government agencies
  • Non-profits
  • Forest collaboratives

Federal agencies, state agencies, individuals, and for-profit entities are not eligible.

Additionally, applying organizations must meet the following criteria:

  • Implementing a DEQ-approved WRP with their BSWC member’s help. The BSWC member must be the one to apply for this funding, lead the project, manage the grant, and complete interim and final grant reports.
  • Supporting community-based conservation efforts in Montana
  • Be registered with the Montana Secretary of State to do business in the state of Montana
  • Have the necessary liability insurance, and be in compliance with the Workers Compensation Act

Eligible Projects

Projects must be consistent with a local WRP and must address an impairment identified on Montana’s 2020 List of Impaired Waters.

  • Willow planting
  • Other riparian vegetation projects
  • Fencing projects
  • Development of grazing plans
  • Maintenance of riparian fencing and/or vegetation
  • Browse protection for riparian vegetation
  • Beaver mimicry and/or beaver management
  • Off-stream water for livestock
  • Other on-the-ground projects that fit the purpose and goals of this funding will be considered


This funding cannot be used for programs for which the main activities are education and outreach. However, education and outreach directly related to the project being implemented, such as project tours and videos, may be supported if costs do not exceed 10% of the total funding request.

Neither food nor administrative costs are covered by this funding.

BSWC members’ time cannot be covered by this funding or counted as match. However, time spent by host site staff assisting the member with the project may be covered under personnel expenses, and time spent on the project by host site staff and board members may count as match.

What is Required of BSWC Members Who Receive Funding?

Members who receive funding will be expected to report to MWCC on:

  • Project implementation and deliverables
  • Total project budget, including the required nonfederal match funding
  • How the project is building host site capacity and BSWC member skills
  • How the member and/or host site plan to use the project in future outreach and communications
  • There is no monitoring requirement for funded projects

More detailed information on grant reporting requirements will be provided to members who receive funding.

Projects supported by this funding must secure an agreement between the watershed organization and the landowner on whose property the project is occurring – regardless of whether that landowner is a private individual, organization, or government entity. Landowner agreements shall address operation and maintenance of the project as well as site access for maintenance and post-implementation monitoring. MWCC has sample landowner agreements available to use as templates if your organization does not already have a template that includes these elements.

Projects occurring on private lands must also provide a description of the project activities and a description of the specific area that may be affected by the project (land use, habitat type, etc.)  This information will be used by DEQ and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine how to reduce or eliminate any potential effects of a project on endangered species.

For projects that address nutrient (total nitrogen and total phosphorus) and sediment pollutants, members who receive funding must provide sufficient information to allow DEQ to estimate pollutant load reductions for the project. MWCC and DEQ will provide a list of information needed from each funded project and will work with the member on this requirement prior to signing a funding agreement.


  • Wednesday, March 16 at 5 pm: Deadline to submit project proposals.
  • If you would like to submit a draft project proposal for review and feedback before the final deadline, please do so by Monday, March 7 at 5 pm. To submit a draft proposal, use the Word version of the Project Support Application Form Questions. Do not submit draft proposals in the online form used for final proposals (details below).
  • Week of April 4: MWCC will notify applications about whether they have been awarded funding.
  • Friday, July 29: Interim reporting forms due to MWCC
  • Tuesday, November 1: Project complete
  • Monday, November 7: Final reporting forms due to MWCC

How to Apply

Submit a project proposal by Wednesday, March 16, at 5 pm, via the 2022 BSWC Nonpoint Source Project Support Application Form.* Optionally, you may also submit a draft proposal, using the Word document attached at the bottom of this page, by Monday, March 7 at 5 pm, to receive feedback before your final proposal is due.

*The MWCC Watershed Fund uses the online platform Submittable for all our funding. Check to see if your host site organization has an existing Submittable account. If so, please ensure that you are logged into that same account before clicking on this link or filling out this application form. Do not create a new Submittable account or submit proposals using another account. This helps hugely with Watershed Fund tracking, and we appreciate your attention to this detail. To learn more about how to use Submittable, check out this two-minute video.

Proposals must include:

  • A project map that clearly shows the location(s) of proposed project activities
  • Location coordinates in decimal degrees
  • A description of how the project implements Best Management Practices from your local WRP
  • A completed spreadsheet of project tasks, deliverables, and timeline for completion, available for download at the bottom of this page and in the Submittable application
  • A proposed project budget spreadsheet, including anticipated nonfederal match and explanations of anticipated expenses, available for download at the bottom of this page and in the Submittable application.
  • Letters of support from key project partners are optional but encouraged.
Members are strongly encouraged to fill out the BSWC NPS Project Support Budget Proposal spreadsheet and the BSWC NPS Project Support Tasks Deliverables Timeline spreadsheet first, before answering the questions in the application form.

Review Criteria

MWCC Watershed Fund Reviewers will review all applications based on the following criteria:

  • Proposed project implements recommendations from a local WRP
  • Proposed project addresses an impaired water body on Montana’s 2020 list of impaired waters
  • Proposed project directly addresses non-point source pollution in the watershed.
  • Proposed project provides additional natural resource or conservation benefits.
  • Details of project implementation included in project map and in tasks, deliverables, and timeline spreadsheet align with stated project goals for reducing nonpoint source pollution and providing other benefits.
  • Project can reasonably be completed by November 1, 2022, taking into consideration the BSWC member’s time, the project location, landowner involvement, member and host site expertise, and other factors.
  • Project includes a clear plan for evaluating project effectiveness in meeting the WRP, NPS, and other outcomes.
  • Project demonstrates an appropriate level of community engagement
  • Project builds the capacity of the host site to implement more NPS projects in the future and/or to meet other WRP goals.
  • Role of BSWC member in the project is appropriate for both the project and for the member’s professional development.
  • Project partners and partner expectations are clearly defined.
  • Partner support demonstrated through letters of support.
  • Project budget is clear and reasonable for the success of the project.


Check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions!

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Watershed Programs Coordinator Terri Nichols with project ideas and questions. Terri will also review and provide feedback on draft proposals submitted by Monday, March 7 at 5 pm using the Word version of the application form questions provided below. We strongly encourage including with your draft proposal a draft budget proposal and tasks, deliverables, timeline spreadsheet using the templates provided below.

Terri Nichols,, (406) 210-1217

The MWCC Watershed Fund thanks the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for making this funding available to our local watershed partners.