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Planning Grants Overview

Planning Grants Overview Printable Version

Planning Grants are intended to assist organizations to plan and prepare documentation for a project that will be implemented in the near future. Planning Grants help fund the planning process for detailed projects that help improve water quality through construction, education, outreach or other creative ways.

Planning Grants are chosen for funding through a competitive review process. They provide up to $10,000 in funds for projects approved by the MWMO Board of Commissioners. Applicants who receive grants funds will be required to provide 25 percent matching funds.

Information resulting from these grant projects may be used to complete an application for an MWMO Mini-Grant or Action Grant, or for a project with another funder.

Applicants do not need to complete a Planning Grant before applying for an Action Grant. Completing a Planning Grant will not automatically result in receipt of an Action Grant; a separate competitive application process must be completed to receive an Action Grant.

How to Apply for a Planning Grant

Planning Grant Application (.docx)
Budget Form (.xls)
Budget Form Instructions (.pdf)

Submit an Application to the MWMO. This Application should show the MWMO how a project meets our grant goals and can be realistically accomplished.

Applications will be reviewed by MWMO staff. The MWMO will invite selected applicants to complete the application process by submitting a revised application. These applicants will be required to meet with MWMO staff to discuss the project in more detail. Revised applications will be reviewed by MWMO staff and the MWMO Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). Their recommendations for grant awards are reviewed and must be approved by the MWMO Board of Commissioners.

Application Timeline

Pre-applications due: Friday, June 3, 2016 by 4:30 p.m.
Invitation to submit full applications: by Friday, July 1, 2016
If selected for full application, a meeting will be required with MWMO staff prior to full application due date.

Full Applications due: Friday, July 29, 2016 by 4:30 p.m.
Notification of grant awards will follow MWMO Board approval on: Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

Project Examples

The following are examples of projects that have received a Planning Grant. These examples are provided simply as general ideas and are not meant to limit the possibilities or creativity of applicants. See awarded Planning Grants.

  • Evaluation of a site, or combination of several sites, including drainage areas, impervious surfaces and associated runoff. Engineering for schematic stormwater BMP’s to manage this specific volume and rate of water. Often called a Stormwater Master Plan.
  • Construction documents and specifications for erosion control practices, native plant buffers around water bodies, and ecological restoration (e.g., removal of invasive species and establishment of native species)
  • Program designs that could result in positive, long-term changes in community behaviors, such as improved water conservation practices, reduction in use of polluting agents (e.g., road salt and lawn chemicals) and use of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP’s)
  • Calculations and modeling for site-specific stormwater BMP’s and other practices to reduce pollution, combined with plan for reporting on the effectiveness of new technologies and approaches
  • Soil borings or other tests that help assess the likely success of a project.
  • Schematic design drawings for replacement of impervious surfaces with high-capacity pervious materials
  • Development of an educational curriculum, creation of a communication or behavior change campaign, or other outreach/engagement projects.
  • An interpretive framework for an exhibition and a plan of action for implementation.
  • Water quality themed educational activities and workshops for an area.

It should be noted that soil contamination in urban areas is common and implementation of projects that infiltrate water will be contingent upon successful demonstration that there is no contamination of concern, remediation has occurred, or there is no potential for negative impact on surface or ground water resources.


Eligible organizations are required to provide a 25 percent match to the grant received. The match may be cash or in-kind support (e.g., volunteer time, donated materials or services, etc.).

Individuals, homeowner and condominium associations, private businesses or any other organization that must partner with an eligible organization to apply for a Planning Grant are required to provide a 25 percent cash match.

Grant recipients will receive 25 percent at the beginning of the agreement, most of the remainder based on completion of activities or deliverables, and the remaining 10 percent upon submission and MWMO approval of completion. Reimbursements will be contingent upon documentation of the expenditure of matching funds.

Funding can only be used for activities that occur after the agreement has been signed.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the MWMO to discuss ideas and ask questions in advance of submitting a pre-application.

For questions or more information, please contact:
Marcy Bean, Program Specialist: Capital Projects & Land Conservation
612-746-4979 or mbean@mwmo.org

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Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
2522 Marshall Street NE
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55418-3329
Phone: 612-465-8780
Fax: 612-465-8785