Funding Opportunities for Local Monitoring Groups

Funding may be the single most important thing to help you initiate and continue to support a local volunteer monitoring program. To help you along, we provide a short description, contact information, and links (when available) to funding opportunities that may be helpful to support your local monitoring effort. The list is not comprehensive of all potential funding sources for local monitoring efforts, nor does inclusion on the list indicate endorsement of an organization by the WAV program.

Additionally, through the Extension Volunteer Water Monitoring Network, a fact sheet about funding volunteer monitoring programs was developed. >>View the pdf file

If you have information to share about a grant opportunity, consider joining the list server for Wisconsin volunteer stream monitoring and posting the announcement to the list.

Funding opportunities for local monitoring programs:

  1. Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
  2. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Conservation Endowment program distributes funding to environmental programs and projects.

    The Besadny Conservation Grant Program is supported by the C.D. Besadny Conservation Endowment.

    The Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Grant Program is supported by the Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund.

    Donor-Advised Competitive Grants are supported by conscientious members of the public looking to invest in the protection and restoration of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

    For more information e-mail or call (608) 261-4394.

  3. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

  4. A. Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program

    The WI Department of Natural Resources helps support citizen-based monitoring initiatives in the state through its Partnership Program. Funding up to $4999 is available for citizen environmental monitoring efforts of all varieties. This source of funding has supported numerous groups across the state since 2004.

    B. River Protection and Planning Grants

    These grants provide funding to help local organizations and units of government protect and improve rivers and river ecosystems. The grants help river management organizations to form and provide support for local groups to manage river resources. River planning grants are for up to $10,000 and river management grants are for up to $50,000. Interested parties should speak to their local River Grants representative before completing an application. Visit the Rivers Program website to learn more about the grants program or to find a local contact in your area.

    C. Aquatic Invasive Species Control Grants

    Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Control Grants help prevent and control the spread of aquatic invasive species in the waters of the state. These grants can be used for education, prevention, planning, early detection, rapid response and established infestation control projects.

  5. Wisconsin Environmental Education Board
  6. WEEB grants provide funding for environmental education program development, dissemination, and implementation. There are several categories of awards with a range of award amounts, which also vary annually. For an application and more details about these grants, visit the program website, call 715-346-3805, or email

  7. Freshwater Future
  8. From their website: The mission of Freshwater Future is to foster and support a vital, effective grassroots sector working locally to protect aquatic habitats throughout the Great Lakes Basin. Freshwater Future provides financial resources, shares information, and fosters communication between citizens and organizations working to protect aquatic habitats. The Freshwater Future grants program is designed to increase the ability of grassroots groups and individuals to succeed in advocacy projects to protect rivers, lakes, and wetlands in their areas. Advocacy work, as defined here, involves local community members actively promoting aquatic habitat protection by influencing community and/or individual behavior or opinion, corporate conduct, and/or public policy.

    Freshwater Future has several grants programs designed to further this goal. Each addresses a different need of grassroots activists.

    * Project Grants Program-provides funding to grassroots organizations engaging in advocacy activities to protect local lakes, rivers and wetlands

    * Technical Assistance Grants Program-supports grassroots organizations in hiring qualified experts to provide strategy assistance or aid in organizational development

    * Special Opportunity Grants Program-offers emergency funding for grassroots projects

    Visit their website for more information:

  9. Boat U.S. Foundation
  10. Boat U.S. Foundation Clean Water Grants fund projects that educate boaters about cleaner boating habits. Grants are open to nonprofit community groups with proposals that address issues such as petroleum pollution prevention, pump-out education, and littering prevention. This year, Clean Fueling of Boats is the special grant focus topic, so projects that teach boaters cleaner habits at the fuel dock will be given special consideration. Groups can request up to $4000. To learn more or apply, please visit:

  11. Fundsnet Services
  12. For those with an interest in more in-depth searching for grant opportunities, this site maintains an enormous listing of funding resources for use by non-profits, colleges and universities. Some types of grants listed that may be of interest to the volunteer monitoring audience include their list of educational-related or their environment and conservation-related funding sources.

  13. Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  14. This organization provides funding for several focus areas to groups within Washington, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Milwaukee Counties of Wisconsin. Focus areas include (among others) youth development, environment and education. For more information, visit their website or call them at 414-272-5805.

  15. Federal Grants List
  16. According to the website: "This site gives grantors a means to post solicitations for grants. It also gives applicants a single site for obtaining these solicitations." The program website is:

  17. ESRI
  18. ESRI, a world-leader in geographic information systems (GIS), sponsors a number of grant programs and their website also highlights other related grants that are available to schools and/or citizens groups. 

    From their website: "ESRI offers a variety of programs to support groups and individuals working for social and environmental benefit. We offer free or discounted software, hardware, data, training, and services for both online and desktop use. We also sponsor many community events for nonprofits including conferences, workshops, and classes."

    For additional information about GIS solutions for this grant, please contact ESRI's grant coordinator at 208-898-3447 or

  19. EPA Watershed Funding homepage

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created this Web site to provide tools, databases, and information about sources of funding to practitioners and funders that serve to protect watersheds.


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