Grants offered to landowners for waterway projects

Projects must benefit aquatic species, wildlife or waterway health

Oct. 25, 2022 — Landowners looking for financial help to prevent erosion along streams, establish a stream side buffer, enhance conditions in a wetland or stream, or upgrade culverts that will improve fish access should consider applying for a grant tailored for these and similar small projects.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) Small Grant Program provides up to $15,000 in Oregon Lottery funds for individual projects that help restore watershed elements such as creeks, rivers or wetlands. Projects must benefit aquatic species, wildlife or waterway health. At least 25 percent of the OWEB funds must be matched from other sources.

“The program is a happy marriage of on-the-ground benefits to watersheds with on-the-ground benefits to landowners,” said Lisa Charpilloz Hanson, OWEB executive director.

She added that the matching funds don’t need to be cash but can be in the form of “in-kind” assistance.

Watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts and tribes submit applications on behalf of landowners for projects that help fish, wildlife and water quality. The Mid Coast Small Grant Team is one of 28 teams within the state that can help landowners with small grant applications. Local evaluation committees review applications and forward recommendations for funding to OWEB.

Anyone interested in applying should first talk with Fran Recht, who serves as the local Small Grant Team contact for the mid-coast area which includes Lincoln, western Lane County, including the Siuslaw coastal lakes area and western Benton County.

Fran Recht can be reached at 541-765-2229 or [email protected] and will let you know the local contacts in your area with whom you can work.

Applications are accepted by the Small Grants Team on an on-going basis. The review process usually takes less than 60 days. Successful applicants have two years to complete the funded project, Recht added.

Recently funded projects in this area include projects that address instream processes and function, fish passage, and riparian and upland habitat.

Since 2002, the Small Grant Program statewide has awarded more than $10 million to about 1,300 projects, with many of the program projects helping agricultural landowners comply with Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plans designed to ensure that agricultural operations protect water quality.

OWEB projects support the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds that emphasizes private, voluntary actions to restore wild salmon populations. OWEB is a state agency led by a policy oversight board. The agency provides grants and services to citizen groups, organizations and agencies working to restore healthy watersheds in Oregon. Funding comes from the Oregon Lottery as a result of a citizen initiative in 1998, sales of salmon license plates, federal salmon funds and other sources.

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