Nineteen Wisconsin nonprofit groups and government agencies received grants this May through the new River Protection Grant Program. This program is available to conservation organizations working on river protection issues.
The River Protection Grant Program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is funded from general state revenues. It was the River Alliance’s number one legislative priority last year. The law was enacted with the support of the Wisconsin legislature and Governor Tommy Thompson.
The program has proven popular with Wisconsin’s grassroots conservation groups. These groups applied for nearly $900,000 in river protection grants this spring. With only $300,000 in grant money available, the program could only fund 19 organizations this time around. But there will be other grant periods, including one on September 1st, 2000.
Eleven of the nineteen river grant recipients are using their grant for “capacity building” or “strategic planning,” i.e., to establish financial and organizational stability. Besides capacity building, River Protection Grants can be used to install control practices for polluted runoff, develop local regulations and ordinances, buy land or easements to protect the river, restore shoreland and in-stream habitat, start new organizations, conduct educational efforts, study river conditions, develop plans to protect the river.
River Protection Grants pay up to 75 percent of eligible project costs. Eligible applicants include nonprofit conservation organizations, qualified river management associations, tribal governments, cities, villages, towns, counties and other units of local government.
The next round of applications is due on September 1st. Contact the River Alliance for details: RAW, 306 E. Wilson St., #2W, Madison WI 53703, (608) 257-2424, firstname.lastname@example.org.