Financial Assistance


Securing grant funds may make the difference in accomplishing project goals and objectives. There are a variety of grants available to private landowners from local to state to federal agencies. The key is finding out what grant(s) fits the project you have identified.

If you already have a well defined project, we can help you decide the appropriate source to pursue. If your project is not yet ready for submitting to a funding source, then you can work with Conservation District staff to complete a plan. Typically, program managers meet with landowners to view their land, talk about the issues they face and discuss possible solutions. During this process, managers can direct landowners to funding agencies or identify District funds that may be appropriate to partially or fully fund the project. Landowners often need a project site and plan to qualify for funding, the total of which is usually shared with the landowner (from 25-75% of the total project cost).

Incentive programs provide money to landowners for conservation practices that improve wildlife habitat, water quality, stream & riparian health, ecosystem & watershed function.

Local incentive programs are available from:

Soil & Water Conservation Districts

West Multnomah SWCD

East Multnomah SWCD

  • For organizations: Partners in Conservation (PIC)
  • For small projects: Small Projects & Community Events (SPACE)
  • Strategic Conservation Investments (SCI)
  • For landowners: Conservation Landowner Implementation Program (CLIP)

Local Governments

City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services

Clean Water Services


State Government

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

  • Small grants: Up to $10,000 / cost share up to 75%
  • Restoration & Technical Assistance: Over $10,000 / usually for large restoration projects
  • Outreach grants

Federal Programs

US Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Service/FSA

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation: Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program

  • Wetland & Riparian Ecosystems
  • On-the-ground conservation needs
  • Educational component to shape and sustain conservation behavior
  • Diverse partnerships
  • $20-50K

If seeking tax credits or easements, local land trusts, such as the Columbia Land Trust may be a viable funding source. Metro and Portland Parks & Recreation have active acquisition programs, but due to zoning issues, the City of Portland isn’t a major urban funding source for most projects

Things to consider:

Private foundation grants may be a good source of funds for your project. They often require that the applicant is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization. The process usually requires less paperwork than that for public agency grants, but may be highly competitive, particularly if the foundation is of national or international scope. When applying to private foundations, it always helps to know someone in the organization.

When writing grants:

  1. Read and follow instructions and view sample grants
  2. Contact the grant coordinator well ahead of time
  3. Only pursue grants that closely match your project goals
  4. Write in a concise manner and be accurate
  5. Budgets take the longest time – get real numbers from bids / retailers
  6. Get as many support letters as possible
  7. Get as much matching funds as possible
  8. Consult our Grant Writing Tips document


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