Stewardship Grants

Everyone can improve water quality through their personal behaviors, choices, and commitments. The Brown’s Creek Watershed District (BCWD) is offering a cost-share program to enable landowners to identify and implement water quality projects, reduce runoff, and improve habitat in the watershed.

What is the Stewardship Grant program?

The BCWD Stewardship Grant program provides eligible applicants with small grants (up to $500) to implement projects that benefit the watershed. Grantees must install the project in BCWD and submit a cover letter, photos, and invoices to receive the grant reimbursement.

Stewardship Grant Project Details:

Do not start work before receiving a grant award. These grants are awarded on a first come - first serve basis to eligible and complete applications. Applying does not guarantee Stewardship Grant approval. If a grant is awarded, a cover letter describing the project including the requested amount of reimbursement, copies of (paid) receipts, and photos of the completed project must be submitted with the final request for dollars.

This is a reimbursement grant. The amount of the grant cannot exceed the cost of the actual project. Applicant labor or time is not eligible for payment. Projects must be completed within one year of the date of the approval letter. Receipts dated before the grant award is made will not be accepted or reimbursed. DO NOT START WORK BEFORE RECEIVING A GRANT AWARD.

Landowners are limited to one application per year. Applicants cannot receive funding in consecutive years. This requirement may be waived for HOAs or other organizations.

What is the process to apply for funds?

  •     Identify a project (free site visits are available to help!).
  •     Complete and submit a grant application to the BCWD-up to $500 per year for an eligible project. (link below)
  •     Receive approval and grant agreement from BCWD.
  •     Make eligible purchases under the project in accordance with the grant agreement.
  •     Complete all work by the project deadline of December 5, 2024.
  •     Submit a cover letter describing the project including the requested amount of reimbursement, copies of (paid) receipts, and photos of the completed project.

After completing the project and receiving Stewardship Grant payment, maintain the project for a minimum of 5 years and participate in BCWD’s outreach and project sharing efforts.

How many grants are available for 2024?

These grants are awarded on a first come - first serve basis to eligible and complete applications. There are still funds available.

Free site visit:

You can request a free site visit from our partner, Washington Conservation District, to help determine what projects might work best on your property.


Who is Eligible?

All landowners in the District are eligible.  This includes residents, churches, schools, communities, and businesses.

What projects are eligible?

  • Native plants, including pollinator gardens (see "Important Note" below)
  • Small buffer strips
  • Turf alternatives
  • Waterspout gardens
  • Rain barrels
  • Targeted water education, information, or outreach activities


This program supports the purchase and installation of plant material native to Washington County and the State of Minnesota. The purchase of cultivars and cultivars of native plants (i.e. “Nativars”) will not be eligible for reimbursement under this program.


Generally speaking, cultivars, hybrids, and cultivars of true native species (“Nativars”) are plants selected or propagated to express certain ornamental characteristics such as color, shape, and size. They are also sometimes propagated to improve hardiness and resistance to certain pests or diseases (take the Dutch-elm resistant ‘Accolade’ Elm, as an example).

Cultivars (from the term cultivated variety) will often have a variety name in quotes after either the genus or species name (e.g. Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'  or  Cornus sericea 'Cardinal'), whereas the true native species will simply be labeled with the genus and species (e.g. Monarda fistulosa  or Cornus sericea). Hybrid plants have will often have an “X” in their name between the genus and species to indicate a cross between two parent species, which are often non-native (e.g. Aquilegia x caeruela ‘Origami Red & White’).

Cultivars have their place in the landscape, but in general it is best to stick to the true native species or wild-type to protect genetic diversity and maximize benefit to wildlife. You can read more about the benefits of planting true native species below:

You can also visit the Minnesota Wildflowers website for more information on both native and invasive species in Minnesota.

What projects NOT eligible?

  • Landscaping or purely decorative activities
  • Non-native plantings
  • Riprap
  • Retaining walls
  • Applicant labor or time
  • Projects that have received funding from other cost-share or Lawns to Legumes programs

Lawns to Legumes:

Brown's Creek Watershed District is pleased to partner with Blue Thumb and the Board of Water and Soil Resources on the Lawns to Legumes program.  Please visit for more resources and information, to learn about workshops and programs and to find native plants that are appropriate for your yard.

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