Two students in a kayak take a selfie.
Kayakers get out on the water with the Anacostia Watershed Society. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program)

This grant program is open and will close on April 3, 2024.

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The Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program awards grants of $20,000 to $200,000 to organizations and local governments that work on community-based projects to improve the condition of their local watershed while building stewardship among residents. Small Watershed Grants support local restoration and protection actions that help restore healthy waters, habitats and wildlife in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Since 2000, the Small Watershed Grants Program has provided more than $27 million to support 626 projects throughout the Bay watershed. These grants have been used by recipients to leverage close to $90 million in matching funds, for a total of more than $115 million supporting local community restoration projects.

The Small Watershed Grants Program is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and primarily funded by the U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. Additional funding partners vary annually, but have included the U.S. Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NFWF produces an annual report of the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to summarize the collective impact of the grant investments made through both the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction and Small Watershed Grant programs.

Small Watershed Grant Projects

Since 2007, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Small Watershed Grant Program, managed and administer under a cooperative agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, have awarded more than $32 million to support approximately 281 conservation projects that contribute to the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay, while building community-based resource stewardship throughout the watershed. These grants have leveraged over $43 million in matching funds.

The funded Small Watershed Grant projects can be located through an interactive National Fish and Wildlife Foundation map. NFWF has supported thousands of conservation projects in the United States and abroad since 1985. In total, NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (which includes both Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction and Small Watershed Grant programs) has awarded more than $125 million to support approximately 964 conservation projects throughout the watershed, all while leveraging a total of $233 million in matching funds.