Stewardship Grants Program caps off successful year; exciting projects in store for 2019

One of our core goals is to empower communities to become partners in improving the watershed through their own efforts. Each year since 2006, we have provided grants to residents, businesses, government partners and nonprofit groups to install practices on their properties that benefit clean water and natural habitat.

maintenance grant
Maintenance grants are available for projects installed within the past five years.

This past year, we updated the name of the program from Cost Share Incentive to Stewardship Grants Program. This more accurately describes the program since not all projects are funded as a cost share (some receive 100 percent funding). Plus, “stewardship grant” is a common term used by many of our partner organizations.

Also new in 2018, we started offering maintenance grants to help offset the cost of maintenance while new projects establish. If you have installed a project through our grant program within the past five years, you can apply for maintenance funding.

2018 by the numbers

In 2018, we provided $813,000 for 26 projects through the Stewardship Grant Program. These included:

  • Residential projects (16): A variety of native habitat and shoreline restorations, rain gardens, and pervious paver installation.
  • Public projects (8): Two asphalt reduction projects, four native habitat restorations and four large rain gardens.
  • Homeowner associations (2): Several rain gardens installed at each association.

In all, the program has funded 320 projects over the past 12 years. You can view the project types and locations on our interactive map.

Project highlights

We provide Stewardship Grants of up to $15,000 for homeowners or $100,000 for commercial or government/non-profit organizations to install a variety of best management practices. These are designed to filter and reduce runoff, protect groundwater, restore native ecosystems, prevent flooding and lessen the effects of drought.

Here are a few notable Stewardship Grant projects from 2018:

House of Prayer rain garden
We worked with House of Prayer Lutheran Church in Oakdale to construct a large rain garden that will capture parking lot runoff.


New Horizon rain garden
This rain garden at New Horizon Academy day care center in Woodbury will provide pollinator habitat and help stormwater infiltrate the ground.


Maplewood City Hall
Several new rain gardens at Maplewood City Hall will reduce the amount of polluted runoff that enters nearby Wakefield Lake.

Projects on tap for 2019

Snail Lake site visit
L-R: Mike Goodnature, Mike Schumman and Gus Blummer from Ramsey County Parks and Recreation visited Snail Lake shoreline sites this fall to develop restoration plans.

This fall, we met with property owners on Snail Lake in Shoreview to coordinate an ambitious shoreline restoration project to be funded through the Stewardship Grant Program over the next two years. In all, 34 sites and nearly 68,000 square feet around the lake will be improved with native vegetation and erosion management practices.

Unlike most residential projects in which the owner selects a contractor and then submits receipts to us for reimbursement, we plan to put the Snail Lake restorations out to bid and hire a single contractor to complete the work. The goal is to make a significant impact on the lakeshore as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

We’re also making an effort to identify projects in underserved neighborhoods, particularly Saint Paul’s East Side. One of these will be a parking lot reconstruction at the East Side Boys and Girls Club on Ames Avenue, which will benefit from much-needed drainage improvements.

Across the street at Cornerstone Montessori School, we are planning to install a rain garden and natural landscaping that will help clean up a muddy play area while providing educational and water quality benefits as well.

If you are interested in a clean water project at your home or business, we encourage you to apply early in 2019 using our online application. You’ll be improving your property and contributing to a healthy watershed!

Questions or comments? Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or drop us an email.