Spring is Here! Stewardship Grant Applications are Due May 1

March 30, 2021

With a May 1 grant application deadline right around the corner, I spoke to Pam Rood at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to get her best advice for local units of government interested in applying for the 2021 Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Local Assistance Grant Program, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and Recreational Trails grant program. Here are three important things she had to say about the programs:

  1. Do not be discouraged by the competitiveness of these programs. If you have a solid project, please apply! Application materials are available from the Stewardship grant program website – https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Stewardship/ApplyLUG
  2. Applications do not need to be fancy. It’s most important for a grant application to be complete, clear, and well-documented.
  3. If you have questions, call your regional project manager. They are here to help!

Below are highlights for the 2021 grant cycle for all of the programs mentioned above.

  • Application deadline – May 1, 2021
  • Stewardship funds – $6 million is available for this year’s program (same amount as 2020) and will be split among the grant subprograms. Urban Green Space is dedicated exclusively to acquisition projects. The other two main subprograms – Acquisition and Development of Local Parks and Urban Rivers can fund either development or acquisition projects.
  • Federal Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) fund – LAWCON grants can support active outdoor recreation facilities such as splash pads, dog parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and others that are not eligible for financial assistance via Stewardship grants. A minimum of $2.6 million in local government pass-through grants is available in FY21.
  • Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) – There is $1.3 million available for this year’s program (same amount as 2020). However, this is a “bump” year for the federal RTP program, meaning that this year RTP grants are capped at $200,000 instead of the typical $45,000. In addition, acquisition applications will not be accepted in FY21. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read the 2021 grant guidance booklet closely and to contact their regional project manager as early as possible.

At raSmith we offer our grant writing and consulting services depending on your specific needs. Please contact Karen Wiesneski, grants specialist, at karen.wiesneski@rasmith.com or 262-317-3292. We have an expanded municipal team to assist with all of your needs.


About the Author

Karen Wiesneski has been providing grants and funding expertise to local units of government for more than 25 years. She maintains ongoing contact with representatives from federal and state agencies. She attends funding workshops and researches available funding resources for proposed projects. In addition, Karen coordinates the grant application process with clients and prepares grant applications. She has created and maintains an online grants directory and quarterly e-newsletter for municipalities seeking financial resources.

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