Submit Stewardship, LAWCON and RTP Applications that Are Complete, Clear and Well-Documented

April 2, 2018

With a May 1 grant application deadline right around the corner, I spoke to Jennifer Gihring, grant manager at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), to get her best advice for local units of government interested in applying for the 2018 Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Local Assistance Grant Program, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and Recreational Trails grant programs. 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.

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 grant specialist. They are here to help!

At raSmith we offer our grant writing and consulting services depending on your specific needs. Please contact Len Roecker, director of municipal services, 262-317-3383 or Karen Wiesneski, grants specialist, at 262-317-3292. We have an expanded municipal team to assist with all of your needs.

Below are highlights for the 2018 grant cycle for all of the programs mentioned above.

  • Application deadline – May 1, 2018.
  • Stewardship funds – $6 million is available for this year’s program (same amount as 2017) 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, etc. that are not eligible for financial assistance via Stewardship grants. A minimum of $500,000 in local government pass-through grants is available. The amount of available funding varies from year to year ($834,000 in funds was available in 2017). Depending on the federal budget and timing of Congressional action there may be an increase in funding for 2018, but that will likely be unknown until this fall.
  • Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) – There is $1.3 million available for this year’s program (same amount as 2017). 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. Although scoring and ranking priorities remain largely the same as 2017, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read through the 2018 grant booklet closely and to contact their regional grant specialist as early as possible. This is particularly true for acquisition projects. Contact information for regional staff is included in the booklet and on the website.


About the Author

Karen Wiesneski has been providing grants and funding expertise to local units of government for more than 20 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. Karen also maintains a group she established in 2008 of more than 500 “Wisconsin Grant Seekers” members on LinkedIn, created for grant and funding resources collaboration purposes.

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