Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) grants provide financial and technical assistance for projects and programs within the District that help protect, manage and improve local lakes and the Mississippi River. Polluted runoff – stormwater that flows over hard surfaces and into storm sewers – is a leading cause of water pollution in lakes and rivers, particularly in urban areas. Promoting a variety of clean water projects is essential for improving water quality. To achieve this CRWD grants have supported projects such as stormwater improvements at Saint Paul’s Central High School and programs like water quality education for local students.
Partner Grants fund programs led by community, arts and environmental organizations, schools and faith-based groups that educate and promote clean water actions. Partner grants help with educating the public and promoting clean water actions within the watershed (view map of CRWD). Eligible costs include both personnel and materials. Grants are awarded once per year in December and awards range from $1,000 to $20,000.
Recent projects have included water focused education programs, community organizing initiatives, training, events, community art and water quality internships.
Past Partner Grant Programs
In 2018 CRWD worked with local photographer Caroline Yang to capture Partner Grantee programming in action.
Frogtown Green’s FrogLab is a water stewardship education series that focuses on aquatic habitats and species, water cycles, runoff and pollution. The family-friendly sessions include science and art activities to build water awareness that has received partner grant funding for multiple years.
Great River Greening’s Field Learning for Teens (FLT) teaches high school students about water quality, ecology, and environmental careers. They partnered with Urban Boatbuilders youth to remove invasive burdock and buckthorn at Willow Reserve in Saint Paul’s North End neighborhood and did a geocaching activity centered on water quality.
COMPAS’ FLOW: Water & Words program included classroom instruction on water topics and several outdoor experiential learning activities with middle school students in Saint Paul. At one of the trips they learned about Ojibwe history and their connection to water at Fort Snelling State Park.
The students then hosted community members for a day of water quality projects and learning by installing rain gutters on their school building and sharing information about rain barrels.
Saint Paul Natural Resources (SPNR) was awarded grant funds to connect underrepresented groups to urban waterways.
The grant supported a week-long day camp at Hidden Falls park for 150 youth and the Parks Ambassadors’ program to address barriers to urban waterways and parks use. CRWD has also partnered with SPNR to host Dragonfly Bonanza at Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary where school and community groups learned about water quality and helped with a dragonfly survey.
Public Art Saint Paul (PASP) hosted weekly eARTh Lab Workshops for youth at Western Sculpture Park, a program in its tenth year. The workshops used art-making and experiential learning to emphasize water issues and stewardship. During the summer, over 500 people participated in the lessons, including planting and maintaining raised vegetable & herb gardens surrounding the park’s walleye shaped rain garden. With the long-running program the workshops are developing youth leaders around water stewardship and art with staff, interns, and youth “super star” helpers.
CRWD Partner Grants encompass a wide variety of education, art and outreach programs to promote the message of water quality. Interested Partner Grant applicants are encouraged to attend the virtual Information Session on Wednesday, October 7 from 12-1:00 pm.
Water Quality Planning and Capital Improvement Grants
Planning Grants provide financial assistance for feasibility and design of cost-effective and/or innovative projects that protect and improve the water quality of waterbodies within CRWD. Planning Grants will typically provide much of the information needed to apply for construction funds through CRWD’s Water Quality Capital Improvement Grant. The average grant award is $20,000 and applications are accepted at any time.
Water Quality Capital Improvement Grants provide financial assistance for final engineering and construction of innovative projects that protect and improve water quality in CRWD. Public, private and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. A typical grant award is $40,000-$150,000.
Past Water Quality Capital Improvement Grant Projects
Projects that have been supported by Water Quality Planning and Capital Improvement Grants include:
The Central High School stormwater improvements, CHS Field clean water projects, Saint Paul Fire Department Headquarters Green Roof, and Great River School stormwater management.
At Saint Paul’s Central High School rain gardens, tree trenches, permeable pavers, and an underground infiltration system collect and clean rainwater runoff from portions of the school’s roof and parking lots. Monitoring equipment included in the design allows teachers to incorporate learning opportunities.
Clean water projects at CHS Field, home of the Saint Paul Saints minor league baseball team, protect the nearby Mississippi River by capturing rainwater runoff from an adjacent building roof to reuse for irrigation and toilet flushing. Rain gardens, swales, underground sand filters and tree trenches around the site also help improve water quality and educate the public with interpretive displays.
The innovative R.C. Knox Memorial Garden Green Roof at the Saint Paul Fire Department Headquarters, the William & Alfred Godette Memorial Building, improves water quality by reducing water runoff to the nearby Mississippi River. It also provides accessible greenspace for staff to enjoy. The rooftop gardens provide bird and insect habitat and are used to grow fresh herbs and vegetables for firefighters’ meals.
Great River School uses creative solutions to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality. Special considerations were needed during design because of soil pollution at the site which is in a historic industrial corridor. A natural play area covers an existing parking lot, acting as a cap on contaminated soil. A rainwater cistern collects runoff from the roof to irrigate the play area, reducing stormwater runoff and conserving drinking water resources. A filtration system under the parking lot treats water runoff from the school’s parking surfaces.
CRWD is experienced in collaborating with a variety of public and private sector partners to build innovative projects designed to protect and improve water quality. Contact project manager Nate Zwonitzer to discuss ideas for your development project.
CRWD staff are available to answer questions and provide support for all grant applications. For an overview of all grants visit our Grants page. Details, applications, and staff contacts are listed on the individual grant pages.