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Cooperative Watershed Management Program

The U.S. Department of the Interior is moving forward with the implementation of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program, which was established in 2009 as part of the Cooperative Watershed Management Act (Public Law 111-11, Sections 6001-03).  The Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to establish a new grant program to support the formation and development of locally led watershed groups and to facilitate the development of multi-stakeholder watershed management projects. 

The CWMP is an Interior initiative that will involve input and participation by multiple agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation, the US Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management.  Currently, the Bureau of Reclamation is taking the lead to develop program criteria in accordance with the Act.  Implementation of the program is planned to begin on a pilot scale in 2012.  Following public review of the criteria for selecting projects, a funding opportunity announcement will be posted on www.grants.gov.

The CWMP envisions strong partnerships with states.  Interior has solicited input from states on their watershed needs and activities and will continue to consult with the states to tailor the CWMP in accordance with state watershed management plans.

The purpose of the CWMP is to improve water quality and ecological resilience and to reduce conflicts over water through collaborative conservation efforts in the management of local watersheds.  

The primary goal of the CWMP is to address two major concerns synonymous with watershed groups—1) the need for funding to pay the salary of a full-time coordinator and 2) the limited funding available for project management.  The CWMP provides financial incentives to mitigate these concerns and to encourage diverse stakeholders to continue to work together.

The CWMP will provide financial assistance to form new watershed groups, to expand existing watershed groups, and/or to conduct one or more projects in accordance with the goals of watershed groups. Priority may be given to watershed groups that represent a maximum diversity of interests, serve sub basin-sized watersheds with an 8-digit hydrological unit code, as defined by USGS.

Six Organizations to Establish or Expand Watershed Activities Using Key Funding Assistance from Reclamation (Aug. 21, 2014) - Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley announced that $496,337 in WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program funding will be made available for six groups to establish or expand a watershed group. Those groups are located in California, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico. More... | Project Desciptions

Reclamation Selects Five Entities to Receive $485,423 to Establish or Expand Existing Watershed Groups (Aug 21, 2013) - Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced today that five entities in Colorado, Idaho and Oregon will receive $485,423 to establish or expand its watershed group. More...

Details about the Grants

There are three phases of grants that applicants can apply for under the CWMP.

  • First Phase funds shall be used to establish or enlarge a watershed group, to develop a mission statement for the watershed group, to develop project concepts, and to develop a restoration plan.
  • Second Phase funds shall be used to plan and carry out watershed management projects
  • Third Phase funds shall be used to plan and carry out at least one watershed management project.

Federal cost-share

  • The Secretary may provide up to $100,000 to first-phase grant recipients for a period of not more than 3 years.   The Federal share of expenditures accrued in first-phase grant activities shall be funded 100 percent.
  • Second and Third Phase grants shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the activities. 

Response to Comments Received for the FY 2012 Cooperative Watershed Management Program Funding Opportunity Announcement


Last updated: 2/11/15