Cooperative Watershed Managment 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

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 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.


Current Status

Cooperative Watershed Management Program will have a funding opportunity for 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. The funding opportunity announcement will be published in March.

Evaluation Criteria

Cooperative Watershed Management Program Evaluation Criteria

Proposed Calendar

March, 2016
Funding Opportunity Announcement Published

May, 2016
Funding Opportunity Announcement Closes

July, 2016
Successful Groups Notified

News Releases

August 21, 2014
Six Organizations to Establish or Expand Watershed Activities Using Key Funding Assistance from Reclamation

May 7, 2014
WaterSMART Funding Opportunity Available to Establish or Expand Watershed Groups

August 21, 2013
Reclamation Selects Five Entities to Receive $485,423 to Establish or Expand Existing Watershed Groups

May 1, 2013
Cooperative Watershed Management Program Seeking Applicants to Establish or Expand Watershed Groups through WaterSMART

Last Updated: 1/29/16