Healthy Lakes Grants

Do you need some seed money to grow the Healthy Lakes initiative in your community?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources can help with Healthy Lakes Grants. Any eligible applicant can apply for these grants. Please note DNR cannot provide Healthy Lakes funding directly to individual lakeshore property owners. The grants provide up to $1,000 per Best Practice and up to $25,000 for an eligible applicant applying on behalf of multiple property owners.

Learn more about eligible applicants, guidance for applying, and the review/ranking criteria used to prioritize projects.
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5 Steps to Funding


Step 1

Review the grant application.

Visit the Wisconsin DNR’s Surface Water Website to learn more about the grant program. Check in with your local DNR Environmental Grant Specialist and Lake Biologist to be sure your group is eligible to apply and get guidance on next steps.

rock bass swimming amongst healthy vegetation and fish sticks

Step 2

Recruit lakeshore property owners to participate.

Contact folks around your lake to see if they are interested in implementing a Healthy Lakes practice on their property. Successful recruitment tools include presenting at your lake association/district meeting, surveying your community, hands-on workshops, and good ol’ door knocking.


Step 3

Complete initial site visit and design work.

Once you know who will be implementing Healthy Lakes practices on their property, set up site visits to identify where the practices will be implemented and determine if any design work is needed.

The following resources can help make your project happen:
1. Local citizen champions – perhaps a master gardener or retired engineer
2. Lake management consultants
3. Landscapers
4. County Land and Water Conservation Departments
5. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension professionals
6. Healthy Lakes Team members

Keep in mind that Healthy Lakes projects are intended to be relatively simple and low-cost so extensive design work is neither necessary nor expected for grant application purposes.


Step 4

Apply for funding.

Use your lakeshore property owner list and site visit work to complete the Healthy Lakes Grant application. In the application list participating properties and the best practice(s) and cost(s) for the given properties. You should also describe the lake(s), partners, and how the project fits into other planning efforts. Healthy Lakes applications are due February 1st each year, and funding is determined by April. The grant program is competitive and successful applicants give considerable thought to their project before applying. Work with your regional DNR Lake Biologist and Environmental Grants Specialist to create a strong application.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:
1. Application
2. Authorizing resolution
3. Map with project (i.e. parcel) locations

quiet fall lake landscape

Step 5

Your grant is awarded. Congratulations, now what?

The DNR will notify you whether or not you received a grant award. If you were successful, you will receive a Grant Agreement soon after this good news. The Grant Agreements are standardized across all Healthy Lakes projects and require the same deliverables. Healthy Lakes Grants are reimbursement grants. This means the lakeshore property owner or grant applicant spends his/her/their own money and then gets reimbursed by the state. Be sure to track volunteer time and project expenses. Now you are ready to roll!

Small-Scale Lake Planning Grants provide up to $3000 to help you build a Healthy Lakes project. Community survey, planning, and design work are all eligible costs and can enhance your Healthy Lakes Grant application. Learn more

Science of Healthy Lakes


The science of lake management has advanced significantly over the last few decades. We better understand natural science – how lakes function and the importance of shorelands to lake health, as well as the social science – how people and their attitudes and behaviors affect lakes.

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