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Council Capacity Grants
Purpose of Council Capacity Grants

Council Capacity Grants help support the operations of effective watershed councils that engage people and communities in their watershed to participate in collaborative, voluntary restoration and protection of native fish or wildlife habitat and natural watershed functions to improve water quality or stream flows.  

Future Vision for Council Capacity
OWEB envisions a statewide watershed restoration system that is resilient, sustainable and achieves ecological outcomes.   Experience gained from supporting watershed work since 1997, and studies of successful watershed groups, demonstrate this vision can be achieved with watershed councils that:
  • Are strong organizations with access to diverse skillsets.
  • Have broad and deep support from local and regional communities.
  • Engage a balance of interested and affected people, businesses, and communities in their watershed to participate in voluntary, cooperative conservation.
  • Secure  diversified funding and/or build strategic collaborations with other councils and/or organizations to increase collective local capacity. 
Highlights of Program Changes
  • Funding criteria are performance and outcome-based, and contain high standards for eligibility, reporting and accountability. 
  • Streamlined evaluation and award process.
  • Policy direction to build capacity through resource sharing and strategic collaboration, not through trying to fund all needs for all individual councils.  Councils need more funding and resources than OWEB alone can provide.
    • Strategic collaboration is not one-size-fits-all; it needs to work for your council.
    • Offer technical assistance grants for new strategic collaborations that are likely to build collective local capacity.
    • Develop merit criteria to recognize strategic collaboration that builds collective local capacity.
    • Geographic Area Eligibility Criteria:  Cap eligibility for individual capacity grants at no more than 64 (based on watershed areas for councils that previously received an individual Watershed Council Support Grant).   
      • Geographic areas can change.  However,  OWEB wants to see stronger, collective local capacity instead of “splitting” and “subdividing” into smaller areas resulting in more competition for limited resources and duplication of administrative infrastructure.
      • To be eligible, OWEB must determine that a council or group of councils serve an area:
        • In which a council or group of councils previously received a Watershed Council Support Grant or Council Capacity Grant; and
        • Which is the same or larger than the geographic area served by a council or group of councils as of July 1, 2013.  
      • In addition, for the purposes of this eligibility criteria:
        • The geographic area must include a minimum population of 500 individuals within its designated boundary or boundaries; and
        • No more than one applicant is eligible for the same geographic area.
    • If a council is considering changes in its watershed area coverage, organizational structure or operations, contact OWEB as early as possible to discuss the reasons and goals of these changes and whether the changes might affect eligibility to apply. 
Proposed Rules Changes
OWEB seeks public comment on proposed rules and guidance for Council Capacity Grants.  Click here for information on public hearings and how to provide public comment.  Links to draft rules, guidance and other materials are available below.
Rules, Guidance, and other materials

To prepare for public comment, OWEB encourages interested stakeholders to read the materials provided in the links below.  Questions? Contact Courtney Shaff at courtney.shaff@state.or.us or 503-986-0046.

Public Hearings Schedule and AgendaPublic Hearings Schedule and Agenda

Watershed Council Forms and Guidance Documents

 Self Evaluation, Liability Coverage and other forms for managing a Council Support Grant

Additional resources for watershed councils (more).