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Operating Capacity Grants


Operating Capacity investments are awarded biennially and help support the operating costs of effective watershed councils (councils) and soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs or districts) as they engage people in their communities to participate in collaborative, voluntary restoration of watersheds.

District Capacity Grants

Capacity grants to districts provide funding for 45 SWCDs to work with landowners to conserve natural resources and lend support to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Agricultural Water Quality Management Program. More information can be found on ODA's website.

Council Capacity Grants

These grants help support the operations of 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.

Eligibility criteria define how OWEB will determine whether a watershed council is eligible to apply for a Council Capacity Grant. These criteria do not limit or control the existence or creation of watershed councils. Watershed councils may form around the state according to ORS 541.910.

Local Designation

  • Any local government (if previously awarded a Council Support Grant)
  • County-level (new or reorganized councils)

Geographic Area and Population

  • Cover same or larger geographic area as served by a council or group of councils as of July 1, 2013 (cap of 64 grants)
    • One grant per geographic area
  • Minimum population of 500 (residents and absentees)

Action Plan

  • Council governing body-adopted action plan

Legal Entity

  • Council is a 501(c)(3), or
  • Has a fiscal agreement with 501(c)(3), SWCD, city, county, or tribal government

Organizational Structure and Business Operations

  • Bylaws/charter and policies/procedures include standard best-practices governance provisions

The 2017-2019 Council Capacity grant offering is closed.

The 2019-2021 grant offering will be announced in January 2019.

Map of Watershed Councils with Contact Information

Contact Info Map Click the black tab at the bottom of the map to view a table of council contact information. Sort the table by clicking any heading and choosing a sort option. Click a point on the map to see contact information for that area. Zoom the map using + , or a scroll wheel.

Contact List A printable spreadsheet of watershed councils and contact information.

Map of Watershed Councils with Legislative District Boundaries

Legislative Map It is important for public decision-makers to understand watershed enhancement efforts and the natural resource, economic, and community benefits of these projects. The default view of this map shows watershed council boundaries overlaid with senate district boundaries, with a legend to the left of the map. Access other legislative layers by choosing the second icon just above the word. You can then select up to 4 layers. Zoom the map using +, or a scroll wheel. Click the house icon to return to default zoom.

Administrative Rules

View the Oregon Administrative Rules and Procedural Rules for councils.


Please direct questions or comments to Courtney Shaff, Capacity Programs Coordinator, 503-986-0046.


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