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Small Grant Program

Program Overview

The Small Grant Program is an easy-to-engage-in, competitive grant program that awards up to $15,000 for on-the-ground restoration projects principally carried out on private lands across Oregon. This program responds to a need for local decision-making about watershed restoration opportunities on a shorter timeframe than is available under OWEB’s regular grant program.

The Small Grant Program enables landowners across the state to contribute to the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and the Oregon Conservation Strategy by committing “small acts of kindness” on their properties for the benefit of water quality, water quantity, and fish and wildlife. From planting native plants along stream sides to reducing sedimentation and erosion from upland farms and ranches, citizens everywhere can make a difference.

Small Grant Roles

Project Host

Landowner, not-for-profit institution, school, community college, state institution of higher education, independent not-for-profit institution of higher education, or local, state, or federal agency.


Watershed Council (council), Soil & Water Conservation District (district), or Tribe may apply for a small grant on behalf of any of the entities listed above.


Individual who administers the grant, signing the grant agreement, keeping records, submitting payment requests and documentation, etc.

Small Grant Team

Sets application deadlines and review periods for its geographical area. Team works with Applicant and forwards any application it recommends to OWEB.

Eligible Projects

  • Remove Irrigation or Push-Up Dams: Install alternatives (e.g., infiltration galleries, point-of-diversion transfers) or convert from gravity diversion to pumps
  • Remove and/or Replace Culverts (as a condition of funding, such projects require Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) or Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) technical review and approval, or tribal government review and approval for projects on Tribal Trust Lands, using a standard OWEB form; and for culverts under state roads, a 50% Oregon Department of Transportation match)
  • Remove or Replace Stream Crossings (as a condition of funding, such projects require ODFW or ODF technical review and approval, or tribal government review and approval for projects on Tribal Trust Lands, using a standard OWEB form)​

  • Install Storm Water Runoff Treatments (e.g., create bioswales, pervious surfaces, native plant buffers, green roofs)
  • Create Off-Channel Flood Storage
  • Employ Integrated Pest Management

  • Manage Nutrient and Sediment Inputs through managed grazing (e.g., fencing and developing off-channel watering) and plantings
  • Manage Vegetation: Plant or seed native riparian species, propagate native riparian plants, or control weeds in conjunction with a restoration project
  • Employ Integrated Pest Management

  • Manage Nutrient and Sediment Inputs: Fence out livestock or develop alternative watering sites
  • Manage Vegetation: Control weeds (in conjunction with a restoration project), or plant native wetland species
  • Restore Wetlands: Excavate or remove fill, or eliminate drainage structures
  • Employ Integrated Pest Management

  • Improve Instream Habitat: Place large wood, boulders, or salmon carcasses
  • Manage Erosion: Bioengineer stream banks, slope stream banks, or develop water gaps, streambank barbs
  • Eradicate or control exotic aquatic species

  • Decommission Roads
  • Improve Surface Drainage​: surface road drainage improvements, gravel surfacing, stream crossings

  • Manage Erosion on Agricultural Lands: terrace land, employ laser leveling, create windbreaks, install sediment basins (WASCBs), develop filter strips/grassed waterways, manage mud (e.g., gravel high-use areas, develop paddocks), seed bare areas (OWEB may require a grazing management plan, if appropriate, prior to release of funds. For post-fire areas, seed only where natural regeneration is unlikely — e.g., on slopes of 30% or more — or where it can be demonstrated that seeding would retard or prevent the spread of noxious weeds), or reduce tillage
  • Manage Nutrient and Sediment Inputs to Streams through the management of grazing, vegetation cover, animal waste, or irrigation runoff
  • Manage Vegetation: prescribed burning, except when conducted as part of a commercial harvest; non­commercial thinning; control/remove juniper (except late seral/old growth); plant or seed (native upland species or native beneficial mixes preferred); or control weeds (in conjunction with a restoration project). Projects for prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads require Oregon Department of Forestry technical review and approval, or tribal government review and approval for projects on Tribal Trust Lands, using a standard OWEB form.
  • Manage Wildlife: install water guzzlers
  • Employ Integrated Pest Management

  • Recharge Groundwater: Roof water harvesting
  • Implement Irrigation Practices (e.g., pipe existing ditch, install drip or sprinkler systems, install automated soil moisture sensors where water and electrical savings can be documented, or recover or eliminate tail water). Such projects must either not adversely impact the current level of groundwater in a Groundwater Management Area, or must measurably reduce the diversion of water at the point of diversion. As a condition of funding, irrigation efficiency projects require local watermaster technical review and approval, or tribal government review and approval for projects on Tribal Trust Lands, using a standard OWEB form.

  • On-the-ground restoration project in Oregon
  • Clearly demonstrates watershed benefit to aquatic species, wildlife, or watershed health
  • Uses and clearly identifies (by practice code or page number and paragraph) in the small grant application technical guidance from at least one of the six approved sources
  • Consistent with the Small Grant Team’s priority watershed concerns and current list of eligible project types
  • Demonstrates 25% secured match funding, based on the total OWEB award
  • Distinct and different from projects already funded (or being considered for funding) by OWEB
  • Adheres to Small Grant Administrative Rules


Please direct questions to Kathy Leopold, Small Grant Program Coordinator, 971-345-7017.

Administrative Rules

Oregon Administrative Rules Secretary of State website