DNRC Irrigation Development Grants

The following irrigation grant programs are available through Montana DNRC. These grants are great for producers, water user groups, or school & community gardens.

Montana Supports Irrigated Agriculture

Irrigation is a key component of Montana’s economy and the dominant commercial use of Montana’s water, accounting for 96% of surface and groundwater withdrawals. We all know how important irrigation is to Montana’s agricultural community, but it is also important to people who live inMontana’s cities and towns. Not only does irrigation sustain working farms and ranches, it also contributes to the vitality of rural communities. Many irrigation projects store municipal drinking water. System reservoirs can provide recreational opportunity, fish and wildlife habitat, and hydropower. Irrigation systems raise the water table in aquifers used for domestic rural water supplies. And they often support wetlands and reduce the risk of floods.

The State of Montana recognizes the value of irrigation to Montana through grant and loan programs offered by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. I hope you can take advantage of some of the programs listed below. And keep up the good work!

Alice Stanley, DNRC Resource Development Bureau astanley@mt.gov 406-444-6687

Irrigation Development Grant Program

The irrigation development grant program was created to increase the value of irrigated cropland while preserving natural resources and the environment for future generations. This program will provide $100,000 in grants each year for the two-year period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.

Types of projects recently funded through this program are:

  • flow measurement device installation, workshops, and tracking software,
  • project feasibility assessments and project planning and design
  • ditch, head gate, and canal lining repairs
  • community gardens and Farm-to-Table school programs
  • floodplain study for head gate placement, basin-wide water use plans

Who can Apply

Grants are available up to $20,000 to private, nonprofit, for profit associations and individuals. Also to government entities such as counties, irrigation districts and conservation districts. Nongovernment entities must provide a match of at least 75% of the cost of the project or a minimum of 3 X the value of the grant. Match can be met with other grants, loans, or other sources of funds, and contributed labor and materials. No match is required for projects undertaken by government entities.

How to Apply

Because funding for this program has been reduced, irrigation development grants will no longer be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, applications may be submitted until July 31, 2015. At that time, projects will be compared and ranked. The irrigation development grant program will fund projects to this first pool of applicants in ranked order as funding allows. Grants will be awarded August 15, 2015. Additional application deadlines will be announced depending on demand and funding availability. Submit applications on line at www.fundingmt.org

Applications will be ranked based on clarity of the application, renewable resource benefits, the degree to which the project increases the value of cropland, and the degree to which the applicant contributes to the cost of the project.

For more information contact Ann Kulczyk, IDG Program Manager 406-228-4129 akulczyk@mt.gov

Private Grant and Loan Program

DNRC offers loans and small grants to private for-profit and private non-profit groups and individuals. These are available at any time and have no deadline. The private grant program supports water projects that benefit or develop a water resource, and are recommended or required by a government entity such as a county, conservation district or state agency. Examples of private grants to irrigators include installation of mandated flow measuring devises, dam safety inspections, conservation measures agreed upon in a watershed management plan, and other watershed management activities. These grants are available for up to $5,000 and must be matched by at least 75% of the cost of the project or a minimum of 3 X the value of the grant.

Loans to nongovernment entities for water projects are available in amounts up to $400,000 for individuals and $3 million for water user associations and ditch companies. The most common type of projects funded through private loans are irrigation system improvements such as conversion from flood to sprinkler irrigation.

For more information contact Bill Herbolich, 406-444-6686 wherbolich@mt.gov

Renewable Resource Planning Grants

These grants are available for up to $10,000 and pay for contracted engineering or technical consultant services needed for planning or designing activities that will lead to a renewable resource grant application. Planning grant applications will be compared and ranked and are due July 1, 2015 and September 25, 2015. Ranking criteria is: clarity of the application, renewable resource and public benefits, and immediacy and magnitude of the need for the project. Submit applications on line at www.fundingmt.org

For more information contact Pam Smith, 406-444-6839, pamsmith@mt.gov


More information about each of these programs is available at the DNRC website: http://dnrc.mt.gov. Click on “grants and loans”