Cooperative Watershed Management

The purpose of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program is to enhance water conservation, uses; improve water quality; improve ecological resiliency of a river or stream;, and to reduce conflicts over water at the watershed level by supporting the formation of watershed groups to develop local solutions

credit: Flickr
to address water management issues.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2017: Phase I: The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley will establish the Boise River Enhancement Network in collaboration with Trout Unlimited, Ecosystem Sciences Foundation, Idaho Rivers United and the South Boise Water Company.

The Network will address water quality issues, endangered species and loss of natural habitats in the lower Boise River watershed and will work with stakeholders to increase opportunities for public and private enhancement project collaboration. Phase II: The Eagle Creek Watershed Council, in conjunction with Trout Unlimited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Buckhorn Valley Metropolitan District (BVMD), will improve instream flows in Abrams Creek, southwest of Eagle, Colorado.

Abrams Creek, which supports a core conservation population of Green-Lineage cutthroat trout, suffers from low flows, affecting habitat for the trout and other aquatic species.

The Council will pipe a 21,790 linear feet section of the JPO ditch and use the approximately 300 acre-feet of saved water for instream use.

This increase to base flows in Abrams creek will benefit the target trout species, as well as other aquatic resources.

This project, supported by the Eagle Creek Watershed Plan, has been endorsed by numerous elected officials, conservation groups, government agencies, and water users.

Fiscal Year 2018: No information available.

Fiscal Year 2019: No information available.

Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District $ 99,926   2022-06-092024-06-30
Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No 3 $ 100,000   2022-04-272024-06-30
Deschutes Soil & Water Conservation District $ 56,813   2022-03-152024-06-30
Trout Unlimited, Inc. $ 98,132   2022-01-272024-06-30
Land And Natural Resources, Hawaii Dept Of $ 95,456   2022-04-272024-03-31
Friends Of The Yampa, Inc. $ 97,827   2022-04-012024-03-31
Lake Of The Arbuckles Watershed Association, Inc. $ 135,750   2022-04-122023-12-31
Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition $ 99,978   2022-03-172023-12-31
Lincoln County Conservation District $ 100,000   2022-03-082023-12-31
South Yuba River Citizens League $ 99,852   2022-02-012023-12-31

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2017: Since 2012, Reclamation has awarded a total of $2.4 million in funding for the establishment or further development of 30 watershed groups in nine states. In FY 2017, Reclamation initiated Phase II of the CWMP by providing approximately $560,000 in cost shared financial assistance for six watershed management projects. For descriptions of previously funded projects, please visit our website at: . Fiscal Year 2018: Information not available. Fiscal Year 2019: Information not available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Watershed Group Development and Restoration Planning (Phase I): In 2012, Reclamation began providing funding for the establishment or further development of watershed groups.

A watershed group is a self-sustaining, non-regulatory, consensus-based group that is composed of a diverse array of stakeholders, which may include, but is not limited to, private property owners, non-profit organizations, Federal, State, or local agencies, and Tribes.

As part of Phase I activities, applicants may use funding to develop bylaws, a mission statement, watershed management project concepts, and complete stakeholder outreach and a watershed restoration plan.

For Phase I projects, Reclamation will award a successful applicant up to $50,000 per year for a period of up to two years with no non-Federal cost-share required. Implementation of Watershed Management Projects (Phase II): Starting in 2017, Reclamation will provide cost-shared financial assistance to watershed groups to implement watershed management projects (Phase II).

These on-the-ground projects, collaboratively developed by members of a watershed group, will address critical water supply needs, water quality, and help water users meet competing demands and avoid conflicts over water.

Program criteria will prioritize projects that contribute to the ecological resilience of the watershed.

Reclamation will award a successful applicant up to $50,000 per year for a period of up to two years.

For Phase II projects, applicants must contribute at least 50% of the total project costs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Watershed Group Development and Restoration Planning (Phase I): Applicants eligible to receive financial assistance through Phase I of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program include: ● States; ● Indian tribes; ● Local and special districts; (e.g., irrigation and water districts, county soil conservation districts, etc.); ● Local governmental entities; and non-profit organizations, including watershed groups.

To be eligible, applicants must also significantly affect or be affected by the quality or quantity of water in a watershed; be capable of promoting the sustainable use of water resources within the given watershed area; and be located within the 17 western United States or Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended and supplemented. Implementation of Watershed Management Projects (Phase II): An eligible applicant is an established watershed group as defined in the Section 6001(5) of the Cooperative Watershed Management Act (Act) that has met the requirements outlined in Section 6002(c)(2)(A)(iv) of the Act (see Section A.3.

Statutory Authority for full citation).

In summary, the applicant must be a grassroots, non-regulatory entity that addresses water availability and quality issues within the relevant watershed, represents a diverse group of stakeholders, and is capable of promoting the sustainable use of water resources in the watershed.

The applicant must also have approved articles of incorporation, bylaws, and a mission statement; hold regular meetings; and have developed a restoration plan and project concepts for the watershed.

Applicants must also be located in the Western United States or Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended and supplemented.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The Cooperative Watershed Management Program benefits a diverse array of stakeholders, which may include but is not limited to, private property owners, Federal, State, or local agencies, and Indian tribes that are located in the 17 western States identified in the Act of June 17, 1902, as amended, and have authority with respect to the watershed.


(1) A detailed written technical proposal is required, including background data regarding the applicant, such as: location; diversity, and the geographic scope of the proposed or existing watershed group; a description of the watershed, including the source of water supply, the water rights involved, current water uses (i.e., agricultural, municipal, domestic, instream uses or industrial), and the types of water issues faced in the affected watershed (e.g., shortfalls in water supply, endangered species concerns, environmental issues, or other issues in the watershed) an overview of the proposed project; an estimated project schedule that shows the stages and duration of the proposed work, including major tasks, milestones, and dates for the project upon entering into a financial assistance agreement; and describing data responsive to the evaluation criteria listed in the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). (2) A detailed project cost proposal, including a budget with the annual estimated project costs, including salaries and wages, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, and indirect costs, an estimate of annual operation & maintenance costs, and the value of in-kind contributions of goods and services. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Environmental compliance for this program may be required depending on the scope of the specific project funded.

This may result in the need for an environmental impact assessment or environmental impact statement prior to the commencement of project activities.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. FOAs for this program are posted on Submission of a complete technical proposal and budget is mandatory by the due date identified in the FOA. In addition, applicants must submit all applicable SF 424 forms referenced in the FOA.

Award Procedures

Proposals received in response to the FOA are reviewed on the basis of a competitive, merit-based review process, and are rated in accordance with the evaluation criteria stated in the FOA. Reclamation will make awards to the highest rated proposals based on the amount of funding available each year.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Public Law 111-11, Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Title VI, Subtitle A, Sec. 6001-6003 (16 USC 1015 et seq.).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The review, scoring and FOA of the recipients typically take three to five months.


Upon request, Reclamation will provide all applicants with information on why their proposals were not selected.


Projects which requested funding for one year only are fully funded at time of award. For projects requesting two consecutive years of funding, second-year may be awarded to applicants that demonstrate sufficient progress throughout the year, contingent on the availability of appropriations.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: Development of Watershed Groups (Phase I): A non-Federal cost-share is not required for Phase I activities. Implementation of Watershed Management Projects (Phase II): A 50% non-Federal cost-share is required for watershed management projects. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Proposed activities should be completed within 2 years from the project start date. Applicants seeking funding for activities requiring more than 2 years will be considered if you can demonstrate that there will be measureable accomplishments each year. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Payment terms vary by agreement awarded under this program.

Post Assistance Requirements


Grant recipients shall submit the following reports on a semi-annual basis: (1) SF-425, Federal Financial Report; and (2) Semi-Annual Program Performance Reports.

Upon completion of the agreement, recipients shall submit a final: (1) SF-425, Federal Financial Report; and (2) Prior to receiving second-year funding, all program participants will submit a report at 270 days that demonstrates achieved milestones for review and concurrence; and (3) Final Program Performance Report that demonstrates the applicants successful completion of the activities described in the financial assistance agreement.

No cash reports are required.

No progress reports are required.

Grant recipients shall submit the SF-425, Federal Financial Report on a semi-annual basis.

Upon completion of the agreement, a final SF-425 shall be submitted.

No performance monitoring is required.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


All recipients of Federal awards shall maintain project records in accordance with 2 CFR 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other non-Federal entity records pertinent to a Federal award must be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, for Federal awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, respectively, as reported to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity in the case of a subrecipient. Federal awarding agencies and pass-through entities must not impose any other record retention requirements upon non-Federal entities, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.333.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements)) FY 17 $560,000; FY 18 est $3,250,000; and FY 19 est $250,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Range: $20,000 - $100,000 Average: $80,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

2 CFR 200 UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS and the applicable OMB Circulars. These documents may also be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Reclamation Office listed below.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices.

Headquarters Office

Avra Morgan Bureau of Reclamation, Office of Program & Policy Services, Mail Code: 84-51000, P.O. Box 25007, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225 Email: Phone: (303)445-2906

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Specific evaluation criteria will be included in the FOA posted on All applications will be evaluated using criteria that give priority based on the diversity and geographic scope of the proposed watershed group; the critical nature of the issues to be addressed by the group; whether the proposed group (or its proposed activities) is aligned with a state water plan; whether the amount of funding requested is reasonable for the work proposed; and whether the proposed schedule and milestones are reasonable and appropriate.

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