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Municipal Dam Grant Program

The 2019-21 Biennial Budget provided $4 million for Dam Grants, of that, approximately $3.5 million will be committed to fund eligible engineering and construction costs associated with the maintenance, repair, modification or abandonment and removal of municipally owned dams. The updated Municipal Dam Grant Application Form 3500-088 and instructions are available beginning August 19, 2019. The grant application deadline is February 28, 2020. Refer to the tabs below for instructions and reference materials.

The Municipal Dam grant program provides a cost-sharing opportunity for eligible engineering and construction costs for dam maintenance, repair, modification or abandonment and removal up to a maximum of $400,000. Funding sources outside the applicant's own resources can be used toward the local match for this grant. We encourage interested, eligible parties to begin work now on documents that must be submitted with your grant application. You can find information about these documents under the tab called Applying. Costs related to the development of these documents may be grant eligible for those applicants who receive a grant.

Applicants must have an Engineer’s inspection order or directive and a Dam Failure Analysis sufficient to identify the hazard potential based on the current development in the hydraulic shadow downstream of the dam.*

A fully completed application and all required attachments must be received on or before close of business on February 28, 2020 in order to be considered for funding.

Who can apply

Eligible project sponsors

Cities, towns, villages, counties, tribes, and public inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts (lake districts) may apply for grants to conduct dam maintenance, repair, modification or abandonment and removal on dams that they own. Private dam owners are not eligible to apply. Dams that are inspected, approved and licensed by a federal agency under 18 CFR Part 12 are not eligible to receive funding. (NR 335.02(2)(b))



An applicant must own the entire dam or have permanent legal access for operation and maintenance to the specific piece of land on which the dam is physically located.

Eligible projects

Eligible projects include dam repair, reconstruction or modification to improve the safety of the dam, or abandonment and removal. The owner must have the inspection directives or an administrative order that requires the dam safety project.

Dam repair/reconstruction/modification project grant awards will cover:

  • 50 percent of the first $400,000 of eligible project costs;
  • 25 percent of the next $800,000 of eligible project costs; and

Dam abandonment and removal project grant awards will cover 100 percent of the first $400,000 of eligible project costs.


Applications will be accepted through close of business on February 28, 2020. Applications received after February 28 are not eligible for consideration. Send applications to:

Wisconsin DNR
Municipal Dam Grant Manager - CF/2
PO Box 7921
101 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707-7921

Next Steps:

  • March through mid-May - Application review, scoring and ranking.
  • June 1 – Priority funding notification letters mailed.
  • June – DNR water management engineers (WME) meet with applicants receiving a commitment for funding.
  • June – December 1st Grant applicant must submit a permit application to reconstruct/repair or remove (including plans and specifications) the dam. Submit online at
  • Project bids are due within 90 days of the DNR WME plans and specifications approval date.
  • The grant award agreement will be issued after the DNR WME bid approval notification to the applicant.

NOTE: Construction costs incurred prior to the grant award agreement issuance will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Additional steps related to project completion and reimbursement will be provided directly to successful applicants.


Complete applications must consist of the application form and required attachments listed below. Some of these are time-consuming to prepare so start early to help assure that your application package is complete by the deadline. Municipalities and lake districts that previously applied for funds through this grant program are required to complete an application form and required attachments.

  • A resolution by the governing body of the municipality, tribe or lake district, designating an authorized representative and agreeing to pay the local share of the project costs. The language in the sample resolution is a composite of successful resolutions from past applicants. Applicants may use it as a template for their grant resolution.
  • Proof of ownership. The applicant needs to be the owner of the dam prior to receiving a grant award. The applicant will need to show they have ownership or have permanent legal access to the specific piece(s) of land that contain the dam. For the purpose of the application the owner should provide a site layout that shows the dam in relation to property lines, the deed for the property on which the dam is located, and ownership information for adjacent parcels. Note: property tax records are not acceptable proof of ownership. In the absence of a deed a letter opinion from the local title company telling property owner names and if there are any encumbrances is required.
  • Proof of an inspection directive or administrative order which prompts the need for the dam safety project. Supplying the date of the inspection report or order is adequate for application purposes.

Municipal Dam Grant Application (Form 3500-088) | Application Instructions

ATTACHMENTS For dams to be repaired or reconstructed

  • A project description and cost estimate for the repair or reconstruction with sufficient detail to determine which costs will be grant eligible. This cost estimate must reflect the figures used on the application form.
  • Dam failure analysis sufficient to identify the hazard potential based on the current development in the hydraulic shadow downstream of the dam.*
  • Letters to communities affected by hydraulic shadow. Sample letter to downstream communities

ATTACHMENTS For dams to be removed

  • A project description and cost estimate for the dam removal with sufficient detail to determine which costs will be grant eligible.
  • An application under s. 31, Wis. Stats. for a permit or approval to abandon and remove the dam. The abandonment application should be completed and submitted prior to or with the grant application. Additional application materials will be required at a later date.
  • A delineation of the 100-year floodplain upstream of the dam with the dam removed and materials necessary for inclusion in a zoning ordinance.*

* These studies need to be conducted to the standards of chs. NR 333 and NR 116, Wis. Adm. Codes. We strongly recommend that your engineering consultant contact Tanya Lourigan, State Dam Safety Engineer, prior to starting any analyses. Tanya can be also be contacted for information on how to hire a consultant to do this work.


Trouble downloading forms? see: Troubleshooting tips [PDF]


Contact information
For technical assistance, contact:
Tanya Lourigan
State Dam Safety Engineer
For grant administration assistance, contact:
Wendy Peich
Grant Manager
Last revised: Thursday November 07 2019