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Stewardship program logo
Apply (LUG)
for grants eligible for local units of government.
Apply (NCO)
for grants eligible for nonprofit conservation organizations.
Stewardship Grant lands.
Contact information
For more information, see:
Stewardship grant contact list

Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program GrantsLocal units of government application process

Local units of government (LUGs) are eligible applications for four Stewardship grant programs and two related federal programs administered by the DNR. The annual application deadline is May 1 for the grant programs listed below.

Applicants are advised that grant awards will be subject to the availability of funds and any procedural changes that may result from the forthcoming state budget and Federal appropriations.

Knowles-Nelson Stewardship local assistance grant programs

  • Aids for the Acquisition and Development of Local Parks (ADLP)
  • Urban Green Space (UGS) grants
  • Urban Rivers (UR) grants
  • Acquisition of Development Rights (ADR)

Federal recreation grant programs

The programs listed above are administered under the Local Assistance Stewardship Grant Program and share an application form and May 1 deadline. Nonprofit conservation organizations (NCOs) are eligible to apply to the Stewardship Local Assistance Grant Program for land acquisition projects.

Grant process

Local sponsors work with a DNR Regional Grant Specialist (RGS) to plan projects, follow program requirements and complete grant applications.

The following is an overview of the Stewardship LUG grant process. Potential applicants are highly encouraged to contact their Regional Grant Specialist for further details regarding the grant process and application guidance.

  • Applications for Stewardship LUG grants are accepted once a year. Stewardship LUG, LWCF, and RTP grants offer 50% cost share. In typical years, the LUG program receives approximately three times more in grant requests than available grant funds.
  • Grant staff then review and rank eligible projects relative to eligibility and priorities for each LUG grant subprogram, as outlined in the LUG program guidance. The scoring reflects provisions outlined in s. 23.09 Wis. Stats., s. 30.277 Wis. Stats., and Ch. NR 51, Wis. Admin. Code. Coordination among grant staff across the state ensures consistency and fairness in application scoring.
  • Final scores are used to generate the list of proposed grant awards.
  • When approved by the Department, grant staff send tentative award letters to applicants whose projects are selected for funding.
  • Grant staff then work with applicants on final project due diligence and execute grant agreements with project sponsors.
  • Sponsors can then move forward with their project and submit a reimbursement request to the Department upon project completion. Development projects are eligible for up to a 50% advance payment.

Eligible participants

The following table summarizes entities and organizations that are eligible for Stewardship Local Assistance, LWCF, and RTP grant awards. Additional eligibility details for each program are provided in the “Program Description” sections below. Entities that are not directly eligible for these grant programs are encouraged to consider partnering with eligible entities.

A key consideration in eligibility for Stewardship Local Assistance and LWCF grants is whether or not an applicant has approved a local Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (CORP) or if the project is identified in the CORP approved by a unit of government other than the applicant. Applicants that do not have a current CORP should contact their Grant Specialist for information and assistance.

  Stewardship Local Assistance Subprograms Land and
Water Cons.
Rec. Trails
Acq. and Dev.
of Local Parks
Acq. of
Dev. Rights
Green Space
Local Governments
(Towns, Villages, Cities, & Counties)
Tribal Governments Y Y Y Y Y Y
Lake sanitary districts and public inland lake
protection and rehabilitation districts 1
Nonprofit conservation organizations (NCOs) whose
primary purpose includes acquisition of property
for conservation purposes 2
Y3 N Y3 Y3 N N
Nonprofit organizations with a primary
purpose of promoting, encouraging,
or engaging in trail activities 4
Y3 N Y3 Y3 N N
Incorporated trail organizations 4 N N N N N Y
School districts N N N N Y Y


  1. Lake Sanitary Districts are further defined in s. 30.50 (4q), Wis. Stats.
  2. NCOs are further defined in s. 23.0955(1) Wis. Stats., Ch. NR 51.002(21) Wis. Admin. Code, and Ch. NR 51.04 Wis. Admin. Code.
  3. NCOs are eligible to receive Local Assistance Grants for land acquisition projects only.
  4. Further defined in Ch. 181, Wis. Stats.

Eligible projects

Eligible projects

Stewardship LUG, LWCF and RTP grant programs require that all land acquisition and development projects provide public access for outdoor recreation purposes. Stewardship LUG grant projects support nature-based outdoor recreation activities. LWCF grants can also fund active outdoor recreation facilities (e.g. ballfields, splash pads, etc.). RTP grants focus on trail maintenance and development activities.

LUG, LWCF, & RTP grants support a wide variety of outdoor recreation projects throughout the state. Common projects funded through these grant programs include:

  • Land acquisition for parks & trails, including riverfront property
  • Construction of hiking trails and bike paths
  • Construction of canoe/kayak launches, including those that provide universal accessibility
  • Construction of riverfront park amenities
  • Construction of park shelters and restroom facilities

Although these are the most common type of Stewardship LUG grant projects, the Department welcomes innovative projects that utilize Stewardship funds. Contact a Regional Grant Specialist to share your ideas.


LUG, LWCF, and RTP application forms and instructions

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Forms for requesting grant payments

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Last revised: Tuesday February 18 2020