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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 ProgramCounty forest land acquisition grants

In 2007, the Wisconsin Legislature made changes to the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program (s. 23.0953, Wis. Stats.) allowing counties with lands entered under the County Forest Program (s. 28.11, Wis. Stats. [exit DNR]) to compete for land acquisition funding under Stewardship.

Grant applications are evaluated jointly by a ranking panel consisting of staff from DNR Forestry and the Wisconsin County Forests Association (WCFA) and selected for funding based on ranking criteria and priorities set forth in s. NR 51.960, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR]. County forest grant applications compete for funding with Division of Forestry's own land acquisition prospects. Parcels that best provide for nature-based outdoor recreation and the betterment of conservation in Wisconsin will rank highest, regardless of ownership.

Who can apply

Who can apply

Counties must have lands entered under the County Forest Program (s. 28.11, Wis. Stats.)


Eligible projects

Fee simple acquisition of lands that meet the requirements for entry into County Forest as stipulated in s. 28.11(4), Wis. Stats. The following must be true for a parcel to be eligible for grant funding.

  • The county must have land entered into county forest law pursuant to s. 28.11 Stats.
  • The county must enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DNR for land acquisition through Stewardship fund.
  • The property must be free of restrictions or covenants preventing the property from being managed for the purposes set forth in s. 28.11(1) Stats.
  • The property cannot have been purchased more than one year prior to the date the DNR receives the grant application.
  • The current use of the property must be something other than a licensed game farm, fur farm, deer farm, shooting preserve, forest nursery or experimental station.
  • The property must be free of commercial or industrial uses inconsistent with the purposes of the county forest law under s. 28.11(1), Stats.
  • The property must be free of perpetual easements for uses inconsistent with the purposes of the county forest law set forth in s. 28.11(1), Stats.
  • The county must have a real estate offer to purchase or a letter of intent signed by the seller for the parcel to be acquired.


Application deadline

Applications for county forest grants are accepted year-round.

How to apply

How to Apply

Submit the following to DNR county forest specialist. See grant contact information for mailing address.

Forms for Requesting Grant Payments

Helpful Documents

Property Aquisition Guidance


Project selection priorities

Priorities for ranking can be found in s. NR 51.960, Wis. Adm. Code and in the Memorandum of Agreement entered into by each participating county with DNR, as required by s. NR 51.963 Wis. Adm. Code.


For more information and application forms contact:

Doug Brown
Lemay Forestry Center
518 W Somo Avenue
Tomahawk WI 54487
715-453-2188 x 1263

Last revised: Friday February 02 2018