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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 grantsHabitat Areas Program

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is the name for a family of funds supporting natural resource protection and nature-based outdoor recreation in Wisconsin.

Some Stewardship funds are available as grants to local governments and nonprofit conservation organizations (known as LUGs and NCOs). Brief information about each subprogram is below. For detailed information about applying for any one of these grant programs, follow links below to application materials and contact grant staff in your region of the state. Stewardship grants can be grouped, generally, into two categories:

Grants to purchase land or conservation easements

Grants to purchase land or fund recreational development on public lands

Habitat Areas Program

See section 23.092, Wis. Stats. and chapter NR 51, subch. V, Wis. Adm. Code

Who can apply

Who can apply

Eligible nonprofit conservation organizations (NCO) can apply for Habitat Area funding. NCOs must be nonprofit corporations, charitable trusts or other nonprofit associations described in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and exempt from taxation under section 501 (a). In addition, the purpose of the organization must include the acquisition of property for conservation purposes.


Eligible projects

Acquisition of land or conservation easements for wildlife-based recreation and wildlife habitat protection.

Ineligible projects

  • Property containing or planned to contain buildings or other facilities designed for intensive recreational use such as playgrounds, camping facilities or playing fields.
  • Property intended for agricultural use or timber plantations.


Program purpose

The Habitat Areas Program protects and restores important wildlife habitat in Wisconsin in order to expand opportunities for wildlife-based recreation such as hunting, trapping, hiking, bird watching, fishing, nature appreciation and wildlife viewing.


Program priorities

Priority is given to projects that protect or enhance wildlife habitat, especially sites identified as important by comprehensive resource protection plans including the State Wildlife Action Plan and the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Regional Joint Venture Plan [exit DNR].

For more detailed information, including the ranking criteria used to select Habitat Area projects for funding and application information see NCO application process.

Grants awarded

Each fiscal year, $4.8 million are available for Habitat Area grants. Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. The sponsor's share of project costs must come from non-state sources.

How to apply

How to apply

For information on how to apply, see NCO application process.


Application deadlines

Application deadlines vary each year. Please see the NCO application process page for this year's deadline.

Last revised: Monday January 14 2013