Clean Lakes Alliance Community Grants

Clean Lakes Alliance offers grants to build support and capacity around shared community goals as defined in Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward.

In 2018, Clean Lakes Alliance awarded $60,000 in grants to support innovative projects by our community partners, with average awards of $5,000 to $10,000. Please stay tuned for information about our next round of grants.

Jump to Application – application period is currently closed

Funding priorities

Funding is available for projects in the following five categories:

  1. Farmland Management: Projects to help farmers adopt practices that reduce build up of phosphorus in the soil and/or minimize erosion from farm fields.
  2. Leaf Management: Projects that help create a cultural norm of removing leaves and other debris from the street.
  3. Construction Erosion: Projects that create a community expectation that disturbed soil from construction stays on-site.
  4. Lake Access and In-Lake Management: Projects that foster improved access, water quality and recreational enjoyment of the lakes.
  5. Youth Education: Projects to educate K-12 students about the lakes.

Project location and period

Projects must be located in the Yahara River watershed with priority to areas that drain to the five Yahara lakes. Grants may start no earlier than June 1, 2018 and must be completed by May 31, 2019.

Eligible applicants 

Local units of government, colleges and universities, watershed and community groups, and 501(c)(3) non-profits may apply.

Application timeline

Exact timeline for the next period of grants will be announced as soon as this information is available.

  • Application period opens – Fall or winter, with information sessions to be determined
  • Application deadline – To be determined
  • Award announcements – Annually in May at Save Our Lakes Community Breakfast
  • Project period – June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020

Review process

Following an eligibility review by Clean Lakes Alliance staff, a panel of technical reviewers for each project category will review proposals, provide comments, and assign points using the project evaluation criteria outlined below.

Clean Lakes Alliance staff will use technical scores to compare projects and make funding recommendations to Clean Lakes Alliance boards and committees for final funding decisions. All project evaluation criteria are important and will be considered equally.

Project Evaluation Criteria

  • Impact: 0-15 points
  • Methods & Deliverables: 0-5 points
  • Timetable: 0-5 points
  • Budget: 0-5 points

Grant Information Session

Applicants may attend an informational session to discuss the grant application process and funding priorities. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 8 a.m. at Clean Lakes Alliance, 150 E. Gilman St. Please RSVP to Dea Larsen Converse at in advance if you plan to attend.

What projects are eligible for grants?

Farmland Management

Clean Lakes Alliance is working to build coalitions and support policies, research, and sustainable best farm practices. Eligible projects in this area include:

  • Projects that advance innovative and sustainable farm conservation and manure management practices.
  • Projects that promote sustainable farm practices and expand opportunities to involve urban audiences through education.
  • Projects that provide ways for consumers to support best farm practices.
  • Projects/research that advance our knowledge of ways to farm sustainably, decrease soil phosphorus levels and meet our water quality goals.

Leaf Management

Clean Lakes Alliance is supporting community efforts to engage the public in effective leaf management through pilots, research, outreach, and marketing.

Eligible projects in this area include:

  • Efforts by municipalities to start or expand leaf-free street projects.
  • Projects that promote the need to keep our streets clean and free of leaves through pilot projects, research, outreach, or marketing.
  • Social marketing campaigns to influence and measure behavior change as it relates to sustaining leaf-free streets.
  • Programs that reward/recognize lake-friendly yard-care practices, including rain gardens, end of driveway infiltration, and native plant landscaping.

Construction Erosion

Clean Lakes Alliance is working to proactively communicate with businesses, elected officials, and the public about the importance of keeping the soil disturbed during construction on-site.

Eligible projects in this area include:

  • Projects that promote green approaches to building and maintaining our homes.
  • Projects that help citizens understand the rules governing construction and how to effectively promote best construction practices.
  • Projects that encourage builders to voluntarily go above and beyond current construction standards.

Lake Access and In-Lake Management

Clean Lakes Alliance is supporting ways to improve our community enjoyment of the lakes by improving our lake access points and providing assistance for projects that improve in-lake management.

Eligible projects in this area include:

  • Projects that promote action at our lake access points to improve sustainability, beachfront water quality, access, and place making.
  • Projects that improve the water quality of the lakes through in-lake management efforts like: carp removal and lakeshore enhancements.

Youth Education

Clean Lakes Alliance is supporting K-12 programs that promote our local lakes and the practices that sustain healthy lake ecosystems.

Eligible projects include:

    • Summer youth camps
    • In-school curriculum or implementation
    • School field trips

How to Respond to Request for Applications

  1. Review grant application and instructions at
  2. Fill out the grant application form according to the instructions
  3. Submit the online application to Online applications must be received by deadline to be determined.

Our grant application period is currently closed.


Please direct questions to Clean Lakes Alliance at (608) 255-1000 or Please RSVP to the information session to Dea Larsen Converse at

Apply today

Please follow the below link to view the online application form. You may also plan your answers by referring to the PDF overview of the application. Please submit all applications online.

Click here for grant application – application period is currently closed