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Grants and Loans Center

DNR Grants and Loans Programs

DNR provides a number of direct grant, project grant programs as well as reimbursement programs and low interest and no interest loans.

Some are federal funds matched by state dollars and some are state funds often matched by local dollars. This section will review DNR Grants and Loans programs.

Aquatic Resources Education Grants Program

Assist Maryland's public and private schools; provides funds for classroom, laboratory, and/or field projects for student and teacher training.

Enables students to develop an appreciation of aquatic habitats by providing education materials, incentives, training and other opportunities.

Programs include: Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs, Project Wet, Healthy Water, Healthy People, Storm Drain Stenciling, ARE Grants, Raising Horseshoe Crabs in the Classroom, Green Eggs & Sand, River of Words, and Be Part of Something Big.

Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG)

BIG Program funds are available to public and private agencies and marinas and other facilities that provide transient tie-up opportunities for non-trailerable (26' or over in length) recreational boats.

Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant

Supports the goals and strategies developed under the 2000 Chesapeake Bay Agreement including the tributary Nutrient Reduction Strategies.

All implementation tasks must support an approved plan or strategy of Chesapeake Bay Agreement. Contact: Laura Younger 410-260-8742.

Coastal Zone Management Program

This Initiative is an opportunity for counties and municipalities to use intergovernmental coordination and public participation in coastal zone management development and implementation.

Provides financial and technical assistance to local governments to promote the incorporation of natural resource and/or coastal management (e.g. coastal hazards, public access, water-use activities) issues into local planning and permitting activities.

Community Parks and Playgrounds

Maryland's Community Parks & Playgrounds Program invests in the future of Maryland's established communities by revitalizing parks and playgrounds statewide.

Provides a dedicated fund source to allow the State to focus on restoring existing and creating new park and green space systems in Maryland's cities and towns.

With the support of the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly, a total of $34.9 million has been approved so far, to restore 344 park & playground projects.

Forest Stewardship Program

Helps landowners care for their land, a variety of programs offering technical and financial assistance. Provides 65% cost-sharing for enhancing forests and improving wildlife habitat. These programs cover establishment, protection, planning and management of forests. A brochure is available that outlines the services provided and any associated fees.

The most popular practices with Maryland forest owners are:

  • Forest Stewardship Plans
  • Afforestation/Reforestation
  • Forest Stand Improvement
  • Agroforestry
  • Water Quality Improvement & Watershed Restoration
  • Fish & Wildlife Habitat
  • Forest Health Protection
  • Invasive Species Control
  • Fire & Catastrophic Risk Reduction
  • Fire & Catastrophic Event Rehabilitation
  • Special Practices

Forest Management Planning - Forest Stewardship

Help landowners care for their land, a variety of programs offer technical and financial assistance.

These programs cover establishment, protection, planning and management of forests. A brochure is available that outlines the services provided and any associated fees.

Janice Hollmann Administrative Grants

MET awards grants to local land trusts throughout Maryland to increase their education and outreach activities in pursuit of conservation easement donations.

Can also be for grants to local land trusts for staff support, office space, equipment, newsletters, professional fundraising, organizational and land transaction costs.

Keep Maryland Beautiful - Bill James Environmental Education Grant

To encourage groups to initiate projects to stimulate understanding of or reduce environmental problems, and to encourage a sense of stewardship for the environment.

Grants of up to $1,000 are for proposed environmental education projects by school groups, science and ecology clubs, and other non-profit youth groups.

Keep Maryland Beautiful - Margaret Rosch Jones Award

To recognize volunteer non-profit groups or communities for demonstrated environmental education or environmental problem reduction efforts.

Additional help for continuing plans for a project that has already demonstrated a basic understanding and resolution of an environmental issue.

Land Trust Grant Fund

The Land Trust Grant Fund (LTGF) was created by the Maryland Legislature in 1990 to provide interest-free loans to help local land trusts purchase conservation lands and easements.

Local Critical Area Program Implementation

Provides funding to local governments to enhance their implementation and enforcement of the Critical Area Program at the local level.

Maryland Landowner Incentive Program

Funds projects for habitat conservation and restoration work on private land to benefit species at risk in Maryland.

Landowner submits application for review. Grant money is awarded on a competitive basis.

If selected, site visits and project description will be developed and landowner must enter into an agreement with the state.

Program Open Space

Provides financial and technical assistance to local subdivisions for the planning, acquisition, and/or development of recreation land or open space areas.

Today there are more than 5,000 individual county and municipal parks and conservation areas that exist because of the program.

Almost all of the land purchased by the DNR in Maryland in the last 37 years was funded at least in part through POS.

Pumpout Program

Through this grant program, public and private marinas are reimbursed for the purchase and installation of marine sewage pumpout facilities.

Operations and maintenance funding is also available.

Resident Curatorships

The program provides funding and labor for restoration and maintenance of historic properties owned by DNR, but for which neither the state nor DNR has the means to preserve in the public interest.

In return for restoration of the property, the curator receives a lifetime leasehold on the property.

One or two properties are offered per year.

Rural Legacy Program

The Rural Legacy Program provides the focus and funding necessary to protect large, contiguous tracts of land and other strategic areas from sprawl development and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection through cooperative efforts among state and local governments and land trusts.

Protection is provided through the acquisition of easements and fee estates from willing landowners and the supporting activities of Rural Legacy Sponsors and local governments.

Shore Erosion Control

Assistance to waterfront property owners in resolving shoreline and streambank erosion problems.

Provides technical and financial assistance for design and installation of shoreline stabilization and streambank restoration projects.

Awards provided to property owners and local governments for non-structural projects. Awards provided to local governments for structural projects.

Volunteer Fire Assistance

Provides financial assistance for equipment maintenance or purchase and training to rural fire companies to improve their ability to fight wildfires.

Only rural volunteer fire departments protecting a community of less than 10,000 population within their first due response area are eligible to apply.

Waterway Improvement Program

Financial and technical assistance to local governments for the construction of projects beneficial to the general boating public. Including:

  • Marking of channels and harbors and establishing aids to navigation.

  • Clearing of debris and obstructions from navigable waters.

  • Dredging channels and harbors, and constructing jetties and breakwaters, including those projects in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Constructing/maintaining public marine facilities beneficial to the general boating public.

Woodland Incentive Program

Provides cost share monies for implementation of reforestation and timber stand improvement practices including technical assistance in planning these practices.

Funds are paid as reimbursement up to 50% of actual cost.

Additional Federal Dollars are available.

Many of the above programs use federal dollars that are then shared with local governments. This information is usually available on the programs’ individual website, or by using the Redbook Online which lists which specific federal funds are being utilized by what programs.

  • For a searchable database on DNR’s assistance programs as well as those available under other state agencies, please go to the Maryland’s Redbook Online
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