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Community Watershed Stewardship Program Application Process and Guidelines

The Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) application process includes a pre-application phase. If your pre-application is approved, the CWSP Coordinator will invite you to complete a full application. Learn more about how and when to apply for a CWSP grant.
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How to Apply

The application process includes a pre-application phase and an application phase. Potential applicants must submit a pre-application form that describes the proposed project and how it meets the program requirements. If your pre-application is approved, the CWSP coordinator will invite you to submit a full application. Applicants who do not receive an invitation to submit a full application will also be notified.

Application Timeline

Fall and Winter 2023

  • Brainstorm project ideas.
  • Reach out to potential partners.
  • Contact fiscal agent and property owner.
  • Research resources.

November – December 2023 

  • Complete Pre-Application.

January 2024

  • Pre-application is due Monday, January 22, 2024.
  • Continue project planning.
  • Identify potential support (partner organizations, volunteers, donations).
  • Start locating supporting documentation.
  • CWSP will inform all applicants whether they will be invited to continue with the full application process.

February 2024

  • Complete all parts of the Full Application.
  • Assemble all supporting documents (see Full Application Checklist).
  • Full Application due Monday, March 11, 2024.

April 2024

  • CWSP will inform applicants of the Selection Committee’s award decisions.

June 2024

  • CWSP will notify awardees when authorization of funds is confirmed.

July – August 2024

  • All awardees will complete their grant agreements prior to starting their Environmental Services-funded work.

Preparing to do Business with the City

It is important to be prepared for what you will need if you are chosen to receive grant funding. The City of Portland has policies in place that require partnering organizations to:

  • Have a business bank account. This is required to allow for payment of the grant. CWSP cannot write checks to individuals or personal bank accounts.
  • Provide insurance documents for the project. CWSP will confirm that the work performed for CWSP projects is properly protected. Exact insurance requirements may vary. Your CWSP coordinators welcome your questions. An insurance example can be downloaded and viewed here.
  • Have the financial capability to make grant project-related purchases upfront and provide invoices and receipts to be reimbursed. It can take up to 30 days after invoices are processed to receive funds.

Fiscal Agents

Fiscal Agents help growing organizations with the administrative and financial side of a grant.

Does my group need a Fiscal Agent?

Your organization will need a fiscal agent if any of the requirements in the section above on doing business with the City are not available. If you are unsure if you meet the requirements, talk to a CWSP coordinator and they will help you determine the best route for your organization and may have ideas regarding fiscal agents.

What does a Fiscal Agent do?

The fiscal agent for a CWSP grant will participate in the initial contracting process by:

  • Reviewing and acknowledging the grant agreement, which describes the roles of the fiscal agent and grantee.
  • Providing insurance documents.
  • Setting up direct deposit for reimbursement.
  • Signing the contract itself.

The fiscal agent will pay for project expenses upfront and be responsible for saving receipts, tracking expenses, and sending invoices to CWSP for reimbursement. Note: You can be reimbursed for expenses several times throughout the year if you make those arrangements with CWSP. You do not need to spend the full grant amount before getting reimbursed.

The exact division of tasks between the grantee and fiscal agent should be agreed upon after reviewing the grant agreement and acknowledging a mutual understanding of each other’s responsibilities.

Do Fiscal Agents receive compensation?

Some organizations are willing to act as fiscal agents for smaller groups at no charge. Other organizations charge a percentage of the grant to cover administrative costs. Be clear about your arrangements from the beginning and be sure to factor this into your budget.

Full Application Documentation

In addition to the application form, you will need to submit the following documents with your full application.

  • Map – Attach a map (PortlandMaps is a useful reference) with the project site clearly marked. Submit a site plan, if applicable.
  • Photos – Include two or three photos of your project area, if applicable.
  • Letters of support – All projects require a letter of support from:
    • The fiscal agent. This is someone within your organization or a partner organization who can handle the money and liability and worker's comp insurance.
    • The property owner(s). To determine the property owner of a parcel of land, look up the parcel on PortlandMaps.

Additional Letters of Support

In addition, projects that include the following will need to submit letters of support –

  • Partners contributing substantial or critical resources to your project.
  • Technical experts indicating that your project is feasible (particularly relevant for stormwater projects).
  • Monitoring projects indicating how and when the monitoring data will be used.

Please contact the CWSP coordinator with any questions about fiscal agents, property owners, or letters of support.

Projects at Schools, Parks, and in the Right-of-way

If your project is at a Portland Public School, in a park, or in the right-of-way, you will need to contact the individuals below for a letter of support.

Portland Public Schools
Projects with or at your local school require a letter of support from both the school principal and the public school district point of contact. For projects at other schools please ask the CWSP coordinators for the right contact.

Aaron Presberg, Portland Public Schools,, 503-916-3279

Projects located in Portland Parks & Recreation natural areas must contact Stephan Bouffard three to four weeks in advance of submitting your application.

Stephan Bouffard, Portland Parks & Recreation,, 503-823-7720

Transportation-Related Projects
Transportation-related stormwater and landscaping projects such as in the right-of-way by a street, landscape strips, green streets, and triangles.

Ivy Dunlap, Environmental Services,, 503-823-7754


Environmental Services staff members are available to help with your project. For additional resources please contact the CWSP coordinators.

CWSP – Staff is available to help brainstorm project ideas, provide assistance with preparing your project proposal, and connect you with resources.

Daryl Houtman or Kathy Dang, CWSP coordinator(s) 

Stormwater Retrofit Program – Staff can provide a free site assessment to determine technical feasibility for stormwater projects such as rain gardens, asphalt removal, downspout disconnection.

Joel DeWit
(503) 823-5858

Clean Rivers Education – Staff can provide advice on education projects and visit classrooms.

Megan Hanson, Environmental Education Specialist
(503) 823-7185

Watershed Services – Staff can help you design your project to support the city’s specific goals for your watershed.

Daryl Houtman, Columbia Slough and Columbia River
(503) 823-1849

Kathy Dang, Eastside Watersheds
(503) 823-6675

Colleen Mitchell, Westside Watersheds
(503) 823-5326


Partners help you get your project done. They can provide materials and services, help find volunteers, offer special knowledge and advice, and help you reach out to other groups and communities. Partners also benefit from being a part of the project. They learn about watershed health, develop skills, and create lasting relationships in your community. Contact a CWSP Coordinator for partner ideas.