Community Watershed Stewardship Program Selection Criteria

Information
Environmental Services evaluates Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grant project submissions based on three criteria: watershed and environmental benefits, community involvement and partnerships, and equity and leadership. Find more details about the selection criteria.
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Watershed and Environmental Benefits 

Healthy watersheds allow rain water to soak into the ground, have good water quality, and are healthy for fish, wildlife, and people. To fulfill this criteria, projects could include:

  • Native plants, which help rainwater soak into the ground, slow erosion, and are a valued resource for people and wildlife.
  • Restoring places through actions like depaving (removing pavement) sections of playgrounds and adding green space to neighborhoods.
  • Education about water pollution and responsible prevention.
  • Stewardship of natural areas such as removing invasive plants and replacing them with native species.

Community Involvement and Partnerships

CWSP seeks to award funding to projects that create strong partnerships, promote leadership, and build communities. To fulfill this criteria, projects could:

  • Involve multiple partnerships.
  • Bring together volunteers and participants beyond the project coordinators.
  • Build and/or strengthen relationships among groups and organizations.
  • Foster ongoing partnerships and connections between neighbors and groups.

Equity and Leadership of Underrepresented Communities

CWSP encourages projects that expand and diversify leadership and participation in watershed stewardship. To fulfill this criteria, projects could:

  • Be led by or involve meaningful partnerships with people of color, low-income residents, immigrants, youth, elders, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+, and other underrepresented groups.
  • Educate and engage of individuals and groups that have not previously participated in watershed stewardship projects.
  • Be located in areas of the city that have been historically underfunded by CWSP. Please see the map of previous projects. Check out the CWSP map to see locations of past projects.

A Note about Community and Native Gathering Gardens

CWSP welcomes applications for community and native gathering garden projects that contribute to watershed health. The following measures can make your application more competitive and contribute to the health and success of your garden and the watershed.

Project componentHow it can help your gardenHow it helps our environment
Remove hard surfaces such as asphalt, compact soil, and lawn turf. Keep paths small.Replaces unneeded pavement or lawn with vegetables and native plants.Allows water to soak into the ground. Keeps stormwater out of sewer pipes. Reduces pollution carried to rivers by runoff.
Native plants and trees, including edible and medicinal plants.Provides shade, supports healthy soil, and creates habitat for pollinators (birds, bees, butterflies) that will help your garden grow.Restores habitat for native species and helps connect wildlife corridors. Trees store more carbon dioxide, help reduce air temperature, and have deeper roots, which allow more water to soak in.
Manage stormwater runoff and erosion with native plant rain garden areas and barriers around garden beds and paths.Prevents flooding in your garden.Controls excess stormwater and erosion, and naturally recharges groundwater.
Soil rehabilitation, including soil and mulch amendments.Creates healthy soil for garden plants.Improves habitat for soil creatures (worms and bugs), allows more water to soak in.
Watershed and environmental education, including signage, materials, and professional educators.Helps garden volunteers and neighbors understand how growing food and improving watershed health go hand-in-hand.Expands the environmental benefits by encouraging watershed stewardship in the wider community.
Disconnect roof downspouts from the sewer and build a rain garden, bioswale or collect rainwater.Provides water for a vegetable garden.Reduces load on stormwater pipes and filters water naturally.