Green Stormwater Mini-Grants
Bring Home Some Green!
The Pierce Conservation District (PCD) is pleased to offer Green Stormwater Mini‐Grants to individuals, businesses, and community groups in the Commencement Bay, Chambers Creek, and Lower Puyallup River Watersheds for projects that reduce polluted stormwater runoff entering our local waterbodies.
When rainwater falls on impervious surfaces (buildings, roads, and lawns), it doesn’t get absorbed by plants and cleaned in the soil. Instead, it flows over these surfaces and picks up pollution along the way, creating a toxic soup that goes untreated into local creeks and streams, eventually reaching Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. Scientists estimate that 75% of pollutants in the Salish Sea come from stormwater runoff.
Because stormwater runoff comes from all of our neighborhoods and communities, individual actions can add up to make a big difference in improving our water quality, protecting public health, and recovering endangered wildlife. With a Green Stormwater Mini-Grant, you'll get both technical and financial support to create a project that captures and absorbs stormwater runoff. Grant recipients can receive up to $4,000 to plant rain gardens, remove excessive pavement, create urban habitat, and/or collect rainwater in large tanks.
Sixteen grants were awarded for projects being completed in 2022. We are excited with all of the interest from the community and look forward to awarding even more grants for projects in 2023. To get started, request a free site visit and consultation from PCD staff to figure out what solutions will work best for you! Site visits typically occur between August and October. To get notifications when we're ready to set up site visits, sign up for our quarterly Water/Wise newsletter.
How it Works
1. Schedule a Free Site Visit. This is a great chance to highlight any ideas or challenges you have with your property. PCD staff can help identify the best green stormwater project for your site to meet your goals.
2. Choose your Project(s). After the visit, decide if you plan to plant a rain garden, create urban wildlife habitat, depave, and/or install a rain tank. Once you decide, create a simple project map showing the general size and location of your project.
3. Apply for the Mini‐Grant. Fill out our online application and submit your project scope, a budget estimate, some before photos, and any other supplemental materials.
4. Receive a Notice of Award. If your project is selected for grant funding, you will receive a Notice of Award and Financial Assistance Contract from Pierce Conservation District.
5. Design Your Project. Once on contract, PCD will work with you to select plants and fully design your project.
6. Install Your Project. Whether you're working with PCD, a contractor you hired, or doing it yourself, you'll be ready to execute the project design and install your green stormwater project!
7. Enjoy! Take care of your new garden, green space, or rain tank so you can continue playing an important role in protecting the Salish Sea from pollution. PCD staff are always available for any maintenance questions and support along the way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Who's Eligible?
- What Projects Qualify?
- How Does the Cost Share Work?
- How Will Projects Be Scored?
- What Happens After I Apply?
Individuals, businesses, and organizations are eligible for a Green Stormwater Mini-Grant to support an approved project within one of our three priority watershed. The maximum grant award for any one property is $4,000. You do not need to own the property where the project will be, but the property owner must provide written permission for the project and commit to a long-term maintenance plan for the project.
Green Stormwater Mini-grants are available for projects within one of three priority watersheds: the Chambers Creek, Commencement Bay, and Lower Puyallup River (see map below). These watersheds were identified as the most in-need of green stormwater infrastructure in Pierce County due to their high percentage of impervious surfaces.
Projects outside of these watersheds are discouraged from applying, but an occasional project outside these watersheds may receive grant funding. These projects will be reviewed and approved by staff on a case-by-case basis.
Mini-grants are available to support four different project types: Depave, rain gardens, rain tanks, and urban habitat. Applicants can submit a grant for just one project type or multiple. Combining project types can help increase the stormwater impact of your project. Keep in mind that the $4,000 maximum award is per property, not per project. Each project type also must meet our minimum standards to qualify for funding:
|Project Type||Description||Minimum Standard|
|Depave||Removing unwanted and/or excessive pavement to replace it with natural landscaping. Projects to replace driveways and other surfaces with permeable pavement are not eligible.||At least 300 square feet of pavement must be removed and replaced with natural landscaping (trees, rain garden, urban habitat, etc.)|
|Rain Garden||Replacing turf grass or non-native landscaping with a rain garden that intentionally captures and filters stormwater runoff. ||At least half of a building's runoff is directed into the rain garden. Rain gardens that collect runoff from driveways and roads will be evaluated by staff.|
|Rain Tank||Harvesting rain water in a large (>200 gallon) cistern for later use and to slow/disperse rain water.||At least half of a building's runoff is directed into the rain tank. |
|Urban Habitat||Replacing turf grass or non-native landscaping with primarily native plants that benefit pollinators, birds, and other urban wildlife. ||At least 500 square feet of impervious turf grass (or other non-native landscaping) is removed and replaced with natural landscaping (75% of the species must be native).|
Mini-grants will not be awarded for a project if that project is already on a property. For example if the property already has a cistern on it, the property owner may not apply for a mini-grant to purchase an additional rain tank, but they may apply for a mini-grant to fund a rain garden. Refer to PCD’s Financial Assistance Program Policy for additional requirements and limitations.
Green Stormwater Mini-Grants require a cost-share of at least 25%. That means PCD will cover 75% of the total cost of the project (materials, labor, plants, etc.) up to a maximum award from PCD of $4,000.
For example, if a project costs a total of $5,000, PCD would provide a grant for $3,750 (75% of the project cost). If a project costs a total of $6,000, PCD would provide a grant for $4,000 because 75% of the project cost ($4,500) is above PCD's maximum award limit. You will be responsible for covering the rest of the project costs, either out of pocket or with another grant.
To get a rough idea of how much your project will cost, use these cost estimates for the project(s) you're interested in:
|Project Type||Materials Estimates||Labor Estimates|
|Depave (within Tacoma city limits)||$3 per square foot plus labor costs||Assume an additional $2,000 for 2 days of labor.|
|Depave (outside Tacoma city limits)||$23 per square foot plus labor costs||Assume an additional $2,000 for 2 days of labor|
|Rain Garden||$17 per square foot plus labor costs||Assume an additional $2,000 for 2 days of labor|
|Rain Tank||Varies. Get estimate from local contractors.||Varies. Get estimate from local contractors.|
|Urban Habitat||$5 per square foot plus labor costs||Assume an additional $2,000 for 2 days of labor|
Projects can be funded in one of two ways:
- Reimbursement. If you would like to hire your own contractor and purchase your own materials, you are free to do so! Just keep your receipts and submit them after the project is complete. PCD will then send you a check in the mail.
- Direct Pay. If you don't want to pay for things up front, no problem! PCD can hire contractors and purchase materials for your project up front. After the project is complete, PCD will send you an invoice for your portion of the project.
Each Green Stormwater Mini-Grant application will be assessed on five different facets of the proposal, each weighted differently to contribute to a total score for the project. Those facets are:
Equity (30%). As PCD works to be more inclusive, diverse, and equitable organization, we strive to address historical inequities by intentionally directing our time and resources to support projects that are in, led by, and/or serve historically marginalized communities and neighborhoods, particularly those within our Equity Focal Area.
Amplification (20%). Educational, demonstration, and community projects are great ways to amplify the importance of green stormwater infrastructure, addressing both a tangible water quality issue while educating and engaging others. Projects involving neighbors, schools, or community volunteers, are encouraged.
Stormwater Impact (20%). All project types have a minimum size they have to be, but some far exceed these standards. The larger the project, the greater the overall impact on reducing polluted stormwater runoff.
Relative Impact (20%). While the size of a project is important, we also want to support projects that maximize the green stormwater potential of a property. Projects that may be smaller due to the size of a property can still have a big impact if they collect runoff from 100% of the property’s roof or remove all of the turf grass in the yard.
Confidence (10%). PCD wants to be confident that the projects we fund are technically feasible, reduce stormwater runoff, and will be well cared for by willing and capable cooperators. Staff will discuss this with you more during your site visit.
Applications are due on Friday, November 18th, 2022 at 5:00 PM (Pacific Time).
All applications submitted before the deadline will be reviewed, assessed, and scored by a Mini-Grant Review Committee, composed of PCD staff, local green storwmater experts, and members of the community. After the committee reaches a consensus, successful applicants will be sent a Notice of Award.
Upon receiving a grant, the majority of projects will follow this timeline:
- January/February: Notice of Awards are sent to grant recipients. Additional paperwork is completed.
- March/April: Grant recipients meet with PCD and/or contractors to take your initial project scope and develop a full, shovel-ready plan.
- May/June: Rain tank projects are typically installed and completed. For non-rain tank projects, site prep work, such as pavement removal, earth moving, and mulch spreading begins.
- July/August: Pre-planting work is complete, and plants are ordered.
- September/October: Projects are planted.
- November/December: PCD inspects all projects and discusses long-term care plans with grant recipients. Final paperwork for cost share agreements is complete.
- Permitting. With the exception of Depave projects within Tacoma city limits, if permits are required for the project, the grantee is responsible for obtaining and/or purchasing them before beginning project work. A copy of the permit will be required before reimbursement. Permits for Depave projects in Tacoma will be obtained and paid for via an agreement between the City and PCD.
- Agreements. Participants of this program will be required to sign (1) a Cooperator Agreement with PCD, (2) a Financial Assistance Contract (upon grant award) that demonstrates a commitment to maintain the project for its life, (3) a Reimbursement Form upon completion of the project (if applicable).
- Grant Timeframe. Projects must be completed, and all receipts submitted to PCD within the timeframe designated in the “Notice of Award” acceptance letter. Any work completed prior to the “Notice of Award” will not be reimbursable. If a grant is awarded and no evidence of progress has been made within a 3 month period, PCD reserves the right to withdraw the grant.
- Use of Grant Funds. Grant funds are for implementation only (not intended for private design costs). Machinery rental may be reimbursed if it is necessary for implementing the Green Stormwater project. Direct contractor costs for implementation must be included in total project cost for reimbursement.
- Maintenance. Property owners are expected to maintain the project for at least the “lifespan” of the practice, which is typically a minimum of 10 years. If the property is sold in this time, the property owner must notify PCD of the change in ownership and if the new landowner will continue maintaining the project. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>