Clean Lakes Grants

History of the program

Since 2011, Clean Lakes Alliance has provided more than $1,100,000 in project support! This landmark achievement fulfills our mission of building capacity among our partner organizations and supporting on-the-ground practices for clean, healthy lakes in the Yahara Watershed.

These projects have enabled our partners in both urban and rural areas to more fully engage and improve water quality. We believe that a community engaged in our lakes and working in concert on shared water quality goals is the most effective force for improving and protecting our lakes.

We will continue to raise funds and allocate them strategically to reduce phosphorus runoff, the root cause of our water quality problems. In this past grant season alone, Clean Lakes Alliance awarded more than $81,000 to eleven projects across the watershed, including carp barriers, children’s education, and construction erosion control. As a result, we helped provide quality lake education to 610 children and diverted 435 pounds of phosphorus from entering our lakes. With one pound of phosphorus capable of producing 500 pounds of algae, that’s the equivalent of more than 217,000 pounds of algae!

Grants graph - type of project 2019
Grant projects since 2011, by type. Agriculture areas represent the majority of the Yahara Watershed and the largest potential for phosphorus reduction, as identified in the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan for Phosphorus Reduction.

2018 Clean Lakes Grant recipients

In 2018, our Clean Lakes Grants program awarded grants as part of our first ever “Request for Applications.” The Clean Lakes Grants program builds support around shared community goals as defined in Plan 2020: A Clear Path Forward

Funding priorities

Funding is available for projects in the following four categories:

  1. Farmland Management: Projects to help farmers adopt practices that reduce buildup of phosphorus in the soil and/or minimize erosion from farm fields.
  2. Urban Management: Projects that work to reduce phosphorus and runoff in urban areas.
  3. Lake Access and In-Lake Management: Projects that foster improved access, water quality, and recreational enjoyment of the lakes.
  4. Youth Education: Projects to educate K-12 students about the lakes.
2018 Grants - 1
Clean Lakes Grants projects

Project location and period

Projects must be located in the Yahara River Watershed with priority to areas that drain to the five Yahara lakes.

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 follow
    Application deadline – To be determined
  • Award announcements – Annually in May at Clean Lakes Community Breakfast

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

Grant information session

Clean Lakes Alliance will host an informational session to discuss the grant application process and funding priorities.

What projects are eligible for grants?

2018 Grants - 2
Clean Lakes Grants projects

How to respond to request for applications

  1. Review grant application and instructions on this page.
  2. Fill out the grant application form according to the instructions
  3. Submit the online application to cleanlakesalliance.org/grants.

Our grant application period is currently closed.


Please direct questions to Clean Lakes Alliance at (608) 255-1000 or grants@cleanlakesalliance.org.

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

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