Coldwater Conservation Planning Grants

Coldwater Conservation Plans are useful in building local awareness and support for the long-term stewardship of coldwater streams and their surrounding watersheds. The objective of these plans is to identify potential problems and opportunities for stream conservation. They often lead to more detailed watershed studies or projects, ultimately improving the health of coldwater ecosystems.

Grants up to $7,500 are awarded for the creation of a Coldwater Conservation Plan that will ultimately conserve and protect the coldwater streams of Pennsylvania. This grant provides funding to:

  • Gather existing data about coldwater ecosystems;
  • Identify potential impacts, threats, problems and opportunities affecting coldwater streams;
  • Formulate a plan of action for proposed conservation and protection strategies; and
  • Build community awareness and support for the conservation of our coldwater streams.

Coldwater Conservation Plan must include:

  1. Introduction and Background
  2. Description of the Watershed
  3. Previous and Current Studies/Analysis of Watershed
  4. Unique and Outstanding Values in the Watershed/Stream
  5. Areas of Concern and Potential Conflicts
  6. Recommendations and Next Steps
  7. Summary/Conclusions

Coldwater Conservation Implementation Grants

Implementation grants should be projects identified in completed Coldwater Conservation, Watershed or Rivers Conservation Plans. Potential projects must enhance, conserve, or protect the coldwater stream in which a coldwater conservation plan was originally completed. Other plans and reports created through another program or organization may be used as eligible documents for applying for an Implementation grant.

Grants up to $15,000 may be used to pay for equipment, materials, meeting expenditures, construction activities and other services to implement recommendations.

Only projects proposed within watersheds that have one of the following completed documents will be considered for funding:

  • A Coldwater Heritage Partnership Coldwater Conservation Plan*
  • A River Conservation Plan


  • A document that contains the following information: General description of the watershed including relevant geographical, geological, historical, and other information.
    Recent analysis of scientific data for the coldwater ecosystems.*
    Lists of areas of concern or potential threats, impacts, problems, or opportunities in the watershed.
    Recommendations or a plan of action for conservation, preservation and/or restoration activities and projects.

*The Coldwater Heritage Partnership may request updated stream data if documents, data, or analysis seem to be out of date or inconsistent with current stream conditions.

The grant applicant may use any completed plan to apply for funding and does not need to be the original author of or contributor to the plan.

Examples of eligible projects are listed below, although other projects may be eligible. Please contact the CHP program director to discuss your project before applying.

  • In-stream aquatic wildlife/fish improvement structures
  • Stormwater best management practices
  • Agricultural best management practices, like stream bank fencing
  • Acid deposition abatement and alkaline addition
  • Education and/or outreach
  • Programs that increase public awareness of watershed issues and provide hands-on learning experiences
  •  Natural stream channel and bank restoration projects that maintain or improve water quality

Program Funding Priorities

Proposals that meet the following criteria will be given priority:

  • Project will occur in a watershed that contains streams with naturally reproducing trout populations. Priority will be given to streams that contain native brook trout, followed by those that contain wild trout of other species. Stocked trout streams are of low priority unless it is shown that improvements to the stream will directly benefit native and/or wild trout. Visit the PFBC Trout Streams Interactive Map Viewer to find current trout stream designations.
  • Project will occur in a watershed listed as special protection waters within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Chapter 93 or have the potential to be upgraded. This information can be found on the DEP Integrated Report Map Viewer. Search under “Designated Use” in the lefthand bar.
  • Streams and other water bodies in the project area are located on public lands or are generally open to the public for recreational activities including angling.
  • Project demonstrates significant partnerships, volunteer involvement, and promotes opportunities for citizen science and engagement.
  • Local watershed organizations, TU chapters, county conservation districts, or academic institutions take the leading role in project implementation.
  • Proposed project demonstrates benefits to coldwater fish species as well as to the local community’s economic, recreational, and aesthetic characteristics or objectives.

Grant Application

The 2024 CHP Planning & Implementation Grant Application is not yet available. Please check back soon.

Before You Apply

Eligible Applicants –  Organizations that have 501(c)3 non-profit status in Pennsylvania, such as watershed associations, land trusts, Trout Unlimited chapters, conservancies, sportsmen groups, educational institutions and conservation organizations are eligible to apply.  Municipalities, municipal authorities, counties, and conservation districts may also apply.  Organizations that do not have 501(c)3 non-profit status must identify a non-profit organization that will administer the finances for the grant (a pass-through organization).

  • Required Match – Matching funds (1:1 ratio) of either cash or in-kind contributions, such as volunteer time or donated goods and services that directly tie to the development/implementation of the Coldwater Conservation Plan are required. If a significant portion of your match will come from Growing Greener or other funding originating from the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF), please contact the Program Director before applying.
  • Funding – If funded, 90% of the grant award will be awarded after the contract has been executed. The final 10% will be held until the Coldwater Conservation Plan/final report and budgetary information is submitted and approved.
  • Maps – Maps should be included with your application. To ensure maps can be reviewed by the committee please use one of the formats provided as examples. Click here for examples.