Community Conservation Funding Opportunities

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A group of more than a dozen potted trees being used in a community tree-planting event
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Community Conservation Funding Opportunities
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The Department of Conservation offers communities and partners a number of grant and cost-share options to assist with everything from green development to wildlife habitat to enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities.

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MDC Grant and Cost-Share Opportunities

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MDC’s Community Conservation Grant Program promotes urban wildlife habitat improvement, encourages organizational partnerships for land stewardship, and supports the training of partner staff to manage natural landscapes. The Community Conservation Grant opportunity is available for communities meeting practice requirements and approval by their local MDC Community Conservation Team.

Eligible Groups

Eligible applicants include (1) government entities (e.g., municipal and county parks departments, schools), or (2) non-profit corporations. Applications from schools and school districts must identify a full-time staff member as project manager. If the applicant is not the property owner, a letter of permission must accompany the application. 

Eligible Practices

Practices eligible for funding must promote urban habitat and include land management activities necessary for habitat restoration, native plant establishment, terrestrial and aquatic habitat enhancement, exotic species control, and staff training for natural landscape management.

Application Process

Grant applications are available beginning in July annually, and will be evaluated on a quarterly basis. For more information about the Community Conservation Grant Program, contact your regional office.

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MDC’s Urban Conservation Cost-share Program promotes sustainable development practices and the establishment of natural resource conservation practices in municipal and developing areas.

Eligible Groups

Eligibility is determined by the project planner and regional supervisor based on regional priorities. Due to the limited dollars available, proposed projects may be reviewed as needed by the Regional Community Conservation Team based on regional priorities. Eligible property includes lands in public ownership or open to the public, such as, but not limited to, municipal and county parks and schools. Private property that extends or connects to projects on public land providing stormwater conveyance, habitat connectivity, or other public benefits is eligible. 

Eligible Practices

Cost-share is authorized for activities such as native prairie restorations, forest and woodland management, tree plantings, pollinator plantings, and invasive species control. In addition, practices eligible for cost-share include urban green space planning, engineered drawings, etc.

Application Process

Cost-share opportunities are available in July annually, and applications are evaluated quarterly. Due to limited funding, applications are funded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the Urban Cost-share opportunities, please contact your regional office

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The TRIM Program is designed to assist Missouri communities with improving their community forest. TRIM encourages communities to have a sustainable, balanced, and comprehensive community forestry program based on a current tree inventory and managed with the guidance of a community forestry professional. Lastly, TRIM is designed to promote community forest benefits through the proper management and care of trees.

Eligible Groups

Eligible applicants include (1) government entities (e.g., municipal and county parks departments, schools), or (2) non-profit corporations. Applications from schools and school districts must identify a full-time staff member as project manager. If the applicant is not the property owner, a letter of permission must accompany the application.

Eligible Practices

Cost-share opportunities available under the TRIM Program include municipal tree ordinance development, development of a written community tree management plan, or community readiness plan for addressing exotic insect disease outbreaks, community tree inventories, management of ash (Fraxinus sp.) trees, training of city employees and volunteers to improve community forestry, purchase of tree-care education materials, development and/or distribution of tree-care-related educational materials, removal of critical-risk trees, pruning, tree planting, and other opportunities to further community forestry.

Application Process

Cost-share opportunities are available in July annually, and applications are evaluated quarterly. Due to limited funding, applications are funded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the TRIM cost-share opportunities, please contact your regional office

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Land Conservation Partnership Grant
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The Land Conservation Partnership Grant is a competitive, matching grant to help communities acquire land or easements and provide opportunities for land conservation or outdoor recreation access.

We are accepting applications for the Land Conservation Partnership Grants (LCPG)

The Land Conservation Partnership Grant has four partnership opportunities:

  • The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Program is a reimbursement-based grant program for enhancing public access and opportunities for citizen engagement in conservation-related outdoor recreation through the development of outdoor recreation infrastructure. Examples of possible projects include a community trail system that connects urban residents to natural habitats, an outdoor pavilion, an outdoor community archery range, or a public fishing dock. Funding will be based on available funds, viability of the proposal, and the extent to which the project advances MDC’s goal to connect people to nature. The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Program will utilize a formal Request for Proposals process. Applications must be received by September 2nd, 2022 to be considered.
  • The Conservation Land Acquisition Program provides financial assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations for acquiring lands through fee title to be held and managed by the partner. The purposes of the grant are to: 1) provide public access to lands which allow citizens to discover and connect to nature and participate in related outdoor recreation activities, and 2) enhance long-term conservation of wildlife species, habitats, and ecosystem services through protection of lands having important conservation value. Applications for the Conservation Land Acquisition Program can be submitted and considered on a rolling basis at any time.
  • The Conservation Easement Assistance Program provides financial assistance to land trusts and local governments for acquiring conservation easements on privately-owned land having especially high conservation value. The primary purpose of the grant is to provide long term habitat protection of land that has especially high conservation value for wildlife, water quality, outdoor recreation, and/or other ecosystem services. Projects selected for funding will be eligible for 100% MDC reimbursement of the costs associated with establishing a donated conservation easement (e.g. drafting, closing costs, stewardship fees, etc.). The program currently does not pay landowners for the value of the conservation easement, but is being reviewed to assess the feasibility of doing so for especially important tracts. For projects in which funding to pay the landowner for the easement value is needed/desired, applicants should wait until after our review before applying. Applications for the Conservation Land Acquisition Program can be submitted and considered on a rolling basis at any time.
  • The Land Conservation Innovations Program is an open-ended solicitation of ideas for partnership to advance land conservation in Missouri. Although we will have a critical eye in selecting projects, we are maintaining flexibility in the types of projects partners can submit. We don’t want to stifle creativity. Funding will be based on available funds, viability of the proposal, and the extent to which the project advances MDC’s land conservation goals. This program is about looking for innovative ways to advance protection of important tracts and landscapes across the state, or for building organizational/collaborative capacity that will ultimately lead to these protections. Examples include funding for training that Missouri land trusts could attend to bring them closer to accreditation, funding a partner position geared towards orchestrating land conservation opportunities in a priority landscape, or conducting landowner outreach. The Land Conservation Innovations Program will utilize a formal Request for Proposals process. Applications must be received by September 2nd, 2022 to be considered.

If you have questions, please contact your Missouri Department of Conservation Regional Office; or from our Headquarters you can contact:

  • For the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Program you can contact: Jake Buxton at Jake.Buxton@mdc.mo.gov or by phone: 573-522-4115 ext. 3264
  • For the Conservation Land Acquisition Program, Conservation Easement Assistance Program, and Land Conservation Innovations Program you can contact: Gus Raeker at Gus.Raeker@mdc.mo.gov or by phone: 573-522-4115 ext. 3129.
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Other Funding Sources