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Securing funding to build and sustain a wetland program can be a major challenge. Tribal wetland programs may have to pay for personnel, monitoring supplies, laboratory analyses, travel, contractual work, data management, mapping, website maintenance, outreach & education, training, permitting (e.g., site visits, applications), vehicles for field work, overhead expenses, grant administration, and other costs. Funding for tribal wetland programs is often a combination of Tribal and Federal sources. The following sections provide resources on applying for EPA Wetland Program Development Grants and other potential funding sources for tribal wetland programs.

EPA Wetland Program Development Grants

Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs) assist tribal, state, territorial, and local government agencies, as well as intertribal and interstate entities, in developing or refining programs that protect, manage, and restore wetlands. WPDGs are EPA's primary source of financial support for tribal (and state) wetland programs and are competitive grants for projects that can last between two and four years. EPA Regions issue regional Requests for Applications (RFAs) every two years, typically in the spring of odd numbered years. EPA Headquarters issues a tribal-only RFA in alternating years (i.e., in even numbered years). Tribes can apply for both the Regional RFA and the Headquarters tribal-only RFA. WPDG RFAs include two tracks:

  • Track One is for Tribes, states, and local governments that have or are developing/refining a Wetlands Program Plan
  • Track Two is open to intertribal consortia and states, as well as local governments, interstate agencies, and eligible colleges and universities that are agencies of a state government.

WPDGs are meant to develop the capacity of tribal governments to increase the quantity and quality of wetlands. These grants cannot be used for implementation activities, which would include ongoing, routine activities. In order to be eligible for a WPDG, the proposal needs to demonstrate a linkage with the Core Elements Framework.

NAWM Resources:

Fact Sheet on Wetland Program Development Grants

Wetland Program Development Grant Application Checklist

Webinar Recording: A Path to Successful EPA Grant Applications for Your Tribal Wetland Program, December 8, 2022

Other Useful Resources on WPDGs:

EPA’s webpages on Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs) and Wetland Program Development Grants Case Studies

PowerPoint Slides from EPA on Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDGs) – Overview and Tricks and Tips

EPA’s Office of Grants and Debarment provides information and training programs on putting grant applications, developing budgets and work plans, and other relevant topics, and includes the following resources:

The PNW Tribal Wetland Working Group (TWIG) held training sessions on developing competitive WPDGs. The trainings were recorded and can be viewed here:

Other Potential Funding Sources

Tribal wetland managers often draw on a number of funding sources to build and maintain their wetland programs and have to “think outside the box” when looking for funding opportunities. This Fact Sheet on Wetland Program Funding Options provides an overview of potential funding sources for wetland programs. This EPA webpage includes potential funding sources from EPA and other federal agencies.

Additional places to look for potential wetland program funding include:

NAWM webpage on Sustainable Financing for States and Tribes

Webinar Recordings about Wetland Program Funding:

Back to Tribal Wetland Program main page

Tribal Clean Water Act Training