Apply for a Community Stewardship Grant

These grants support community-based projects that serve to protect and restore the local environment.
Man holding turtle
Volunteer monitoring wildlife at Upper Lesmurdie Falls

Community Stewardship Grants are available annually for community-based projects that help conserve, restore, rehabilitate or enhance a local natural area, conserve WA’s biodiversity and maintain or build the capability of NRM community groups across the State.

In October 2020, the State Government announced a further $27 million in funding for the continuation of the State NRM Program, bringing the total investment for 2018/19 to 2025/26 to over $58 million.

In 2022, $7 million is available for the 2022 Community Stewardship Grants round.

The Community Stewardship Grants program involves two components: a small grants round and a large grants round.

Their respective features include:

  • Small grants:
    • valued between $1,000 - $35,000
    • commencing on or after 1 January in the year following the grant round
    • for up to 18 months' duration.
  • Large grants
    • valued between $35,001 - $450,000
    • intended for more strategic, complex projects
    • commencing on or after 1 January in the year following the grant round
    • for up to 3 years duration.

The 2022 Community Stewardship Grant Guidelines are essential reading for all applicants to this year’s grant round. Eligibility criteria, eligible activities and applicant requirements have been updated. A link to the 2022 Guidelines is provided below.

The WA Natural Resource Management Framework sets out the WA Government’s direction for working together in partnership to manage WA’s natural resources for the future, and guides the direction of the State NRM Program. It outlines six priorities for coordinated NRM in WA:

  • sustainable management of land resources
  • maintain and enhance water assets
  • protect and enhance the marine and coastal environment
  • conserve and recover biodiversity
  • enhance skills, capability and engagement
  • deliver high quality planning that leads to effective action.

When do applications open?

When can I expect to be able to apply for a Community Stewardship Grant?

Applications are open annually for a period of around 10 weeks. Prospective applicants can expect calls for applications between February and May each year.

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    Am I eligible?

    Is my group or organisation eligible to apply for a Community Stewardship Grant?

    Applicants from the following groups or organisations are encouraged to apply:

    • Aboriginal community organisations including Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate
    • Community groups (with an ABN) including:
      • catchment groups
      • ‘friends of’ groups
      • landcare groups
      • Land Conservation District Committees
      • production or grower groups.
    • Community Resource Centres
    • local government authorities
    • primary and secondary schools
    • Recognised Biosecurity Groups
    • regional NRM groups.

    The following groups are not eligible to apply:

    • for profit organisations
    • individuals
    • organisations that do not have a branch or base of operation in WA
    • tertiary education institutions
    • unincorporated associations
    • WA Government departments.

    My organisation is not incorporated or doesn't have an ABN

    Unincorporated associations or incorporated groups without an ABN are not eligible to apply directly for Community Stewardship Grant funding, however may seek funding under the auspices or sponsorship of a third party that is eligible to apply for funding. A signed Sponsorship Agreement is a requirement of the application. Under this arrangement, the third-party organisation applies for, and receives, project funds on behalf of the unincorporated community group that delivers the project activities.

    How are applications assessed?

    What are the criteria for the Community Stewardship Grants and how are they assessed?

    The Community Stewardship Grants are an investment by the WA Government to support the NRM initiatives of people at the local or regional level in protecting and restoring WA’s natural resources.

    The merit of each application is assessed against the following criteria:

    • clear outcomes that support the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources (30%)
    • evidence of local community involvement in each phase of the project lifecycle at design, planning and implementation, including engagement with Aboriginal people (30%)
    • a reasonable and well justified funding request that demonstrates value for money (30%)
    • sound planning and ability to manage the project (10%).

    The key stages in the assessment process are:

    • initial assessment: each assessment panel member individually reviews each application
    • panel convenes: all projects are assessed and prioritised by the panel as a group, seeking technical advice as required, resulting in a shortlist of recommended applications
    • WA NRM Ministerial Council approval: it is anticipated that successful applications will be announced in November by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, as lead Minister for NRM
    • notification: all successful grants will be published on the State NRM Program website with applicants notified by email on the outcome of their grant application.

    What can I apply for?

    What activities can be funded through the community stewardship grants?

    The grants can be used to fund a wide range of NRM activities that will facilitate on-ground, local or regional NRM actions and/or improve an organisation's capability to undertake stewardship of natural resources.

    On-ground activity examples include:

    • Coastal and marine protection
      • protection of dune systems and biodiversity
      • pest weed and animal control in coastal and marine areas
      • protection of marine resources (plant and animal)
      • education and training that leads to on-ground activity
      • plans that lead to on-ground activity.
    • Devolved grants
      • devolved grants are a particular type of grant in which a lump sum of money is granted to the applicant. The applicant would then ‘sub-contract’ private landholders or others to deliver the proposed works. Projects that involve devolved grants should describe:
        • the purpose of the devolved grants;
        • why devolved grants are considered the best/most strategic approach;
        • what strategies will be used to guide the assessment or approval process; and
        • how you will ensure the grants achieve a predominately public benefit.
    • Fencing
      • stock exclusion fencing
      • predator-proof fencing
      • vermin-proof fencing.
    • Infrastructure
      • bird hides or bird viewing platforms that have environmental benefits
      • earthworks that clearly demonstrate a NRM benefit and are not purely for amenity
      • infrastructure that contains or controls vehicle or pedestrian access (such as bollards)
      • nature playgrounds that clearly demonstrate an NRM education benefit
      • pathways that assist in access control and preserving the environment
      • signage for educational purposes or to protect the environment.
    • Invasive species (pest plants, animals and diseases)
      • control of invasive species in marine, coastal, estuarine, wetland and/or river areas where the public benefit can be demonstrated (subject to licensing and permit conditions)
      • control of Weeds of National Significance (WONS) or Declared Plants of Western Australia
      • innovative and integrated weed control methods
      • control of feral animals with a long-term view to local extermination of management
      • control of fungal and other diseases affecting remnant vegetation
      • continuing projects that can show their impact over time towards localised eradication or containment, such as through mapping and evaluation.
    • Regenerative agriculture
      • behaviour change activities where information on regenerative agriculture techniques can be shared, discussed, interrogated, and measured
      • building the capacity of Aboriginal people to participate in regenerative land management practices
      • farm planning that supports regenerative farm management
      • on-ground works where regenerative agriculture practices are implemented on-farm.
    • Remnant vegetation protection
      • connectivity between remnant patches or revegetated corridors
      • high-quality representative plant communities
      • incorporate buffer zones
      • incorporate cross-boundary remnant protection.
    • Revegetation
      • direct native seeding
      • native seed collection and/or propagation
      • planting of native seedlings.

    Capability improvement activity examples include:

    • Capturing or implementing Traditional Ecological Knowledge
      • focus on Indigenous biological and ecological knowledge, and how that knowledge is applied to natural resources, plants, animals, and their environments
      • involving Traditional Owners in project activities, demonstrating how the knowledge will be stored, and how the knowledge will be used in future land and sea management.
    • Data collection
      • collecting and interpreting data to improve the condition of an area or species
      • demonstrating how the data will be used in natural resource management and how it will be stored, managed, and shared.
    • Information sharing
      • events such as seminars, workshops, field trips, citizen science
      • information products such as booklets, brochures, websites, GIS systems, peer-to-peer learning systems, noting that the preferred format for products is digital
      • education programs that focus on school children's environmental education
      • skills development and training programs including Aboriginal Ranger Group training.
    • Monitoring
      • establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework
      • purchasing equipment for monitoring (such as remote sensing cameras).
    • Planning
      • developing a plan (such as an action plan or management plan) which clearly indicates how the plan will be used in future management of an area or species and how it will contribute to decision making.
    • Research
      • research into extensions of local knowledge development which identify how the results will be used in the future to preserve or protect a specific area or species
      • research into implementation of innovative best practice in specific WA land systems where it is relatively untested
      • other innovative research into WA specific NRM outcomes and activities.
    • Resource condition assessment
      • resource condition assessments which enable improved long-term management could include:
        • flora, fauna or vegetation surveys and mapping
        • weed mapping or monitoring
        • pest animal surveys or mapping
        • water quality surveys
        • plant survival surveys
    • Technical advice
      • engaging the services of advisers or consultants who can help volunteers and community groups access, interpret, and better understand technical information.
    • Training and skills development
      • building the capacity or capability of an organisation or volunteers through training and skills development which describes the training need, how it was identified, and how the training need or skills-gap will be addressed.

    Helpful grant writing hints and tips

    Things to consider while preparing your application.

    Applications are judged on merit by an assessment panel and competition is often fierce.

    Some tips to assist applicants include:

    • approach this application process as an opportunity to sell your project concept and help the assessment panel understand why the project is important
    • WA is a large State, so don't assume the assessors are familiar with the local area or the background to the project
    • show your thinking – use the application and attachments to clearly explain the purpose of the project, why it’s important, and what NRM outcomes it will achieve
    • projects that involve collaboration among multiple stakeholders are highly regarded
    • ensure the public to private benefit is balanced, and the co-contributions demonstrate the support and need for the project
    • demonstrate how the grant will enable activity and outcomes that otherwise will not occur
    • show how local community, Aboriginal people, and other stakeholders have participated in project planning
    • show how these stakeholders will contribute to the delivery of the project
    • show that the project design and planning is evidence-based (and upload the evidence as an attachment)
    • detail why each activity is necessary to achieve the intended outcomes
    • show why the resources requested for each activity are essential and cost-effective
    • explain why the chosen approach/method and locations/sites are the most suitable
    • consider providing evidence such as quotes, management plans or maps
    • aim to be as clear as possible
    • avoid using acronyms and jargon.

    Contact us

    State NRM Program

    Level 4, 1 Nash Street, Perth WA 6000

    Phone: (08) 6552 2158

    Page reviewed 2 March 2022