Apply for a Community Stewardship Grant

Community Stewardship Grants are available annually to support community-based projects that serve to protect and restore the local environment, enabling local community groups to undertake stewardship of natural resources in their local area.
Last updated: 2 March 2023
Volunteers removing weedy Gladioli in Moore River Catchment
Volunteers removing weedy Gladioli in Moore River Catchment

Over the past 5 years, $38.5 million worth of Community Stewardship Grants have supported 409 grassroots not-for-profit and volunteer groups that care for the State’s diverse and valuable natural assets, from the Kimberley to the South Coast.

In 2023, $7 million is available for the 2023 Community Stewardship Grants round.

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

  • Small grants:
    • valued between $1,000 - $50,000
    • commencing on or after 1 January in the year following the grant round
    • for up to 18 months' duration.
  • Large grants
    • valued between $50,001 - $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 2023 Community Stewardship Grant Guidelines are essential reading for all applicants. Eligibility criteria, grant program funding request values, eligible activities, and applicant requirements have been updated. 

The 2023 Guidelines may be downloaded at the link below.

Community Stewardship Grant Outcomes

The WA Natural Resource Management Framework outlines six priorities for coordinated NRM in WA. These priorities guide the outcomes and investment priorities for the Community Stewardship Grants:
Priority Outcome
Priority 1
Sustainable management of land resources
Agricultural landscapes will be maintained or improved by driving sustainable and/or regenerative agricultural practices, focusing on soil biology and landscape management, to produce healthier food, a healthier environment, and improved bottom line to enable enduring prosperity.
Priority 2
Maintain and enhance water assets
Water assets will be maintained, improved, and protected through activities that support ecosystem health, water availability, biodiversity, and spiritual and cultural values for Aboriginal people.  Water assets include estuaries, floodplains, wetlands, and groundwater systems.
Priority 3
Protect and enhance the marine and coastal environment
Marine and coastal environments, species, and habitats will be maintained, improved, and protected from biological and physical threats including the declining numbers of some species, introduction of pests and diseases, and the impacts of climate change and sea level rise.
Priority 4
Conserve and recover biodiversity
Western Australia’s rich, diverse, and unique biodiversity and its economic, cultural, scientific, educational, and recreational values will be maintained, improved, and protected from biological and physical threats and processes including the declining numbers of some species, introduction of pests and diseases, and the impacts of climate change.
Priority 5
Enhance skills, capacity, and engagement
The capacity, knowledge, skills, engagement, and participation of stakeholders including volunteers, community groups, Aboriginal people, and the broader community will be maintained or improved.  Values, beliefs, and behaviours of stakeholders will be respected.
Priority 6
Deliver high quality planning that leads to effective action
High quality and strategic planning that leads to coordinated and effective actions will be facilitated and delivered to conserve, prevent further deterioration of condition and provide opportunities for remediation of our natural resources.


When do applications open and close?

Applications are now open.

All applications, together with any supporting documentation, must be submitted by 12 noon AWST on Monday 1 May 2023. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For updates direct from the State NRM Program, subscribe here.

    Am I eligible?

    To be eligible to apply, applicants must be an incorporated not-for-profit organisation with an ABN.

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

    • Aboriginal community organisations including Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate (RNTBC);
    • incorporated associations and not-for profit companies or trusts, including most community, landcare, and NRM groups, Recognised Biosecurity Groups, and grower groups;
    • Land Conservation District Committees
    • local government authorities (LGA); or
    • primary and secondary schools.

    The following groups are not eligible to apply:

    • for profit organisations, partnerships or companies including sole traders;
    • individuals;
    • organisations that do not have a branch or base of operation in Western Australia;
    • tertiary education institutions;
    • unincorporated associations*; or
    • Western Australian or Australian Government agencies.

    *Unincorporated associations can seek funding via a project sponsor (an eligible organisation that applies on behalf of the unincorporated association). More information on sponsorship is provided in the 2023 Community Stewardship Grants Guidelines.

    Projects must be based within the state of Western Australia. Applications for project activities in Australian territories (for example, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands) are ineligible.

    How are applications 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 Community Stewardship Grants prioritise the direct involvement of local community, including Aboriginal people, in all project stages of design, planning and implementation, through which efficient and effective partnerships between government, industry, and community can be fostered.

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

    • clear NRM outcomes that align with the Community Stewardship Grant Outcomes (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 approval: it is anticipated that successful applications will be announced in October 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?

    Grants can be used to fund a wide range of NRM activities that will achieve on-ground environmental outcomes directly or improve community capacity and capability to achieve positive NRM outcomes. 

    Activities must deliver outcomes that align with the Community Stewardship Grant Outcomes.

    Some examples of eligible activities include:

    • Fencing
    • Invasive species (pest plants, feral animals, and plant diseases)
    • Sustainable and/or regenerative agriculture
    • Remnant vegetation protection
    • Revegetation (native species only)
    • Threatened species conservation or protection
    • Capturing or implementing Traditional Knowledge of Country
    • Data collection
    • Information sharing
    • Planning
    • Research
    • Resource condition assessment
    • Technical advice
    • Training and skills development. 
    • Infrastructure (for NRM outcomes)

    A breakdown of eligible activities, including expectations and limitations of activities, is provided in Appendix B of the 2023 Guidelines.

    Ineligible activities

    Community Stewardship Grant funding may only be requested for activities or items which are in addition to business as usual.

    The following items and activities are ineligible for Community Stewardship Grant funding:

    • activities that are a statutory or regulatory responsibility of the landholder (such as boundary fencing);
    • activities that are directly related to income generation under another program or scheme (such as carbon credits);
    • expenses/costs that are already funded or resourced, either through another grant or under business as usual, including:
    • coordination, supervision, or officer ‘time’ (such as existing salaries or on-costs);
    • existing overheads and administration costs (such as HR, finance, and office space);
    • expenses/costs for retroactive projects, activities, or events, including works, planning or site assessment completed prior to the grant being awarded;
    • expenses to cover salary or on-costs of Western Australian or Australian Government employees;
    • purchase of equipment or materials that is ordinarily a landholder’s responsibility as part of the day-to-day management of a property;
    • purchase, lease, or acquisition of land;
    • purchase of clothing, excluding items necessary for personal safety;
    • purchase of information available free of charge and/or development of data and information that is readily available;
    • revegetation with species that are not endemic to the region;
    • revegetation that is predominantly for feed or fodder purposes;
    • roadside weed control, unless it is to control a Weed of National Significance or a Western Australian Declared Plant;
    • sustainable or regenerative agriculture activities that are already established as standard practice in the region;
    • activities to beautify, improve amenity, or improve access that cannot be directly linked to an NRM outcome (such as construction of new roads, tracks or car parks, or the resurfacing of existing infrastructure);
    • mine or quarry rehabilitation;
    • play equipment or areas that do not have a direct link to an NRM outcome;
    • removal of old infrastructure (including fences);
    • sitting, board or committee fees or reimbursements;
    • student scholarships, stipends, or subsidies; and
    • volunteer stipends or subsidies.

    Stakeholder consultation

    One of the key assessment criteria is evidence of local community involvement in each phase of the project lifecycle at design, planning and implementation, including consultation with Aboriginal people. Including evidence of stakeholder engagement shows the assessment panel that the project is well planned and supported by the community.

    The State NRM Program encourages projects which address issues at a landscape scale, and it is important that consultation occurs with any other groups in the area who may have an interest in the proposed activities.  It is important that all stakeholders are engaged with or consulted during the project planning process.

    Applicants must obtain written permission (such as a letter or email) from the landowner and/or manager of each site subject to project activities to include with the application.

    Early engagement with local Aboriginal groups during the development of your project is essential. It is required regardless of land tenure (whether the land you are working on is privately owned or public land).

    More information about Engaging with Aboriginal people can be found in Appendix A of the 2023 Guidelines.


    The workplan is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to set out your project plan in detail.  The 2023 workplan template, including a worked example, is provided at the link here.  There is also a link within the application form.

    Without a completed workplan on the correct template, your application will not be considered.  All project costs, co-contributions, and calculations must be provided excluding GST.

    Use the workplan to provide additional detail to:

    • show how each activity is necessary to achieve the intended outcomes
    • detail the work which will be undertaken during each activity
    • show why the resources requested for each activity are essential and cost-effective.

    Helpful grant writing hints and tips

    Things to consider while preparing your application.

    Applications are assessed on merit by an assessment panel and competition is often fierce for the limited grant funding available.

    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 to the community and the environment
    • aim to be as clear as possible
    • avoid using acronyms and jargon
    • don't assume the assessors are familiar with your organisation, the local area, or the background to the project – give them enough information to provide context
    • show your thinking – use the application, workplan and other attachments to clearly explain the purpose of the project, why it’s important, and what NRM outcomes it will achieve
    • 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 and will support project implementation
    • show that the project design and planning is evidence-based (and upload the evidence as attachments)
    • explain why the chosen approach/method and locations/sites are the most suitable
    • consider providing supporting evidence such as quotes, management plans, or maps
    • ensure the public to private benefit is balanced, and the co-contributions and letters of commitment demonstrate the support and need for the project.

    Apply for a grant

    Applications must be submitted using the online application form available at Applications will not be accepted in any other format. SmartyGrants is the online grants management tool used by the State NRM Program.

    A Microsoft Word version of the application form is provided at the link here. This may assist applicants in drafting responses to the application questions prior to entering information into the online application form.  

    There are 2 grant programs with separate application forms. Please ensure that you choose the right program for your application:

    • Community Stewardship Grants - LARGE
      • For up to 3-year projects valued between $50,001 - $450,000
    • Community Stewardship Grants – SMALL
      • For 6 – 18 month projects valued between $1,000 - $50,000

    To apply for a Community Stewardship Grant, click on the link below:
    Apply for a grant

    Contact us

    State NRM Program

    Level 4, 1 Nash Street, Perth WA 6000

    Phone: (08) 6552 2158