Minnesota's Coastal Program Grants

Every year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) offers grants to help communities, agencies, and organizations solve issues that impact Lake Superior and its coast.  We provide two types of grants:

  • Annual: $10,000 - $100,000 grants, projects completed in 15-18 months, awarded annually in July.
  • Short Term Action Request (STAR):  $2,500 - $7,500 grants, projects completed in six months, no construction or land acquisition, three project start dates available (January 1, May 1, and September 1).

MNDNR awards the grant funds through a competitive process.  Funding comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  A 1:1 match is required for all grants.  MNDNR will distribute funds on a reimbursement basis (after costs have been incurred).

Since 2001, the MNDNR has awarded more than $12.5 million for coastal program projects.

We are currently accepting applications from both our Annual Grants and STAR Grants

What type of project could I do with a grant?

Your project must be located in Minnesota’s coastal area, be action-oriented, and align with one of the following categories and goals (of the national Coastal Zone Management Act):

  • Coastal Habitat: Protect the coastal areas’ natural resources and habitats.
  • Coastal Hazards: Protect lives and property in the coastal area by minimizing risk from natural hazards such as storms, flooding and erosion.
  • Water Quality: Safeguard and restore water quality in Lake Superior and area streams.
  • Public Access: Create or improve public access to outdoor recreational opportunities within Minnesota’s coastal area.
  • Coastal Community Development: Help communities manage development along the Lake Superior coast in a sustainable way.
  • Coordination and Public Involvement: Collect, analyze, and share information that leads to better coastal land and water management by government and citizens.

What activities are ineligible for grant funds?

  • Creation of wetlands or other habitat required as a condition of a permit or any other regulatory action
  • Projects at wetland mitigation banks
  • Maintenance and/or purchase of recreational equipment
  • Harbor dredging
  • Warehouse demolition
  • Breakwater construction
  • Large-scale hard structure erosion control projects
  • Beach re-nourishment
  • Building marinas
  • Infrastructure projects related to road, water and sewer line construction
  • Improvements to buildings for rental, lodging or private property

Which entities are eligible to receive a grant?

  • Cities, townships and counties within the coastal area
  • Area-wide agencies
  • Regional planning agencies
  • State agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Public school districts in the coastal area
  • Conservation districts
  • Port authorities
  • Tribal governments
  • Joint powers boards
  • Sanitary sewer boards

Are you accepting applications?

We are currently accepting applications for both our Annual and STAR grants.


Applications must be emailed to mlscp.dnr@state.mn.us  by 3:00 pm on December 12, 2016. Download the 2017 Annual Notice of Grant Opportunity for more information and application instructions.  You will need to submit a completed 2017 Annual Grant Application Cover Sheet with your application.

If you are applying for funds for a construction or land acquisition project, please review the NOAA Section 306A Guidance as you will be responsible for completing the required documentation.


Applications must be emailed to mlscp.dnr@state.mn.us by 3:00 pm on January 3, 2017 for a May 1 start date, and by 3:00 pm on May 1, 2017 for a September 1 start date.  Download the STAR Notice of Grant Opportunity for more information and application instructions.  You will need to submit a completed STAR Grant Application Cover Sheet with your application. 
Activities that involve moving dirt or destroying vegetation are not eligible for STAR Grant funds.  For example, you cannot erect signs, plant plants, pull invasive species, or build boardwalks or trails.

Grant Application Guidance Training

Our Grants Specialist will host two webinars on preparing your grant application.
The webinars will be held via Lync (Skype for Business). To join the webinar, 5-10 minutes prior to the start time, click on the link below. You must use an HTML 5 enabled browser, and may need to update your browser prior to using Lync.
These webinars will not be recorded. Questions and answers provided during the webinars will be included in the Question and Answer document published on this page.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

You can direct your questions to Cynthia Poyhonen, Grants Specialist at 218-834-1447 or cynthia.poyhonen@state.mn.us.

Resources for Grantees