Tree seedling drought relief grants program

still lake with partly cloud skies reflecting in the water and mixed tree on shorline in spring time

Grant overview

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources welcomes applications from counties and tribal governments within Minnesota that manage forests and are in need of financial assistance to replant young forest stands damaged by the 2021 drought. The Minnesota legislature and governor have made $1.25 million available to fund projects through June 30, 2027. No minimum or maximum dollar limit exists, and match is not required. Funding can be used to replant bareroot and container seedlings, prepare planting sites, protect seedlings from deer browse, and tend seedlings to restore forest sites to their condition prior to drought damage.

Eligible applicants

All counties and tribal governments within Minnesota who manage forest land and have regenerating stands with seedlings that were damaged by the 2021 drought may apply.

Priority will be given to:

  • Counties or tribal governments who have trained forestry staff. Staff name and working title must be listed in application to be considered.
  • Counties or tribal governments who manage forest lands, have a recent forest management plan, or have natural resource plans that include their forest lands.
  • Projects that benefit underserved populations and areas of concern for environmental justice (communities with higher populations of low-income residents, or people of color, including tribal communities, or both).

Eligible expenses

On reforestation sites damaged by the 2021 drought, grantees can use funds to pay for the services and materials to restore previously reforested sites. Damage defined by DNR Regeneration Monitoring Procedures and Standards are sites falling below the minimum standard for cover-type, floristic region, and age of planting. This is a 100% pass-through grant.


  • Reforestation site preparation
  • Tree seedling planting
  • Protection from deer browse
  • Release of seedlings from competition


  • Tree seedlings for reforestation planting

Required stand condition for funding

Stands must be less than 10-years-old where measurable tree seedling mortality occurred due to the drought of 2021. Use the threshold below to determine if a site is eligible for funding:

Age of Project Stand

Eligibility based on tree density (trees/acre; TPA) and stocking (%)

< 5 year old

Eligible if below 600 TPA and 75% stocking

5-10 year old

Eligible if below 500 TPA and 75% stocking

Selection process

The Reforestation Grants Steering Committee, made up of DNR Forestry staff and select stakeholders, will recommend projects and award amounts. The steering committee will evaluate all eligible and complete applications received by the deadline. DNR will review all committee recommendations and is responsible for final award decisions. The award decisions of DNR are final and not subject to appeal.

Project timeline

RFA posted on the DNR website

October 12, 2022

Application period closed (first request)

December 12, 2022

RFA re-posted on the MNDNR website (second request)

January 9, 2023

On a first-come-first-serve basis: selection, negotiations, work plan approval, contracting (second request)

January 9, 2023 - February 23, 2023

Application period closed (second request)

February 23, 2023

How to apply


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