Minnesota's Coastal Program Grants

Every year the DNR offers grants to help communities, agencies, and organizations balance protection of Lake Superior coastal resources with providing places for people to live, work, and play.

1. Annual

We are no longer accepting letters of intent for 2024 Annual grants.  Letters were due by 11:59 p.m. on September 15, 2023.

Local units of government can apply for a low-cost construction or acquisition project under an Annual grant. If you are interested in applying for such a project, please review the NOAA Section 306A Guidance and contact the grant specialist to ensure eligibility. The project must meet the identified objectives and uses explained in the guide. You will be responsible for completing the required documentation.

2. Short Term Action Request (STAR)

We are no longer accepting applications for STAR grants. We will not accept STAR grant applications between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024.  Please contact the Coastal Program with questions or for referral to other potential funding sources.

3. Small, Short-Term Capacity Grants

We are accepting applications for small, short-term Capacity grants for Coastal Management.  We have four options:

  • Conference and Training Support
  • Climate Action
  • Technology Upgrades
  • Youth Education

Applications are due at least 30 days in advance of the event.

Resources for Grantees


Coastal Program Financial Reporting Manual

Annual Financial Reporting Forms

STAR Financial Reporting Forms

Annual Progress Report Form

STAR Progress Report Process

Grant Project Final Report Template

STAR Project Final Report Template DOC

Capacity Reporting Requirements

Guidance and Plans

Grant Contract Agreement Terms and Conditions

Changes to Grant Projects

Travel Reimbursement and Documentation

Grant Project Acknowledgment Guidance

Data Management Plan Guidance for Grant Projects

Data Management Plan (DMP) for Grantees

NOAA Section 306A Guidance

DNR Talent Release Form

Invasive Species DNR Grantee Requirements


Title 2: Grants and Agreements; Part 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

Minnesota’s Department of Administration, Office of Grants Management

Department of Commerce Award Terms, Conditions, and Associated Regulations


What is the DNR process for awarding grants?

The DNR awards the Annual and STAR grant funds through a competitive process. We will award eligible requests for conference support, as funding exists.

What type of project could I do with a grant?

Your project must be located in Minnesota’s coastal area and help achieve one of the following 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 enhance public access to Minnesota’s coast and Lake Superior.

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.

Where do projects have to take place?

The project’s principal activities must occur within the following:

  • The Minnesota waters of Lake Superior
  • Public (non-federal) land in Minnesota’s coastal area

In the event that any activities of the project take place outside of the coastal area, the applicant will need to demonstrate that the project will have direct substantial benefits within the coastal area.

For more information on Minnesota’s coastal area, use the interactive maps or call 218-834-1446. 

Which entities are eligible to receive a grant?

Cities, townships and counties within the coastal area

Area-wide agencies

Regional planning agencies

State agencies (excluding the DNR)

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

What activities are NOT eligible for grant funds?

If your agency or organization is interested in applying, we encourage you to contact us. Early communication with the grants specialist can help ensure your project is eligible and that it keeps with the goals of the program.

Generally, the following activities are not eligible.

  • 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/li>
  • Beach re-nourishment
  • Building marinas
  • Infrastructure projects related to road, water and sewer line construction
  • Improvements to buildings for rental, lodging or private property
Where do the funds come from?

These are federal pass-through funds. The DNR receives the funds for Coastal Program grants from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management.

How will I get the funds?

This is a reimbursement grant program.  The project sponsor must make the initial outlays for the project and then request reimbursement.  Reimbursement requests must include supporting documentation of eligible expenses.

Is match required?

Yes, all Coastal Program grants require some kind of local or state funding or work in-kind contributions. The amount varies; consult the grant notice for specific requirements.

What has the Coastal Program funded in the past?

Since 2001, the DNR has awarded more than $12.5 million to over 600 projects. These projects occurred all along the coast and addressed all goals of Coastal Management. Contact the program for more information.

Federal Fiscal Year 2021 Pass-Through Grant Projects

Who can I contact if I have questions?

Direct your questions to Cynthia Poyhonen, Grants Specialist, (218) 834-1447

or [email protected].

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