Minnesota's Coastal Program Grants

Every year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 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 - $10,000 grants, projects completed in six months, no construction or land acquisition.

DNR awards the grant funds through a competitive process.  Funding comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The DNR will distribute funds on a reimbursement basis (after costs have been incurred). See Resources for Grantees.

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

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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 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 (excluding MNDNR)
  • 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

Grant Opportunities

We offer two grant opportunities: Annual and STAR.


This year's call for applications is closed. Look for next year's call in October 2019.

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.


This year's call for applications is closed. Look for next year's call in August 2019.

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.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

You can direct your questions to Cynthia Poyhonen, Grants Specialist (218) 834-1447 or [email protected].

Resources for Grantees