2014 Watercraft Inspections Administered by Local Government Units - Description of Grant Offer

This grant program is closed for 2014

Program Purpose

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Invasive Species Program is offering grant funds to assist Tribal and local government units (LGUs) that are interested in implementing an aquatic invasives species (AIS) prevention program using authorized watercraft inspectors to work at water accesses in their area.  The DNR will also provide training to watercraft inspectors that are part of the the LGU's watercraft inspection program.  These grants are intended to help prevent and curb the spread of aquatic invasive species, especially zebra mussels into Minnesota waters.  Watercraft inspectors funded with these grants must be employees of the LGU or individuals working for a contractor to the LGU.

Eligible Applicants

Tribal and local units of government (such as, conservation districts, cities, counties, and watershed districts) that have the capacity to assume all legal, financial and administrative responsibilities for a watercraft inspection program. LGUs are responsible for supervision and oversight of watercraft inspectors and for compliance with all provisions of grant and delegation agreements.

Description of Grant Offer and Funding Levels

There are two types of grant funds available, basic watercraft inspectors (Level 1), and watercraft inspectors who also operate a decontamination unit (Level 2).

Approximately $150,000 of grant funding is available for LGUs that are implementing watercraft inspection programs using Level 1 or Level 2 inspectors.

A Delegation Agreement between the LGU and the State of MN is needed to give LGU employees the authority to act as a Level 1 or Level 2 inspector. This grant program is only available to LGUs that have a signed Delegation Agreement at the time of submission (See Delegation Agreement documents below).

Basic Watercraft Inspectors (Level 1)

All watercraft inspectors must be trained and pass a test before they are certified as authorized inspectors by the DNR. Once trained and authorized, Level 1 inspectors can inspect water-related equipment and prohibit the launching of equipment in waters of the state if the individual refuses to allow an inspection of their equipment or refuses to comply with AIS laws.  Level 1 inspectors are neither trained nor authorized to perform watercraft decontaminations using hot water high pressure power washer equipment. 

The maximum grant amount offered to help hire Level 1 watercraft inspectors is $5,000. Grantees will be reimbursed for eligible costs associated with employing LGU staff or contractors as Level 1 watercraft inspectors, up to their grant amount. 

Watercraft Inspectors with Decontamination Units (Level 2)

Level 2 inspectors can conduct watercraft inspections and use hot water high pressure power washer decontamination units to remove AIS from water-related equipment.  Level 2 inspectors must pass specific training and testing requirements before being authorized to perform inspection and decontamination procedures using DNR protocols.

These grants are available to LGUs that own or rent their own decontamination equipment. This grant is intended to help defray the cost of hiring Level 2 inspectors and not the cost for the decontamination unit itself.  LGUs may be able to purchase decontamination units under the DNR's purchasing contract by becoming a Cooperative Purchasing Venture Member.  For more information please go to: Decontamination Unit Cooperative Purchasing Information This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

The maximum grant amount offered to help hire staff to inspect and decontaminate watercraft is $10,000.  Grantees will be reimbursed for eligible costs associated with hiring Level 2 watercraft inspectors, or contracting with an employment agency to provide Level 2 watercraft inspectors, up to their grant amount.

Grant Ranking Criteria

In order to be considered for a grant the applicant must include a Delegation Agreement signed by the local unit of government that is applying for the grant.  Please review "Grantee Requirements and Grant Application for Watercraft Inspections" for more information about this requirement.

All potential projects will be ranked based on the grant criteria listed below.  Highly ranked projects will be offered a grant.  Proposals will be evaluated by DNR staff within the Invasive Species Program.  Proposed projects must focus on the prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species.  Proposals will be reviewed based on the water bodies included for water access inspection.  Priority will be given to proposals with water bodies that:

  1. Are known to be popular destinations for boaters leaving zebra mussel infested waters; based on past watercraft inspector surveys of boaters.
  2. Have a high-use water access; based on the number of parking spaces and past watercraft inspector observations.  Water bodies that only have low-use water accesses will be dropped from proposals.
  3. Are located in high-use or popular traveler destination areas.
  4. Are near or on infested waters.

Applicants may be awarded all or part of their requested grant amount. The final amount of DNR Grants offered to applicants will depend upon:

  • The dollar amount requested by the applicant;
  • The total amount of funds requested by all applicants;
  • How well the proposal meets the grant criteria;
  • The past history of the grantee on previous prevention grants;
  • The relative ranking of the proposal with other proposals.

If you are interested in this grant program in the future, please read all of the documents listed below. Applicants must be able to meet all of the requirements described in the Grantee Requirements and the Delegation Agreement.

Further information

Questions concerning the watercraft inspection program or the Delegation Agreement:

Heidi Wolf
Watercraft Inspection Coordinator

Questions regarding the grant process in general:

Wendy Crowell
Ecological Resources Grants Coordinator