Coldwater Heritage Partnerships Grants

Grants are available to prepare preliminary watershed assessments summarizing the values and threats to the health of coldwater ecosystems. Where appropriate, the assessment process can help build consensus for detailed watershed studies and projects, including planning grants available through DCNR’s Rivers Conservation program. CHP grants for up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) are available to eligible applicants.


The purpose of a CHP grant is to prepare an assessment that summarizes the values and potential threats to the health of a coldwater ecosystem. The assessment should briefly describe the watershed characteristics, unique or outstanding values and areas of concern, which may affect the quality of the natural resources in the watershed. Assessments need to be no longer than fifteen (15) to twenty (20) pages in length.

The major value of these assessments is to foster a greater public understanding of watershed characteristics as they effect coldwater ecosystems. The assessments can also build a consensus leading to the request for a DCNR Rivers Conservation Planning Grant. The assessment could also lead to the identification of specific projects that could be undertaken through programs like Fish America, Adopt_A_Stream, Embrace_A_Stream, Keystone Recreation Grants, Pasture Stream Bank Fencing Grants, Community Forestry Grants, Nonpoint Source Grants and other grants administered by state and federal agencies.

Administering Agencies

The CHP program is administered by a management team representing the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited (TU).

Guidelines for Preparing a Preliminary Assessment:

    The plan of work for developing a Preliminary Watershed Assessment should include the following:
  2. Notify all municipalities in the watershed about the grant being awarded; including an explanation of the project.
  3. Schedule public informational meetings in the watershed to explain the project and process that will be used to prepare an assessment.
  4. Prepare a draft Preliminary Watershed Assessment.
  5. Present the Preliminary Watershed Assessment at the second public informational meeting. Solicit comments and support.
  6. Prepare Final Preliminary Watershed Assessment and submit to DCNR.

Eligible Applicants:

Cooperating organizations such as watershed associations, land trusts, TU chapters, conservancies, sportsmen groups and conservation districts can participate on behalf of local government officials as grant applicants. Township and other municipalities, counties and municipal authorities can also participate.


CHP Grants will be funded from contributions from the PFBC, DCNR, PA Trout Unlimited and the Howard Heinz Endowment. Future funding will be solicited from private foundations, businesses and other organizations having an interest in protecting coldwater ecosystems.

Candidate Watersheds:

Grants will be targeted to watersheds that contain or have the potential to contain highly productive and naturally reproducing trout populations. Targeted streams must be generally open to public use.

Eligible Use of Funds:

Funds may be used to pay personnel costs for planning activities, contracts, related costs, supplies and services to develop Preliminary Watershed Assessments.

Future Activities:

A Preliminary Watershed Assessment investigation can lead to several conclusions:

1. No further program action is needed. In this instance an assessment of watershed characteristics and threats to coldwater stream values conclude that the public awareness and knowledge gained by carrying out the assessment is sufficient to sustain these values into the future.


2. Pursue technical assistance and project funding. This situation exists when an assessment identifies a few specific projects that are necessary to sustain or improve the coldwater resource. Once the threat is corrected, there may be no need to do additional studies of watershed conditions.


3. Pursue a DCNR Rivers Conservation Planning Grant.* The Preliminary Watershed Assessment process motivated widespread local support and revealed environmental conditions that point to the desire and need to do additional, more comprehensive, analysis of watershed resources.

For Further Information:

For information concerning a Coldwater Heritage Partnership grant application please contact:

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Coldwater Heritage Partnership
P.O. Box 8475
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8475
(717) 787-2316

* See “Manual for Keystone Planning, Implementation & Partnerships Grant Programs” for specifics on planning grants.