Roots for Rivers

Congratulations to this year's grant recipients!

The Watershed Institute is pleased to announce that we again partnered with The Nature Conservancy, together in collaboration with Sustainable Jersey, on this year’s Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program.

This program provided grants between $1,000 and $20,000 to support efforts to undertake floodplain reforestation initiatives. Program participants also received technical assistance with designing their restoration projects. Eligible entities included nonprofit organizations, conservation groups, government agencies, municipalities, and school districts. Submissions by private individuals, as well as project sites on private land, were not eligible for funds. Eligible expenses included trees and shrubs, tubes and stakes, and up to two delivery fees.

Extended Application Period!

In order to help The Nature Conservancy reach their 100,000 trees planted by 2020 goal, a second application period was opened after the original deadline in late 2019. Applications were accepted until March 2, 2020. As part of this extended application period, an additional 11 nonprofits, municipalities, and government agencies received funds for tree planting projects across the state.

Grant Program Dates

Extended Application Deadline | March 2, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
Recipient Announcement | March 10, 2020
Project Completion | December 31, 2020*
Final Reports Due| January 2021

*Original timeline extended due to COVID-19 impacts.*
See more information below.

Grant Requirements for Recipients

Reporting Requirements

Final reports are due within one month of project completion. Click below to find a copy of the final reporting guidelines for recipients. We will be accepting final reports any time up until the end of January in 2021 (final date TBD).

Please note that the final completion date referenced in the guidelines has been changed from November 6, 2020 to December 31, 2020. 



Additional Reporting Requirements for Municipalities

For the few municipalities who were awarded grant funds following the extended application period, this tab will serve as a collection of the forms necessary to complete your final reports. Note: If your municipality was funded by Sustainable Jersey and NOT the Watershed Institute, you still need to submit all necessary final reporting required documents to Sustainable Jersey. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Priscilla Oliveira.


Certification declaration form (coming soon*)

*Final reports must be signed off by fiscal agent, typically the business administrator. Signing a certification declaration form indicates that the grant has been fully spent as agreed upon. 

COVID-19 Organizational Impacts

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Crises, we understand that many grant recipients will be altering grant work from what had originally been awarded. While we are supportive for grant modifications that will help keep everyone safer and healthier in these trying times, any modifications must be formally documented, reviewed, and approved.

To that end, this form will serve as the template for an official grant modification request. Please download and complete this form for each separate grant project you are planning to modify. Once completed, please submit all grant modifications via email to Priscilla Oliveira ([email protected]) CC’ing Michelle DiBlasio ([email protected]) from TNC. Please include the subject line 2019 – 2020 Grant Modification.

If you have any questions, concerns, or issues filling out the form, please contact Priscilla Oliveira for assistance.




Informational Webinar

An informational webinar was held on October 16, 2019 and addressed why floodplain reforestation is important and what is involved; how to select an appropriate site and develop a project plan; the technical assistance and funding available; and how to apply to be part of the program. View the webinar under ‘Grants Program’ at Sustainable Jersey’s Webinar page at the link below.


Application Information


Eligibility requirements to participate in this program through The Watershed Institute included:

  • Applicant must be a New Jersey county or state government agency; a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization; or a conservation group *
  • Project work must be conducted in New Jersey
  • Project site must be located within an Ecological Floodplain Area (EFA). Use the Water Conservation Blueprint Map to determine if your site falls within an EFA
  • Submissions by private individuals, as well as project sites on private land, are not eligible for funds

Use of Grant Funds


  • Native woody plants materials (trees and shrubs) that only include bare root stock, tublings, 1-gallon and/or 2-gallon containers
  • Tubes and support stakes to protect the plantings (deer fences and protection against weeds/invasive species are not covered by this grant)
  • Up to two delivery fees associated with transportation of project materials


  • Other supplies (gloves, shovels, fencing, weed mats, etc.), equipment (mower, auger, etc.) and/or labor (or contractor) costs associated with project implementation
  • Invasive, non-native species removal is not required, but it is encouraged if necessary for project success. Costs associated with this process will also be the financial responsibility of the applicant.

Selection Criteria

Applications will be screened using the following criteria:

  • Project site is located within an Ecological Floodplain Area
  • Project budget is within the allowable grant amount ($1,000 – $20,000), grant funds are only being requested for eligible expenses (trees/shrubs, tree tubes, stakes), and the average cost per plant (including tube and stake) is $12 or less. Other funding sources, in-kind contributions, and donations are identified (if applicable).
  • Accuracy and completeness of project tracking and location table (defined acreage of planting area, linear feet of stream to be planted, etc.). Map and photos of site are used to enhance reviewers’ understanding of project.
  • Relative impact of the proposed project on restoring floodplains and protecting water resources.
  • Likelihood of success as demonstrated by the strength of the project team and action plan.

The Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant and Technical Assistance Program is funded by The Nature Conservancy as part of their ongoing efforts to plant 100,000 trees in New Jersey by 2020.

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