Clean Water Partnership and Section 319 Programs

The MPCA provides financial and technical assistance to local government and other water resource managers to address nonpoint-source water pollution through the state Clean Water Partnership (CWP) and federal Clean Water Act Section 319 programs.

  • CWP funds are used for developing or implementing projects that protect water bodies currently meeting Minnesota's water quality standards. A local unit of government able to generate revenue and adopt and enforce official controls must sponsor a CWP project and act as its fiscal agent.
  • Section 319 funds are used for total maximum daily load (TMDL) and implementation projects for watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS). New funding opportunities will be posted on this page when available.

Eligible applicants include tribes, townships, cities, counties, watershed district, watershed management organizations, or joint powers board whose members are townships, cities, or counties.

Funding opportunities

Clean Water Partnership loans

The Clean Water Partnership (CWP) loan program lends funds to local governmental units interested in leading a project to control nonpoint-source pollution that threatens water quality. We expect that we will resume accepting applications in July 2022.

Section 319 Small Watersheds Focus funding

The Section 319 Small Watersheds Focus program is funding comprehensive water-quality restoration and protection plans for small-scale watersheds. MPCA anticipates about $2.8 million will be available in the FFY 2021 funding round for projects that will reduce nonpoint source pollution in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams in areas with approved nine key element plans.

Targeting non-point source pollution

The CWP and Section 319 programs address nonpoint sources of pollution, which are unregulated sources that include runoff from agricultural fields, construction sites, animal feedlots, and paved surfaces, failing septic systems and over-fertilized lawns. When taken together, these sources contribute huge quantities of phosphorus, bacteria, sediments, nitrates and other pollutants to the environment. They also represent the largest combined share (an estimated 86 percent) of the state's water pollution.

The Minnesota Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan is required for Minnesota to remain eligible to receive grant funds under Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act. But Minnesota's plan goes beyond what is required and outlines a multi-year approach for addressing water quality problems from nonpoint-source pollution.


To be eligible, projects must address a nonpoint-source pollution issue. Because Section 319 is federally funded and the CWP is state funded, there are differences in how grant money may be spent. Section 319 grant funds may only be spent on projects in a prioritized watershed with an approved, nine-element watershed-based plan. For a list of eligible practices by funding source, please see the Nonpoint Source Management Program Plan above.

Neither program may fund projects under enforcement action, permitted wastewater treatment plants, and projects addressing feedlot NPDES or stormwater permit requirements.