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Lots of anglers fishing at community pond.

Community Pond Program Grants

About the Program

The objective of the Community Pond Program is to enhance fishing opportunities in or near Montana communities by providing funding that may be used to construct or improve public fishing ponds. Preference will be given to projects that create or enhance opportunities for youth/family angling,  angler education, and improve amenities for anglers with disabilities. Program funding can vary, but is currently $100,000 - $150,000 per year. Individual grant awards typically range between $1,000 and $40,000.


A 2023 Community Pond Program Update can be accessed here.


State agencies, cities, counties, angler groups, civic organizations, or other community-based organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants must be working with a representative of Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (FWP)—usually a fisheries biologist.

The project applicant is responsible for ensuring access to the property where the project is located. Projects may be located on private property, but public fishing access must be guaranteed through easements or binding written agreements.

Use of Funds

  • Community Pond Program funding may be used for costs of design, construction, repair, or enhancement of ponds for which public angling is a primary purpose. Improvements that enhance handicapped access or safety may also be funded.
  • Funds may be used only for those portions of the project that are necessary to create or enhance angling opportunity.
  • The project must be located near a community and should involve a pond-sized waterbody.
  • Funds may not be used for acquisition of property.
  • Project sponsors are responsible for routine maintenance of the completed project.

Matching Funds Required

Applicants must provide a minimum of 30% of the costs associated with the project. In-kind contributions such as heavy equipment time, construction materials, labor, engineering services, etc. may be used as match. Government salaries cannot be used as match.


Applications may be submitted at any time, but are reviewed in February of each year. Complete applications must be submitted on or before February 1 to be considered for funding.

Clearly detailed conceptual project plans as well as a detailed itemized budget of project expenses must be submitted with each application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. Late applications will be considered during the next funding cycle.

Application Form

Applications can be downloaded, picked up at any FWP office, or requested by calling the Program Manager at the telephone number listed below.



Electronic submissions are encouraged, but must be signed and complete.

Applications may also be sent to FWP at the address listed below.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Fisheries Division
Habitat Bureau
1420 East 6th Avenue, P.O. Box 200701
Helena, MT 59620
(406) 444-2432

Project Selection

A review team consisting of four FWP staff determine funding recommendations and funding is approved by the Fisheries Division Administrator. Decisions will be based on the degree to which proposals meet program objectives. Cost sharing, cost effectiveness, and availability of funding are additional determining factors. Projects may be funded wholly, partially, or not at all. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by March 1 and funding is typically available soon thereafter, once paperwork is completed.

Project Administration

  • Sponsors of approved projects must enter into a written agreement with FWP.
  • Funds granted for projects must be used only for purposes described in the final project agreement.
  • Itemized invoices of expenses approved by the sponsor must be submitted to FWP for payment or reimbursement.
  • Project expenses incurred prior to the date on the signed project agreement are not eligible for reimbursement.
  • Sponsors must keep records of all matching fund expenditures and in-kind contributions, and they must meet state procurement requirements.
  • Photographs of construction and project completion must be submitted to the FWP Program Manager.

Montana Environmental Policy Act

Please note that projects that are selected for funding will be required to adhere to the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). Projects that have the potential to affect the human or physical environment, which includes most projects, will require completion of a MEPA Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement.  Projects also may be required to obtain State Historic Preservation Office clearance for the project. FWP staff will take the lead on these documents but will consult with applicants regarding project details.

Environmental Permits and Other Requirements

Sponsors must secure all permits required from local, state, and federal regulatory agencies. For pond projects, this typically includes a 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and a water use permit from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Ponds may not be located within the 100-yr floodplain nor can they impact jurisdictional wetlands, unless approved.


Fisheries Division

Habitat Protection Bureau

1420 East 6th Avenue, P.O. Box 200701

Helena, MT 59620

(406) 444-2432