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Road Grant Program - 2024 Updates

This Road Grant Program (“RGP”) by BLAI is designed to encourage Road Associations, and non-organized roads (“Road Groups”), surrounding Branch Lake, to solve road runoff issues that are the major contributors to Non-Point Source Pollution (“NPSP”) from the gravel roads into Branch Lake.

The RGP has been modified to incorporate both the City of Ellsworth’s enviro-grant program and the State’s 319 grant program, as an extension of the 2021 Branch Lake Watershed survey, by providing matching equity grants, up to a specified maximum level, to Road Groups that are endeavoring to repair drainage problems on their specific road.  We are also creating a specific road culvert grant program to respond to culvert deterioration and failures that have seriously contributed to NPSP into the lake.

Current City of Ellsworth Enviro-Grant Program

The City of Ellsworth provides a matching enviro-grant program for repairs to septic systems, roads and other problems that potentially affect the water quality of Branch Lake, the City’s drinking water source. While this is the current program, the City has modified the program over the years and reserves the right to do so. The current program specifics are as follows:

             a.  The project must be designed and have detailed specs per the City requirements, which specifies that projects use Best Management Practices (“BMP”) as detailed on pages 2 and 3 of their website found by clicking HERE.

              b.  A cost estimate must be submitted as part of the application.  If the estimated cost exceeds $10,000 then at least 3 bids must be obtained from qualified contractors listed on the City’s approved contractor list.

              c.   The project must be submitted for grant approval to the City prior to any commencement of work and no construction should start until this approval is received in writing, and construction permits must have also been issued by the appropriate City departments.

      d.   City approval will typically be for 50% -75% of the overall construction costs, with a commitment secured by the requesting grantee for the remaining costs before construction commences.

              e.   Once approvals are received and the notice to proceed is granted by the City, then construction on the project must be completed within one year of the starting date.


Current 319 Reimbursement Grant Program

This State program provides a reimbursement grant to an applicant for NPSP projects identified from the 2021 Branch Lake Watershed Survey.  The survey identified numerous runoff problems that require attention.  Our focus is on the road runoff problems identified and not on the individual property problems identified.  The program requires that the applicant sign a cost sharing agreement with a not to exceed paragraph based upon a cost estimate of the project.  HCSWCD will act as the agent and review all applications for approval.   Once approved, any costs incurred on the project from that point on are included. The costs for improvements will be paid for by the applicant. In-kind work may be included in the overall costs but the amount of in-kind included cannot exceed the invoiced amount of the remainder.  Once the work is completed, inspected and accepted, the applicant can request a reimbursement distribution equal to 50% of the approved overall costs.


BLAI Road Grant Program (“RGP”)

The goal of the RGP is to facilitate NPSP repairs on roads surrounding Branch Lake by providing one of the following:

  1. Matching grant for the equity component required from grantees seeking a City of Ellsworth enviro-grant, up to a maximum of $3,500.  This amount is funded upon receiving proof that the applicant has funded the required project equity, up to $3,500.  Preference would be given to funding directly to a contractor.
  2. Incentive grant, in lieu of the equity component of the enviro-grant program, to assist a Road Group with the engineering study necessary to obtain either an enviro-grant or a 319 grant.  This would be a matching grant for the costs, funded as the money is spent, up to a maximum of $3,500.
  3. 319 Reimbursement grant for the equity component of expenditures within a 319 road improvement application that would be submitted to HCSWCD, up to a maximum of $3,500. This grant would be funded to the applicant upon receipt of the first $3,500 of invoiced material or construction expenditures (not including in-kind work.)
  4. Road Culvert Improvement Grant for a matching equity grant that would pay up to 50% of the Road Culvert Improvement costs, up to a maximum of $3,500, assuming that the Road Group did not receive a grant and is paying for the Culvert Improvement from their own funds.  We are interested in proactively upgrading road culverts before failures but will also assist in the repair costs if a failure has occurred.  Improvements such as increasing volume capacity, redoing the rip rap at the inflow and at the plunge pools on the outflow, replacing deteriorating steel culvert pipes with plastic, etc. will be considered.

Our program utilizes BLAI “reserve funds” rather than operating budget funds, although the payments may be made from our existing checking account funds and then replenished. The details of the RGP are as follows:

a.   A grantee should notify BLAI of their interest in seeking a Road Grant from BLAI when they submit either an enviro-grant request to the City, a 319 request for reimbursement from HCSWCD, an Initial Grant for engineering or a Road Culvert Improvement Grant. The applicant should provide BLAI with copies of the request documents.

b.   When the project has received preliminary indication of approval from the City or HCSWCD, with the requested grantee equity amount denoted, the grantee will officially request a Road Grant from BLAI by sending notification to the BLAI Board, attention

c.   BLAI’s Board will review and provide approval of a Road Grant in a timeframe necessary to allow the grantee to finalize their equity component of the project.

d.   BLAI will provide a Road Grant equal to 50% of the equity component of the total approved project, up to a maximum of $3,500 for each project. The funding will be paid upon receipt/invoice of the grantee’s payment to the contractor/City or engineer.

e.   A maximum of $14,000 per calendar year, depending upon available funds, will be eligible for approval and funding by BLAI. These projects will be considered on a first-come first-served basis. No Road Group can seek more than 1 Road Grant at a time in a calendar year. The BLAI Board reserves the right to suspend and/or cancel this program, with a 30 day notice to potential grantees.  Projects already approved for funding will be honored and funded through completion.

f.   The selected projects must follow BMP.  BLAI reserves the right to inspect the project to ensure compliance.
g.  Once a Road Group has obtained a Road Grant from BLAI in the past, they go to the bottom of the list for potential additional funding, but may be eligible for funding in 2024 if no other applicant is ready for an award in that calendar year.

h.   Preferences for RGP grants will be given to Road Groups that have not previously received a grant.

i.    BLAI Board members must abstain from voting on a Road Grant for the road upon which they live or own properties, in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

For more information, contact Rand Griffin at or