Stewardship Seed Funding

Stewardship Seed Funding

Status: The Stewardship Seed Funding program is now open and accepting applications for 2024.

The Regional District of Nanaimo's Drinking Water and Watershed Protection (DWWP) Program supports the efforts of stewardship groups that take community-level action to monitor, safeguard, and enhance our local watersheds by offering seed funding of up to $5,000 per project. 

Do you require tools to complete your project? To view and request to borrow our selection of stream restoration tools, visit our Tool Lending Library.


The RDN's Community Watershed Monitoring Network is a partnership initiative with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV), local environmental stewardship organizations, and Mosaic Forestry Management. Through this initiative, participating volunteer-based stewardship groups from across the region are trained to collect water quality data on local creeks and streams, to fill gaps in the provincial network. The RDN's DWWP program also sponsors the training and execution of physical stream assessments that are often completed to complement and expand upon the data collected through the water quality monitoring initiative. Through both avenues, a better understanding of the state of our local creeks, rivers, and streams is achieved. In some cases, recommendations emerge for next steps to restore or enhance water quality and/or habitat viability in these watercourses.

It is the intention of this seed funding to support stewardship groups that are poised to take further action, including enhancement efforts that have been identified and recommended through the monitoring and assessment process. Seed funding is open to groups who have not previously participated in RDN DWWP initiatives but demonstrate relevance in their proposed project description, as it connects to improving watershed health in our region.


For a project to be eligible for Stewardship Seed Funding (SSF), it must:

  • be located within the Regional District of Nanaimo,
  • be led by a non-profit organization,
  • actively enhance stream health, hydrology, or function,
  • involve volunteers,
  • be jointly funded by other partners, donors, and/or include in-kind contributions,
  • acquire all necessary permissions and permits to complete work at the project site, and
  • not have received funding for three consecutive years.

For an organization to be eligible for SSF, it must be a volunteer-based, not-for-profit group that actively pursues the completion of restoration, research, and/or enhancement projects that are of direct benefit to a creek, stream, river, estuary, or wetland within the Regional District of Nanaimo. 

Priority will be given to groups pursuing recommended actions generated from RDN supported stream assessments or water quality monitoring but will not be limited to this.

Multi-year projects can apply annually for up to three consecutive years. After the third year of funding, the project is ineligible for funding for that following year. After a one-year grace period to allow others to access funds, the project is eligible to apply for funding again for up to three consecutive years.

Application Forms
Awarding Process

Seed Funding is awarded by the RDN's DWWP Program, based on the merit of the application and how it matches current program priorities. Funding issued can be up to $5000. Funding beyond $5000 up to $10,000 may be considered based on RDN discretion, project need, and available budget. Apply early as limited funds are available each year. It will be indicated at the top of this webpage when funding is exhausted for the year. 

Permits and Permissions

Before the commencement of restoration, research, and enhancement projects, appropriate agencies must be notified and, in some cases, permits must be obtained. Projects can be pre-approved on the condition that a copy of any required notifications and permits are provided to the RDN before works begin. Written permission from landowners must be obtained and submitted to the RDN for all projects taking place on private property. Projects that do not have the appropriate approvals prior to the start date will be ineligible for funding. 

Agencies that may require notification or permits include: local, provincial and federal government. The below list is not an exhaustive one; understanding the location-dependent and project-specific requirements of other agencies is the responsibility of those applying for seed funding and not the responsibility of the RDN.

Included in the below list are the agency, associated legislation and any relevant section, a brief example, and contact information.

  • Municipal Government:
    • Specific bylaws and development permit areas vary – contact the applicable municipality directly for details
    • Example: a Development Permit Exemption for work on a site within the municipality.
    • District of Lantzville: 250-933-8083 kyoung [at] (kyoung[at]lantzville[dot]ca)
    • City of Parksville: 250-954-3061 planning [at] (planning[at]parksville[dot]ca)
    • Town of Qualicum Beach: 250-752-6921 lsales [at] (lsales[at]qualicumbeach[dot]com)
  • Regional Government:
    • Electoral Areas A, B, C, E, G, H: Bylaw 500Part 5 – Freshwater and Fish Habitat Development Permit Area
    • Electoral Area F: Bylaw 1285Section 7 – Freshwater and Fish Habitat Development Permit Area
    • Example: a Development Permit Exemption for work on a site within the municipality.
    • RDN Planning Department: 250-390-6510 or 250-954-3798 planning [at] (planning[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca)
  • Provincial Government:
  • Federal Government:
    • Fisheries ActProjects Near Water
    • Example: for work in a fish-bearing waterway.
    • DFO Community Advisors: Vancouver Island North Central – 250-339-0431 Laura.Terry [at] (Laura[dot]Terry[at]dfo-mpo[dot]gc[dot]ca) & Vancouver Island Central West Coast – 250-714-3074 Erica.Blake [at] (Erica[dot]Blake[at]dfo-mpo[dot]gc[dot]ca)
Submission of Applications

Email or mail the completed form, supporting documents, and 'before' photos to waterstewardship [at] or Attn: Drinking Water & Watershed Protection Program, Regional District of Nanaimo, 6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo BC, V9T 6N2, respectively.

Past Projects

Stewardship Seed Funding Projects Summary Table (2016 - 2023)


What type of project costs are eligible for Stewardship Seed Funding?

  • Costs incurred for items specifically used on-site for a project, and will not be used for other projects, are eligible for seed funding. Some examples are native plants and fencing materials, permit application fees, professional consultant restoration design and planning, and on-site volunteer support, such as lunch items for all-day planting or work-party.

Do I need to obtain permissions and permits before I apply for seed funding?

  • No, seed funding can be allocated to a project on the condition that the necessary obtained permits, permissions, and/or notifications will be submitted to the RDN before works begin.

My project is in a municipality within the Regional District of Nanaimo, is it eligible for this program?

  • Yes, projects that take place within the Regional District of Nanaimo, including all four member municipalities (Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach), can apply for seed funding.

What should be included on the Site Overview submitted with the Pre-approval Application?

Do I have to follow the Estimated Projects Cost and Site Overview templates exactly?

  • No, these templates may not fit every project. Rather, they are examples that can be utilized for your pre-approval application. To meet application requirements, you must include in one format or another an itemized breakdown of project costs and the reasoning the site(s) was/were chosen. 

What information needs to be included in the pre and post-project maintenance plan?

  • Both the pre and post-project maintenance plans must include how the site will be monitored and sustained to ensure the functionality and longevity of the restoration and enhancement work. For research-based projects indicate how the collected data will be used or the site(s) will be monitored in the future.

Our project cannot be completed in one year, can we apply at one time for multiple years and/or phases of our project?

  • Seed funding is based on an annual RDN Board-approved budget and cannot be allocated beyond the current calendar year. Still, with your pre-approval application, you may submit site-specific past/future restoration, research, and/or enhancement that has/will take place, including the final/estimated budget. Historic project information will aid in the assessment of your current application and future project plans will assist RDN DWWP staff in anticipating seed funding demand for upcoming years.

Once submitted, how long before I know my Pre-approval Application is accepted, denied, or more information is required to process the application?

  • The contact listed on your application will receive a receipt of confirmation. From the receipt of confirmation, it will take two to three weeks to process and respond to the application contact. If you have a deadline you are working towards, clearly emphasize your deadline when you submit your application.

To compliment RDN DWWP Stewardship Seed Funding, what other sources of funding are there?

I think my project will qualify, is there someone I can talk to before I take the time to complete the pre-approval application form?

  • Yes, contact RDN DWWP at 250-390-6560 or by email waterstewardship [at] (waterstewardship[at]rdn[dot]bc[dot]ca).


Native and Invasive Species


Inspiration from Elsewhere

Nanaimo & Area Land Trust volunteers posing at Holden Creek restoration site in 2019
Photo credit: Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (Holden Creek 2019)
Island Waters Fly Fishers volunteers installing bioengineered fencing for bank stabilization along the Millstone River in 2019
Photo credit: Island Waters Fly Fishers (Millstone River 2019)
Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society sampling water quality in the Englishman River Estuary (2019)
Photo credit: Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (Englishman River Estuary 2019)
Nanaimo & Area Land Trust volunteers installing native plants along the banks of a Chase River Wetland in 2019
Photo credit: Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (Chase River Wetland 2019)