Dane County offers native plant and storm drain mural grants to local groups

The Dane County Land & Water Resources Department and the Madison Area Municipal Stormwater Partnership (MAMSWaP) are currently accepting grant applications for their Storm Drain Mural Program and Free Native Plants for Schools and Communities Program. Both grants aim to engage local groups in projects that protect area waters.

The Free Native Plants for Schools and Community Projects program helps provide schools and community groups with free native plants. Native plants increase infiltration and reduce soil compaction through their deep root systems, reducing stormwater runoff and pollution into area waterways. Once established, native plants require little maintenance besides occasional weeding. They also add beauty to the landscape and provide important food and habitat to wildlife and pollinators.

Since the program began in 2016, more than 29,000 plants have been distributed to 160 different schools and community groups, including neighborhood associations and community centers. Schools and community groups located within Dane County are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by Feb. 1.

The Storm Drain Mural Program uses art to educate Dane County residents about stormwater pollution. Water that enters a storm sewer often travels to local waterways without being cleaned — carrying trash, soil, and other pollutants to local lakes, rivers, and streams. The goal of these colorful murals is to capture the attention of those who pass by, help them understand where the stormwater that enters their storm drain flows, and get them thinking about what they can do to keep the drains and our area waters clean.

Since 2018, the Storm Drain Mural Program has funded 46 murals across 15 Dane County communities. Municipalities, organizations, schools, and community groups located in Dane County that are interested in having an area storm drain mural painted are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by Feb. 15.