Overview for Farmers & Ranchers

MALT has launched an emergency Drought Resilience & Water Security (DRAWS) initiative to help Marin County farmers and ranchers invest in drought-resilient practices.

Through this initiative, all farmers and ranchers in Marin County are eligible for grants up to $15,000 to design and implement long-term water infrastructure projects. Since the spring of 2021, we have allocated $950,000 towards this work — timely investments key to the resilience of Marin County agriculture.

Our staff assists farmers and ranchers in planning, designing and implementing conservation practices specific to water development and accessibility. Our staff also administers the application process, oversees project approval and provides direct reimbursement for eligible projects. We will reimburse 85% of the total project cost (material and labor) with a cap of $15,000. Apply today!

Application Guidelines


The maximum grant is $15,000. For larger projects, please directly contact the Marin County Resource Conservation District (“RCD”) and the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

Applicants must submit an estimated project cost, preferably with a quote or bid for the proposed project work. MALT will cover up to 85% of the final project cost, with a funding cap of $15,000.

Program Eligibility

Landowner approval or proof of right to manage the land is required for all applicants.

All landowners engaging in commercial agriculture in Marin County are eligible for this grant. A MALT Conservation Easement is not required to apply for a DRAWS grant.

Due to a limited funding pool, MALT requests that any applicant who can otherwise readily afford to undertake these water management practices refrain from applying.

Any proposed projects requiring work done in and around a creek channel, or water development in and around wetlands are not eligible for DRAWS project. Please contact the RCD for assistance on any such projects.

MALT board members and their close family members are not eligible for funding and are requested to directly contact the RCD for drought funding assistance. For more information please see the MALT Conflict of Interest policy.

Accepted Practices & Projects

Selection Process

All projects will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by MALT conservation staff. MALT has created a list of projects (“Track 1 Projects”) which will not require any Environmental Permits (as defined in the above section). Proposals for funding of Track 1 Projects will be evaluated on a first-come- first-serve basis.

Any proposed projects that are not Track 1 Projects will be reviewed on a monthly basis by the DRAWS Review Committee. The DRAWS Review Committee will consist of MALT staff and an external biologist and engineer.

The Review Committee will review each proposed project to determine if the project would trigger any Environmental Permits. Any project that will require Environmental Permits will be directed to RCD for funding and implementation.

Projects that do not require Environmental Permits will be evaluated and selected on a strategic basis with a focus on:

  • Long-term solutions for water security vs. short term responses.
  • Urgency of need for the long-term economic longevity of the agricultural operation.

MALT staff may need to visit the project site as part of any project consideration and the landowner will provide access to MALT staff during the project period. MALT staff will inform applicants as soon as practicable of all funding decisions.

Acceptance & Approval

Upon acceptance of a DRAWS application, MALT will enter into a Grant Agreement with the applicant (and landowner, if different).

The Grant Agreement will include a detailed project scope, the estimated grant amount, and property owner approval.

Funding reimbursement will occur upon the successful implementation of the proposed project, as determined by MALT staff after a site visit. All projects must be completed within 120 days, unless otherwise noted in the executed grant agreement.

Successful DRAWS applicants must allow MALT to photograph any completed projects, develop narratives around the DRAWS project, and permit MALT to use such photographs and project narratives for fundraising and publicity purposes.

Monitoring of completed DRAWS projects will be included in annual easement monitoring visits for applicants with MALT easements. For projects on properties without MALT easements, MALT staff may follow up in 2023 to check the status and conditions of the project for functionality.

Reserved Rights

MALT reserves the right to request clarification and/or supplemental information from any applicant to facilitate evaluation of the proposed project.

MALT reserves the right to award funding as the Review Committee deems fit. This reservation includes and is not limited to: the right to reject any or all applications for any reason; the right to award funding in different amounts to varying applicants; the right to award funding for multiple projects to the same applicant; and the request an applicant reapply to remedy errors in submission.

MALT shall not be held liable for any expenses incurred by DRAWS applicants before the date of the grant agreement.

MALT reserves the right to modify these guidelines, the attached exhibits, and any of the DRAWS procedures at any time.

MALT reserves the right to terminate the DRAWS program at any time and shall not be held liable for any projects without an executed grant agreement at the time of termination.

To Apply

Call or email Scott Dunbar, stewardship program manager — sustainable agriculture, at sdunbar[at]malt.org or (415) 663-1158 ext. 313. You can also download the application and return it to Scott. If you have questions, Scott is always available to help.

Prospective project applications will be screened and ranked to address resource concerns. Projects are evaluated and selected on a strategic basis. Priority will be given to projects that address long-term solutions for water security.