MMW - Funding

Laboratory Analyses Funding and Gear Funding

Monitoring Montana Waters (MMW) offers two different types of financial support to watershed groups that have had SAPs and SOPs approved by MMW or Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). These funds are available to provide support for sample analyses costs (including shipping of samples), as well as the purchase of sampling gear.

Laboratory Analyses Funding

Laboratory analyses funding provides groups with up to $7000 per calendar year to support the costs of shipping and analyzing water quality samples. Paid shipping labels will be provided for groups to send samples to the Flathead Lake Biological Station’s Freshwater Research Lab (FRL). For analyses that cannot be run in-house, such as metals analysis, samples will be outsourced from FRL.

Groups applying for Laboratory Analyses Funding must commit 50% cost match to be eligible. Cost match must be provided during the calendar year of the MMW funding, and documentation must be provided to MMW. Cost match may be comprised of personnel time (volunteer or staff), travel expenses or actual dollars spent. Personnel time can include time spent collecting samples plus time spent traveling to and from sites. Volunteer time uses the national standard rate of $31.80/hour per person (staff should use their actual rate). Travel expenses may be documented at a rate of $0.67 per mile traveled. The number of miles, as well as a description of the locations traveled to, must be documented. If dollars are to be used, the amount and purpose of match in dollars must be listed.

The Freshwater Research Lab (FRL) at FLBS is an ecosystem science facility providing both grant/contract and fee-based analytical services. The FRL offers analyses on water, soil, air, biological, and radiochemical samples. The FRL strictly adhere to approved methodology and quality control procedures and participate in federal and international auditing programs to ensure high quality data. The FRL offers contract-fee based services, as well as support services for research- and education-based activities. As a research support facility, FRL primarily works closely with scientists and graduate students to develop novel experimental and analytical methods in support of progressive and competitive research initiatives. MMW will facilitate delivery of sampling bottles, etc to groups that can be shipped back to or dropped off at FRL. MMW will pay FRL directly for sample analyses covered by the awarded funding.

Visit the Freshwater Research Lab (FRL) page to view available analytes (link here).

View 2024 prices here in the Freshwater Research Laboratory Price Schedule. 

Gear Funding

Gear funding supports purchase of sampling gear (either sampling kits compiled by MMW, recommended meters, specialized gear or consumable supplies like filters). The purpose of these funds is to assist new groups in obtaining sampling gear needed to start a program, to help groups replace failed gear (e.g. water quality meters, tape measures, etc), or purchase consumable supplies like filters. Groups can apply for gear funding once every 3 years. To receive gear funding, watershed groups must provide documentation of 100% matching funds in dollars. A maximum of $1500 may be awarded per application per group for gear (once every 3 years).

Eligibility & Requirements

Funding applications are due by March 1st. In order to receive Laboratory analysis funds groups must have an approved SAP and SOP on file, sign a MOU, agree to share data with FLBS (it will be uploaded to the FLBS database), and upload all of their data to the MT DEQ EQuIS Water Quality Exchange (MT-eWQX) database. Funding applications must be emailed to by the deadline. Groups will be notified of the application outcome by April 1st. Cost match requirements are described in each section (Laboratory analyses funding and gear funding).

To be most competitive for funds, we strongly recommend that groups submit a draft SAP and SOP to MMW by Feb 1st. This allows time for edits and SAP approval prior to the funding application deadline. If the group sampled the previous year then data must be uploaded to EQuIS by Feb 1st as well.  

To Apply

To apply, groups must completely fill out the MMW Funding Application and include their draft SAP and SOP. Applications can be found here or can be requested by email from The application includes contact information, project information, a detailed laboratory analyses funding budget, and cost match information if applying for laboratory analyses funding and/or gear funding.

Other Sources of Funding

MT DEQ offers financial support through their Volunteer Monitoring Lab Analysis Program. Please check with the MT DEQ website for more information.