Effective Date: 7/1/2023



So, you are about to receive a grant from BWSR. Now what? Regardless of funding source, the primary steps to process the grant agreement are generally as follows:

  1. Funding decisions for grant allocations are made by the BWSR Board, typically in June and December of each year although this schedule can vary. Notifications to grantees of grant awards occur as soon as possible after BWSR Board decisions.
  2. Notification of a grant award will be in the form of an automated notification from the BWSR eLINK system and/or an email from DocuSign to the grantee. Notifications are sent to the Day-to-Day Contact identified by the organization within the eLINK system. This notification includes instructions for further processing of the grant agreement and may also contain grant-specific information such as requirements for completing work plans, disbursement terms, or additional required documentation for processing the grant. Read these instructions carefully as requirements can vary by grant and fiscal year. Delay in completing these additional requirements will delay processing of the grant.
    • For purposes of separation of powers, and checks and balances, it is recommended that the Official Signatory of the grant agreement is not the grantee’s Authorized Representative. If your organization’s Day-to-Day Contact in eLINK is not the Official Signatory, the DocuSign agreement may be forwarded to the appropriate individual for signature.
    • The Official Signatory must be an elected or appointed official of the grantee or a person authorized by the board of the grantee to sign fiscal documents.  This authorization must be documented in the grantee’s records either by board meeting minutes or resolution, or by some other official action.
  3. Once the grant agreement has been completed and signed by the grantee, the signed document is returned to BWSR for processing via DocuSign.
  4. Grant agreements cannot be executed and funds cannot be released by BWSR until all grant specific requirements have been completed. Grant agreements are considered to be executed when they have been signed by the grantee and BWSR. Electronic copies of executed agreements are uploaded by BWSR and available in eLINK. BWSR policies allow grant and/or funds to be withheld if the grantee is past due on progress reports for other State grants or if non-compliant with other BWSR policies and/or requirements.
  5. Funds are generally released through electronic fund transfer to the grantee’s identified fiscal agent. Note that preferences to receive payment by check must be established through the MN Department of Administration, Materials Management Division (www.mmd.admin.state.mn.us/). Also note that the grantee may need to request additional details regarding individual electronic transfers from their own bank.
  6. The grantee must not begin work under the grant agreement and no grant or match costs may be incurred or funds expended until the agreement is fully executed. BWSR will notify the grantee when the agreement has been executed, generally through an auto-generated message that is sent when the executed agreement is uploaded in eLINK. The grantee is liable for any commitments incurred outside the grant period.
    • The grantee may delegate this authority as long as delegation is supported by a documented local board or council action, such as a motion or resolution, or adoption of a policy.
    • In cases where delegation is authorized, as a best practice, BWSR recommends the grantee board review completed expenditures at each board meeting.  
  7. Periodic and final reporting on activities accomplished with grant funds is required per the grant agreement. See also the Reporting Requirements for BWSR Grants and Grant Closeout Process sections of this Grants Administration Manual. 
  8. Funds unspent at the end of the grant period must be returned to BWSR within the timeframe specified in the executed grant agreement.  Grantees can access the form auto-generated form in eLINK or by use the “Returned Funds” form available in this Grants Administration Manual.
  9. All grant recipients must be prepared for monitoring and review of grant activities throughout and after the grant period. Contract documents, receipts, and landowner obligation records must be made available upon request per the grant agreement.

Questions regarding processing of grant agreements should be directed to your Board Conservationist. Issues of noncompliance with the terms of the grant agreement will be addressed through the Board Conservationist in accordance with the Grant Noncompliance section of this Grants Administration Manual.


Description of revisions


Previously titled Processing a Grant. Updated format, minor edits, and incorporated information regarding official signatures from other sections of the manual.


Added language under item #6 to clarify expenditure of funds and delegation of authority. 7/1/2019
Updated to reflect process changes in eLINK and use of DocuSign. 7/1/2023