KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If planting trees is a passion or a potential project for a group-building effort, the state is offering grants to promote forestry growth for riparian tree planting projects. We’re sharing 6 Things to Know about the grants and biodiversity.

Before we get into what a riparian zone is and why it matters, it’s important to note that the grant program is through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry – through which the tree seedlings must be purchased. Grant proposals can be submitted through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

How much are the grants?

Five grants, at $500 each, are available for each of TWRA’s four regional Aquatic Habitat Protection projects (a total of $2,500 per region). The funds will be obligated as grants, so the grantee must have a nonprofit tax number. The projects are to be completed, the money spent, and a report submitted by June 30, 2022. In order to meet this deadline, TWRA will accept proposals through Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Who can get a grant?

TWRA says the availability of grant dollars to assist cities, schools, community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations, and conservation groups, etc., with riparian tree planting projects.

What is needed for grant proposals?

Grant proposals should include the applicant organization’s name, tax ID number, address, phone, and name of a contact person authorized to enter into a contractual agreement on behalf of the organization. The proposal should also include the name of the stream, county or counties involved, and the project area and description.

What is a riparian zone?

According to the Tennessee Urban Riparian Buffer Handbook, riparian zones – areas where water meets land – are ideal for planting riparian buffers like trees, shrubs, grass or other vegetation along streams or waterways that help to control erosion and filter water. In addition to protecting water and soil, riparian tree and plant buffers provide important habitat for aquatic and upland wildlife and also fish habitat.

The word “riparian” is derived from the Latin term, “ripa,” which means bank.

Last month, Division of Forestry officials said planting more trees in Tennessee is essential for biodiversity and for flood zones.

“We’re going to get those trees we desperately need for wildlife, for biodiversity when were talking about flood zones, flood mitigation,” Nathan Hoover with Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s forestry division, said.

When is tree planting season in Tennessee?

Tree planting season in Tennessee is December through March.

How do I find out more information?

Contact Della Sawyers at (615) 781-6577 or by e-mail at with any questions. For additional information, interested persons or groups may also contact a regional Aquatic Habitat Protection biologist at the TWRA office below:

Region 4
Rob Lindbom
3030 Wildlife Way
Morristown, TN 37814
(423) 587-7037