Administration and NFWF Announce America the Beautiful Challenge Grant Projects

Administration and NFWF Announce America the Beautiful Challenge Grant Projects

The Administration and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced on November 10 the 55 projects selected for the first $91 million in grant funding through the America the Beautiful Challenge. Working with a variety of public, private, and tribal sector partners, the projects will leverage an additional $50.7 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $141.7 million. The competitive grant funding program received most of the initial funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and other federal conservation programs under the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense, as well as through Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Bezos Earth Fund.

“Nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and every community in America,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in the statement. “Through the America the Beautiful Challenge, we are investing in projects that advance collaborative conservation utilizing the best available science, innovative practices, and Indigenous Knowledge to help conserve and protect our lands and waters. This work will create jobs, strengthen our economy, address equitable access to the outdoors, and help tackle the climate crisis.”

The program was centralized through the NFWF competitive grant platform, and 527 proposals were submitted seeking $1.1 billion in funding. The partners recognize that the grant slate only funds about 10% of the overall demand. Those projects that were funded represent collaborative efforts across multiple jurisdictions and address high-priority conservation and restoration needs on larger landscapes. Overall, the projects are expected to:

  • Improve or remove more than 250 miles of fence to benefit wildlife;
  • Manage more than 130,000 acres of fire-dependent habitat;
  • Remove or improve more than 57 barriers to fish and aquatic organism passage;
  • Reconnect more than 1,300 miles of stream or river;
  • Improve management of more than 26 million acres, including grasslands with bison to provide ecological, cultural, and spiritual healing and
  • Restore more than 1,900 acres of wetlands.

“The inaugural year of the America the Beautiful Challenge shows what’s possible when partners go all-in on a collaborative approach to providing resources for locally led restoration efforts,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will support voluntary landscape-scale conservation efforts that will restore fish and wildlife habitats across the nation and build a brighter future for all of us.”

November 16, 2022