Administration, NFWF Announce Over $140 Million in America the Beautiful Challenge Grants

Administration, NFWF Announce Over $140 Million in America the Beautiful Challenge Grants

On November 14, the Administration announced $141.3 million in grants will be distributed through the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC) program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The 74 approved grants will support landscape-scale conservation projects across 46 states, three U.S. Territories, and 21 Tribal Nations, and will generate at least $12 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $153 million.

“Nature is essential to the health, well-being and prosperity of every community in America. Through the President’s Investing in America agenda, we have the historic opportunity to invest in locally led, collaborative efforts that can help combat the impacts of climate change, advance environmental justice, and safeguard the lands and waters we all love,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “I’m thrilled that in this year’s grant selections, 40 percent of the projects awarded will be implemented by Tribal communities, putting Indigenous Knowledge at the center of our conservation work.”

The Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative started in 2021 with the goal of conserving 30% of the U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The White House launched the Challenge in 2022 as a partnership with the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense, Native Americans in Philanthropy, and NFWF.

To streamline and centralize access to these funds, federal agencies worked together to establish the ATBC in May 2022 as a “one-stop-shop” competitive grant program for landscape-scale conservation and restoration projects that implement existing conservation plans across the nation. In only its second year, the 2023 ATBC request for proposals was a resounding success, with applicants submitting 456 pre-proposals representing a total nationwide conservation need of $885 million – illustrating the competitive nature of the ATBC and the demand for investing in local conservation. Of those, NFWF invited 175 applicants to submit full proposals.

Overall, the projects are expected to:

  • Improve management of more than 13 million acres
  • Improve or remove more than 115 miles of fence to benefit wildlife
  • Manage more than 69,000 acres of fire-dependent habitat with prescribed burning
  • Remove or improve more than 150 barriers to fish and aquatic organism passage
  • Reconnect nearly 900 miles of streams or rivers
  • Restore more than 650 acres of wetlands
  • Open more than 6,600 acres for public access
November 15, 2023