When: Thursday, November 10, 2022
Contact: [email protected]
WASHINGTON – The Biden-Harris administration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today joined public and private sector partners to announce nearly $91 million in grants through the america the beautiful Challenge (ATBC). The 55 new grants announced today will support landscape-scale conservation projects in 42 states, three U.S. territories, and 14 tribal nations, leveraging $50.7 million in matching contributions to drive total conservation impact approximately $141.7 million.
ATBC grants support projects that conserve, restore, and connect wildlife habitats while improving community resilience and access to nature. The competitive grants were made possible through funding from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, other federal conservation programs and private sources. The challenge is a partnership between the NFWF and the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Defense, and Native Americans in Philanthropy. This year, additional support was provided by the Bezos Earth Fund.
“Nature is essential to the health, well-being and prosperity of every family and every community in America,” said Home Secretary Deb Haaland. “Through the america the beautiful Challenge, we invest in projects that advance collaborative conservation using 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, ensure fair access to the outdoors, and help fight the climate crisis.
“The inaugural year of the america the beautiful The challenge shows what is possible when partners engage in a collaborative approach to providing resources to locally-led restoration efforts,” said Jeff Trandahl, Director director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will support voluntary, landscape-scale conservation efforts that will restore fish and wildlife habitats across the country and build a better future for us all.”
“Restoring and maintaining 193 million acres of national forest and grassland and conserving hundreds of thousands of acres of farm and private land is too big a job for any one organization to do alone. “, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “That’s why we have a long history of working with a wide range of partners, and our co-stewardship agreements with tribal nations help bridge the gap between what we can accomplish on our own and the work we all know must be done together. These grants help make those connections possible.
“The 2022 America the Beautiful Challenge grants support the long-term sustainability and resilience of Department of Defense (DOD) missions in the Sentinel Landscapes of Georgia and Fort Huachuca and demonstrate the valuable collaboration between local, state and federal. DOD will continue to support activities through the streamlined America the Beautiful Challenge to protect critical testing and training missions at facilities across the country, while protecting valuable habitats and accelerating national security strategies,” said Mr. Paul Cramer, serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Facilities and Environment.
To streamline and centralize access to these funds, NFWF and its partners worked together to establish ATBC in May 2022 as a competitive “one-stop-shop” grant program for conservation and restoration projects in the landscape scale that implement existing conservation plans across the country. The 2022 ATBC Request for Proposals received an unprecedented response, with applicants submitting 527 proposals requesting a total of $1.1 billion. The list of grants announced today meets approximately 10% of this overall level of demand, illustrating the breadth of impactful conservation work that is ready and waiting for investments like these.
The grants announced today will enable states, tribal nations, U.S. territories, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and other recipients to develop and implement high-priority, multijurisdictional restoration projects on public and private lands. The program aims to encourage the development and implementation of diverse and comprehensive landscape-scale projects. Overall, projects should:
- Improve or remove more than 250 miles of fencing for the benefit of wildlife;
- Manage over 130,000 acres of fire-dependent habitat;
- Remove or improve more than 57 obstacles to the passage of fish and aquatic organisms;
- Reconnect over 1,300 miles of stream or river;
- Improve management of over 26 million acres including grasslands with bison to provide ecological, cultural and spiritual healing and
- Restore over 1,900 acres of wetlands.
ATBC focuses on supporting tribal access to grants for restoration, conservation, and capacity building, and seeks projects that incorporate indigenous traditional knowledge into planning and implementation. The number of proposals received from Tribes in 2022 far exceeded expectations and demonstrated strong demand and a clear need for funding. Ultimately, approximately one-third of 2022 grants and funding will support tribal-implemented projects, representing an unprecedented level of funding dedicated to tribal-led projects for a unique grant program at NFWF in recognition that stewardship of tribal lands is invaluable to conservation. This includes the Foundation’s largest ever grant to a tribe.
“Many global philanthropic investments in Indigenous conservation efforts overlook US-based tribes. Despite underfunding, tribes consistently demonstrate that they are the best stewards of their lands and waterways, utilizing Indigenous ecological knowledge and their unique legal and political relationship with the U.S. government,” said Erik Stegman, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy.
ATBC consolidates funding from multiple federal agencies and the private sector, enabling applicants to develop and pursue large-scale or complex local projects that collaboratively address shared priorities on public and private lands.
A complete list of 2022 grants awarded through the ATBC is available on the NFWF webpage. To learn more about the program, including applicant eligibility, funding priorities, and submission requirements, visit the NFWF ATBC webpage.