New Available Grant Funding for Wildlife and Resilience in the Bay

March 24, 2022

New “WILD” grant program will focus on the restoration and conservation of wetlands and streamside forest buffers, as well as community engagement and outdoor recreation

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today announced that the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 includes a first-year funding of $4 million for a new grant program to support fish and wildlife, climate resiliency, and equitable access to the outdoors in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Grant proposals are now being accepted for the new Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Defense (WILD) program. Details can be found on NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund website.
FWS will co-administer the Chesapeake WILD competitive grant program with NFWF, following a successful public-private model that has drawn long-term support by partners and potential grantees throughout the watershed.

The new funding program will be coordinated with and build upon the long-standing Chesapeake Stewardship Fund Small Watershed Grant (SWG) program, through which NFWF and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have provided significant funding to help decrease pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake WILD grant program will complement prior investments in clean water for wildlife and people by supporting projects that cannot be funded by existing restoration grant programs, and are of exceptional value for fish and wildlife, outdoor recreation, climate resiliency, community engagement, equitable access to the outdoors and more.
This new funding is essential to achieve critical habitat restoration goals of the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership, including restoration, enhancement, and conservation of wetlands and riparian forested buffers.

To speed delivery of these funds to on-the-ground projects, priorities for Chesapeake WILD funding will be identified through NFWF’s current Small Watershed Grants Request for Proposals (RFP). As a result, initial awards may be announced by late summer 2022, less than six months from securing initial program funding.

NFWF and FWS are working in partnership with the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership, a well-established network that is informing shared priorities and strategies for the Chesapeake WILD program, to improve awareness, coordination, and input in capitalizing on this initial program funding. Thanks to CCP and its extensive network of partners, many partners are already working on grant applications proposing important conservation and restoration projects.

“The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is excited to act as the regional collaborative to assist in implementing the new Chesapeake Wild program,” said National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office Superintendent Wendy O’Sullivan, co-convenor of the 13-year-old Chesapeake Conservation Partnership (CCP). “CCP’s network of partners has been instrumental in recruiting exceptional WILD proposals to the SWG program, a critical effort in developing a pipeline of projects for future Chesapeake WILD funding.”

A revised SWG/Chesapeake WILD RFP is now available on NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund website, to acknowledge incorporation of WILD funding, as well as clarify important WILD-related eligibility consideration.

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