NFWF announces $1.5 million in grants

NFWF announces $1.5 million in grants.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announces $1.5 million in grants to restore, improve and conserve sagebrush, mesic wet meadow and big game migratory corridor habitats in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. The grants will generate $2.5 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $4 million. 

“The Intermountain West is a region rich with wildlife and unique habitats,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Through voluntary collaborations and impactful grants such as these, we can make major progress toward conserving and restoring this important working landscape and providing improved habitat for native species including elk, mule deer, sage-grouse and songbirds.”  

The grants were awarded through the Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program, a partnership between NFWF, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Cargill and Darden Restaurants. 

“The BLM is committed to working with diverse partners across the West to protect and restore habitat and biodiversity, address invasive species and ensure wildlife has room to roam well into the future,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “We look forward to continuing these collaborations on behalf of our nation’s public lands and all that depend upon them.” 

Working closely and on a voluntary basis with private landowners, the Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program was established in 2019 to conserve and restore habitat for wildlife adapted to harsh climates that often require large open spaces to sustain their populations. With commitments from funders, the grants awarded through the NFWF Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program have the potential to sequester up to 107,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2030. 

“At Darden, we’re committed to doing our part to protect our planet for future generations,” said Bryan Valladares, director of Sustainability at Darden Restaurants. “We’re proud to support the work that NFWF is leading to help promote climate resiliency by restoring grazing lands in the Rocky Mountain Rangelands and enhancing conservation projects in this vital ecosystem.” 

The projects supported by the five grants announced address three program priorities, including: meadow wetland habitat restoration; management and/or local eradication of invasive annual grasses on sagebrush rangelands; and technical assistance to conserve habitat through easements. Together, these five grants will: 

  • Remove or improve 28 miles of fencing to open up wildlife migration corridors 
  • Restore more than 12,000 acres of rangelands with native grasses, forbs and brush 
  • Improve grazing management on 37,500 acres of land for cattle and wildlife 
  • Treat 47,00 acres to remove annual invasive plant species 
  • Install six water tanks to provide alternate water sources for livestock and improve livestock management 

“Restoring and maintaining a sustainable, natural ecosystem for wildlife and livestock to cohabitate is a top priority for Cargill,” said Jeffrey Fitzpatrick, BeefUp Sustainability Program lead, Cargill. “As part of the BeefUp Sustainability initiative, we continue to focus our efforts on bringing together the programs and partners that can make the most significant impact on climate change. It is exactly these types of public-private partnerships, connecting the right resources to the right organizations, that support that type of environment, building an agricultural supply chain to feed the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way.” 

Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program 2022 grant recipients include: 

  • Pheasants Forever (receiving two grants), to (1) restore rangelands in southern and central Idaho by removing invasive annual cheatgrass and reseeding native grasses to benefit sage-grouse and other native species; and (2) remove invasive western juniper in southwestern Idaho to restore greater sage-grouse habitat. 
  • Grand Teton National Park Foundation, to restore a previously cultivated section of the Kelly Hayfields in Grand Teton National Park to benefit bison, elk, pronghorn, sage-grouse, songbirds and other native wildlife through replanting native grasses, fobs and shrubs. 
  • National Audubon Society, to implement replicable grazing/seeding techniques and infrastructure to increase native forage and protect riparian habitat to benefit greater sage-grouse and other native species in Utah and Wyoming. 
  • The Mule Deer Foundation, to enhance rangeland habitat across the Rocky Mountain Region to benefit mule deer, sage-grouse, and other native wildlife species through fencing removal, replanting native sagebrush, and management of invasive annual grasses and juniper. 

Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program here, and more about the grants announced here. 



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