USFWS – NFWF Chesapeake WILD Grants

posted in: Chesapeake Bay News | 0

great blue heronIn November 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced 25 grants totaling $7.4 million for projects that support wildlife habitat, climate resilience, community conservation partnerships, and equitable access to nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

This year’s grants will advance the goals of the Chesapeake Watershed Investments in Landscape Defense (Chesapeake WILD) Program and leverage more than $12 million in grantee matching funds, for a total conservation impact of $19.4 million.

The awards will ultimately improve recreational access along more than 31 miles of river and trails, restore more than 32 riparian miles of forest habitat, improve passage along nearly 120 river miles for migratory fish species, and protect more than 4,700 acres of fish and wildlife habitat. Many of these projects address conservation needs in vulnerable communities.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S. and home to thousands of species of plants and animals. Approximately one-third of the Atlantic Coast’s migratory waterfowl winter on and near the bay each year.

More than 18 million people live and work in the Chesapeake Bay region, many depending on industries tied to the health of the watershed, like outdoor recreation, farming, and fishing.

The Chesapeake WILD program was established to support collaborative conservation in the watershed and provide grant funding for community-driven projects that align with five interrelated focal areas for sustaining the health of the watershed and its inhabitants into the future:

  • Conserving and restoring imperiled fish and wildlife habitats
  • Enhancing climate resilience and readiness
  • Building community partnerships and conservation capacity, including in vulnerable communities
  • Increasing equitable public access for recreation and human connections with nature.
  • Improving water quality

The Service partners with NFWF to deliver the Chesapeake WILD grant program as part of the foundation’s broader Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund – a portfolio of competitive grant programs helping to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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