Biden administration pledging $1 billion for conservation
Earlier this year, the White House announced the $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge to support community-led efforts to conserve and restore lands and waters across the country. The initiative will leverage federal funding to protect rivers and coastlines, connect wildlife corridors, restore forests and grasslands, improve climate resilience, and expand access to nature through a “one-stop shop” to apply for funding.
The challenge begins with an initial five-year federal commitment of $440 million to a new public-private grant program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The bulk of the initial federal funding comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress passed last year. To meet the $1 billion challenge mark, the remaining money will be raised through private and philanthropic contributions.
State and local governments and tribes can apply for funding from multiple federal grant programs through a single application managed by NFWF. This includes $375 million in ecosystem restoration funds from the Department of the Interior; $35 million from the Department of Agriculture and Forest Service for grants to improve water quality, restore fish passage or prevent invasive species; and $25 million through the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program.
The first request for proposals was issued on May 19, with proposals due by July 21 and funding awarded in November of 2022. Land trusts can partner with state, local and tribal governments to get these funds on the ground to good projects. Head over to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for more information!