America the Beautiful Challenge
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), through anticipated cooperative agreements from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has created the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC), a consolidated grant funding opportunity for new voluntary conservation and restoration projects around the United States. Applicants can conceive and develop large-scale, locally led projects that address shared funder priorities spanning public and private lands.
ATBC will seek to fund projects across the following themes:
- Conserving and restoring rivers, coasts, wetlands and watersheds
- Conserving and restoring forests, grasslands and other important ecosystems that serve as carbon sinks
- Connecting and reconnecting wildlife corridors, large landscapes, watersheds and seascapes
- Improving ecosystem and community resilience to flooding, drought and other climate-related threats
- Expanding access to the outdoors, particularly in underserved communities
Projects funded through the ATBC will advance the principles underlying the America the Beautiful Initiative, as described in the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful Report:
- Pursue a collaborative and inclusive approach to conservation
- Conserve America’s lands and waters for the benefit of all people
- Support locally led and locally designed conservation efforts
- Honor Tribal sovereignty and support the priorities of Tribal nations
- Pursue conservation and restoration approaches that create jobs and support healthy communities
- Honor private property rights and support the voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners and fishers
- Use science as a guide
- Build on existing tools and strategies with an emphasis on flexibility and adaptive approaches
ATBC will prioritize proposals that implement voluntary large-scale, on-the-ground conservation activities or otherwise lead to on-the-ground implementation through capacity building, community engagement, planning, and project design. Competitive proposals will increase interagency and intergovernmental collaboration and address more than one of the program priorities below:
- Benefit At-Risk Fish, Wildlife and Plant Species
- Expand Habitat Connectivity
- Provide a Range of Ecosystem Services
- Strengthen Ecosystem and Community Resilience
- Expand Public and Community Access to Nature
- Engage Local Communities
- Support Tribally Led Conservation and Restoration Priorities
- Contribute to Local or Tribal Economies
- Contribute to Workforce Development
Amount: $85,000,000 is expected to be available, for four grant categories, as follows:
- States, Territories, and Tribal Implementation Grants: $1,000,000-$5,000,000 — projects will address the program priorities on public, Tribal, and/or private lands.
- Planning, Collaboration and Engagement for States, Territories and Tribes: $200,000-$1,000,000 — projects will enhance local capacity to implement future on-the-ground actions through community-based assessments, partnership building, planning, project design, and other technical assistance-oriented activities.
- Grants to Buffer and Benefit Public Lands: $250,000-$1,500,000 — projects will result in direct, on-the-ground conservation actions that benefit National Forests and Department of Defense facilities.
- Private Forests, Rangeland and Farmland Grants: $200,000-$500,000 — projects will support outreach and engagement with private landowners to advance voluntary conservation efforts on working lands that align with the NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife Framework (e.g. sagebrush, grasslands, bobwhite quail, northeast turtles, golden-winged warbler).
A cost share may be required, depending on funding source (see link below). Anticipated completion time for funded projects typically will be 12–18 months for community engagement and design projects and 24–48 months for implementation projects following finalization of a grant agreement.
Eligibility: State government agencies, territories of the United States, and Indian Tribes are eligible to apply for all four grant categories. Non-profit 501(c) organizations, local governments, municipal governments, and educational institutions are eligible to apply for grants in categories (3) Grants to Buffer and Benefit Public Lands, and (4) Private Forests and Farmland.
Projects throughout the U.S., U.S. territories and Tribal Nations are eligible for funding. Projects can be on public lands, Tribal lands, and private lands, and ideally span multiple landownership boundaries.
Note: A webinar may be viewed at https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/7537083362335648002
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