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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program

Deadline: January 31, 2017

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), FedEx, Southern Company, and Alcoa Foundation are seeking applications for the 2017 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration program. The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds, and the species and habitats they support. Projects include a variety of ecological improvements including: wetland, riparian, forest, and coastal habitat restoration; wildlife conservation; community tree canopy enhancement; and/or water quality monitoring and stormwater management; along with targeted community outreach, education, and stewardship. Priority will be given to projects in urban, suburban, and/or rural areas that advance water quality goals in environmental justice communities such as neighborhoods with high concentrations of minority and low-income populations.

Proposals should address the following five priorities:

1. On-the-Ground Restoration

  • Restore and/or create wetlands, coastal, or riparian areas that address key species and habitats and link directly to established watershed and conservation plans.
  • Restore, design, or create forest habitat or community tree canopy leading directly to improved water quality of urban watersheds.
  • Manage stormwater or address water scarcity by designing and/or implementing green infrastructure, using best management practices like increasing tree canopy, bio swales, permeable pavers, bio retention, green roofs, downspout disconnection, installation of native vegetation, and other proven practices for water quality, habitats, and species.
  • Design and/or create habitat and/or engage residents in restoration at community public areas such as schools, parks, birding trails, and more.
  • Collect and analyze local waterway samples that could be used to determine the effectiveness of current stream/wetland restoration and green infrastructure efforts and effectively inform future planning and decision-making.
  • Develop/implement trash and litter prevention programs designed to keep urban waterways and riverfronts clean.
  • Enhance, restore, conserve, and/or improve land and natural resources management in drinking water protection areas through green/natural infrastructure installations, outreach, education, and training on watershed protection practices and their impacts on urban drinking water. Projects must demonstrate the linkage between upstream land-use decisions and the quality, quantity and safety of drinking water.

2. Community Partnerships

  • Must involve five or more partners (public and private entities) including the applicant.
  • Directly engage a diverse group of community partners to achieve ecological and specific educational outcomes including partnerships among upstream and downstream communities.
  • Demonstrate that the project will advance existing local planning and development for resilient communities and/or propose to foster new collaborations to coordinate a diverse stakeholder partnership that develop and/or implements new plans.

3. Environmental Outreach, Education & Training

  • Must integrate meaningful outreach, education, and training into the proposed on-the-ground activities that advance local watershed and conservation goals.
  • Engage the public (particularly youth) in hands-on, outdoor conservation experiences that build awareness of the importance of protecting and recovering priority species and habitats and promote stewardship. Priority will be given to projects engaging environmental justice communities.
  • Establish or advance a citizen science or water quality monitoring program that involves community members and/or addresses community water quality priorities. Eligible activities include water quality and/or habitat surveys, bird surveys, monitoring efforts that involve the collection, assessment, analysis, and communication of water quality data (existing or new) to identify areas of concern.
  • Provide job training, placement, and job performance follow-up for stream/wetlands restoration, green infrastructure installation, operation, and maintenance.
  • Improve citizen understanding of damaging trash and litter impacts in local waterways that affect community health and local economies.

4. Measurable Results

  • Must result in specific, measurable ecological, educational, and community benefits.
  • Identify measurable activities and metrics which clearly link to watershed and community outcomes.
  • Document a high level of community engagement to support fish and wildlife habitat, urban forestry, and water quality-related activities across diverse audiences which improve understanding of how fish and wildlife conservation, clean water, and healthy forests contribute to community well-being.

5. Sustainability

  • Must include a plan for maintenance and care of the project beyond the grant period.
  • Reflect a commitment to community strength and long-term capacity to remain engaged as partners.
  • Directly connect outcomes to community benefits of watershed restoration such as clean water, public health benefits, local economic development, and jobs.
  • Fulfill or advance priorities identified through local planning efforts, including watershed plans, climate resilience plans, and/or sustainability plans.

Amount: A total of $2,500,000 is available nationwide to award 40-50 grants with awards ranging from $20,000-$50,000 and averaging $30,000. Grants should span one to two years in length. Projects are required to meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio to be competitive.

Note: Grants are available nationwide, but additional funding is available for specific geographic priorities. Geographic focus depends on funding available from the funding partners. See the NFWF website (link below) for a complete breakdown of funding availability by agency and for specific geographic focus areas per agency. Specific geographic locations that may include New Mexico are detailed below:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Five Star Restoration Training Program: Approximately $215,000 is available nationwide from EPA to fund projects. These funds are available nationwide, in any size community.
  • Urban Waters Federal Partnership, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Forest Service urban Forestry: Approximately $522,000 is available from U.S. Forest Service and EPA, through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, to improve urban water quality, restore riparian habitat and urban forests, and increase public access in developed watersheds. Funds are available nationwide for urban areas. Special consideration will be made for projects which directly advance priorities of the 19 Urban Waters Federal Partnership Designated Locations and/or are in designated source water protection areas. An area within New Mexico, that includes Albuquerque, is designated as one of the 19 Urban Waters Federal Partnership Designated Locations. There is also an area in New Mexico (near White Sands, around the Sacramento Mountains) that is a Source Water Protection Area. See the NFWF website (link below), which provides a link to maps that designate these areas.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Urban Programs: Approximately $405,000 is available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund projects that engage urban neighbors and foster a sense of stewardship where there are Fish and Wildlife Service lands or offices nearby (within approximately 25 miles). Priority areas could also include locations where there are existing Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships or with established Urban Bird Treaty Cities with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Eligibility: Tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes and educational institutions.

Link: http://www.nfwf.org/fivestar/Pages/2017rfp.aspx

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