Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Photo Credit: National Park Service via Jane Thomas)

On November 10th, 2022, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) joined its public- and private- sector partners in announcing nearly $91 million in grants through the new America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC). The 55 new grants announced will support landscape-scale conservation projects in 42 states and three U.S. territories, leveraging $50.7 million in matching contributions to generate a total conservation impact of about $141.7 million.

The America the Beautiful Challenge is a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service), the U.S. Department of Defense and Native Americans in Philanthropy.

To streamline and centralize access to funds, NFWF and partners worked together to establish the ATBC in May 2022 as a “one-stop-shop” competitive grant program for landscape-scale conservation and restoration projects that implement existing conservation plans across the nation. The 2022 ATBC request for proposals received an unprecedented response with applicants submitting 527 proposals requesting a total of $1.1 billion. The grant slate announced addresses about 10 percent of this overall level of demand, illustrating the highly competitive nature of the ATBC.

This year, states and tribes across the Chesapeake Watershed submitted proposals under the ATBC. Although we had great participation, we hope to be more successful next round. The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is considering how best to support and provide assistance to states and tribes applying for this resource. Next year we anticipate a steady partnership response, and we are ready to convene Bay states and tribes early to assist as needed to strategize as a collaborative and prepare for successful project submissions.

A full list of grant awards can be viewed on the NFWF website.

Image credit:

  1. Eagle at Fones Cliff (Photo Credit: Peter Turcik, Chesapeake Conservancy)

Lightning Update is a regular communication of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions of the Partnership or member organizations.
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Support for the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is provided by:
National Park Service Chesapeake
EPA Chesapeake Bay Program
USDA Forest Service
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Chesapeake Conservancy

The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is co-convened by: