(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/Environmental Protection Agency)


Maintaining healthy wildlife populations, restoring impaired ecosystems, providing public access to communities, restoring tribal lands, recovering endangered species, and fighting to offset the effects of climate change all require significant funding. Unfortunately the needs of wildlife conservation efforts far outstrip the financial resources available to federal, state, and tribal agencies but there is also another challenge faced by conservation agencies and leaders… capacity and equity.

The ability to bring investments in conservation and natural resource management to fruition rests with the availability of staff time and expertise. Many agencies and organizations have limited resources in this regard. Capacity needs continue to grow and change as the context for conservation evolves. Evidence shows that collaborative approaches and locally led efforts are significantly associated with conservation success. Therefore, the empowerment and engagement of local stakeholders and conservation actors should be encouraged but these new contexts raise new needs and challenges.

Organizations such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) have announced funding programs that address capacity and equity. NFWF’s most recent awards included $33.8 million in grants to support the restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund (CBSF) is a partnership between NFWF and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), providing funding, technical assistance, networking and information sharing in support of local, on-the-ground conservation and restoration efforts to restore the bay. These projects will further emphasize partnerships, collaborative approaches, and engagement of local communities in the planning, design and implementation of restoration and conservation. The awards also include projects across the watershed that support communities seeking to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their planning, design and implementation.

A complete list of grant recipients is available as well as a complete list of the 2022 Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed grants recipients.

Current Grant & Funding Opportunities

Although the CBSF grants have been awarded, keep them on your radar if you are seeking support next cycle. Now let’s take a look at some current and upcoming funding opportunities that are working to increase their accessibility to a wider range of recipients by providing technical assistance, webinars and grant writing sessions.

  • The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks to provide increased technical assistance through these two efforts, both due December 23, 2022:
    • Proposals for two or three qualified contractors to provide technical assistance as “field liaisons” to support applicants and grantees of the America the Beautiful Challenge and other associated NFWF grant programs. Visit their website to learn more about this opportunity.
    • NFWF seeks a qualified contractor to provide technical guidance and federal compliance review support for the America the Beautiful Challenge program grantees. Visit their website to learn more about the application process.
  • The National Park Service Chesapeake Office was proud to recently announce a new Chesapeake Gateways Network competitive grant opportunity to advance the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 within the full 41-million-acre Chesapeake Bay watershed. Information on the new grant such as eligibility, cost sharing or match, and application requirements are listed on their website.
    • Open through January 30, 2023, this opportunity is available for a long list of eligible candidates and has no match requirement, among other elements aiming for increased equity in grantmaking. Apply by January 30th!
    • This grant also provides technical assistance such as office hours where you can ask questions, discuss potential project ideas and explore grant themes. No registration is required, just click on the Zoom links below to join a session.
  • The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program, also administered through NFWF, seeks to address water quality issues in priority watersheds, such as erosion due to unstable streambanks, pollution from storm-water runoff, and degraded shorelines caused by development through its grant proposals. “This grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds and the species and habitats they support.” It also includes a section of grant priorities for education and outreach as well as for community partnerships. To learn more about this grant visit their website. Proposals are due January 31, 2023.

Do you have grant or funding opportunities that you want to share with CCP partners? Let us know by sending us an email, [email protected]

Image credit:

  1. Watershed – National Park Service Chesapeake Office
  2. Grants for Youth Programs – National Park Trust

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.
To share a success story, news, or important event, send your information to:

[email protected]

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: