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Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs in Multiple
States for Habitat Restoration in the Appalachian Region

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

07/27/17 11:59 PM EDT


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Grants starting at $50,000 to New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions for the preservation of freshwater fish and bird habitat in designated areas of the Appalachian region. Funding will be awarded for projects that sustain and restore healthy forests, streams, and rivers that provide habitats for diverse populations.

Grants will be awarded in two (2) categories: habitat restoration grants, and focal geography grants.

Habitat Restoration Grants will be awarded for projects that:

-Improve the management of public and private (particularly family and individually-owned) forestlands to enhance age and structural diversity of forests in the region. Restoration of a mosaic of forest seral stages will provide habitat conditions supporting a diversity of bird species including young forest dependent species (i.e. American woodcock, golden-winged warbler and prairie warbler), and complex mature and late successional forest associated species (i.e. cerulean warbler, black-throated blue warbler and wood thrush).

-Improve the quality of habitat in river and stream systems especially for eastern brook trout, eastern hellbender, threatened and endangered freshwater mussels and their host species, including: restoring fish passage and improving access to high quality upstream habitat; and restoring complex in-stream habitat.

-Restore the integrity and complexity of riparian forests that provide important edge habitat and wildlife corridors, and also are essential to protecting the quality of freshwater systems, especially targeting habitat for Louisiana waterthrush and eastern brook trout.

Focal Geography Grants will be awarded to concentrate habitat restoration priorities, above, in eleven focal geographies targeted in western Pennsylvania. These geographies have been identified in partnership with the Richard King Mellon Foundation as places where targeted investments have the potential to reduce multiple threats to high quality forest and freshwater habitat for species that are representative of system health.

For both Habitat Restoration Grants and Focal Geography Grants, priorities will be addressed by funding a range of strategies to engage public and private landowners in active stewardship through technical and financial assistance, demonstrations, education and outreach and other innovative approaches.

Geographic Focus:

The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program will award grants in the Appalachian region of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, as detailed on the program map.

Habitat Restoration Grants will be awarded throughout the central Appalachian region.

Focal Geography Grants will be awarded for work in one or more of eleven focal geographies, including Shenango, French Creek, Upper Allegheny, Mid and Lower Allegheny, Laurel Highlands, Dunkard Creek, Conemaugh and Clearfield Headwaters, Upper Juniata River, Bald Eagle to Penn Valley, Moshannon, and Triple Divide. These geographies currently all are in western Pennsylvania, but in subsequent years may be expanded to other parts of the region.

Projects that involve the stewardship of family-owned woodlands are encouraged to target efforts in the following thirteen watersheds, including the Upper Susquehanna, Upper Allegheny, Sinnemahoning, Bald Eagle, Upper Juniata, Lower Juniata, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara, Youghiogheny, Upper James, North Branch Potomac, Cacapon-Town, South Branch Potomac and Greenbrier watersheds. These watersheds have been identified by the American Forest Foundation as the greatest opportunities to work with family woodland owners to protect and improve wildlife habitats in their woods. For more information refer to AFF’s report Hidden in Plain Sight.

Program Priorities:

Priority will be given to projects that address at least one of the following strategies:

1. Forest Conservation, Connectivity and Management

Improve management of forest blocks for age and structural diversity to demonstrate improved forest conditions for birds and other wildlife (esp. golden-winged and prairie warbler, American woodcock, black-throated blue warbler, wood thrush and cerulean warbler).

-Assessment/Planning: Provide forest management decision support tools that encourage landscape level planning to manage for an appropriate mix of age and structural diversity that also is adaptable to meeting the needs and interests of public and private landowners at the parcel and forest block scale.

-Forest Block Demonstrations: Implement forest management demonstration projects that use a range of forest management practices and prescriptions to create a diversity of age and structure across contiguous forest blocks of at least 2,500 acres. Projects that engage landowners with a range of property sizes and interests are strongly encouraged. Project success should be measured by occupancy of target species.

-Outreach and Technical Assistance: Execute innovative outreach and marketing strategies to engage target audiences, especially family woodland owners and consulting foresters, in adopting forest management practices that enhance habitat conditions. Projects should attempt to leverage NRCS Forest Management Plan funding and young forest cost-share programs (e.g., NRCS RCPP, NRCS WLW, PGC) when possible.

-Early Successional Forest Habitat: Create and enhance early successional forest habitat as part of a landscape effort to restore forest age and structural diversity across the region. This work may include flexible management prescriptions for forest stands on public and private lands that are un-managed or under-utilized, and/or improvement of fallow or un-managed habitat through planting and selective treatment to facilitate appropriate habitat conditions for early successional species including golden-winged warbler and prairie warbler, and American woodcock.

-Mature and Late Successional Forest Habitat: Demonstrate forest management strategies and practices that enhance age and structural diversity for mature and late successional forest habitats, and maximize habitat quality for target species, such as cerulean and black-throated blue warbler and wood thrush. This may include prescriptions to manage understory, canopy or create gaps within mature stands. Demonstration projects should include plans for conveying lessons learned to foresters and conservation professionals throughout the region.

All forest management should assess and implement recommendations based on the landscape scale context and goals. Projects also should include strategies for transferring lessons learned to consulting foresters, forest landowners and other forest management professionals throughout the region. Projects are encouraged to use signage and other outreach methods to raise community awareness and support for the project’s goals and objectives.

2. ​Healthy River Systems

Restore water quality and aquatic connectivity to enhance the long-term persistence of native species including eastern brook trout, eastern hellbender and threatened and endangered freshwater mussel communities. Projects should targeted restoration between and within allopatric brook trout populations, in proximity to known eastern hellbender habitat, and to benefit threatened and endangered freshwater mussel communities and their host species.

-Restore Aquatic Connectivity: Identify, assess, prioritize and remove barriers to fish passage. Replace culverts and remove under-utilized dams that result in artificial impoundment and stream warming. Projects can support on-the-ground restoration and stream barrier surveys to determine priorities for future connectivity restoration. Projects are encouraged to demonstrate the benefits of aquatic connectivity projects to human communities through reduced flooding and other infrastructure failures.

-Restore Riparian Forests: Reforest riparian buffers in the active river area. Reforested buffers ideally should range between 50 feet and 100 feet wide and be planted with 200 – 250 native tree and shrub seedlings per acre and be protected from deer browse and competition from invasive species. Projects should include long-term maintenance strategies for new buffers (4-10 year establishment period) by addressing issues including deer browsing, invasive species and competitive vegetation management, and mortality. Include control of Japanese knotweed, reed canary-grass, purple loosestrife, and other invasive plant species in riparian restoration projects.

-Reduce Polluted Runoff from Agricultural Lands: Provide technical and financial assistance to address all conservation concerns on farms that have the greatest potential to improve habitat for target species. Projects should implement BMPs that meet or exceed the performance of related federal and state-approved methods and specifications, unless flexibility is necessary to demonstrate an innovative approach or technology. Outreach should target farms that have conservation, manure management, and/or nutrient management plans in place, as appropriate. Where these plans are not in place, projects should prioritize developing plans prior to implementing BMPs.

-Reduce Polluted Runoff from Developed Lands: Implement green stormwater infrastructure demonstration projects in high priority and visible locations and that increase urban stormwater storage capacity and polluted runoff associated with storm events. These projects should support training for land managers, local governments, the land development community, and other target audiences.

-Reduce Erosion and Sedimentation from Dirt and Gravel Roads: Conduct dirt and gravel roads assessments for existing roads in partnership with the Pennsylvania's Dirt Gravel, and Low Volume Road Maintenance Program, Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, NAACC, and with respective county conservation districts and municipalities. Projects should focus on road crossings where a reduction in sediment delivery to streams is possible and for road crossings that are in high priority habitat areas for eastern brook trout and eastern hellbender. Proposals should focus on publically accessible roads in order to leverage funding from the Pennsylvania's Dirt Gravel, and Low Volume Road Maintenance Program when possible.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181728

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants will range from $50,000 to $200,000 each.

Term of Contract:

Projects should begin within six months of the award date and be completed within two years of the agreed start date.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible and Ineligible Entities:

-Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes and educational institutions.

-Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals and international organizations.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds:

-NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.

-NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Workshops will provide potential applicants with an overview of the Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program, including conservation goals and priorities, funding availability, timeline, eligibility requirements and the process for submitting the application/full proposal using NFWF's online system. Ample time will be provided to answer questions.

The next in-person workshop will take place in:
Blacksburg, VA
June 26, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, EDT
Virginia Tech University -
Corporate Research Center
1715 Pratt Drive, Suite 1500, Wiki Room
Blacksburg, VA 24060-6304

Additionally, a webinar will be held on June 27, 10:00 - 12:00 PM EDT.

Pre-Application Information:

These grants require non-federal matching contributions valued at 50% of the total project costs (1:1 ratio).

-​Applicant In-Person Workshop (Pittsburgh, PA): June 20, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, EDT
​-Applicant In-Person Workshop (Blacksburg, VA)​: June 26, 12:00 - 2:00 PM, EDT
​-Applicant Webinar: June 27, 10:00 - 12:00 PM, EDT
​-Full Proposal Due Date: July 27, by 11:59 PM EDT
​-Review and Notification Period: ​August - September
​-Awards Announced: ​Mid-October


For more information on the focal geographies, visit:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register for June 20th Pittsburgh Workshop:

Register for June 26th Blacksburg Workshop:

Register for June 27th Webinar:

Apply Online:

For issues or assistance with the online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday.
Include: your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:

John Wright, Coordinator
Northeastern Regional Office, NFWF
(202) 595-2478

Elizabeth Nellums, Manager, Chesapeake Programs
Northeastern Regional Office, NFWF
(202) 595-2442

For projects that involve stewardship of family-owned woodlands, applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to the American Forest Foundation for assistance in developing project strategy and competitive applications. Please contact:

Christine Cadigan, Director
Northeastern Woodland Conservation
American Forest Foundation

Grant Coverage Areas:

​For eligible project areas, view the program map here:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maryland: Appalachian Region;   New York: Appalachian Region;   Ohio: Appalachian Region;   Pennsylvania: Appalachian Region;   Virginia: Appalachian Region;   West Virginia: Appalachian Region