Grants to Benefit Fish and Wildlife in New England

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced $1.8 million in grants to restore and sustain healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse bird populations, as well as freshwater and diadromous fish populations, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and portions of the Lake Champlain and Upper Hudson River watersheds in New York.

Black-throated blue warbler

Black-throated blue warblers use both older woods and young forests./Tom Berriman

The grants will generate $2.9 million in matching grantee contributions for a total conservation impact of $4.7 million. They “will help improve the availability of essential habitat throughout New England’s dynamic forest and river systems, directly benefiting wildlife, as well as reducing flood risk to local communities,” said Jeff Trandahl, NFWF executive director.

The grants were awarded through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund, a partnership between NFWF and the American Forest Foundation, Eversource, the Avangrid Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Additional funding is provided by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Projects will replace or modify 31 barriers to fish passage, restoring access to 42 miles of historic stream habitat for eastern brook trout, river herring, and Atlantic salmon. In addition, more than 33 miles of instream and riparian forest habitat will be created to improve water quality and natural flow.

The grants will also improve forest management practices on more than 1,600 acres of young and mature forest, creating a mosaic of habitats that will support American woodcock, black-throated blue warbler, wood thrush, as well as mammals and reptiles and amphibians.

“More than half of the forests across the Northeast are owned by families and individuals,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “These individuals care about wildlife and want to do more to improve the habitat on their land. But they need support in order to do so. We are proud to be a part of the New England Forests and Rivers Fund to provide landowners with the guidance and resources they need to steward their land.”

NFWF works with both public and private partners in New England to invest in strategic, on-the-ground conservation projects that improve the management of public and private forestlands to create a mosaic of mixed-age forests, and that improve the quality and connectivity of rivers and streams, providing high-quality habitat for native fish.

The New England Forests and Rivers Fund annually awards competitive grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 each. Since its creation in 2015, the fund has awarded 75 grants totaling more than $9.1 million. Grantees, in turn, are leveraging an additional $15.2 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of more than $24.3 million.

A complete list of the 2020 grants made through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund is available here.

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $6.1 billion. Learn more at