November 14, 2023
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (Association) applauds the Biden-Harris Administration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as they announce over $140 Million in Grants from the America the Beautiful Challenge to Restore Lands and Waters (Challenge). Today, the Administration announced that 74 new grants across 46 states, three U.S. territories, and 21 Tribal Nations have been selected for locally led ecosystem restoration projects under the public-private grant program.
“We thank the Administration for supporting the critical work of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Tribes, and their partners,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and President of the Association. “Bold actions like the America the Beautiful Challenge are needed to conserve, restore, and connect wildlife habitats and ecosystems while addressing regional landscape conservation priorities, improving community resilience and access to our natural resources.”
Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Challenge brings together funds from the Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense to fuel on-the-ground conservation work undertaken by state, Tribal, NGO, and private working land partners.
“These grants are critical for state conservation and restoration efforts across the nation,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association. “Large-scale, voluntary conservation projects led by local communities are key to restoring and securing at-risk species such as those identified in State Wildlife Action Plans.”
Leveraging at least $12 million in matching contributions this year, the Challenge will provide more than $153 million for conservation projects that support increased connectivity, enhanced habitats, and abundant populations while stimulating the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy.
The Association thanks the Administration and participating partners for recognizing the need to empower State, Territorial, and Tribal resource managers, and urges Congress to build on this commitment with swift passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.