The Association Commends the Distribution of Over $39.2 Million in Funding for Fish Habitat Conservation Projects in 24 States

March 20, 2023

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is pleased to see the National Fish Habitat Partnership program assist in providing more than $39.2 million to support 95 fish habitat conservation projects in 24 states. Collaborative partnerships between the state fish and wildlife agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tribes nongovernmental organizations, and other partners are key to implementing these conservation priority projects.

“These partnerships empower and boost locally led conservation efforts to protect, restore and enhance the nation's fish and aquatic communities,” said Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. “The Association is pleased to be one of many partners coordinating to conserve and address the nation’s biggest fish habitat challenges.”

“Conservation is a team sport, and no program embodies that quite as well as National Fish Habitat Partnership and our network of partnerships across the country,” said Robert Boyles, Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “Our nation’s rivers and waterbodies connect us, and NFHP projects take actions to directly improve aquatic resources and fish populations for all. The implementation of these projects announced today is critical in meeting our objectives to protect, restore and enhance fish habitat.”

View the full list of projects here.

Since 2006, the USFWS has provided over $56.5 million to conservation projects which leveraged at a 4:1 ratio to provide over $292.7 million in funding support for fish habitat conservation projects that improve angling and recreational opportunities across the nation. NFHP assembles the collective expertise of federal, state, and non-governmental organizations to identify and prioritize conservation work to achieve significant benefits for fish and other aquatic resources for the American people.

About the National Fish Habitat Partnership:
Since 2006, NFHP has supported 1,378 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. This effort works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest effect on fish populations through priority conservation projects of 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships. In 2020, NFHP was recognized by Congress as part of the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act. NFHP guidance and policies are developed in conjunction with our partnerships and National Fish Habitat Board.   For more information, visit:

AFWA and the National Fish Habitat Partnership Program:
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is an unprecedented attempt to address an unseen crisis for fish nationwide: loss and degradation of their watery homes.  The plan was born in 2001 when an ad hoc group supported by the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council explored the notion of developing a partnership effort for fish on the scale of what was done for waterfowl in the 1980s through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The waterfowl plan has worked wonders during the past two decades to boost waterfowl populations by forming strong local and regional partnerships to protect key habitats.  AFWA supports staffing for the National Fish Habitat Partnership and plays a key role in the Executive Leadership Team of the Board.  The National Fish Habitat Board is also comprised of members from states and regional AFWA Associations.


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.