Eastern Brook Trout | Credit: USFWS
  • Bring Back the Natives/More Fish

    The decline in native fish populations is a nationwide ecological concern. Habitats supporting native fish and associated aquatic species are continually threatened by numerous causes. In order to address the threats to native freshwater fish species, NFWF coordinates the Bring Back the Natives/More Fish program with the support of federal agencies and private donors.

    The Bring Back the Natives/More Fish program invests in conservation activities that restore, protect, and enhance native populations of sensitive or listed fish species across the United States, especially in areas on or adjacent to federal agency lands. The program emphasizes coordination between private landowners and federal agencies, tribes, corporations, and states to improve the ecosystem functions and health of watersheds. The end result is conservation of aquatic ecosystems, increase of in-stream flows, and partnerships that benefit native fish species throughout the U.S. This funding opportunity also provides grants to implement the goals of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (www.fishhabitat.org).

    In 2015, the Bring Back the Natives/More Fish program will provide funding to projects that identify measureable conservation outcomes for native fish species of special concern. Because the leading factors in native fish species decline are habitat alteration, lack of adequate in-stream flows, and invasive and/or non-native species, projects that address these threats are of particular interest.

    Priority Landscapes and Species:

    Projects benefitting one or more of the following native fish species and focal geographies are priorities for funding through the Bring Back the Natives/More Fish program.

    • Western native trout and char, including California Golden trout, Eagle Lake Rainbow trout, Lahontan, Rio Grande, Yellowstone, Colorado and Westslope Cutthroat trout, Bull trout, Apache trout and Gila trout.
    • West Coast salmon and steelhead, especially Oregon Coastal Coho, Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho and Central California Coast Coho, as well as Central California Coast Steelhead and South-Central California Coast Steelhead.
    • Desert fishes native to the Colorado River Basin, including Razorback suckers.
    • Prairie fishes of the North-Central plains.
    • Great Lakes native fishes, including Lake sturgeon, Northern pike and native Brook trout.
    • Southern and southeastern native fishes, especially endemic, native black bass species, and species of concern in the Cumberland, Tennessee, Mobile, Tallahatchie and Yocona River drainages.
    • Native fishes of eastern US rivers, including Brook trout and River herring (especially in the Penobscot River).

    Since 1991, over 400 projects have been supported through Bring Back the Natives/More Fish. A total of $20 million in NFWF funds has leveraged an additional $51 million in matching contributions for this program. Support for this program has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Orvis, Bass Pro Shops, and the Brunswick Foundation.


 Application Information


 Program Information

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 Staff Representatives






 Due Dates


  • No Current Due Dates



  • What types of organizations are eligible to apply to this program?
    Eligible applicants to the Bring Back the Natives/More Fish program include: local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies (e.g., counties, townships, cities, boroughs), special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts), non-profit 501(c) organizations, schools and universities.
  • How do I receive announcements?
    E-mail haven.whipple@nfwf.org to be added to the notification list for announcements of new solicitations
  • Does this program have any matching requirements?
    Applicants must provide non-federal match of at least $1 for every $1 of grant funds requested. Eligible non-federal matching sources can include cash, in-kind donations, and/or volunteer labor.
  • What is the typical grant award amount for this program?
    Grant awards generally range in size from $25,000 to $100,000 although grants greater than $100,000 can be considered.
  • What are the regular grant cycles for this program?
    The Bring Back the Natives/More Fish grant program is offered annually with a Request for Proposals typically released in the spring. If you are on the Bring Back the Natives/More Fish Request for Proposals distribution list, you will receive an email when the Request for Proposals is available. If you are interested in being added to the distribution list, please email one of the staff representatives listed on this page.