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

    Bring Back the Natives 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. 

    Leading factors in native fish species decline include habitat alteration, lack of adequate in-stream flows, and invasive and/or non-native species. Bring Back the Natives awards grants to projects that conserve aquatic ecosystems, increase in-stream flows and build partnerships that benefit native fish species throughout the United States. The program also provides grants to implement the goals of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan​.

    Bring Back the Natives also supports projects that advance innovation in fisheries management, including developing decision support tools, landscape-scale assessments to determine where to implement restoration to maximize native fish recovery, piloting innovative restoration techniques, identifying key flow restoration thresholds that enhance fish habitat and water quality in flow-limited systems, and innovative public outreach methods like crowd-sourcing data or information needed for native fish conservation. 

    Priority Landscapes and Species

    Bring Back the Natives supports projects benefitting one or more of the following native fish species and focal geographies:

    • Pacific lamprey, Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin
    • Salmon in the Central and Northern California coasts
    • Intermountain West native trout and char including Yellowstone/Snake River, Colorado River, San Juan and Greenback cutthroat trout, as well as bull trout, Apache trout and Gila trout
    • Native desert fishes in the arid Southwest, including sucker, dace, pupfish and other species, especially those with overlapping distributions with other native fish species of conservation priority
    • Great Lakes native fishes, including lake sturgeon, northern pike and eastern brook trout
    • Southern and southeastern native fish, especially endemic species of concern in the Cumberland, Tennessee and Mobile (Alabama/Coosa) River drainages
    • Native fish of eastern U.S. Rivers, especially river herring and American shad in the Chesapeake and Delaware watersheds

    Support for this program is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Brunswick Foundation.


 Application Information

  • (Updated: 6/10/2019)


 Program Information

  • (Updated: 11/13/2019)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)

  • (Updated: 11/21/2018)


 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 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.
  • 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 grant program is offered annually with a Request for Proposals typically released in the spring. If you are on the Bring Back the Natives 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 Kate Morgan (Katherine.Morgan@nfwf.org), Coordinator, Water Investments.