New Partnership Between NFWF and USDA Forest Service Announces $630,000 in Grants for Lower Great Lakes Forestry Technical Assistance

Funding supports two projects in Ohio and Michigan

Cedar waxwing takes a snack from a serviceberry tree

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 11, 2022) – A new partnership between the USDA Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $630,000 in competitive grant funding for two projects that will accelerate the planning and implementation of land stewardship practices for woodlands and forests within the lower Great Lakes region via technical assistance to private landowners. The grants will leverage approximately $630,000 in additional project support from grantees, generating a total on-the-ground conservation impact of $1.26 million. 

This new partnership supports NFWF’s Great Lakes Business Plan and was launched in 2022 as a special initiative under NFWF’s Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) program. SOGL is a public–private partnership that supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin and advances the objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem. The new Sustain Our Great Lakes program funding provided through the USDA Forest Service is part of a 2022 Congressional Directive to support private forest management in the lower Great Lakes region.

“This new partnership with USDA Forest Service will enable significant expansion of NFWF’s support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, allowing the Foundation to more effectively address conservation needs within the lower Great Lakes region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “These projects will engage thousands of private woodland landowners who are essential partners in this work and support improved management on more than 18,000 acres to benefit the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and the communities that rely upon them.”

“The USDA Forest Service is proud to be a part of this year’s collaborative conservation effort with the NFWF to deliver forest management assistance to more than 4,000 landowners within the lower Great Lakes, through the Forest Stewardship Program,” said Susan Ellsworth, Regional Director for Cooperative Forestry with the USDA Forest Service. “These projects demonstrate the cooperation between the USDA Forest Service, state forestry agencies, and our conservation partners to support private landowners as they work to improve watershed resiliency and sustainably manage private forest lands within the lower Great Lakes region.”

This year’s grants will support projects in Ohio and Michigan that will benefit fish, wildlife, habitat and water quality in the lower Great Lakes basin through stewardship and management of private woodlands in this critical region. Collectively, the two projects will improve management of at least 18,000 acres of private forests and woodlands and engage more than 4,000 landowners.

Grantee: Ohio Department of Natural Resources    
Grant Title: Enhancing Lake Erie Forests Through Partnerships and Small Woodland Owner Technical Assistance (Ohio)
Grant Award: $315,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $315,000
Project Description: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will expand forestry technical assistance and landowner education in northern Ohio's Lake Erie watersheds to enhance the health and productivity of woodlands, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat

Grantee: Michigan Department of Natural Resources    
Grant Title: Technical Assistance for Family Forest Landowners to Improve Woodland Health and Water Quality (Michigan)
Grant Award: $315,000
Grantee Matching Funds: $315,000
Project Description: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will engage diverse partners to conduct spatial analysis and help local water utilities implement their source water protection plans with family forest landowners in their watersheds.

To learn more about Sustain Our Great Lakes, including applicant eligibility, funding priorities and submission requirements, visit

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) works with the public and private sectors to sustain, restore and enhance the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF has grown to become the nation’s largest private conservation grant-maker, funding more than 20,400 projects and generating a total conservation impact of $7.4 billion. Learn more at

About the USDA Forest Service
Established in 1905, the Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit



Rob Blumenthal,, 202-857-0166