NFWF Announces $1.2 Million in Conservation Grants from New England Forests and Rivers Fund

Grants will improve aquatic connectivity by removing barriers to fish passage and improve management of forest blocks for the benefit of eastern brook trout, river herring, New England cottontail, black-throated blue warbler and American woodcock

Brook trout

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 23, 2021) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced more than $1.2 million in grants to restore and sustain healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse bird populations, as well as freshwater and diadromous fish populations, in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. The grants will leverage more than $3.1 million in matching grantee contributions to generate a total conservation impact of $4.3 million.

The grants were awarded through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund, a partnership between NFWF, the Avangrid Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Additional funding is provided by AstraZeneca, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“In the seventh year of this regionally focused conservation program, we continue to leverage strong partnerships in New England to advance key conservation priorities,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The grants awarded today will help improve the availability of essential habitat throughout New England’s dynamic forest and river systems, directly benefiting both aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as reducing flood risk to local communities.”

“We are pleased to be a partner with NFWF in protecting vital wildlife habitat through conservation projects,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “These types of projects not only benefit wildlife but also improve the resilience of local communities.”

The projects supported by the 10 grants announced today will collectively replace or modify 10 barriers to fish passage, which will restore access to 200 miles of historic stream habitat for eastern brook trout, river herring and Atlantic salmon. More than 35 miles of instream and riparian forest habitat will be created to improve water quality and natural flow.

“We are excited at the opportunities that are possible with the strong partnership that we maintain with NFWF through this multi-year initiative,” said Becky Ross, state conservationist for NRCS in New Hampshire. “Partnerships where matching funds are secured allow for maximum impact to wildlife habitat and result in stronger outcomes for stakeholders and citizens within the project areas and watershed.” 

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is excited to work closely with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other partners for conservation projects on the ground here in New England,” said Matt Walker, state conservationist for NRCS in Maine. “Strong partnerships, coupled with a variety of funding sources, are critical to conserving, improving and sustaining our natural resources. This most recent grant through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund reflects how different partner groups can really come together and improve the precious forests and waterways that sustain so much wildlife in the Northeast.” 

The grants will also improve forest management practices on more than 2,400 acres of young and mature forest landscapes to create a mosaic of habitats that support New England cottontail, American woodcock, black-throated blue warbler and wood thrush.

“The Avangrid Foundation’s ongoing partnership with NFWF and the New England Forests and Rivers Fund continues to be one of our most meaningful investments impacting so many of the iconic communities, species and habitats inherent to the identity and sustainability of this region,” said Avangrid Foundation Director Nicole Licata Grant. “As a company focused on providing clean and sustainable energy, we have been working in these communities for more than a century and are committed to helping build a resilient natural world for generations to come.”

The New England Forests and Rivers Fund annually awards competitive grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 each. Since its creation in 2015, the fund has awarded 85 grants totaling more than $10.3 million. Grantees, in turn, are leveraging an additional $18.4 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of more than $28.7 million.

“I am proud that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is part of this public-private partnership to conserve New England’s rivers and forests and safeguard some of the region’s most iconic and vulnerable species,” said Wendi Weber, North Atlantic-Appalachian regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Working together, we are successfully leveraging dollars to support sound science in the right places for the conservation of fish, birds and other native wildlife.”

The grants administered through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund are improving early successional and mature forest habitat, modifying and replacing aquatic barriers to fish movement resulting in access to historic habitat, restoring riparian and instream habitat, and engaging hundreds of public and private landowners and volunteers in on-the-ground conservation throughout New England.

A complete list of the 2021 grants made through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a conservation impact of $6.8 billion. Learn more at

About Avangrid Foundation 
The Avangrid Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds philanthropic investments that primarily impact communities where AVANGRID, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate. Since 2002, the Avangrid Foundation and its predecessors have invested more than $24 million in partnerships that focus on building sustainable, vital and healthy communities; preserving cultural and artistic heritage; advancing education; and improving people’s lives. The Avangrid Foundation is committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the United States. For more information, please visit

About the Natural Resources Conservation Service 
Since 1935, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. NRCS provides technical assistance based on sound science and offers financial assistance for many conservation activities.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit



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