Bay-breasted warbler

NFWF Announces $1.8 Million in Grants to Protect and Restore Fish and Wildlife Habitat Throughout New England

Fourteen grants will leverage $2.8 million in matching funds from grantees to conserve several species including eastern brook trout, Atlantic salmon and golden-winged warbler

Bay-breasted warbler | Credit: Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren

​WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 19, 2019) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $1.8 million in grants to restore and sustain healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse native bird and fish populations in New England. The grants will generate more than $2.7 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of almost $4.6 million.

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

“With strong support from our diverse group of public and private partners, NFWF is excited to fund truly best-in-class conservation efforts in New England,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The grants we award today will help improve the quality of habitat throughout New England’s vital forests and river systems, directly benefiting people, wildlife and local economies.”

“NRCS is pleased to partner with an array of organizations that share the common goal of providing conservation benefits to wildlife, enhancing water quality, improving soil health and strengthening local economies,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “We remain committed to continuing efforts to restore and sustain healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse native birds and freshwater fish populations throughout the New England states.”

The projects supported by the 14 grants announced today collectively will improve access to 43 miles of upstream habitat for eastern brook trout, river herring and Atlantic salmon, and more than 5,000 acres of lake spawning habitat for river herring, by improving road-stream crossings and removing or modifying dams that block fish passage.

“The Avangrid Foundation knows that preserving and investing in the unique ecosystems like the forests and rivers of New England is critical to a sustainable future,” said Nicole Licata Grant, Director, Avangrid Foundation. “Our commitment to protecting critical biodiversity, flora and fauna in the areas where AVANGRID operates is embodied by our long-term partnership with NFWF.”

The grants also will improve young and mature forest habitat on almost 5,000 acres of public and private forestland to benefit a suite of forest dwelling birds, including Bicknells’s thrush, golden-winged warbler, and black-throated blue warbler, as well as the New England cottontail. 

“The northeastern U.S. is the most heavily forested region in the country, and more than half of these forests are owned by families and individuals. These landowners play a key role in  addressing our cross-boundary conservation challenges,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “Family forest owners care about wildlife and have the ability to improve the habitat that wildlife need to succeed. We are proud to be a part of the New England Forests and Rivers Fund to provide landowners with the support and resources they need to steward their land.”

"The recipients of these grants over the past five years have worked directly with local communities and organizations to successfully implement action-based projects that are making a real difference in improving the ecological health of wildlife habitat and waterways throughout New England,” said Eversource Director of Environmental Affairs Catherine Finneran. “The projects selected this year will further advance these significant efforts to help ensure the sustainability of our environment for generations to come. We value our continued partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in protecting our environment.”

This year’s New England Forests and Rivers Fund grand recipients include:

  • Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department ($53,768) will restore habitat for eastern brook trout on public and private lands by adding large woody material in tributaries of the Connecticut River watershed  in northeastern Vermont. The project will improve brook trout habitat in 19 miles of stream.
  • Trout Unlimited ($120,000) will remove barriers to five fish passage, including three dams and two under-sized culverts along Frost Gully Brook, a tributary to the Presumpscot River in southern Maine. The project will improve access to 2 miles of stream habitat for sea-run brook trout, blueback herring, sea lamprey and American eel.
  • New Hampshire Fish and Game Department ($50,184) will identify opportunities to create pollinator habitat throughout the New Hampshire Department of Transportation's statewide network of rights-of-way, and create thirteen demonstration sites. The project will showcase the benefits to state and federally-threatened pollinators, including the monarch butterfly, yellow bumble bee, yellow-banded bumble bee and American bumble bee.  

A complete list of the 2019 grants made through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund is available here.

NFWF works with public and private partners in New England to invests in strategic, on-the-ground conservation that improves the management of public and private forestlands to create a mosaic of mixed-age forests, and that improves the quality and connectivity of rivers and streams, providing high quality habitat for native fish.

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 48 grants totaling more than $5.3 million. Grantees, in turn, are leveraging an additional $9.1 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of more than $14.4 million. These grants are improving early successional and mature forest habitat, modifying and replacing barriers to fish movement, restoring riparian and instream habitat, and engaging hundreds of landowners and volunteers in on-the-ground conservation throughout New England. 

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 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $5.3 billion. Learn more at

About the American Forest Foundation
The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is a nonprofit conservation organization that ensures the sustainability of America’s family forests by protecting these lands and the many benefits they provide to all Americans:  clean water and air, wildlife habitat, sustainable wood supplies, and good-paying jobs that support strong rural economies. AFF works on the ground with families, partners and elected officials to promote forest stewardship that improves biodiversity and habitat, protects critical water supplies, reduces risk of catastrophic wildfire and increases natural carbon sequestration.

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 $21 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, visit

About Eversource
Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas and supplies water to approximately 4 million customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its more than 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. For more information, please visit the company’s website ( and follow along on Twitter (@EversourceCorp) and Facebook ( For more information on water services, 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.​