NFWF Announces $590,000 in Grants to Bring Native Fish Populations Back to U.S. Rivers

Grants support 12 projects that will increase stream connectivity restore riparian habitat manage invasive species and support game-changing research

WASHINGTON D.C. (November 21, 2018) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $590,000 in grants to support 12 habitat restoration and other on-the-ground projects that advance recovery goals for threatened or sensitive native fish in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia. The grants will generate more than $2.07 million in grantee matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $2.66 million. 
These grants were awarded through the Bring Back the Natives program, a partnership between NFWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Bass Pro Shops and the Brunswick Public Foundation. 

"For decades the Bring Back the Natives program has provided critical resources and momentum to restore populations of our native fish species across the country," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "The commitment of our partners to the program continues to open up historic habitat to these species, preserve commercial and recreational fisheries and maintain our aquatic heritage."

Leading factors in native fish species decline include habitat alteration, lack of adequate in-stream flows and invasive and/or non-native species. The 12 projects receiving grants will address key limiting factors for focal species using innovative solutions. In total, these projects will remove 10 barriers, reopen more than 200 miles of habitat and engage 50 volunteers in the restoration and enhancement of more than 27 miles of stream.

In Tennessee for example, The Nature Conservancy will restore fish passage, improve water quality and create habitat for nearly 130 fish species by removing the Sawpauh Mill Dam located at the junction of Oostanuala Creek and the Hiwassee River outside of Cleveland. The project will reconnect more than 140 miles of streams in the Oostanaula/Hiwassee watershed and build momentum for additional high-impact dam removals in the watershed. 

Since Bring Back the Natives was established in 1991 the program has awarded $25.2 million in grants and generated more than $88 million in matching contributions. In the last six years projects under this program have removed over 100 barriers, reopened more than 600 miles of habitat and engaged more than 3,500 volunteers in the restoration and enhancement of more than 200 miles of stream. 

A complete list of the 2018 grants made through the Bring Back the Natives program 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 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $4.8 billion. Learn more at