NFWF Announces $663,000 in New Grants to Restore Colorado River and Rio Grande Headwaters

Headwaters species and their habitats in the Colorado River and Rio Grande watersheds to benefit from conservation grants

Colorado River winds its way through Castle Valey, Utah

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 10, 2022) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $663,000 in grants to restore, protect and enhance aquatic and riparian species of conservation concern and their habitats in the headwaters of the Colorado River and Rio Grande watersheds. The grants will leverage just over $1 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $1.6 million. 

The grants were awarded through the Southwest Rivers Headwaters Fund, a partnership between NFWF and the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Walton Family Foundation, and the Trinchera Blanca Foundation, an affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon. 

“The fate of the Rio Grande and the Colorado River and the many communities that depend on them is closely tied to snowpack and the health of our high-elevation aquatic ecosystems,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “By restoring the wet meadows and streams that filter and store that snowpack, we are not only supporting critical habitat for fish and wildlife, but also creating a more resilient West.”

The projects supported by the five grants announced today will address a key strategy for species and habitat restoration in headwaters streams of the Colorado River and Rio Grande: restoring and enhancing riparian and instream habitat.

“Working with the power of nature to solve big problems is essential to meeting the challenges of climate change.  Healthy wetlands help to keep the landscape hydrated so that people and nature can thrive together,” said Moira Mcdonald, director of the Walton Family Foundation Environment Program.

NFWF’s Southwest Rivers Program was launched in 2018 to fund projects that improve stream corridors, riparian systems and associated habitats from headwaters to mainstem rivers in the Southwest. Through the Southwest Rivers Headwaters Fund, the program funds projects that produce measurable outcomes for species of conservation concern in the wetlands and riparian corridors of the headwaters regions of major southwestern rivers. In 2022, the Fund expanded from the Rio Grande watershed to include a pilot focal area of increasing interest in the Gila River watershed. In 2023, with the support of the Walton Family Foundation, the Fund expanded further, encompassing most of the headwaters of the Colorado River watershed.

A complete list of the 2023 grants made through the Southwest Rivers Headwaters RFP 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, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $8.1 billion. Learn more at

About The Trinchera Blanca Foundation
The Trinchera Blanca Foundation, the Colorado affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon in 1992, supports organizations committed to protecting land, water and wildlife habitat in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. The Trinchera Blanca Foundation also supports community programs dedicated to improving quality of life in the surrounding region. Learn more at

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About the Bureau of Land Management
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

About the USDA Forest Service
The USDA Forest Service has brought people and communities together to answer the call of conservation for more than 100 years. Grounded in world-class science and rooted in communities, the Forest Service connects people with nature and to each other. The Forest Service cares for shared natural resources in ways that promote lasting economic, ecological, and social vitality. 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. The Forest Service also maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world and assists state and private landowners, helping to steward about 900 million forested acres in the U.S., including 130 million acres in urban areas, which most Americans now call home.

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working 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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