NFWF Announces 9 Large Watershed Planning Grants Totaling $53 Million for California National Forests

Los Padres National Forest

San Francisco (June 24, 2024) – Today the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $53 million in grants to protect and restore forests and watersheds in California using voluntary, targeted headwater resilience planning and monitoring. The grants leverage $31.4 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $84.4 million.

The awards were made possible by a first-of-its-kind agreement between the USDA Forest Service and NFWF. This effort pools multiple funding sources from public and private organizations to meet the level needed for effective landscape-scale projects to tackle California’s wildfire crisis

“Our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation helps us mutually support communities throughout California. Combining our resources, we can use the best available science and monitoring to protect our vital watersheds,” said Jennifer Eberlien, regional forester for the Pacific Southwest Region. “These investments help ensure future generations have healthy, productive forests and help the region combat the effects of climate change.”

In California, 12 of the state’s largest 20 wildfires occurred within the last 10 years. The threat of unnatural, high-intensity wildfire has increased due to decades of fire suppression, droughts, insect infestations, and challenges from more homes in the wildland urban interface. This partnership is designed to help restore Forest Service-managed lands affected by wildfire and develop tools and data to guide restoration against future fires and drought. 

“This innovative agreement showcases the potential of large-scale projects to enhance resilience across the millions of acres of national forests throughout California,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “By funding larger scale projects with more federal, state and private funding, NFWF can enable on-the-ground partner’s ability to take on more impactful fuels management, post-fire restoration, and forest health projects that improve habitat and community.”   

Projects supported by these nine grants are designed to improve forest health and watersheds by increasing the pace and scale of post-fire restoration. These efforts focus on improving forest health and resilience, providing sustainable ecological benefits, protecting communities in and around federally protected public lands, and encouraging shared stewardship of Forest Service lands through expanded partnerships and cooperation.

“NFWF is leading the way in aligning federal, state, and local funding to restore our highest priority forests and watersheds,” said Patrick Wright, Director of the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force. “These funding partnerships are essential to support landscape-scale projects beyond the capacity of each agency.” 

Launched in 2018, the California Forests and Watersheds program supports the improvement, protection and rehabilitation of ecosystems and watersheds within the National Forest System lands impacted by fire-scarred watersheds and funds meadow restoration throughout the Sierra Nevada meadows range.

Visit the California Forests and Watersheds program webpage for a list of the 2024 grants.    

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 6,800 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of more than $10 billion. NFWF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more at  

About the USDA Forest Service – Pacific Southwest Region
The Forest Service manages 18 national forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, encompassing over 20 million acres across California, and assists state, private and tribal forest landowners in California, Hawai'i, and U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands. National forests supply 60% of the water in California and form the watershed of most major aqueducts and more than 2,400 reservoirs throughout the state. For more information, visit  



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