NFWF Announces Nearly $1 Million in Conservation Grants to Benefit Southwestern Rivers

Grants will conserve headwaters species and their habitats in the Rio Grande and Gila River watersheds

Willow flycatcher

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 27, 2022) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced just over $998,000 in grants to restore, protect and enhance aquatic and riparian species of conservation concern and their habitats in the headwaters of the Rio Grande and Gila River watersheds. The grants will leverage more than $1,070,000 in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of over $2,070,000. 

The grants were awarded through the Southwest Rivers Program, a partnership between NFWF and the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Trinchera Blanca Foundation, an affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon. This year, the program received additional support from the Bezos Earth Fund.  

“Investment in the West’s natural water towers, our headwater streams, is more critical than ever as the ongoing and historic drought persists in the Southwest,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “By restoring streams and wet meadows that provide essential habitat for native species, we can also build resilience to fire and long-term drought for communities downstream.”

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

“Water sustainability is the keystone component of caring for the landscapes of the Southwest,” said Michiko Martin, Southwestern Regional Forester, USFS. “The NFWF Southwest Rivers program is helping foster partnerships that restore and protect headwater systems which are crucial habitats for unique aquatic and riparian, as well as terrestrial species. Headwaters are the source which provides a myriad of benefits downstream to communities including clean drinking water, agricultural uses and diverse recreational opportunities.”

The 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 funding opportunity, the program funds projects that produce measurable outcomes for species of conservation concern in the riparian corridors of the headwaters region of the Rio Grande. In 2020, the funding opportunity included a pilot focal area of increasing interest in the Gila River Watershed for the first time.

A complete list of the 2022 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 $7.4 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 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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