RESTORE Colorado Partnership Announces $3.5 Million in New Conservation Grants

Third round of grants to benefit wildlife and local communities adds to previous awards of $5.8 million since 2020

Bull elk in Colorado

VAIL, CO (April 19, 2022) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $3.5 million in awards from its Restoration and Stewardship of Outdoor Resources and Environment (RESTORE) Colorado program. The grants were announced at the statewide Colorado Partners in the Outdoors Conference hosted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Vail. The large-scale restoration projects will occur on public and private conservation lands and benefit important wildlife habitat and local communities. 

RESTORE Colorado is a public-private partnership that combines and leverages state, federal, foundation and corporate funding. Program partners are NFWF, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Occidental, the Gates Family Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Trinchera Blanca Foundation, with additional support this year from the Bezos Earth Fund. The program launched in 2020 with the purpose of awarding conservation grants to restore or enhance rivers and streams, native grasslands, sagebrush, forests, and big game wintering range habitat statewide. 

“Partnerships like RESTORE Colorado are the best way for Coloradans to restore and improve the diverse ecosystems of the state, for the benefit of wildlife as well as the many local communities that rely on those resources to support their local economies,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The grants announced today are investments that seek out win-win solutions to the loss of habitat for wildlife and the challenges of a changing climate.”  

The 15 grants announced today will leverage $9.3 million in matching contributions from the awardees and local communities for a total on-the-ground impact of $12.8 million. These grants build on more than $5.8 million awarded through the program in 2020 and 2021 bringing the total number of projects funded through the RESTORE Colorado program to 36, which will collectively result in $30.7 million in on-the-ground conservation impact.

“RESTORE Colorado is a powerful funding tool that recognizes the urgency and scale needed to steward and restore habitats at scale. Gates Family Foundation is proud to partner with other funding entities investing in local and cross-jurisdictional projects advancing at-scale strategies and solutions for Colorado’s public and private lands, wildlife, and communities” said Whitney Johnson, senior program officer for natural resources at Gates Family Foundation.

“The significance of working on habitat restoration and stewardship projects in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation cannot be overstated,” said Regional Forester Frank Beum from the USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region. “Together, through the RESTORE Colorado program, we are accomplishing large-scale shared restoration goals across the state with our incredible partners.”  

The 15 projects awarded through the third year of the RESTORE Colorado program are funding large-scale, cross-jurisdictional habitat restoration, expansion, and improvement projects across five priority landscapes that will: 

  • Restore 92 acres of floodplain habitat and open 16 miles of stream habitat to native fish passage
  • Restore 10,360 acres and improve management on 76,700 acres of public and private grassland
  • Restore 6,400 acres through invasive species treatment and removal
  • Remove or improve 40 miles of fencing to wildlife-friendly specifications
  • Restore 425‬ acres of forestland habitat

Examples of projects funded in this slate include:

  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers will remove 40 miles of derelict fencing that currently serve as a barrier for elk, mule deer and pronghorn migration and dispersal across northwest Colorado. 
  • Larimer County Open Space will restore winter range habitat needed for mule deer and elk in Larimer, Boulder, and Jefferson counties by controlling and eradicating invasive, annual grasses (cheatgrass and feral rye) with indaziflam, a scientifically proven and widely accepted herbicide. The project will restore more than 4,300 acres through invasive grass treatments, making the landscape more resistant and resilient to future disturbances (such as wildfire) and provide critical food resources for mule deer and elk.
  • Colorado Rio Grande Restoration Foundation will improve the health and resilience of the Rio Grande downstream of the Chicago Ditch diversion dam in and around the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge by restoring riparian areas to benefit target species including Rio Grande chub, Southwestern willow flycatcher and Northern leopard frog. These actions will result in improved aquatic habitat complexity and connectivity, enhanced native fisheries, restoration of native vegetation, reconnected floodplains, reduced streambank erosion and improved water quality.

Additional information about the RESTORE Colorado program and the grants announced today 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 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $7.4 billion. Learn more at


Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166,