2023 Klamath Basin Salmon Restoration Request for Proposals

Applicant Webinar [Register here]: January 19, 2023 1:00 PM PST/4:00 PM EST
Pre-Proposal Due Date: February 7, 2023 by 8:59 PM PST/11:59 PM EST
Full Proposal Due Date: March 21, 2023 by 8:59 PM PST/11:59 PM EST



The Klamath River basin is an ecosystem of national and regional significance. The U.S. Department of the Interior has designated it as a “Treasured Landscape” – a place that encompasses America's natural resources and cultural heritage. From its headwaters just south of Crater Lake in Oregon, the Klamath River flows through a complex of National Wildlife Refuges to the Cascade Mountain Range in California and ultimately into the Pacific Ocean, covering an area of more than 12,000 square miles. The population of the Klamath Basin is approximately 114,000 people. Several Native American tribes own land in the basin, and two-thirds of the land in the basin is owned by the federal government. 

The Upper Klamath River basin supports one of the largest lake-wetlands complexes in the western United States. River, riparian, lake, and wetland habitats in the Upper Klamath Basin historically supported healthy populations of culturally and economically important fish such as the Lost River and shortnose suckers. It is also home to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which encompasses six refuges. The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 as the nation's first waterfowl refuge. This area has been referred to as the “Everglades of the West” because of its biological diversity and importance to the Pacific Flyway, as it hosts upwards of 80% of the migrating waterfowl that use the Pacific Flyway.   

Additionally, the Klamath River once produced the third-most prolific salmon run in the lower 48 states. Species include Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout. Klamath fish not only have inestimable value to tribes in the Klamath Basin, but these fish were also a major economic engine for northern California and much of the Oregon coast ocean salmon fisheries. 

Today, fish and wildlife vitality are threatened in the Klamath Basin. Waterfowl counts in both 2020 and 2021 at the Klamath Refuges were among the lowest ever recorded. Populations of the shortnose and Lost River suckerfish are near historic lows due to lack of quality water and habitat. Klamath River salmon runs are at only a small fraction of their historical average abundance. Two of these runs are listed under either the Federal or California Endangered Species Acts, or both. 


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has been active in habitat restoration activities throughout the Klamath Basin for nearly 20 years, awarding both federal and private funds to help stabilize and increase the populations of native and anadromous fish populations in particular. In support of our conservation goals in the Basin, NFWF in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is pleased to announce the Klamath Basin Salmon Restoration Request for Proposals (RFP). This RFP focuses on funding conservation projects which will restore salmon habitat in the Klamath River mainstem and key tributaries. The RFP is soliciting projects through three targeted grantmaking programs:

  1. The Klamath River Coho Restoration Grant Program (Klamath River Program): The Klamath River Program is a partnership with Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office and supports local and regional on-the-ground activities that improve degraded habitat and assist in enhancing natural populations of Southern Oregon Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) specifically within the mainstem Klamath River and tributaries between Iron Gate Dam (IGD) at river mile (RM) 190 to the Klamath River mouth excluding the Trinity River. This Klamath River Program is required pursuant to the Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion, and Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Essential Fish Habitat Response for Klamath Project Operations From April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2024 (2019 BiOp) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service on March 29, 2019.
  2. The Trinity River Restoration Program (Trinity River Program): The Trinity River Program is a partnership with Reclamation’s Northern California Area Office and provides funding for activities that improve aquatic habitat within the Trinity River Basin to help reduce the impacts of the operation of the Trinity River Division of the Central Valley Project on the mainstem fisheries of the Trinity River. Program funds will be used to support local and regional on-the-ground actions that reduce fine sediment delivery in degraded watersheds or improve habitat connectivity. Reclamation is required to support the Trinity Program pursuant to the Record of Decision – Trinity River Mainstem Fishery Restoration Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (ROD) issued by the Department of the Interior on December 19, 2000. Administration of Trinity River Program funds are directed towards habitat restoration activities within tributary watersheds of the Trinity River between Lewiston Dam and Weitchpec, including the South Fork Trinity River and its tributaries.
  3. The Shasta Valley Regional Conservation Partnership Program (Shasta Valley Program): The Shasta Valley Program is supported by a Regional Conservation Partnership Program Alternative Funding Arrangement with NRCS and supports activities that advance recovery of SONCC coho salmon in the Shasta River watershed. Program funds will be used to support actions that improve upstream management, conveyance efficiency, and on-farm water management to enhance instream flows, improve water quality, and address inadequate habitat for fish, wildlife, and invertebrates. All funded water conservation projects under this program must be paired with formal measures to protect instream flows such as an established Forbearance Agreement and/or Section 1707 petitions filed with California Water Resources Control Board.

Project types that will be given the highest priority for Reclamation funding on the Klamath and Trinity watersheds include:

  • Projects that improve access to habitat for fish;
  • Barrier removal projects;
  • Projects that improve habitat and access to coldwater refugia; 
  • Instream habitat enhancement and protection projects; 
  • Water conservation projects; and,
  • Fine sediment reduction projects (Trinity River only). 

Project types that will be given the highest priority for NRCS funding include:

  • Upstream water conservation and water quality improvement projects;
  • Conveyance efficiency projects with instream dedication; and,
  • On-farm water conservation and monitoring projects. 

In 2023, NFWF in coordination with Reclamation is expected to award up to $500,000 for Klamath River Program projects and $500,000 for Trinity River Program projects. NFWF is expected to award up to $7,040,000 for Shasta Valley Program projects.



For the Klamath River Program: Projects must be located in the mainstem Klamath River Basin and tributaries between IGD at RM 190 and the Klamath River mouth. With the exclusion of the Trinity River, all tributaries between IGD and the Klamath River mouth are eligible for funding through the Klamath Program. 

Klamath River Coho Habitat Restoration focal georgraphy
Figure 1. Klamath River Coho Habitat Restoration Program focal geography (2019 Biological Opinion (BiOp), page 71, Figure 5)


For Trinity River Program: Projects must be located in tributary watersheds of the Trinity River between Lewiston Dam and Weitchpec, including the South Fork Trinity River and its tributaries.

Trinity River Restoration focal geography
Figure 2. Trinity River Restoration Program focal geography.


For the Shasta Valley Program: Projects must be located within the Shasta River watershed, specifically the Shasta River above county road A12 to Dwinnell Dam, including Big Springs Creek and Parks Creek.

Shasta Velley focal geography
Figure 3. Shasta Valley Regional Conservation Partnership Program focal geography.



To be eligible for funding for the Klamath River Program, proposed projects must directly benefit SONCC coho salmon and/or be a design, planning, or monitoring project that can demonstrate that it will provide a direct benefit to SONCC coho salmon. For the Trinity River Program, proposed projects must directly benefit or be designed to benefit anadromous fish as outlined in the Trinity River ROD. For the Shasta Valley Program, proposed projects must directly benefit SONCC coho salmon and/or be a land management, design, planning, or monitoring project that can demonstrate that it will provide measurable instream flow benefits to SONCC coho salmon. The examples of potential projects discussed below are not intended to limit types of potential projects being considered. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to reference NFWF’s California Forests and Watersheds Business Plan for opportunities to enhance project competitiveness by linking Business Plan strategies and work in focal areas for priority species whenever possible.

Access improvement and barrier removal projects: 
These include projects to: 

  • Remove and address existing fish passage barriers to create permanent access to spawning and rearing habitat
  • Maintain and improve access to existing habitat

Examples of projects undertaken to remove existing fish passage barriers or maintain and improve fish access would include: Barrier removals caused by road crossings (e.g., culverts); Permanent or seasonal barriers that impede fish passage; Maintenance or modifications to tributary mouths to ensure access.

Projects that improve coho salmon habitat and access to coldwater refugia: 
These include projects to: 

  • Improve connectivity, habitat cover and complexity or maintain habitat cover and complexity (if already suitable) at coldwater refugia sites
  • Increase the extent and/or duration of coldwater refugia
  • Enhance rearing habitat in key rearing sites

Projects to improve or maintain cover and the complexity of cover in refugia can include riparian planting and placements of boulders, large wood, and brush bundles. Projects to increase the extent and/or duration of refugia sites can include improving connection of flow from tributaries that feed refugia and adding natural structures or deepening refugia sites to increase the duration and extent of the coldwater plume. Projects to enhance rearing sites can include channel re-alignment, alcove or pond deepening, riparian planting, and placements of boulders, large wood, and brush bundles. Examples of projects that improve coldwater refugia include off-channel pond construction and improvement, routine brush bundle placement in existing refugia, and habitat improvements between refugia.

Instream habitat enhancement and protection projects: 
These projects are necessary to provide rearing habitat for both over-summering and over-wintering coho salmon. Connectivity-related projects include in-channel enhancements and improvements to eliminate flow and thermal barriers (e.g., removal or functional upgrades of diversion structures or screens, channel modifications or impediment removal to improve flow and access). Projects to enhance rearing habitat in tributaries include:

  • Channel reconstruction
  • Floodplain connection
  • Off-channel habitat creation and connection to increase available habitats provided by tributary channels
  • Side channels, alcoves, and ponds

Projects to protect summer rearing habitat could include:

  • Riparian fencing and planting and instream structure placement (e.g., large wood features, beaver dam analogues, post assisted wood structures, etc.)
  • Riparian leasing, and conservation easements or acquisitions to protect riparian areas and streambanks along reaches that provide important summer rearing habitat

Water transactions and conservation projects:
Projects should help prevent seasonal and temporary flow-related fish passage barriers and improve water quality in key rearing and spawning areas. Water transaction projects include funding of water transactions to provide flow augmentation in reaches used for coho salmon spawning and juvenile rearing. For example, funds would be available for temporary leases of water from people with active water rights to keep water instream. 

Water conservation project types may include instream leasing and irrigation forbearance agreements, permanent transfers of water instream, tailwater reduction projects, water storage tanks and piping of ditches that ensure protection of the enhanced flow using tools such as petitions for instream flow dedications as described in Section 1707 of the California Water Code.

Fine sediment reduction projects:
Fine sediment (sand and silt) delivery from tributary watersheds to the Trinity River increases with roads, logging, and other land uses. Fine sediment reduction projects include road maintenance, road rehabilitation, and road decommissioning on private and public lands within the Trinity River watershed, excluding the Middle Trinity River HA (from Lewiston Dam to just above the North Fork). Priority for this category would be given to projects that permanently address sources of fine sediment (e.g., road decommissioning) rather than routine maintenance activities. In addition to fine sediment reduction, projects to increase coarse sediment storage in the river (gravel/cobble bars), improve coarse sediment transport (distribute gravel/cobble downstream), and restore a balance between coarse sediment supply and coarse sediment transport will also be considered as priorities. All projects must adhere to the Trinity ROD and/or help identify projects that contribute to its implementation.

Upstream water conservation and water quality improvement projects:
These projects are necessary to provide adequate habitat for coho salmon at every life stage in the Shasta River and its tributaries. Proposals should demonstrate how the project will conserve water and improve water quality through existing monitoring data or propose to gather data necessary to demonstrate benefits. Projects to conserve upstream water and improve water quality include:

  • Source switch projects (e.g., using reservoir water and leaving cold spring water instream)
  • Point of diversion change projects (e.g., combining or splitting diversions and moving diversions downstream)
  • Riparian fencing and planting 
  • Effectiveness monitoring projects

Conveyance and transmission efficiency projects:
These projects are necessary to improve instream flows and water quality throughout the Shasta River watershed by leaving more water instream for longer periods and/or reducing diversion volume. Improved delivery efficiency from Dwinnell Reservoir will result in increased streamflow releases from the Reservoir to the Shasta River. Below the Reservoir, reduction and replacement of diversions that utilize cold spring water to deliver or keep more water instream for rearing juvenile coho salmon will improve instream flows and water quality. Projects should consider trying to demonstrate water savings anticipated by providing ditch loss test results or propose to gather needed data, and define how and when ditch loss will be left instream. Projects to improve conveyance and transmission efficiency include:

  • Modifying, replacing, and moving diversion structures
  • Combining, splitting, or rotating diversions
  • Improving or replacing piping
  • Lining ditches

On-farm water conservation projects:
These projects are necessary to improve instream flows and water quality throughout the Shasta River watershed by reducing diversion volume, which will be particularly important during drought periods. On-farm water conservation project proposals should consider a productive grounds analysis, provide qualified information on baseline water use, integrate soil moisture sensing, or describe other measures that demonstrate water quality benefits or the volume of water conserved. On-farm water conservation projects include:

  • Improvement of irrigation efficiency by lining canals
  • Conversion of irrigation type to reduce volume of water diverted (e.g., wildland flood irrigation to buried mainlines or sprinklers)
  • Installation of soil moisture monitoring systems
  • Transition to alternative stock watering systems



To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grant projects, the Klamath Basin Salmon Restoration RFP has a list of metrics in Easygrants for full proposal applicants to choose from for reporting (commonly used metrics are shown in the table below). We ask that you select the most relevant metrics from this list for your project. If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Erica Engstrom (Erica.Engstrom@nfwf.org) to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Habitat Conservation - Water Acquisitions or leases Acre feet of water purchased Enter the acre feet of water purchased
Habitat Conservation - Water acquisitions or leases CFS of cold water purchased Enter the cubic feet per second of cold water purchased.
Habitat Restoration - Fish passage improvements # Passage barriers assessed and/or with design plans Enter the # of in-stream barriers with assessments or engineering and design plans completed through this grant. A barrier is any artificial in-stream structure (e.g., culverts, dams, dikes, fords, pipes, weirs) that may obstruct aquatic organism passage.
Habitat Restoration - Fish passage improvements # Passage barriers rectified Enter the number of instream barriers removed or rectified as part of THIS grant to improve aquatic organism passage and/or flooding.  If multiple barriers exist at one specific location, please list "1" and list each individual barrier in the notes.
Habitat Restoration - Fish passage improvements Miles of stream opened Enter the number of miles of stream made accessible to aquatic organism passage. NFWF prefers that this metric indicate the miles of upstream habitat until the next barrier upstream (or end of flowline) using PADnew (see https://www.calfish.org/ProgramsData/HabitatandBarriers/CaliforniaFishPassageAssessmentDatabase.aspx). This estimate should include both the mainstem of the stream or river and smaller tributaries. If another data source or methodology is used, please describe it in the Notes section.
Habitat Restoration – Floodplain restoration Acres restored Enter # of floodplain acres restored. In the NOTES, indicate % of vegetation on the pre-project site (0-20%, 21-40%, 41-60%, 61-80%, 81-100%) and the dominant vegetation being restored (Broadleaf, Conifer, Redwood, Shrub, Grass, Marsh, Wet meadow, Swamp).
Habitat Restoration – Removal of invasives Acres restored Enter the number of acres cleared of invasive species.
Habitat Restoration – Instream restoration # Structures installed Enter the number of habitat structures installed, replaced, upgraded or repaired for improvement of instream habitat.
Habitat Restoration – Instream restoration Miles restored Indicate the miles of stream enhanced or restored through your project. Includes modifications to stream channel (shape, cross-section or profile) or meander pattern, placement of large woody debris or log jams, etc.
Habitat Restoration – Riparian restoration Acres restored Enter the number of riparian acres restored. In the NOTES section, specify the landcover type prior to planting (barren, cropland, grassland, shrubland), the % of vegetation on the pre-project site (0-20%, 21-40%, 41-60%, 61-80%, 81-100%), the dominant vegetation being planted (Broadleaf, Conifer, Shrub, Grass, Marsh, Swamp), the buffer width, and the acres. DO NOT include instream restoration.
Habitat Restoration - Wetland Restoration Acres restored Wetlands in this context refer to off and side channel habitat and ponds created to provide refugia for Coho.
Enter # acres of WETLAND (not riparian or instream) habitat restored. In the NOTES, specify landcover prior to restoration (Marsh, Tidal marsh, Wet meadow, Swamp) and indicate % of vegetation on pre-project site (0-20%, 21-40%, 41-60%, 61-80%, 81-100%).
Habitat Management – BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction Lbs. of sediment prevented from entering system annually Enter the amount of sediment prevented from entering system annually and indicate method of calculating reduction in NOTES section.
Habitat Management – Improved irrigation practices Acre feet of water conserved Enter the number of acre feet of water expected to be conserved annually
Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance # People reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities
Planning, Research, Monitoring – Restoration planning/design/permitting # Engineering and design plans developed Enter the number of Engineering and Design plans developed. Generally, there will be 1 plan per project to be constructed.



  • Eligible applicants include: local, state, federal, and Tribal governments and agencies (e.g., townships, cities, boroughs), special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts), non-profit 501(c) organizations, and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include: international organizations, businesses, or unincorporated individuals.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds 

  • Equipment: Applicants are encouraged to rent equipment where possible and cost-effective or use matching funds to make those purchases.  NFWF acknowledges, however, that some projects may only be completed using NFWF funds to procure equipment. If this applies to your project, please contact the program staff listed in this RFP to discuss options.
  • Federal funds and matching contributions may not be used to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems (including entering into or renewing a contract) that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology of any system. Refer to Public Law 115-232, section 889 for additional information. 
  • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities, or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation, and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts. 



In 2023, NFWF is expected to award up to $500,000 for Klamath River Program projects, $500,000 for Trinity River Program projects, and $7,040,000 for Shasta Valley Program projects. Reclamation and NFWF expect to make 10-12 grant awards from this RFP ranging from $10,000 to $400,000 for Klamath River Program and Trinity River Program projects. NFWF expects to make 3-4 awards from this RFP ranging from $200,000 to $3,500,000 for large implementation projects in the Shasta Valley. Pre-proposals must include a quote from a qualified environmental consultant on the potential cost of any and all federal environmental compliance necessary to complete the project’s objectives (typically 10 percent of total project costs), which may need to include costs associated with hiring consultants to assist with environmental and cultural surveys. After the award date, projects should begin within six months of the complete project description being analyzed under any and all federal environmental compliance laws and policies and be completed within two years. Projects that demonstrate strong partnerships and that have non-federal matching funds from various partners/donors to support a significant portion of the cost of the project being submitted are strongly encouraged. For the Klamath River Program and Trinity River Program projects, non-federal matching funds are optional but projects with matching funds are strongly encouraged. For Shasta Valley Program projects, 1:1 non-federal matching funds are required.



All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness, and compliance with NFWF and Reclamation policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria.

Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Klamath River and Trinity River Programs’ overall habitat and species conservation goals, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the Klamath River or Trinity River Program priorities.

Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical, and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design, and implementation.

Partnership and Community Impact – The applicant organization partners and engages collaboratively with diverse local community members, leaders, community-based organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement the proposed project. This ensures long-term sustainability and success of the project, integration into local programs and policies, and community acceptance of proposed restoration actions. Non-traditional partners or communities are enlisted to broaden the sustained impact from the project. Describe the community characteristics of the project area, identify any communities impacted, describe outreach and community engagement activities and how those will be monitored and measured. Use demographic data to support descriptions and submit letters of support from community partners and/or collaborators demonstrating their commitment to the project and engagement in project activities as proposed.

Cost-Effectiveness – Cost-effectiveness analysis identifies the economically most efficient way to meet project objectives. Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds. Cost-effectiveness evaluation includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of effective direct/indirect costs across all categories in the proposed budget according to the type, size, and duration of project and project objectives. Project budgets will be compared to similar projects to ensure proposed costs across all budget categories are reasonable for the activities being performed and the outcomes proposed.

Transferability – Project has potential and plans to transfer lessons learned to other communities and/or to be integrated into government programs and policies.

Communication – Project includes a detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.

Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.

Conservation Plan and Context – Project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy. 

Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise. Priority will be given to projects that are able to illustrate measurable benefits to fisheries.

Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities.

Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.

Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and the project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant. Identify proposed partners, if known (including potential or contemplated subawards to third party subrecipients of the applicant), the roles they will play in implementing the project, and how this project will build new or enhance existing partnerships.  (Note: a project partner is any local community, non-profit organization, tribe, and/or local, state, and federal government agency that contributes to the project in a substantial way and is closely involved in the completion of the project.)



Applicant Demographic Information – In an effort to better understand diversity in our grantmaking, NFWF is collecting basic demographic information on applicants and their organizations via a voluntary survey form (available in Easygrants). This information will not be shared externally or with reviewers and will not be considered when making grant decisions. For more details, please see the tip sheet and the Uploads section of Easygrants.

Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable, and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable.

Environmental Services – NFWF funds projects in pursuit of its mission to sustain, restore and enhance the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. NFWF recognizes that some benefits from projects may be of value with regards to credits on an environmental services market (such as a carbon credit market). NFWF does not participate in, facilitate, or manage an environmental services market nor does NFWF assert any claim on such credits. 

Intellectual Property – Intellectual property created using NFWF awards may be copyrighted or otherwise legally protected by award recipients. NFWF may reserve the right to use, publish, and copy materials created under awards, including posting such material on NFWF’s website and featuring it in publications. NFWF may use project metrics and spatial data from awards to estimate societal benefits that result and to report these results to funding partners. These may include but are not limited to: habitat and species response, species connectivity, water quality, water quantity, risk of detrimental events (e.g., wildfire, floods), carbon accounting (e.g., sequestration, avoided emissions), environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Matching Contributions – Matching Contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive during application review.

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively.  When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations.  

Publicity and Acknowledgement of Support – Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications, and other public communications.  Recipients may also be asked by NFWF to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs depicting the project.

Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable.  Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.  No advance of funds will be allowed unless funds are directly related to completing environmental compliance requirements determined by Reclamation.

Environmental Compliance Requirements – Projects selected will be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) (state and federal), and Clean Water Act (CWA), as well as any other applicable environmental compliance law or policy.  Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved by Reclamation or NRCS, as applicable, prior to initiating project activities. Some projects may be eligible for adoption under existing programmatic permits and environmental compliance clearances. If you think your project may be eligible, please contact NFWF staff representatives to discuss. Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals collecting quotes from qualified consultants.  

Environmental Compliance: Projects that are selected for funding will need to comply with NEPA, NHPA, CWA, and ESA, as well as any other applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations prior to project commencement. In the template provided, appropriately answer the following list of questions to provide initial insight into the extent and scope of potential environmental compliance and permitting requirements for your project:

  1. Are you aware of any ESA listed (i.e., endangered or threatened) species in the project area as well as critical habitats they depend on? If so, are there any expected impacts to these species or their critical habitat (explain)? Are there any expected impacts to non-ESA-listed species or their habitat? Are there any existing biological/habitat studies or reports covering the project area?
  2. Are there wetlands inside or near the project boundaries and/or are there any existing wetland studies covering the project area? If so, please explain how many acres of wetlands there are, and describe any impact your project will have on the wetlands. Please estimate the quantity of any dredge and fill activities.
  3. Describe the extent of in-water work proposed for your project. Will there be removal/fill activities? Will the project alter the streambed? Will the project impact quality and/or quantity of water resources? If so, please explain.
  4. Describe the extent of ground disturbing activities associated with your project. Will there be trenching? If so, what are the dimensions of the trenching and/or other ground disturbance activity? Are there any existing cultural and/or historic resources studies or surveys covering the project area?
  5. Are you aware of any known contaminated media (soil, water) in the project area?
  6. List all landowner categories for your project area (federal, state, other public land, tribal, private, etc.).
  7. List any other existing, available environmental, cultural, biological, or botanical reports, studies, surveys, and/or other NEPA documentation, which has been completed for the project area or near the project area within the last five years.
  8. Describe the proposed seasonal timing of the project implementation (if applicable). Identify whether nighttime work is required.

The costs associated with compliance with NEPA, ESA, NHPA, and CWA should be included in the overall project budget.

Permits – Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements.  Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prior to submitting their proposal.  In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.

Federal Funding – The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.

Community Impact and Engagement: Projects that incorporate outreach to communities, foster community engagement, and pursue collaborative management leading to measurable conservation benefits are encouraged. When possible, projects should be developed through community input and co-design processes ensuring traditional knowledge elevation. Additionally, projects should engage community-level partners (e.g., municipalities, NGOs, community organizations, community leaders) to help design, implement, and maintain projects to secure maximum benefits for communities, maintenance, and sustainability post-grant award.



Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinar [Register here] January 19, 2023, 1:00 PM PST
Pre-Proposal Due Date:  February 7, 2023, by 8:59 PM PST
Full Proposal Due Date:   March 21, 2023, by 8:59 PM PST 
Review Period April 2023
Awards Announced May 2023



All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF’s Easygrants system.

  1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org to register in our Easygrants online system. New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login).  Enter your applicant information. Please disable the pop-up blocker on your internet browser prior to beginning the application process. 
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application. Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.



A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded here.

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s Applicant Information page.

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact: 

Femke Freiberg
Program Director, Western Water Programs
Email: femke.freiberg@nfwf.org
Phone: 415-243-3104 (PST)

Erica Engstrom
Manager, Western Water Programs
Email: erica.engstrom@nfwf.org 
Phone: 415-490-5211 (PST)

Cayla Donnelly
Coordinator, Water Investments
Email: cayla.donnelly@nfwf.org
Phone: 202-595-2417 (EST)

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
Email: Easygrants@nfwf.org
Voicemail:  202-595-2497
Hours:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday. 
Include:  your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.