Conservation programs funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation benefit hundreds of species and the habitats they depend on across the United States. NFWF has developed conservation strategies with measurable outcomes that track progress for many of these species. These species are good indicators of healthy habitats.
These strategies and metrics can be found in NFWF’s business plans developed by scientists and other experts, and approved by the Foundation's Board of Directors. NFWF programs fund conservation grants that implement the strategies and actions identified in the business plan.
Click on the species to learn a little about it, and which programs fund grants to conserve the species and its habitat.
With their distinctive bright blue claws, blue crabs are one of the most iconic species of the Chesapeake Bay, where an estimated 594 million were found in 2019. These bottom-dwelling omnivores have a very wide geographic distribution that supports an important blue crab fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
The striking roseate spoonbill is found in tropical and subtropical wetlands throughout the Americas. In the United States, it is found within the Gulf states where it remains uncommon and local.
Gopher tortoise are long-lived reptiles native to the upland pine forests of the southeastern United States. Considered a keystone species, more than 350 species of wildlife rely on their their complex burrow systems for shelter and protection, which makes widespread population declines of gopher tortoise of special conservation concern.
Green sea turtle
Green sea turtles are found around the world, nesting in more than 80 counties including on U.S. beaches, where sustained conservation efforts have contributed to increasing populations in Florida, Hawaii and across all five U.S. territories. Reaching more than 300 pounds, these gentle giants feed almost exclusively on seagrasses and algae.
Northern long-eared bat
Northern long-eared bats are native to the old growth forests of the eastern and north-central United States. Populations in the northeastern United States have been severely affected by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects their hibernation, which led to their listing as an endangered species in 2015.
The red knot is a shorebird known for long-distance migrations, with some populations traveling from Argentina to the Arctic every year. Stopover areas providing high-quality foraging habitat are critically important for the red knot. For example, large numbers of red knots arrive in Delaware Bay during their spring migration to feed upon horseshoe crab eggs, which provide an excellent source of energy that fuels completion of the northward migration and contributes to successful reproduction.
The majestic bald eagle was chosen as the emblem of the United States in 1782. The species represents a tremendous conservation success story, with population numbers increasing sharply following a ban on the chemical DDT in 1972, which was poisoning bald eagles when they ate contaminated fish.
Black storm-petrels are an agile, burrow- or crevice-nesting colonial seabird that lay a single egg and nest on offshore islands and rocks from southern California southward along the Baja peninsula of Mexico. Storm-petrels are the smallest members of the Procellariiformes order, an oceanic long-lived seabird group that includes albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels.
Elk are large herbivores known for the males' widely branching antlers and iconic bugle-call during fall mating season. Elk prefer open woodlands, and some populations migrate long distances between high-altitude summer ranges where they give birth, and low-altitude winter ranges to escape harsh winters.
The greater sage-grouse is a sagebrush-dependent upland game bird and largest of the grouse species. Known for its theatrical mating displays on "leks" or breeding grounds, populations have been in decline due to loss of sagebrush habitat, and their ability to serve as an umbrella species for other sagebrush wildlife emphasizes the need to restore and protect their habitats.
Least terns are a small migratory North American tern with three distinct populations - Atlantic coastal, interior and southern California. They are a vocal, colonial seabird vulnerable to development, human disturbance and predation on coastal nesting beaches. In some locations, least terns have begun successfully nesting on flat gravel roofs and are in general responsive to management actions.
The California condor is the largest land bird in North America. In 1981, there were only 22 individuals remaining, but the species is increasing in numbers after being taken into captivity, bred and released to locations in California, Baja California, and Arizona. However, the California condor still highly threatened and dependent on conservation.