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.
There are seven different species of sea turtles, six of which are found in U.S. waters and are listed as threatened or endangered in a least a portion of their circumglobal range. These species include leatherback, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, green and hawksbill. For more than 100 million years, sea turtles have migrated long-distances over temperate and tropical oceans, spending most of their time at sea but returning to natal beaches to lay eggs.
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 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.
Eastern oysters have played a particularly prominent role in the culture, history, and economy of the Chesapeake Bay and other areas throughout the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. Reefs serve as important habitat for a variety of aquatic species. However, overharvesting, disease and declines in estuarine and bottom habitats have ravaged native oyster populations. Eastern oysters now represent less than 2 percent of their peak historical populations.
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 red snapper is a long-lived reef fish typically found over deep reefs banks and rocky bottoms within the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic United States. Red snapper are one of the most popular sport fishes in the Gulf of Mexico and support important recreational and commercial fisheries.
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.
Lahontan cutthroat trout
The Lahontan cutthroat trout is a distinct species of cutthroat trout, native to cold-water habitats throughout the Lahontan Basin of northern Nevada, eastern California, and southern Oregon. Lahontan cutthroat trout have been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act since 1975, with key threats identified as habitat fragmentation and degradation that have led to genetic isolation and increased competition.
Although mostly out of sight, the rivers of the United States are home to more than 300 freshwater mussel species – one of the highest counts in the world. They are beautiful and varied in terms of form, and important as indicators of stream health. Freshwater mussels not only depend on healthy waters, they contribute to that end by filtering vast amounts of water. Unfortunately, these species are at greater risk of extinction than any other group of its size in the nation.
The cougar, also known as mountain lion or puma, is a powerful predator that is found in a variety of habitat types from Canada into South America. Cougars are stealthy ambush hunters that can exploit many prey types, although their primary food source is deer. Cougars active patrol large home territories and survive in low densities.
Hawaiian forest birds
Due to its geographic isolation, Hawaii has unique fauna and flora that are particularly vulnerable to changes in their environment. In fact, Hawaii is considered the species extinction capital of the United States. This especially true for endemic birds; 98 of 142 known endemic bird species having gone extinct since human arrival to Hawaii. Currently, 33 of Hawaii's remaining 44 endemic birds are listed under the Endangered Species Act. Eleven of those have not been seen for decades and are likely extinct.
The American woodcock is a well-camouflaged migratory woodland shorebird. The bird feeds on earthworms, is a popular game species, and requires early successional forest habitat for feeding and nesting. Woodcocks are harbingers of spring, with returning males conducting elaborate aerial courtship displays along old field edges as the last winter snows recede.