Species

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.

Golden eagle

Golden eagle


The golden eagle is a Holarctic species that inhabits open country, in either deserts, tundra, high altitudes or rangelands. Although it is widely distributed in the continental United States, its numbers are generally much greater in western states.

Coosa creekshell
Credit: Georgia Wildlife Resources Division

Villosa mussels (Coosa creekshell)


The Coosa creekshell is a species of freshwater mussel that are endemic to the Coosa River Drainage in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Increased sedimentation and reduced aquatic connectivity for host fishes like sunfish and sculpins have caused population declines throughout their range.

Hawksbill sea turtle

Sea turtles


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.

Canada lynx

Canada lynx


The threatened Canada Lynx is a medium-sized carnivore that inhabits boreal forests where their massive paws make them adapted to traveling through deep snow. These solitary hunters rely on contiguous, structurally diverse forest habitat that support abundant populations of their favorite prey, the snowshoe hare.

Karner blue butterfly


Karner blue butterflies measure only 1 inch wide, and are native to the Oakland Savannahs, stretching from New York to Minnesota. The species requires specialized habitats where wild blue lupine is abundant, the exclusive food plant for Karner caterpillars. Populations were in steep decline following habitat loss and modifications, which prompted their listing as an endangered species in 1992.

Alewife

River herring


Alewife and blueback herring—collectively known as river herring—are diadromous fishes that spend most of their lives at sea but return to river and streams to spawn. Once abundant throughout the Atlantic seaboard, river herring populations have declined due to overfishing and habitat loss associated with the construction of dams. Recent conservation efforts have seen millions of river herring return to streams throughout New England, a promising sign not just for river herring, but also myriad other species that rely on them as an important food source.

Mule deer

Mule deer


Mule deer are a social, migratory ungulate who are named for their large ears that resemble a mule's ears. An iconic species of the western United States, habitat loss and increased fragmentation of the landscape have caused localized declines in mule deer populations and reduced the function of critical migration paths.

Coral reef and fish

Corals


Found in shallow, tropical waters around the world, coral reefs are among the most iconic and diverse ecosystems on earth. Despite covering less than 1 percent of the ocean, 25 percent of marine species rely on coral reefs, which are made up of many different species of coral. While corals are threatened by pollution, overfishing, disease and increasing ocean temperature resulting in widespread mortality, local conservation efforts coupled with advancements in coral restoration show promise for conserving this important ecosystem.

Eastern oyster

Eastern oyster


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.

Red snapper
Credit: Jason Arnold

Red snapper


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.

Cerulean warbler

Cerulean warbler


The cerulean warbler is a small, migrant songbird named for the male's sky-blue plumage. It is dependent on contiguous tracts of mature, deciduous forest habitat throughout its breeding range in the eastern United States, and is particularly sensitive to the negative effects of forest fragmentation which has contributed to widespread population declines.

Burrowing owl

Burrowing owl


The burrowing owl is small with long legs, and found in open country throughout the Americas. Within the United States it is largely a western bird, with an isolated population in Florida. While the species is associated with burrowing animals, the Florida population digs its own burrows.