NFWF announces $2.1 million grant to initiate bonefish and tarpon restoration study in Florida

Grant is one of 29 announced as part of the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program

Washington, D.C., August 27, 2015 – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a $2.1 million grant to demonstrate the potential of stock enhancement as part of a broader conservation and restoration approach for the recreational bonefish and tarpon fisheries in south Florida.

The grant to Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) will be matched by more than $3.8 million for a total conservation impact of $6 million. With the grant, BTT will initiate a five-year program to develop methods to spawn bonefish and rear their larvae and juveniles in captivity, develop effective stock enhancement approaches, and evaluate the effectiveness of stocking as a conservation and restoration tool.

The fish populations that support economically important recreational fisheries of Florida and the wider Gulf of Mexico are suffering from habitat loss, degradation, and other threats. This is particularly true in the Florida Keys, where the famous bonefish fishery has suffered from a precipitous bonefish population decline. Given recent advances in knowledge of the reproductive and larval biology of these species, the program is now considered technically feasible and can help restore these tremendously valuable fisheries. BTT envisions stock enhancement as a finite effort, not a perpetual stocking program, to increase the bonefish population to a level at which it can sustain itself under improved conservation practices.

The award is one of 29 announced today in the initial round of grants from the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP). This new competitive grants program supports priority conservation needs of the Gulf of Mexico that are not otherwise expected to be funded under NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit or other funding opportunities associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The GCCGP builds on existing and new partnerships and is supported with funding from the Shell Marine Habitat Program, the Southern Company Power of Flight program, the Sea World Ocean Health Initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other sources.

“The grants we announce today will result in meaningful conservation outcomes for the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO at NFWF. “This new program will complement important work being accomplished throughout the Gulf Coast, present new opportunities to further leverage conservation dollars, and benefit the wildlife and human communities that rely on the Gulf’s critical ecosystems.”

The GCCGP focuses on strategic conservation projects within coastal areas in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The program seeks to advance innovative restoration concepts and approaches, build capacity through strategic engagement of youth and veterans, and fund species and habitat projects benefitting Gulf coastal ecosystems and communities.

For a complete list of the grants announced today, please click here.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most complex conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.9 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at