NFWF announces $2 million grant to protect critical habitat at Cape Sable, 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 million grant to protect and restore critical coastal wetlands at Cape Sable in Everglades National Park.

The grant to the Everglades Foundation will be matched by more than $6 million for a total conservation impact of $8 million. The grant will fund the plugging of canals to reduce saltwater intrusion that has accelerated tidal erosion and the collapse of freshwater marshes at the Cape.

Cape Sable contains critical wading bird habitat and the largest wintering shorebird habitat in North America and also serves as south Florida’s most important defense against hurricanes approaching the peninsula from the south and west. However, the wetlands of Cape Sable are disappearing slowly into the sea — not due to sea level rise but to tidal erosion and collapse of freshwater marsh soils.

Intrusion of tidal saltwater was initiated by canals dug into the Cape in the 1920s and worsened by a century of tidal scouring and storm surge. Recently, with stimulus funding from the federal government, two canals have been permanently plugged, and the benefits to water quality and habitat improvement were immediate. Using this grant from NFWF, the Everglades Foundation and National Park Service will plug the canals that continue to threaten the existence of this unique and important Gulf Coast ecosystem.

The award is one of 29 announced today in the initial round of grants from the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP). This new 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 Fund 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 SeaWorld 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