Over the next two years, WCS will re-grant more than $4 million through the fund to nonprofit conservation organizations working to ensure that wildlife are able to adapt to a changing climate. The fund represents a new strategic focus and shift in funding priorities for the conservation organization's grant program, which previously was called the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund and was launched with support from the DDCF in 2006. Through the Opportunities Fund, WCS awarded more than $7.2 million to eighty-one projects in forty-five states to restore habitat, protect wildlife movement corridors, incorporate wildlife into land-use planning decisions, reintroduce endangered species, and implement priorities of State Wildlife Action Plans.
Grants awarded through the Climate Adaptation Fund will support projects designed to implement landscape-scale strategic habitat conservation plans that demonstrate land management techniques that assist wildlife; protect or expand core habitat areas; create new protected areas or change land use designations to secure intact habitat; assure connectivity for wildlife between core habitat areas; and protect keystone species at risk from the impacts of climate change. WCS plans to release an RFP in the spring that will include more information on this year's funding priorities and instructions for applying.
"The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation recognizes the serious threat posed by climate change to biodiversity in the U.S.," said Andrew Bowman, director of the foundation's Environment Program. "This new focus for the WCS grants program will provide critical resources to the wildlife conservation community as it grapples with how best to address the growing climate challenge."