The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Restoration Fund invests in on-the-ground projects aimed at restoring, enhancing, and conserving bottomland hardwood forest and wetland habitats in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) region of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Key partners in the effort include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, International Paper’s Forestland Stewards partnership, the Walton Family Foundation, and American Forest Foundation’s Southern Woods for At-Risk Wildlife partnership.
Nearly 40 percent of North America’s waterfowl and 60 percent of all U.S. bird species migrate or winter in the MAV, in addition to year-round mammal and aquatic species. Representative species of interest for bottomland forest and wetland habitats include the Kentucky warbler, Swainson’s warbler, the American green-winged teal, wood ducks and mallards, and the Louisiana black bear. Freshwater species include the Pallid sturgeon, the fat pocketbook mussel, and other at-risk fish and mussel species.
Bottomland forests once covered more than 24 million acres within the MAV, but by the 1990s less than 25 percent of this forest cover remained. Conversion of bottomland hardwood forests and alteration of wetland hydrology for agricultural production contributed to this decline and have extensively fragmented forest and wetland habitats. Flood control projects have further altered the hydrology of these habitats. Water quality degradation due to these same stressors has impaired the capacity of streams and rivers to sustain aquatic life.
The fund seeks to address these and other challenges by focusing on the following priorities: enhancing existing bottomland hardwood forests to improve habitat for the Louisiana black bear, the Kentucky warbler, thr Swainson’s warbler, the American green-winged teal, wood ducks, mallards and other waterfowl, songbirds, and forest-dependent species; restoring and enhancing wetland forest and floodplain hydrology to improve wildlife habitat and water quality[ and establishing new bottomland hardwood forests that contribute to landscape-scale habitat connectivity to benefit wildlife.
The fund anticipates awarding up to $2.6 million in year one. Funding in subsequent years will depend on availability.
Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals and international organizations. U.S. Federal agencies, businesses and unincorporated individuals are encouraged to partner with applicants, but are not eligible to submit an application.
NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.
The fund will host a webinar for potential applicants on December 12 at 2:00 pm ET. (Registration required.)
For additional information on program priorities, project metrics, and eligibility criteria, see the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.