NFWF Invites Pre-Proposals for Sagebrush Landscapes Program

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is accepting pre-proposals for its Sagebrush Landscapes Program.

The sagebrush landscape is a vast, largely treeless and semi-arid system known for hot summers and cold winters. Consisting mainly of rocky hills, native bunchgrasses and sagebrush, it is home to more than three hundred and fifty associated plants and animal species and spans the region from eastern Washington, Oregon, and California through the Great Basin of Nevada and Idaho, up the high valleys of the Intermountain West in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, to the western edge of the Great Plains in the Dakotas.

This landscape has diminished from 156 million acres to 100 million acres since settlement began in the western United States. Sagebrush face numerous threats, including invasive species such as cheat grass, conifer encroachment, altered fire regimes, unmanaged grazing, and human development and disturbance. Unless threats are addressed, the impact will compound over time, transporting the ecosystem to a state that will be difficult, if not impossible, to restore to its native condition.

The NFWF Sagebrush Landscape Program was created in 2017 to address bottlenecks in sagebrush conservation and promote healthy rural agricultural economies in the western United States. The program is a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and NFWF.

Key conservation strategies for the program include wet meadow habitat enhancement and restoration and the "all lands management approach."

1) Wet Meadow Habitat Enhancement and Restoration: Found across the entire sagebrush landscape, wet meadow habitats often make up less than two percent of the landscape but are critically important to a wide array of species, including the iconic pronghorn, mule deer, and sage grouse, as well as several types of sagebrush- and wetland-reliant species. Wet meadows have been specifically identified as high-priority by the Natural Resources Conservation Service-led Sage Grouse Initiative and multiple other partners. Techniques such as installation of rock structures or beaver mimicry are often site specific, and are just recently being adopted and formalized by many of the state and local land management agencies. There is a significant need for investment in these emerging techniques for both the transfer of knowledge and landscape level implementation. Projects promoting the implementation and transfer of knowledge or capacity to employ these techniques will be given consideration.

2) All Lands Management Approach: Throughout much of the West, land ownership is spread across private, state, and federal parcels. As a result, implementing a landscape approach to conservation efforts can be challenging. NFWF will support additional capacity in areas that can benefit from cross-jurisdictional project management furthering conservation efforts for sagebrush landscapes and associated species. Projects promoting capacity to communicate and assist with management, restoration, and enhancement of habitat that address conservation bottlenecks within communities identified in the focal areas will be given consideration.

For this round NFWF anticipates awarding between three and six grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000. Grants can range from one to two years in length. For this cycle, a minimum 1:1 non-federal match (in-kind or cash) is required.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, U.S. federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions, businesses, and unincorporated individuals. Priority will be given to projects occurring in sagebrush habitat in western Colorado, Idaho, northern Utah, western Wyoming, southwest Montana and northeast Nevada.

Pre-proposals must be received no later than July 5. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal by August 16, 2018.

See the NFWF for complete program guidelines, an application tip sheet, and proposal submission procedures.