The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Sustain Our Great Lakes program has announced its 2021 Request for Proposals, through which the organization will offer $8.5 million in grant funding in support of efforts to restore and enhance stream and riparian habitat; restore and enhance coastal systems; expand green stormwater infrastructure; maintain and enhance benefits of habitat restoration through invasive species control; and restore and preserve natural areas and biodiversity across the Great Lakes basin.
A new theme in 2021 is support for efforts to accelerate implementation of conservation practices and regenerative agriculture on working lands.
The program also has announced that General Mills will be joining the effort as a new partner in 2021. Support from the company, along with continued investment from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will fund projects under the new regenerative agriculture category for the 2021 grant slate.
Since 2006, Sustain Our Great Lakes has awarded 372 grants worth more than $88 million and leveraged an additional $109 million in matching contributions, generating a total conservation investment of more than $197 million.
The public-private partnership supports habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes basin and advances the objectives of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to protect, restore, and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem. The program receives funding and support from ArcelorMittal, NRCS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service, and NOAA.
A portion of the funding awarded in 2020 was made through a new Sustain Our Great Lakes partnership effort to restore and preserve natural areas and biodiversity in Wisconsin's Lake Michigan watershed — an opportunity funded by the Caerus Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Walder Foundation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For a complete list of the grants awarded in 2020, and to learn more about the 2021 funding opportunity, including applicant eligibility criteria, funding priorities, and submission requirements, see the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.