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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) works to conserve, protect and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of the American people. Primary resource responsibilities of the agency include migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, inter-jurisdictional fisheries, and the habitats upon which they depend.

Additional information on their availabe grants may be found on the Washington Office web site.

Some of the programs the USFWS offers are listed here.


Chehalis Fisheries Restoration Program

The Chehalis Fisheries Restoration Program makes funding and technical assistance available for on-the-ground restoration of salmon habitat, watershed assessments, and outreach education in the Chehalis River and Grays Harbor Basins.

The CFRP's goal is to recover Chehalis Basin fisheries by forming partnerships with private landowners, non-profit organizations, and local, tribal, and state agencies. Projects that have been funded include: removal of invasive species and replanting, riparian and wetland restoration of off-channel rearing habitat, restoring agricultural wetlands for fish use, and monitoring fish use to these habitats. 

Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund

The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund is a federal grant program to promote the conservation of species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The program is authorized by Section 6 of the ESA and funded by Congress. In Washington State it is administered in cooperation with two state agencies: the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

This fund promotes conservation for threatened and endangered species by providing financial assistance. Three types of grants are available: 1) Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance grants, for developing habitat conservation plans (HCPs); 2) Recovery Land Acquisition grants, for permanently conserving land that contributes to the recovery of listed species by supporting approved recovery plans; 3) Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition grants, for permanently conserving land that complements conservation already being provided under permitted HCPs for listed, proposed, or candidate species. 

Fisheries Restoration and Irrigation Mitigation Act (FRIMA)

This USFWS program is administered by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The FRIMA program seeks to match federal funds with local, state, and tribal programs to increase native fish survival, reduce entrainment in existing water distribution systems, and increase access to productive fish habitat by constructing fish screening and passage projects.

Local, state, and tribal governments are primary applicants. Other private and public landowners may partner with local governments in submitting applications. A proposed project must be associated with an active water diversion and must benefit fish species native to the project area. 

Habitat Conservation Planning

Habitat Conservation Planning is designed to compensate for the impacts of land use activities on listed endangered or threatened species and their habitats.

A Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is the key component of an application package necessary to apply for an incidental take permit (ITP). The HCP and ITP allow for the incidental take of threatened or endangered species while providing suitable mitigation and conservation strategies to protect those species and their habitats over the long term.

Planning occurs on non-federal lands where threatened or endangered species are present or of concern. It is a voluntary effort initiated by non-federal landowners (such as industrial or small timber owners, agricultural producers, or jurisdictional entities). Land acreage ranges from one acre to over a million acres, though there are no restrictions on the size of the HCP area.

Habitat Conservation Planning, prerequisite for authorizing an ITP, allows landowners to conduct their otherwise legal activities (such as timber harvest and agricultural production) that may result in take of listed species. HCPs provide long-term regulatory assurances to the landowner for the duration of the plan, i.e., the government will honor its permit commitment as long as the HCP permittee honors their habitat management plan.

The USFWS provides technical assistance, such as habitat information to the landowner, on-site habitat assessment, and design and planning for the development of the HCP. Financial assistance may be available through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund.  

Landowner Incentive Program

The Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant program administered by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. It provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners for conservation and restoration efforts that produce benefits to at-risk fish and wildlife species and their habitats.

Projects are identified through state and regional planning processes, as well as best professional knowledge, and utilize best available science to determine project design, prioritization, implementation, and monitoring. The program encourages local partnerships between neighboring landowners, public agencies, and private organizations.

The program is designed to assist private landowners who do not qualify for some of the larger grant programs, such as the Farm Bill programs or Salmon Recovery Funding Board grants. 

National Fish Passage Program

The goal of the National Fish Passage Program is to restore native fish and other aquatic species to self-sustaining levels by reconnecting habitat that has been fragmented by barriers, where such re-connection would not result in a net negative ecological effect such as providing increased habitat to exotic species.

The program uses a voluntary, non-regulatory approach to remove and bypass barriers. It, works with local communities and partner agencies to restore natural flows and fish migration. The program is administered by National and Regional Coordinators, and delivered by Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Offices. 

National Wildlife Refuge Challenge Cost Share

While the majority of available funds in the National Wildlife Refuge Challenge Cost Share program are directed towards USFWS Refuge properties, this program also provides limited financial and technical assistance to private landowners for enhancing or restoring degraded or converted wetlands, riparian areas, or other critical habitats.

USFWS staff seek private landowners and other non-federal partners for projects that complement activities on Refuges. One or more of the following federal trust resources must be enhanced: migratory birds, anadromous fish, or endangered species. Call 503-872-2720 for more information.  

North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Small Grants

The NAWCA Small Grants program, a partnership with the Pacific Coast Joint Venture, provides grants to public-private and state-federal partnership projects to acquire, restore, enhance, and manage wetland habitats, particularly those most important for migratory birds.

Projects have included: construction of water control structures, re-vegetation, erosion control, wetland acquisition, and habitat enhancement. Any group or individual may submit proposals; a small grant program (up to $50,000) was initiated in 1996 to encourage new partners, especially smaller organizations such as local conservation districts and land trusts. 

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program offers technical and financial assistance to private landowners wishing to restore fish and wildlife habitats. The focus is on re-establishing historic native communities.

Priority is given to projects that: contribute to the survival of endangered, threatened, or candidate species; benefit anadromous fish; contribute to the objectives of the National Wildlife Refuge System or the North American Waterfowl Management Plan; are located close to existing priority habitat and help reduce habitat fragmentation; contribute to the restoration of globally or nationally imperiled natural communities; and result in a self-sustaining system that is not dependent upon artificial structures.  

Private Stewardship Grant Program

The Private Stewardship Grant Program supports voluntary on-the-ground conservation actions that benefit species listed or proposed as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. It provides grants and other assistance to individuals and groups.

Types of projects that may be funded include managing nonnative competitors, reintroducing imperiled species, implementing measures to minimize risk from disease, restoring streams that support imperiled species, or planting native vegetation to restore a rare plant community. Although the program does not fund the acquisition of real property either through fee title or easements it does not exclude any other approach from consideration as long as it demonstrates tangible on-the-ground benefits to the imperiled species.

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