Projects will restore and manage forest blocks to enhance habitat for birds and restore the health of aquatic ecosystems
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $2 million in grants to restore and sustain healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse fish and wildlife populations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The eight grants will generate $3.8 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $5.8 million.
The grants were awarded through the New England Forests and Rivers Fund (NEFRF), with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Avangrid Foundation and Zoetis Foundation, with additional funding provided this year by the Bezos Earth Fund.
“In the eighth year of this program we continue to build on strong partnerships to advance key conservation priorities,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The grants awarded today will increase the availability of essential habitat throughout New England’s dynamic forest and river systems, directly benefiting both aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as reducing flood risk to local communities.”
The projects supported today will strengthen the health of forest systems, providing incentives for landowners to improve habitat conservation on working forests and agricultural lands. Collectively the grants will improve management on more than 29,000 acres of private forest land.
“We are pleased to partner with NFWF and others to provide farmers and forestland owners with resources to voluntarily protect vital wildlife habitat through conservation projects,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “These types of projects not only benefit New England wildlife, but also improve the resilience of agricultural operations and local communities.”
“Through the Zoetis Foundation, we aim to help advance farmer livelihoods while also enhancing agricultural conservation,” said Jeannette Ferran Astorga, executive vice president, corporate affairs, communications and chief sustainability officer at Zoetis and president of the Zoetis Foundation. “We were eager to support the New England Forests and Rivers Fund in restoring riparian habitats throughout the Vermont portion of the Lake Champlain Basin. Our collaboration will benefit dairy farmers and other agricultural producers through improved water quality and enhanced wildlife habitats.”
The grants also will support work to improve the quality of river and stream systems and reduce barriers to fish passage. Together they will restore more than 17 miles of streamside forest and remove two barriers to fish passage.
“By leveraging public-private partnerships, the New England Forests and Rivers Fund expands our opportunities for conserving and restoring habitat for some of New England’s most vulnerable wildlife,” said Kyla Hastie, acting northeast regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’re excited to support ongoing efforts by partners to work with family farmers, foresters, and communities on projects that benefit people and wildlife.”
“As a proud partner in the Forest and Rivers fund, we are appreciative of the great collaborative efforts taking place to ensure that our forests continue to sustain the wildlife, fisheries, and other ecological benefits that are so important for the New England region,” said USDA Forest Service Eastern Region Deputy Regional Forester Bob Lueckel.
The projects will foster community engagement, including engaging more than 200 volunteers in hands-on conservation, and will pursue collaborative management leading to measurable conservation benefits. Projects will engage community-level partners (e.g., municipalities, NGOs, community organizations, community leaders) to help design, implement, and maintain projects to secure maximum benefits for communities and sustainability past the grant period.
“We’re very proud to be finishing our fifth year of partnering with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation on various conservation programs to help protect our environment and wildlife,” said Pablo Colón, executive director, Avangrid Foundation. “At the Avangrid Foundation, it’s important to us that our efforts help create thriving communities where we live, work and play. A key element of this is increasing preservation and access to green spaces throughout those communities. Programs like the New England Forests and Rivers Fund do just that. By working together with all program partners, we’re creating a large, lasting impact across the Northeast to help provide safe and sustainable habitats for wildlife.”
From 2015 through 2022, the program has awarded over $12.3 million in grant funds, matched by over $22.2 million from grantees for a total conservation impact of more than $34.5 million, to 93 grants that will restore early successional and mature forest habitat, modify and replace barriers to fish movement, restore riparian and instream habitat, and engage hundreds of volunteers in forest habitat restoration and stream connectivity projects.
A complete list of the 2022 grants made through the New England Forests and River Fund is available here.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $7.4 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
About the Zoetis Foundation
The Zoetis Foundation supports communities and the people who care for animals, with a specific focus on advancing opportunities for veterinarians and farmers around the world. The Foundation’s grantmaking and strategic efforts help provide access to education and mental wellness resources, expand veterinary debt relief, support diversity and inclusion efforts, and enable thriving livelihoods by funding programs that help veterinary practices and livestock farmers adopt sustainable business practices. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit: www.zoetisfoundation.org.
About the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Since 1935, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. NRCS provides technical assistance based on sound science and offers financial assistance for many conservation activities. www.nrcs.usda.gov.
About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. The public can also connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube channel and download photos from our Flickr page.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The USDA Eastern Region State and Private Forestry programs collaborate with states, other Federal agencies, sovereign Tribal nations, landowners, and other partners to protect, conserve, and manage forests and community trees across the 20 Northeastern and Midwestern States and the District of Columbia. We provide leadership, technical support, sound science, and financial assistance to help ensure that our forests and trees continue to provide clean water, forest products, wildlife habitat, recreation, and other benefits for present and future generations.
About Avangrid Foundation
The Avangrid Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that funds philanthropic investments that primarily impact communities where AVANGRID, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate. Since 2001, the Avangrid Foundation and its predecessors have invested more than $32 million in partnerships that focus on building sustainable, vital and healthy communities; preserving cultural and artistic heritage; advancing education; and improving people’s lives. The Avangrid Foundation is committed to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the United States. For more information, please visit www.avangridfoundation.org.
AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $40 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, AVANGRID has two primary lines of business: Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. AVANGRID employs more than 7,000 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021 and 2022 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2022, AVANGRID ranked second within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment and the communities it serves. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2022 for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. AVANGRID is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.