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Grants to USA Government, Non-Government, and Tribal Agencies
to Enhance Water Resources and Farms in Eligible Regions

National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) Program - Aquatic Habitat Project Proposals Funding

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Fishers and Farmers Partnership (FFP) for the Upper Mississippi River Basin and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

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Grants to USA government, non-government, and tribal agencies for projects that enhance water resources and farms in eligible regions. Funding is intended to support conservation projects that improve, protect, and restore rivers and streams in parts of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin which make up the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

Fishers & Farmers Partnership awards funding from the National Fish Habitat Partnership-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to locally-led projects in upper Mississippi River Basin watersheds each year. Funded projects improve farms and fish habitat; address a root cause of watershed problems; support landowner engagement, communications, monitoring, science, or construction; and align with Fishers & Farmers Partnership's Strategic Plan (see Supporting Documents below).

Priorities for FFP:

  • Increase native fish/mussel populations – Focal fish/mussel species: smallmouth bass, Topeka shiner, American brook lamprey, blacknose dace, black redhorse, blackside darter, brook/brown trout, channel catfish, hornyhead chub, southern redbelly dace, Higgins’ eye mussel, pink mucket, scaleshell, spectaclecase
  • Improve in-stream habitat by reducing sedimentation, phosphorus and nitrogen runoff
  • Work with farmers/landowners to protect/maintain healthy aquatic systems, or prevent further degradation by promoting best management practices across the landscape
  • Increase landowner engagement/farmer-led committees that drive conservation
  • Improve floodplain habitat, enhance flow regimes, improve connectivity
  • Monitor effectiveness of conservation projects, then share our stories through outreach

For priority watersheds. see

Expenditures of NFHP funds are appropriate for the following actions/activities:

  1. Time spent for project planning, directing project activities (earthwork, fence installation), site assessments, travel to and from project, and project oversight.
  2. Equipment (monitoring equipment, not farming equipment).
  3. Earthwork (contracts for earth moving, planting, structure installation, other site preparation), materials (rock, gravel, plants and planting supplies, materials to construct habitat structures).
  4. Short-term monitoring/evaluation. Funds may be used for pre and post project monitoring of NFHP projects to evaluate biological and/or physical response to project activities.
  5. Outreach to advance conservation. Engaging farmers/landowners in farmer-led efforts, workshops/training. Each project must include an outreach/education component.
  6. *The ACE Act allows a state, local government, or other non-federal entity to receive NFHP funds for the acquisition of real property from willing sellers if the acquisition ensures public access for fish and wildlife-dependent recreation or contributes a scientifically based, direct enhancement to the health of fish and fish populations as determined by the NFHP Board. All real property acquisition projects funded with NFHP funds must be approved by the state agency in the state in which the project is occurring. Please contact FFP's Coordinator if you have a project request that includes real property acquisition.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 200782

Estimated Size of Grant:

Funding floor: $15,000

FFP receives approximately $100,000-$230,000 split among 3-5 projects.

Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed in 2 years.
- Project Duration: Work is to be completed within 18 months
- Terms of Funding: Funding must be spent within 24 months

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants can be tribal, federal, state, county, and non-government organizations in either natural resources or agriculture with the ultimate goal of adding value to farms while restoring aquatic habitat and native fish populations. Managers and supervisors responsible for implementing fish habitat projects must document compliance with all applicable Federal laws and regulations (e.g. National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Rivers and Harbors Act). Fish habitat projects must also comply with any applicable State, local and tribal laws and regulations that do not conflict with, or are not preempted by, Federal laws and regulations.

The following activities are not eligible for NFHP funding:
(a) Actions required by existing Federal or State regulatory programs. Fish habitat expenditures shall be in addition to, not in lieu of, other expenditures authorized or required from other entities under other agreements or provisions of law.
(b) Land use incentive payments to landowners.
(c) Pre-award costs such as preliminary design, surveys, and appraisals.
(d) Operation, maintenance of facilities, structures, other construction.

Pre-Application Information:

- Nov 2021: Develop project proposals for National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) funding consideration
- Feb 1, 2022: Application/Proposal Deadline
- Feb/Mar 2022: Projects will be evaluated/ranked by FFP Steering Committee
- Mar 2022: NFHP Board reviews projects
- Apr/Jun 2022: FFP provides priority project list to NFHP Board
- Jul/Sep 2022: Department of Interior Review
- Jan 2023: Announcement of awards to recipients
- Apr/May 2023: Agreements/Funding awarded

USFWS requires at least a 1:1 non-Federal cost share, and a 3:1 match will improve chances of funding. Cost share/matched funding must not be matched to another federal grant. Match may be in-kind services and can include planning, design, monitoring, farmer’s time with project maintenance, field day planning, etc.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Project Proposals are required to be submitted to:

Please address questions to:
Heidi Keuler
US Fish and Wildlife Service
555 Lester Avenue
Onalaska, WI 54650

Grant Coverage Areas:

Upper Mississippi River Basin: For a map, see page 12 of the Proposal Template in Supporting Documents below.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois;   Iowa;   Minnesota;   Missouri;   Wisconsin

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