2023 Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partners Funding
NEW this year: two award categories!
Thank you for your interest! Applications are now closed.
River Network and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are excited to announce the fifth year of funding for nonprofit and tribal organizations working on or planning for stewardship activities on USFS administered Wild & Scenic Rivers (WSR) and surrounding lands. For the first time, we are offering a new category of planning awards, which intended to support relationship building between organizations led by and/or supporting communities who historically lack access to outdoor education, recreation, and stewardship opportunities and their local USFS offices. Please see the description below to determine which grant is best for you and your organization.
Background and Goals of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partners Funding
The National Wild & Scenic River System covers over 13,400 river miles from coast to coast in 41 states and Puerto Rico, including over 5,000 river miles managed by USFS. Wild and Scenic Rivers are free-flowing rivers and help preserve unique values including recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and cultural heritage. Increasing visitation to WSRs reflects the importance that outdoor spaces have in our daily mental and physical well-being as well as the need to foster a broader constituency in stewarding these rivers for the future.
The goal of this funding is to support a shared stewardship approach, between local groups and the USFS, expand the diversity of organizations working with USFS, encourage a broader constituency engaging in conservation efforts and ensure the protection of designated rivers and streams (including cultural, historic, recreational, and fish and wildlife values). Local groups across the country work to restore land, increase public access to our waterways, and provide environmental education on and around these special rivers and this funding provides nonprofit and tribal partners with critical resources for planning and implementing on-the-ground work in partnership with USFS.
This year we have $150,000 available to award to local organizations, which will be divided roughly equally between the following two award categories:
Relationship Building & Planning Awards
Is your community one that either historically lacks access to outdoor education, recreation, and stewardship opportunities and/or is identified by the Administration’s Justice 40 initiative as a Disadvantaged Community around a Wild & Scenic River (as shown on the map below)?
These awards are intended for organizations representing and working with communities who: historically lack access to outdoor education, recreation and stewardship opportunities and are interested in working with the USFS on Wild & Scenic River stewardship but may not yet have these relationships with agency staff needed to do so. The awards can support the time for capacity building to develop these relationships and start planning for work together. River Network and USFS can facilitate introductions and connections with local USFS district offices for awardees to support relationship development. Groups in this category may be eligible to apply for full stewardship funding the following year.
Award & Duration of Funding: Funding will range from $2,500-$5,000 per award for work occurring between July 1, 2023, and February 29, 2024. Groups may make one request.
Match: There is no match required for these awards.
- Any 501(c)(3), Tribe, or tribal organization interested in working with a USFS office to plan or implement stewardship projects on USFS administered WSRs and surrounding lands may apply (to determine whether your Wild and Scenic River is administered by the USFS and find the local USFS contact, please see this spreadsheet).
- Organizations must represent or work with communities who historically lack access to outdoor education, recreation and stewardship opportunities.
- Aligned with the Administration’s Justice 40 goals, priority will be for organizations located or working in Disadvantaged Communities around Wild & Scenic Rivers as identified through the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool and shown on this map.
- All applicants must be a free or paid member of River Network.
- May cover direct expenses as well as salaries for staff to meet with and develop relationships with USFS staff to plan, develop, and implement joint stewardship projects (see below list for types of stewardship activities).
- Whether the project advances relationship building with USFS staff and increases the ability of local organizations to plan for shared stewardship projects.
🌱 Stewardship Impact Awards
These awards are for WSR stewardship projects ready for increased investment for groups with established relationships with USFS. Projects can cover a range of stewardship activities (see the list below) and are expected to leverage additional investment in the stewardship work and engage a range of partners and community members.
Award & Duration of Funding: Funding will range from $5,000 to $20,000 to be used for up to an 18-month period between July 1, 2023, and February, 28, 2025. Groups may make one request.
Match: There is a suggested, but not required, matching contribution of at least 50% of the award (e.g. if requesting $10,000, there is a suggested match of $5,000). The match may include cash, contributed funding, and/or in-kind contribution. For this particular grant, contributed funding is a member organization paying for a portion of the project through actual cash outlays for salaries, equipment, supplies, or other expenses. In-kind contributions generally include volunteer labor or use of existing equipment and vehicles.
- Any 501(c)(3), Tribe, or tribal organization working on or planning eligible stewardship work on USFS administered WSRs and surrounding lands may apply (to determine whether your Wild and Scenic River is administered by the USFS and find the local USFS contact, please see this spreadsheet).
- All applicants must be a free or paid member of River Network.
Eligible Stewardship Activities:
This funding is to support Wild & Scenic River stewardship and partnership building activities, which include, but are not limited to:
- Stream monitoring/community watershed science (including development of new projects and initiatives that build capacity for longer term data collection)
- River cleanups
- River channel restoration and enhancement
- Promoting native fish populations
- Riparian habitat restoration
- Invasive species management
- Stormwater/sewage discharge management
- Trail delineations
- Erecting signage
- “Leave no trace” trainings (including virtual)
- Environmental education and outreach (including virtual), including recreational programs
- Cultural preservation activities
River Network and USFS will select projects based on criteria including:
- Impact – Project includes stewardship activities on USFS administered Wild & Scenic Rivers (WSR) and surrounding lands and furthers the values of WSRs.
- Reach – Project increases the diversity and numbers of volunteers and community members engaged with the organization and/or with WSRs.
- Feasibility – Project has strong potential for success based on project design, leadership, and realistic budgeting.
- Community Support – Project proposal demonstrates strong partnerships/community support. Priority consideration will be given to proposals that support communities whose members historically lack adequate access to outdoor education, recreation and/or other stewardship opportunities.
- Potential to use this award to leverage further support.
- Funding applications due by close of business, May 19, 2023.
- Awards will be made no later than June 9, 2023.
- For Relationship Building & Planning Awards, activities can take place through February 29, 2024, and final reports will be due to River Network by March 15, 2024.
- For Stewardship Impact Awards, activities can take place through February 28, 2025, with an interim report due to River Network by March 15, 2024, and final reports will be due to River Network by March 15, 2025.
MAP: WSRs & the Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool (CEJST)
For Relationship Building & Planning Grants, priority will be for organizations located or working in Disadvantaged Communities around Wild & Scenic Rivers, as identified through the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. Use the map below to determine whether your organization fits this description. You can also view the map full size.