Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partnership Funding

Click here to read Katherine Baer’s blog post on the success of the first round of projects funded through this partnership in 2019 and here for USFS’s executive summary with further details on the first round of this work.

For information on the projects selected as part of the second round of funding in 2020, please click here.

The application deadline has passed.

River Network and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are excited to announce the second year of funding for nonprofit organizations working on stewardship activities on USFS administered Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR). This partnership funding will range from $5,000-$10,000 per award for work occurring between July 1, 2020, and November 6, 2020.

To determine whether your Wild and Scenic River is administered by the USFS and find the local USFS contact, please see this USFS spreadsheet.

Goals of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partnership Funding

Continuing to build on the momentum from the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 2018, groups around the country are seeking to further protect and enhance these special rivers and engage with USFS staff to ultimately reach a broader constituency. River and riparian stewardship is vital to many organizations and these efforts – e.g. water quality monitoring, in-channel habitat restoration and invasive species management – are often the most effective ways to garner interest from the public and engage with management agencies and our communities to better protect these rivers. This shared stewardship approach, between local groups and the USFS, is integral to ensuring that values of these designated rivers and streams are both protected and enhanced.

Impacts of COVID-19

Please know that we recognize it may be challenging to plan stewardship activities right now, given the uncertainty regarding the impact of COVID-19 and that scheduled activities may need to be postponed or shifted. This year, we will both be deemphasizing stewardship activities reaching large groups of people in person (virtual outreach is eligible) and will work to provide maximum flexibility for award recipients. All activities funded under this opportunity must follow any applicable local, state, or national guidelines for COVID-19.

Stewardship Activities

This funding is to support Wild and 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 (including individual events)
  • 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)

Funding Process

Applications for this funding can be submitted via the form at the bottom of this page and include:

  • A description of the project, timeline, a budget narrative, and a description of matching funds (recommended at 50% of total request);
  • A letter of support from the applicable USFS responsible officer(s) of the forest or district that administers the Wild and Scenic River(s) that is the focus of the proposed work (e.g. District Ranger or Forest Supervisor). This letter should also identify how USFS staff and the applicant organization will partner on the proposed activities;
  • IRS 501(c)(3) letter.


  • Funding applications are due by COB June 1, 2020.
  • Awards will be made no later than July 1, 2020.
  • Stewardship activities can take place through November 6, 2020.
  • Final reports will be due to River Network by December 1, 2020.

Who Qualifies for Funding

How Much Money Is Available

There is currently a total of $50,000 available, with awards ranging from $5,000-$10,000. Groups may make one request.

Matching Funds

There is a suggested matching contribution of at least 50% of the award (e.g. if requesting $10,000, there should be a match of at least $5,000). The match may be accomplished through cash, contributed funding and/or in-kind contribution. Contributed funding in this context is where the member organization pays for a portion of the project through actual cash outlays for salaries, equipment, supplies or other expenses. In-kind contributions are generally for volunteer labor or use of existing equipment and vehicles.

Evaluation Criteria

River Network and USFS will select projects based on criteria including: what will be accomplished and how that furthers the values of WSRs, support from the District Ranger or Forest Supervisor, ultimately reaching communities new to Wild and Scenic Rivers, and how the project provides benefits to both rivers and people.

For questions, please contact Katherine Baer.

Funding Application

Step 1 of 2

  • Organization Information