Wild & Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partnership Funding

Applications are now closed.

 Click here to read our blog post on the projects funded in 2021.

River Network and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are excited to announce the fourth year of funding for nonprofit organizations working on stewardship activities on USFS administered Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) and surrounding lands.

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

Summary: For a 4th year, River Network and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will provide funding for nonprofit organizations working on stewardship activities on USFS administered Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) and surrounding lands.

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

From addressing wildlife/human conflict to restoring forestlands devastated by wildfires to connecting rivers with new communities, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Stewardship Partnership Funding provides nonprofit partners with critical funding for on-the-ground work. Two years of a pandemic highlighted the importance outdoor spaces have in our daily mental and physical well-being.

River and riparian stewardship, community outreach and education, and water monitoring by local organizations are vital to protecting these rivers. Local groups across the country work to restore lands, increase public access to our waterways, and seek further engagement to these special rivers in partnership with USFS staff. and engage a broader constituency in doing so. The goal of this funding is to support a shared stewardship approach, between local groups and the USFS, encourage broader constituency engagement in conservation efforts and ensure the protection of designated rivers and streams (including cultural, historic, recreational, and fish and wildlife values).

Award and Duration of Funding

This partnership funding will range from $5,000-$10,000 per award for work occurring between June 15th 2022, and January 31st, 2023. There is currently a total of $50,000 available. Groups may make one request.

Matching Funds

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.

Eligibility

  • Any 501(c)(3) organization working 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 above spreadsheet).
  • All applicants must be a free or paid member of River Network.

Eligible 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), including recreational programs
  • Cultural preservation activities

Application Process

Applications for this funding are now closed. The application process included:

  • A description of the project, timeline, a budget narrative, and a description of matching funds (suggested 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.

Timeline

  • Funding applications are due by COB May 16, 2022.
  • Awards will be made no later than June 3, 2022.
  • Stewardship activities can take place through January 2023.
  • Final reports will be due to River Network by February 10, 2023.

Evaluation Criteria

River Network and USFS will select projects based on criteria including:

  1. Impact – Project includes stewardship activities on USFS administered Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) and surrounding lands and furthers the values of WSRs.
  2. Reach – Project increases the diversity and numbers of volunteers and community members engaged with the organization and/or with WSRs.
  3. Feasibility – Project has strong potential for success based on project design, leadership, and realistic budgeting.
  4. 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.

Impacts of COVID-19

Please know that we recognize it may continue to be challenging to plan stewardship activities the uncertainty regarding the impact of COVID-19 and shifting health and safety guidelines. As was the case in previous years, consideration will be given to proposals that for both in-person and virtual stewardship (or a combination of both) 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.

For questions, please contact Katherine Baer.

Further Information: