Program works closely with communities to cultivate conservation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced that 64 community-led wetland, stream and coastal restoration projects across the nation have been awarded more than $2.3 million in grants. In addition, the grantees have committed an additional $4.8 million in local project support, creating a total investment of more than $7 million in projects that will restore wildlife habitat and urban waters and will engage thousands of volunteers, students and local residents in community-based environmental stewardship projects.
These grants are awarded through the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program, which began in 1999 as a partnership among NFWF, National Association of Counties and the Wildlife Habitat Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since its inception, the program has supported more than 750 projects with more than $8.5 million in federal funds, $7 million in private and corporate contributions and $60 million in matching funds at the local level. Major funding for the 2015 Five Star and Urban Waters program is provided by EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, Southern Co., Bank of America and PG&E.
“Some of our nation’s most pressing conservation challenges can be found in the suburban and urban landscapes where most Americans live,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The public- and private-sector partners who support the Five Star and Urban Waters program should take great pride in the fact that they are helping improve water quality, restore habitats and protect native species inside some of our nation’s biggest cities. Program partners and grant recipients also play a leading role in helping children and adults across the country reconnect with nature and engage in innovative, successful conservation projects.”
“Clean freshwater is a valuable asset to communities across the U.S.,” said Bank of America’s Global Environmental Executive Alex Liftman. “This partnership is protecting and enhancing critical waterways around the country—and provides the opportunity for our employees to partner with colleagues, customers and neighbors to improve the communities where we live, work and play.”
The Five Star and Urban Waters 2015 winners were selected from a competitive pool of more than 280 applications. Consideration for funding is based upon the educational and training opportunities for youth and the community at large as well as the ecological and other cultural and economic benefits to the community. These projects must also involve a high degree of partnership between local government agencies, elected officials, community groups, businesses, schools and environmental organizations for improving local water quality and restoring important fish and wildlife habitats.