Statement: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation opens applications for ‘America the Beautiful Challenge’ grants

Media Contacts
Lisa Frank

Executive Director, Environment America; Vice President and D.C. Director, The Public Interest Network

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Biden administration announced on Wednesday a request for proposals for a grant program aimed at funding critical conservation and recreation projects across the country. The “America the Beautiful Challenge” grants will fund conservation and restoration projects for rivers, coasts, wetlands, grasslands and forests, among other critical ecosystems. In line with President Joe Biden’s America the Beautiful Initiative, grants will also help connect wildlife habitats through land and water corridors. A wide range of entities, including state and tribal authorities, territories, local groups and non-governmental organizations, will be eligible for the grant program, which is largely funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in late 2021. 

Applications for the America the Beautiful Challenge program are opening as America loses two football fields’ worth of land and water to development every minute. In the face of mounting biodiversity loss and climate change, setting aside natural areas for conservation offers a critical solution to safeguard threatened species and remove planet-warming carbon from the air. The Biden administration aims to award $1 billion over the next five years through the America the Beautiful Challenge.

Environment America Legislative Office Executive Director Lisa Frank issued the following statement:

“The America the Beautiful Challenge is a perfect example of ‘think globally, act locally.’ These grants will allow communities to identify and protect their most important spaces, taking our national goal of protecting 30% of our lands and waters and making it happen locally. More of our lands should be set aside for wildlife and recreation, especially since we’ve already sacrificed so much nature for drilling, mining and development. These funds help make that possible.”

Environment America’s Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:

“From Rocky Mountain National Park to the Delaware Water Gap, our natural lands are a big part of what makes America a beautiful and desirable place to live. We need more nature in our lives — more places to explore, listen to the birds sing, swim in the water and restore peace and balance in our lives. We urge our state and local leaders to take full advantage of the America the Beautiful Challenge to conserve and restore America’s lands, waters and wildlife. Thank you to President Biden, Secretary Haaland and all the members of Congress who voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which funds this crucial program.”