By Published On: May 11, 2021

Key Funding Opportunity for Sagebrush and Wetland Projects

Wet and dry, sagebrush and water: both conjure up distinctly different initial reactions, yet both sagebrush landscapes and the thin ribbons of green wetlands crisscrossing the West are intricately connected and critical to wildlife, agriculture, and people. Conservation funding programs that take both of these important landscapes into consideration, like the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation program, are necessary for locally-led,  whole-landscape conservation in the West.

The SPIRIT of Conservation program is now inviting applications for competitive grant funding to be awarded through the 2021 funding cycle. The purpose of this funding is to protect, restore, or enhance grassland, wetland, sage-steppe, and coastal habitats for birds; as well as to conduct identified priority avian research or monitoring in focal geographies. The program is a partnership among ConocoPhillips, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Approximately $1,300,000 is expected to be available for grant awards in 2021.

Through the integration of its Partnering to Conserve Sagebrush Rangelands and Water 4 efforts, the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) works to conserve sagebrush and wet meadow/wetland habitats, and thus the landscapes and character of the Intermountain West. The SPIRIT of Conservation program is closely aligned with these priorities and we highly encourage partners to explore this funding opportunity.

Pre-Proposal Due Date: May 27, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Full Proposal Due Date: July 19, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time 

The SPIRIT of Conservation program will primarily support projects that address one or more of the following strategies.

  • Restore or enhance grassland, sagebrush, wetland, and coastal habitats for birds: conduct restoration activities to expand or improve habitat patch size, connectivity, and quality; remove encroaching woody vegetation that negatively impacts grassland-nesting or sage-steppe habitat nesting birds; reduce invasive species’ impact on bird habitats; restore wetland function more beneficial to birds; and restore important breeding, wintering or stopover sites.
  • Protect key habitats for birds: Support fee title or conservation easement acquisitions for parcels with important habitat linkage/connectivity functions, or important breeding, wintering or stopover sites. 
  • Conduct identified priority research or monitoring: Increase the quality or quantity of bird population data that can be used to inform current and future habitat management decisions. Data should be useful at specific sites or in assessing bird use of habitats across breeding, wintering, or stopover ranges. Key information and knowledge gaps of interest can be found in the following report:  Full Annual Cycle Conservation Strategy.

Learn more about this program and consider reaching out to the IWJV for support in application development.