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Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and Educational Institutions to Preserve and Protect Natural Resources

Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) USDA Office of Urban A
Array ( )

Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Deadline: 01/31/24 11:59 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $60,000 to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, tribal entities, and educational institutions for projects to restore and protect natural resources. Funding is intended to support community outreach, environmental education, and ecological improvements. Grants for this program are available nationwide; additional funding is available for the geographic priorities listed in the Funding Availability section of the RFP.

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships focused on improving water quality, watersheds and the species and habitats they support.

Projects include a variety of ecological improvements along with targeted community outreach, education and stewardship. Ecological improvements may include one or more of the following: wetland, riparian, forest and coastal habitat restoration; wildlife conservation, community tree canopy enhancement, water quality monitoring and green infrastructure best management practices for managing run-off. 

Program Priorities:

  • On-the-Ground Restoration: Projects must restore and/or create wetlands, green stormwater infrastructure, coastal or riparian areas 
  • Environmental Outreach, Education & Training: Projects must integrate meaningful outreach, education and/or training into the proposed on-the-ground activities that advance local watershed and conservation goals 
  • Community Partnerships: Projects must involve five or more partners (public and private entities) including the applicant 
  • Measurable Results: Projects must result in specific, measurable ecological, educational and community benefits 
  • Sustainability: Projects must include a plan for maintenance and care of the project beyond the grant period 

For more information on program priorities, see

There is one application submitted to NFWF for all sources of funding:

  • U.S. EPA Five Star Restoration Training Program: Approximately $225,000 is available nationwide from EPA to fund projects. These funds are available nationwide, in any size community. 
  • Urban Waters Federal Partnership, U.S. EPA and U.S.D.A. Forest Service: Approximately $300,000 is available from U.S. Forest Service and EPA, through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, to improve urban water quality, restore riparian habitat and community forests, increase public access to urban waterways and make linkages to municipal flood mitigation and stormwater programs in developed watersheds throughout the United States. Funds are available nationwide for urban areas. 
  • U.S. FWS Urban Programs: Approximately $360,000 is available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to fund projects that engage urban neighbors and foster a sense of stewardship where there are Service lands or offices nearby (within approximately 25+/- miles). 
  • Southern Company Five Star Restoration Program: Approximately $250,000 is available from Southern Company and its affiliates to support on-the-ground wetland, riparian, in-stream or coastal habitat conservation and restoration projects in key areas served by its subsidiaries. 
  • USDA People’s Garden Initiative: Approximately $500,000 is available from the USDA People’s Garden Initiative though the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production to fund projects that will support community-based projects that promote sustainable agriculture practices that benefit people and wildlife.
  • FedEx: Approximately $415,000 is available from FedEx to support projects in the eligible metropolitan areas.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes and educational institutions.

Ineligible applicants include: unincorporated individuals, businesses, international organizations and U.S. federal government agencies.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds:
- Equipment: Applicants are encouraged to rent equipment where possible and cost-effective or use matching funds to make those purchases. NFWF acknowledges, however, that some projects may only be completed using NFWF funds to procure equipment. If this applies to your project, please contact the program staff listed in this RFP to discuss options.
- Federal funds and matching contributions may not be used to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems (including entering into or renewing a contract) that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology of any system. Refer to Public Law 115-232, section 889 for additional information.
- NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
- NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.

Pre-Proposal Conference
Applicant Webinar November 29, 2023, 2pm-3:15pm ET

Click here to register:

For one-on-one guidance, sign up for a virtual proposal lab:
NFWF staff will be holding 30-minute virtual proposal labs for the 2024 RFP on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, November 27 through December 21 and January 9-18. To reserve some time in the lab, please complete this lab appointment request form:

Pre-Application Information
- Full Proposal Due Date: January 31 2024, by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
- Review Period: February to July 2024
- Awards Announced: Late Summer 2024

The ratio of matching contributions offered is considered during the review process, and projects are required to meet or exceed a 1:.75 match ratio to be competitive .

Application Information:

Applicant Webinar Recording:

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants
30-40 grants awarded per year

Estimated Size of Grant
Awards range from $30,000 to $60,000 with an average size of $45,000.

Term of Contract
Grants should span 12 to 18 months with a start date in late summer/early fall 2024.

Contact Information
Apply online:

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
Sarah Vest
Coordinator, Regional Programs
(202) 595-2602

Kaitlyn Hill
Program Manager, Community Stewardship
(202) 595-2436

1133 Fifteenth St., N.W., Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005
T 202-857-0166
F 202-857-0162

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