EDGEFIELD, SC — The NWTF’s Waterways for Wildlife initiative kicks off another year of vital restoration work in and around waterways by funding 20 conservation projects in nine of the initiative’s 10 focus states by 2023. The NWTF is contributing $225,000 to these critical projects, which will leverage with partners to more than $5.3 million this year alone.
“We are beyond excited to keep the momentum going after a productive first year of Waterways for Wildlife projects,” said Jared McJunkin, NWTF Director of Conservation Operations for the Midwest. “Our average match rate for projects in 2023 was more than 14:1, underscoring our partners’ investment in this critical work. Through our collaboration, we are on track to improve thousands of acres of wildlife habitat in the riparian ecosystems of America’s Great Plains. Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work!”
Waterways for Wildlife addresses urgent conservation needs in riparian ecosystems, or areas situated along creeks, streams, and rivers, which are magnets for wild turkeys and many other wildlife. By closing the gap between the quantity of water and the quality of available water, these essential ecosystems store water and recharge aquifers; similarly, the plants, soils, and wetlands associated with them serve to filter pesticides, herbicides, and sediments before they travel to downstream water supplies. In short, they are essential for a healthy ecosystem.
However, many of these riparian habitats are in poor condition due to various causes, such as increased water demand, floodplain disruption, and land-use changes that have altered their natural cycle and have affected the health of these essential communities. Through the Waterways for Wildlife Initiative, the NWTF is committed to reversing these trends and implementing work to improve the riparian health of wild turkeys and the many other terrestrial and aquatic species that depend on these ecosystems.
The initiative began in 2022 and significant progress has been made through 14 slated-for projects, impacting 7,677 acres of wildlife habitat and nearly 80 miles of streams.
Over the next nine years, the NWTF seeks to raise $10 million in private funds and leverage $40 million in matching partner funds to enhance 75,000 acres of wildlife habitat along 1,500 linear miles of waterways in the Greater Las Vegas landscape. plains.
Partners for the 20 projects in 2023 include the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Ducks Unlimited, Montana Natural Resource Damage Program, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Montana Fisheries, Wildlife and Parks, Pheasants/Quail Forever, Trout Unlimited, Western Native Trout Initiative, USDA Forest Service, NorthWestern Energy, Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Hunting, Fish and Parks of South Dakota, Black Hills Fly Fishers, Friends of the Big Sioux River, US Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Department of Fish and Game, Wyoming Governors Big Game License Coalition, Popo Conservation District Aggie, Fremont County Weed and Pest, Fremont County Fire Prevention, and private property owners.
As work begins, the NWTF will highlight the 20 new projects on NWTF.org in the coming months.
For more information on applying for funds through the NWTF’s Waterways for Wildlife Initiative, contact McJunkin at [email protected]. To find out how you can directly support this exciting new initiative.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and has conserved or improved more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to advance wildlife conservation, forest resiliency, and strong recreational opportunities across the US by working beyond borders at the landscape scale.
2023 is the 50th of the NWTFhe anniversary and an opportunity to push the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. for his 50he anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the people of NWTF; and raise $5 million to build a $50 million endowment for the future. Find out how you can help us achieve these lofty goals.