Small Grants

North American Wetlands Conservation Act

The Small Grants Program is a competitive, matching grants program that supports public-private partnerships carrying out projects in the United States that further the goals of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. These projects must involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds.

Since 1996, some 1,850 partners in 879 projects have received more than $55.7 million in grants. They have contributed another $193 million in matching funds to affect 416,000 acres of habitat.

About the Grants Program

The North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Council) created the Small Grants Program in 1996 to encourage new grantees and partners to carry out smaller-scale, long-term wetlands conservation projects that may otherwise not be able to compete in the U.S. Standard Grants Program. The Small Grants Program has also become an important catalyst in developing a pool of new grantees and/or partners for the Standard Grants Program.

This program supports the same type of projects and adheres to the same selection criteria and administrative guidelines as the U.S. Standard Grants Program. However, project activities are usually smaller in scope and involve fewer project dollars.

Grant requests may not exceed $100,000, and funding priority is given to grantees or partners new to the Act’s Grants Program.

The Process

Each year, the  Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approves the total amount of funding to be distributed to projects under the Small Grants Program in the following fiscal year. Applicants submit project proposals to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Bird Habitat Conservation (Division) for the program's one funding cycle per year. After a preliminary review by Division staff, Joint Venture Coordinators, and North American Wetlands Conservation Council staff, eligible proposals are presented to the Council for further review and ranking. The Council, which has been delegated final approval authority by the Commission, then selects the slate of projects to be funded and informs the Commission on its decision. The Division is responsible for administering the grants for the


Contact the Joint Venture Coordinator in your project area for assistance with developing a project proposal, for information about how proposals are ranked, and/or for guidance on Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and National Historic Preservation Act compliance requirements.

For general program information, contact the Small Grants Program Coordinator, Rodecia McKnight (, (703) 358-2266 or Anya Rushing (, (703) 358-2032.

Grant Deadlines

February 26, 2021:
U.S. Standard Grants, Cycle 1
July 9, 2021:
U.S. Standard Grants, Cycle 2
May 19, 2021:
Mexico Standard Grants
August 27, 2021:
Canada Standard Grants
October 14, 2021:
U.S. Small Grants

Last Updated: May 21, 2020