Chicago Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Chicago Field Office

230 South Dearborn St.,

Suite 2938

Chicago, Illinois 60604
Phone: 312-216-4720

FAX: 312-216-1788
TTY: 1-800-877-8339
(Federal Relay)


Connect With Us


Facebook icon

Flickr icon


Twitter icon

YouTube icon




Links to Whooping Crane Sighting Report Form

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative logo

Funding Opportunities for

Habitat Restoration and Wildlife Research Projects

Image showing the heading of a standard USFWS Partnership Agreement


The Chicago area had extremely diverse floral and faunal communities before European settlement. The mixture of tallgrass prairie, wetland, savanna, and woodland communities that once existed in northeastern Illinois now represent a small fraction of the landscape. However, some ecosystems now considered globally rare or imperiled still thrive here. The Chicago region is one of a few major metropolitan areas in the world that has a high concentration of globally significant natural communities. This includes some of the best surviving examples of eastern tallgrass prairie and open oak woodlands or savannas.


The Service administers or participates directly in several grant funding or cost-share programs. These funds may be used for habitat restoration and applied research projects beneficial to federal trust resources. The following funding sources are the ones commonly used with partners to develop proposals. While proposal guidelines sometimes change, they are generally similiar from year to year.


We strongly urge prospective applicants to review guidelines from the most recent Requests for Proposals (RFP) and use them to begin planning their projects early.


(1) Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements: Small awards made by cost-share agreements with private landowners, including county and municipal land management agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Requires 50% minimum cost share from partner. Based on potential value to Service trust resources or location in previously identified focus areas. Applies to wetland and upland habitats in northeast Illinois (Cook, Boone, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties). Interested partners are urged to first contact the Chicago Illinois Field Office to determine project applicability, feasibility and benefits to trust resources.


Typical amounts awarded: $500-$5000.
Cycle: Continuous, based on availability of funds and cost/benefit to federal trust resources.
Funding source: US Fish & Wildlife Service.


(2) Challenge Cost-Share and Flex-Funding Grants: Competitively-awarded small grants for habitat work or applied research, announced by annual request for proposals (RFP) under several categories, including: Nongame Bird Conservation, Conservation of Candidates for the list of Endangered and Threatened species, Great Lakes Coastal Restoration, North American Waterfowl Management/Joint Venture, and Fish Habitat Restoration. Match requirements vary by fund, though 50% in-kind or cash contribution by applicant is strongly encouraged for all. Visit to search for annual RFP's.


Typical amounts awarded: $2500-$10,000.
Cycle: Annual, RFP's mailed late summer/early autumn, awards announced following spring.
Funding source: US Fish & Wildlife Service.


(3) Other National or Regional Grant Programs of the Service: Several U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service grant programs are available at the Regional or National level. These grants are competitively-awarded. Staff from this office are available to assist or consult local partners in developing proposals for these grants. While participation by this office is not usually required, potential applicants should consider that we may often identify and include Service priorities that would potentially strengthen the proposals.


Other Funding Opportunities

Staff from the Chicago Illinois Field Office also provide technical assistance to partners who may seek funding through other programs, such as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation 2000 program, and Chicago Wilderness. For further information about any of these funding sources, contact Mike Redmer.



Chicago Field Office Home


Last updated: February 22, 2018