Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tribal Wildlife Grants Provide Opportunities for Partnerships in Conservation of Shared Natural Heritage, Cultural Priorities
More than $6.6 million awarded to 37 projects in 17 states to bolster fish and wildlife conservation

October 21, 2021


Vanessa Kauffman


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $6.6 million in Tribal Wildlife Grants to federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native Tribes in 17 states to bolster fish and wildlife conservation and key partnerships. The awards will support 37 projects that benefit a wide range of wildlife and habitats, including species of Native American cultural or traditional importance and species that are not hunted or fished. 

“Respect for wildlife and their habitats is central to Indigenous communities’ relationships with our natural world. Since time immemorial, Native American and Alaska Native Tribes have engaged in conservation efforts that continue to inform our decision-making today,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “This funding opportunity will help support our collaborative conservation efforts with Tribes to restore, conserve, and protect Tribal resources, wildlife habitat, and species – a main pillar of the America the Beautiful initiative.” 

The America the Beautiful initiative – the Administration’s goal to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of lands, waters, and wildlife by 2030 – calls upon local, state, and federal leaders to honor Tribal sovereignty and support the priorities of Tribal nations when making decisions related to sustainable land management and the conservation of natural, cultural, and historical resources. 

Since its inception in 2003, including this year’s 2021 Tribal Wildlife Grants awards, the competitive Tribal Wildlife Grants Program has awarded more than $105.6 million to Native American and Alaska Native Tribes, providing support for 593 conservation projects. 

“The Tribal Wildlife Grants Program provides an unparalleled opportunity for federal and state government agencies to partner with Tribes in the conservation of our shared and highly valued natural heritage, as well as cultural priorities,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams. “These grants are critical in helping achieve these goals and strengthening partnerships between the Service and Tribes.” 

The grants have enabled Tribes to develop increased management capacity, improve, and enhance relationships with conservation state partners, address cultural and environmental priorities, and help train the next generation of conservationists by engaging Tribal students interested in fisheries, wildlife, and related fields of study. Some grants have been awarded to support recovery efforts for federally listed threatened and endangered species. 

Examples of projects approved this year for the North Atlantic-Appalachian Region include: 

  • Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in Massachusetts (The Study and Restoration of Aquatic Culturally Significant Populations in the Menemsha Pond Complex, Aquinnah, MA) – $197,911 to study blueback herring, alewife, and American eel populations in the Menemsha Pond Complex and create scientific data of importance to the fisheries managers. 

  • Shinnecock Indian Nation in New York (Shinnecock Sustainable Shellfish Project) – $200,000 to rebuild and enhance the Tribe’s native shellfish populations for cultural, economic, and ecological purposes.  

  • Seneca Nation of Indians in New York (Eastern Hellbender Field Study and Population Monitoring Program) – $14,957 to purchase the equipment and supplies required to continue necessary conservation management actions on behalf of the Eastern Hellbender and its habitat located within the Seneca Nation’s Allegany Territory.  

  • Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe in Virginia (Mattaponi River Cultural Species Assessment and Fisheries Training Project) – $200,000 to plan and train Tribal citizens with the Service’s Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery in hatchery operations and fish and mussel culture, assessing barriers to fish migration, and surveying and monitoring species with the goal of building a Mattaponi River hatchery that meets their aquatic species recovery needs. 

A complete list of the Tribal Wildlife Grant awards approved in fiscal year 2021 is available online. To learn more about the grant program and application process, please visit:

These grants are provided exclusively to federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native Tribal governments, and are made possible under the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program.  

For additional information about the Service’s Native American Programs, visit:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: FacebookTwitterFlickrYouTube

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