Funding Opportunities

  • America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC)

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has released the 2024 ATBC Request for Proposals (RFP). The vision is to streamline grant funding opportunities for new voluntary conservation and restoration projects throughout the United States. The RFP enable applicants to conceive and develop large-scale, locally led projects that address shared funder priorities spanning public, Tribal, and private lands. Approximately $119 million will be awarded this year. The 2024 ATBC seeks to fund projects across the following themes:

  1.  Conserving and restoring rivers, coasts, wetlands, and watersheds 
  2.  Conserving and restoring forests, grasslands and important ecosystems that serve as carbon sinks
  3.  Connecting and reconnecting wildlife corridors, large landscapes, watersheds, and seascapes 
  4.  Improving ecosystem and community resilience to flooding, drought, and other climate-related threats
  5.  Expanding access to the outdoors, particularly in underserved communities
  • Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP)

    MNRCP was created to help compensate for unavoidable impacts to protected aquatic resources in the State of Maine by funding the restoration, enhancement, preservation, and creation of similar resources. The program manages the allocation of funds collected through the State’s In-Lieu Fee Compensation Program. Public agencies, tribes, non-profit conservation organizations, soil and water conservation districts, and Maine municipalities are all eligible to apply for funding. The Gulf of Maine Coastal Program has assisted many partners with implementing MNRCP funded projects. More information on the program, the application process, and previous projects can be found here. The next funding round will open in the spring of 2024.

  • North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) 

NAWCA is aimed to protect, restore, and enhance wetland habitat for birds. NAWCA authorizes matching grants for public-private partnerships through four grant programs: the U.S. Standard Grant Program, U.S. Small Grant Program, Mexico Program, and Canada Program. Funding may support land acquisition, long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats for the benefit of all wetlands-associated migratory birds. The North American Wetlands Conservation Council (the Council) reviews eligible proposals in two cycles per year. More information on the next proposal cycles can be found at the weblinks provided.

  • National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants (NCWCG)

The NCWCG Program annually provides grants of up to $1 million to eligible coastal State agencies for projects that protect and restore valuable coastal wetland resources. Tribes, local governments, conservation organizations, and private landowners are encouraged to work with state agencies to develop a project and submit an application. All projects must ensure long‐term conservation (at least 20 years) of coastal wetland resources. Projects can include: 

  1. Acquisition of a real property interest (e.g., conservation easement conservation easement
    A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or qualified conservation organization that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on a property in the future. Conservation easements aim to protect habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife by limiting residential, industrial or commercial development. Contracts may prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland and establishment of game farms. Easement land remains in private ownership.

    Learn more about conservation easement
    or fee title) in coastal lands or waters (coastal wetlands ecosystems) from willing sellers or partners for long‐term conservation; 
  2. Restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems; or 
  3. A combination of acquisition, restoration, enhancement, and management. 

The 2025 fiscal year grant program is open and the due date for applications is 6/21/2024. Please find more information here.

Technical Assistance and Initiatives

  • CoastWise: A new guide to upgrading coastal road crossings!

The Maine Department of Marine Resources' Coastal Program, with help from Gulf of Maine Coastal Program staff, has produced “CoastWise Approach: Achieving Ecological Resilience and Climate-Ready Road Crossings in Tidal Environments,” a technical manual for municipal staff, engineers, private road owners and others. The guide is available for download and offers science-based best-practices for replacing tidal road culverts and bridges with safe, cost-effective, climate-resilient crossings that restore tidal habitats.

  • Stream Smart : Connecting fish and wildlife habitat while protecting roads and public safety.

Stream Smart is a multi-partner effort led by Maine Audubon that supports contractors, landowners, and other professionals responsible for road-stream crossings to construct culverts that maintain fish and wildlife habitat while protecting roads and public safety. Gulf of Maine Coastal Program staff support these efforts and provide technical assistance on Stream Smart projects within the Gulf of Maine. Please visit the Stream Smart website for more information on workshops, field trainings, grant opportunities, and other resources.

  • Maine Water Temperature Working Group

    The Maine Water Temperature Working Group (ME WTWG) was established to develop a coordinated stream temperature monitoring network that could be integrated with regional and national efforts to help identify streams and watersheds that may be more resilient to climate change climate change
    Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

    Learn more about climate change
    . The group is composed of multiple state agencies, academics, NGOs, Tribes, federal agencies and public groups.  Members follow standardized monitoring protocols for sensor deployment and data collection so methods used by all members are consistent across the state. Members are encouraged to network and share their data via the
    EcoSHEDs online platform. If you are interested in joining the WTWG or to learn more, please contact Bonnie Turek at