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America’s Ecosystem Restoration Initiative: America the Beautiful Challenge 2024 Request for Proposals

Approximately $119 million will be available for 2024 through five categories of grants. NFWF expects to award at least 10% of ATBC grant funding to Tribal and Native Nations and 3% to U.S. territories. Funding is being provided to NFWF through cooperative agreements, or similar mechanisms, that allow for agency participation.
United States
Organized By
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), through anticipated cooperative agreements from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is releasing the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC) 2024 Request for Proposals (RFP). The ATBC vision is to streamline grant funding opportunities for new voluntary conservation and restoration projects throughout the United States. This RFP consolidates funding from multiple federal agencies and the private sector to enable applicants to conceive and develop large-scale, locally led projects that address shared funder priorities spanning public, Tribal, and private lands.
In year three of the ATBC, approximately $119 million will be awarded in nationwide funding to conserve, connect, and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend. The 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
  6. Collectively, these themes invite applicants to develop landscape-level ATBC proposals that address conservation and public access needs with: cumulative benefits to fish and wildlife, enhanced carbon sequestration and storage, benefits to and engagement with underserved communities, and protection of ecosystems through resilience-focused and nature-based solutions.
Prize Details

Approximately $119 million total will be awarded in 2024
Funding will be distributed to multiple projects

Participant Criteria

Based on legislative funding authorities, the DOI funding in this round can only support states, territories, and federally recognized Tribes.
Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • State government agencies, territories of the United States, and Indian Tribes2 are eligible to apply for all five grant categories.
  • Non-profit 501(c) organizations, local governments, municipal governments, and educational institutions are eligible to apply for grants in categories (3) Sentinel Landscape Grants, (4) National Forest Grants and (5) Private Forests, Rangelands and Farmlands Grants.
  • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals, and international organizations. For additional details on individual funders restrictions and priorities, please see Appendix 2.
  • Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
  • Federal funds and matching contributions may not be used to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems (including entering into or renewing a contract) that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology of any system. Refer to Public Law 115-232, section 889 for additional information.
  • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation, and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.
    All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness, and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Pre-proposals and full proposals will then be evaluated by review teams representing the relevant funders and technical experts based primarily on the extent to which they meet the criteria listed below. Each of the criteria will be evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is insufficient, 2 is significantly deficient, three is satisfactory, four is excellent and five is outstanding. For more information on review scoring see Appendix 4.
  • Program Goals and Priorities – Project addresses one or more of the program priorities listed on pages 2-4 of this RFP and aligns with agency funding priorities for each category as specified in Appendix 2. Project has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project progress toward goals. Competitive projects will address more than one program priority, and all projects should provide an ecosystem benefit.
  • Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical, and achievable work plan/timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design, and implementation to ensure activities are technically sound and feasible. Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise. Proposal notes any pre- and post-performance monitoring necessary and how it will be implemented. Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities. This ensures long-term sustainability and success of the project, integration into local programs and policies, and community acceptance of proposed restoration actions.
  • Conservation Plan and/or Indigenous Knowledge – Project builds off and contributes to one or more existing conservation, restoration, resilience, stewardship, Tribal resource management, or species recovery plans and/or is informed by INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE; please see footnote 1 above for examples. Project establishes partnerships, capacity, and/or processes necessary to develop or implement a plan. Proposal articulates the degree to which the project will advance outcomes and goals set forth in a plan.
  • Partnership and Community Impact – The project is supported by a robust partnership with necessary expertise. The applicant partners with, elevates, and engages collaboratively with or directly represents diverse local community members, leaders, community-based organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement the project. These include projects where non-traditional partners or communities are engaged—or are applicants themselves—thereby benefiting underserved communities and broadening the sustained impact from the project. Efforts to develop capacity in non-traditional partners are encouraged.
  • Budget – Amount requested is proportional to expected outcomes. Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories. Federally funded projects must be in compliance with [OMB Uniform Guidance](http://omb uniform guidance/) as applicable. A complete budget should include budget narratives to provide justifications for costs. Cost-effectiveness analysis identifies the economically most efficient way to meet project objectives. Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds. Cost-effectiveness evaluation includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of effective costs across all categories in the proposed budget according to the type, size and duration of project and project objectives. Project budgets will be compared to similar projects to ensure proposed costs across all budget categories are reasonable for the activities being performed and the outcomes proposed.
Additional details

ATBC will prioritize proposals that implement voluntary, large-scale, multistate, on-the-ground conservation activities or otherwise lead to on-the-ground implementation through capacity building, community engagement, planning, and project design. The overarching goal is to advance existing landscape conservation or restoration plans, address regional and collaborative conservation priorities, and/or propose to knit together a diverse stakeholder partnership that develops and/or implements new plans1. Projects should address priority species and/or habitat conservation actions identified in existing conservation, restoration, species recovery or other plans. Projects that are informed by Indigenous Knowledge and promote Tribal co-stewardship are encouraged.
Competitive proposals will address more than one of the program priorities below. All projects should provide an ecosystem benefit.

  • Benefit At-Risk Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Species. Conserve and restore habitat to improve ecosystem function and biological diversity, as identified by conservation plans, Indigenous Knowledge, or emerging information for priority fish, wildlife, and/or plant resources, such as threatened and endangered species, and species of greatest conservation need (including game species).
  • Expand Habitat Connectivity. Conserve and restore priority habitat and stopover areas along key migratory routes; conserve, restore or improve fish passage; conserve or restore lands and/or waters that are critical to habitat connectivity; or expand and enhance wildlife corridors that contribute to larger-scale conservation efforts (e.g., removing and right-sizing culverts, rehabilitating areas damaged by fire, removing encroaching trees from grassland and sagebrush ecosystems, restoring and reconnecting wetlands and floodplains, or treating exotic/invasive vegetation to improve habitat value).
  • Deliver Conservation and Restoration Across Jurisdictions. Address regional, landscape-scale, multistate/multi-government, collaboratively developed conservation and restoration priorities, especially those included in a plan (e.g., those described in footnote 1 above) that support the voluntary stewardship efforts of landowners and fishers and honor private property rights.
  • Provide a Range of Ecosystem Services. Demonstrate and quantify a range of ecosystem services restored (e.g., stream flow for aquatic resources, watershed health and function, carbon sequestration, restoration of Tribal subsistence resources).
  • Strengthen Ecosystem and Community Resilience. Use nature-based solutions to conserve and restore natural systems and habitats that help ecosystems and/or communities respond to, mitigate, and recover from disturbances like floods, wildfire, and drought (e.g., enhancing habitats for coastal resilience, managing invasive species to reduce wildfire risk, restoring resilient stand structure and species composition in fire prone forests, water conservation to address drought, expansion of wetlands for flood protection, grassland restoration for healthy prairie ecosystems).
  • Expand Public and Community Access to Nature. Create, improve, or expand opportunities for public access and recreation—especially for underserved communities that lack access to the outdoors—in a manner consistent with the ecological needs of fish and wildlife habitat. Projects may enable high-quality recreational experiences (e.g., biking, birding, boating, fishing, hiking, outdoor education, cultural activities, hunting, and wildlife viewing), and must be predominantly nature-based in application. Hard infrastructure, such as parking lots and visitor center amenities, are not eligible under this funding opportunity.
  • Engage Local Communities. Incorporate outreach to communities, particularly underserved communities, foster community engagement, and pursue inclusive collaboration with farmers, ranchers, Indigenous communities, states or other land managers to produce measurable, sustainable conservation benefits. When possible, projects should be developed through community input and/or co-design processes and incorporate Indigenous Knowledge. Projects should engage community-level partners (e.g., municipalities, NGOs, community organizations), as appropriate, to help implement, and maintain projects to secure maximum benefits for all people.
  • Support Tribally Led Conservation and Restoration Priorities. Prioritize projects that honor Tribal sovereignty and uplift Tribal and Indigenous-led efforts to improve fish and wildlife habitat (e.g., Tribal co-stewardship of federal or other lands, restoration of Tribal homelands, access to and/or restoration of sacred sites, restoration and enhancement of subsistence practices, and elevation of Indigenous Knowledge).
  • Contribute to Local or Tribal Economies. Prioritize projects that, as a co-benefit, directly contribute to the vitality of local economies and underserved communities (e.g., expand tourism or recreational economies, promote regenerative agriculture, and contribute to working lands and/or community or Tribal forestry). Applicants are encouraged to estimate the economic benefits that are expected because of the project (e.g., number of jobs sustained or created).
  • Contribute to Workforce Development. Develop the next generation of conservation professionals, including through support for national service, youth, and conservation corps engaged in conservation and climate-related work. Projects that develop the restoration workforce, especially with AmeriCorps and 21st Century Conservation Service Corps programs, are encouraged.
  • Advance the Restoration and Resiliency Framework and Keystone Initiatives. Undertake restoration and conservation efforts as described in DOI’s Restoration and Resiliency Framework, especially those that contribute to Keystone Initiatives therein:
  • Advance Sentinel Landscape Partnership Priorities. Prioritize projects that accelerate the goals and initiatives across Sentinel Landscapes. Projects in this category should focus on enhancing local capacity to implement future on-the-ground actions, and secondarily focus on directly contributing to on-the-ground outcomes. Applicants are encouraged to engage with the Sentinel Landscapes Coordinators and the Military Services to learn how projects can help support resilience, habitat conservation, and land management practices around military installations and ranges. Applicants can find more information on Sentinel Landscapes, including contact information for the Sentinel Landscapes Coordinators at: Applicants who have questions regarding Military Service contacts may contact the REPI Office at
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Hackathon Date

United States only

Who Can Participate


Entry fee

Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration in the United States


Enroll Now
Registration ends by:
April 4, 2024
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