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Secretary Bernhardt Announces $10.7 Million in Public-Private Support for Big Game Migration Corridors

Partnership between DOI, NFWF, and ConocoPhillips benefits elk, mule deer and pronghorn in 6 Western states


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the award of $2.1 million in grants to state and local partners in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming for habitat conservation activities in migration corridors and winter range for elk, mule deer, and pronghorn. The targeted big game species will benefit from the conservation actions funded by these grants as will a wide array of plant and other wildlife species.

Through a public-private partnership between the Department of the Interior (DOI), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and ConocoPhillips, the grants are expected to leverage more than $8.6 million in matching contributions, generating a total conservation impact of more than $10.7 million. The announcement comes as Secretarial Order 3362 is implemented to improve the habitat conditions in big game migration corridors and winter range areas.

“We're thrilled to have effectively leveraged limited grant funding to accomplish meaningful conservation for wildlife, " said Secretary Bernhardt. “Working in a collaborative and cooperative fashion with states, landowners, tribes, and partners who are committed to actual on-the-ground habitat conservation projects is the best approach to support a wide variety of voluntary habitat conservation activities.”

“The epic migrations of elk, mule deer and other large mammals in North America is one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena, often involving vast herds of wildlife traveling 100 miles or more between wintering grounds and summer habitats,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “But these iconic animals face ever-increasing impediments to movement from highways, residential development, fencing and other factors. Working with the Department of the Interior and private-sector partners such as ConocoPhillips, NFWF has been able to fund vital conservation projects at migratory bottlenecks and linkages that must be conserved to ensure healthy populations of these iconic animals.”

“For over 100 years, ConocoPhillips has invested in efforts to protect species and the critical habitats that are vital components to ecological balance and environmental sustainability,” said Ryan M. Lance, chairman and chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips. “Understanding and tracking animal movements is crucial for conserving habitats that are essential to species survival. Through our partnership with NFWF and the DOI, we are proud to support this year’s Big Game Migration grant recipients and their efforts to improve critical habitats and migration corridors for these animals.”

The grants represent the first round of awards from the “Improving Habitat Quality in Western Big Game Winter Range and Migration Corridors” competitive grant program. This new public-private partnership was created to enhance and improve habitats on winter ranges, stopover areas and migration corridors used by big game species, both on federal lands and private lands whose owners volunteer to participate in conservation efforts.

Examples of projects that will received grants include:

Eligible applicants for the program include non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, and Indian tribes. For more information about how to apply for this grant, please visit https://www.nfwf.org/westernmigrations.

wildlife, habitat, Department of Interior