Pheasants Forever Receives Over $1 Million in National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grants to Improve Wildlife Habitat

Pheasants Forever is proud to announce the organization has been awarded a pair of new grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Conservation Partners Program in Wisconsin and Nebraska. The funds will be used for private land habitat improvement, grassland restoration, and technical assistance for regenerative agriculture and cover crops.

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a great partner of The Habitat Organization, helping to restore critical habitat in partnership with landowners,” said Matt Holland, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s vice president of grant development. “NFWF’s commitment to conservation has made a profound impact for wildlife habitat conservation across geographies important to pheasants and quail; we are humbled and honored with being entrusted to help deliver upland practices on private lands.”

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is the nation’s largest private conservation foundation, working with both the public and private sectors to protect and restore the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for both current and future generations. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF has funded more than 6,800 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of more than $10 billion.

The Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Savanna Initiative

Pheasants Forever received a $700,000 grant for The Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Savanna Initiative (SWGSI). The SWGSI will work with landowners to provide habitat improvement and will focus on restoring grassland landscapes in the Driftless region. 

The project will deliver grassland and savanna habitat enhancement within a matrix of working agricultural lands. The goal of SWGSI is to increase landowner use of prescribed burning across five counties in the southern Driftless landscape (Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Dane and Green). 

Through this effort, the partnership positions will provide technical assistance on at least 3,000 acres of prescribed fire, a minimum of 1,500 acres of land restoration and at least 300 acres of removed invasives.

Pathway for Wildlife Program (Nebraska)

The Habitat Organization also was awarded a $300,000 grant to expand the Pathway for Wildlife program in Nebraska. Since 2019, Pheasants Forever has partnered with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, building the Pathway program to understand the potential wildlife benefits of cover crops when implemented near permanent nesting cover. 

Since then, diverse cover crops deployed correctly host a variety of wildlife and insect species. Local farmers have helped determine the feasibility and use of diverse cover crops and cover crop rotations to fit into their operation. The project currently has 144 contracts and over 10,000 acres enrolled. 

The recently awarded NFWF grant will help continue to establish best management practices in the project’s target counties (Merrick, Polk, Butler, Hall, Hamilton, York, Seward, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Nuckolls, and Thayer). 

About Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 420,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education, and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 580,000 habitat projects benefiting 26.5 million acres.

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Casey Sill