The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) awarded Audubon Dakota $256,437 in grant funding through the ‘America the Beautiful Challenge’ (ATBC) for locally-led ecosystem restoration projects. Audubon Dakota provides technical assistance to producers and landowners in North and South Dakota through working lands programming, such as the Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative, the Prairie Management Toolbox, and the North Dakota Conservation Forage Program. These programs seek to reverse grassland degradation and slow grassland loss across the Great Plains to benefit grassland bird and wildlife populations. Additionally, they prioritize collaborating with private landowners and producers to implement bird-friendly management strategies, such as rotational grazing, grassland restoration, and invasive species control. Audubon supports these practices through financial and technical assistance, while also establishing term protection agreements to extend the project benefits.
The awarded grant will sustain Audubon Dakota’s current staff capacity, connect producers to land management tools, monitor the ecological impact of applied management, and provide producer education through the development of habitat management plans. Additional producer workshops supported by the NFWF ATBC grant will be hosted by Audubon Dakota in both North and South Dakota, expected for 2023 and 2024.
The ATBC was established in May 2022 and is intended to streamline grant funding opportunities for new conservation projects across the United States. ATBC is a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of Interior through the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Native Americans in Philanthropy (Source: NFWF Press Release). Nearly $91 million was awarded through 55 grants.