NFWF Announces $1.3 Million in Grants From the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program

Grants support 10 projects to protect, restore and monitor declining bird populations

HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and ConocoPhillips today announced $1.3 million in grants that will support conservation on more than 28,000 acres of breeding, stopover and wintering bird habitat. The 10 funded projects will: protect and restore grassland, sagebrush, wetland and coastal habitats; track and monitor bird populations; and facilitate conservation practices on working ranchlands.

Projects will conserve habitat in Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming and also gather bird data across a large area of the Central Flyway. The grants will leverage more than $7.7 million in matching contributions for a total conservation benefit of more than $9 million.

"The grant awards announced today will help protect and restore critical habitats for at-risk bird species and also answer important questions about their conservation needs," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "With a focus on voluntary partnerships, these grants will advance conservation solutions that provide benefits not only to birds and wildlife, but also to the ranchers and other landowners who manage their habitats."

The grants were awarded through the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program, a partnership between NFWF, ConocoPhillips and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With a goal of conserving and recovering populations of imperiled birds, the partnership supports work to improve the quality and connectivity of important bird habitats and accelerate innovations for understanding bird conservation needs across their ranges.

"This is the seventeenth year of the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation awards, and this year’s winners have presented us with a slate of strong projects that will further build the cumulative conservation impact of the program," said Natalie Riley, ConocoPhillips’ director of Community Relations. "By working together towards a common goal, we can help reverse species decline trends and achieve long-lasting ecological gains."

The projects supported by the 10 grants announced today will:

  • Protect 1,691 acres of a Wyoming ranch to conserve habitat for migratory birds and greater sage-grouse
  • Restore 8,750 acres of private working habitat for grassland birds in Texas and Oklahoma
  • Expand the Motus radio-telemetry network across the Great Plains and Chihuahuan Desert to gather data on grassland bird migratory patterns and habitat use
  • Protect 107 acres along the Weber River in Utah to preserve and enhance key migratory bird stopover habitat
  • Control invasive plants to restore 1,200 acres of Montana grasslands for Brewer’s sparrows, trumpeter swans and many other bird species
  • Protect 8,720 acres of shortgrass prairie in Colorado to preserve nesting habitat for grassland birds, including mountain plovers and burrowing owls
  • Improve grazing management on 940 acres in Wyoming to restore riparian, wetland and shortgrass prairie bird habitats
  • Protect 2,000 acres of a Colorado ranch to conserve wetland habitats that provide important bird breeding and stopover sites
  • Protect 2,400 acres of a Montana ranch to conserve bird breeding and stopover habitats and safeguard a critical wildlife movement corridor
  • Help private landowners restore more than 3,000 acres of habitat for grassland birds and mottled ducks in coastal areas of Texas

"The diversity of projects funded through the SPIRIT of Conservation grant program this year address several critical priorities," said Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin. "These grants fund land conservation activities that will create land resiliency and opportunities for bird species to adapt to climate change, and help improve habitat quality and quantity for both migratory and non-migratory bird populations."

Since 2005, the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program has awarded more than $15.3 million to 124 projects. Grantees have provided an additional $38.2 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $53.5 million. This investment has supported the protection, restoration and enhancement of more than 531,000 acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife.

A complete list of the 2021 grants made through the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program is available here.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $6.8 billion. Learn more at

About ConocoPhillips

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ConocoPhillips had operations and activities in 14 countries, $87 billion of total assets, and approximately 9,900 employees as of Sept. 30, 2021. Production excluding Libya averaged 1,514 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2021, and proved reserves were 4.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent as of Dec. 31, 2020. For more information, go to

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit



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