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Photo Credit: Robert Cook.
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NWTF, Partners Allocate over $16 Million to Critical Water-Related Conservation Projects for 2024

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The NWTF's Waterways for Wildlife Initiative marks its third year of funding vital water-related conservation projects with a $225,000 investment in 17 high-priority conservation actions in America's Great Plains. Conservation projects funded by the NWTF initiative will address conservation needs in riparian ecosystems, or areas situated along creeks, streams and rivers. Partners, together, are investing nearly $16.2 million in the 17 new Waterways for Wildlife projects this year. Projects slated for 2024 will enhance over 60 stream miles, nearly 5,750 acres of riparian habitat and more than 16,400 adjacent upland acres.

April 3, 20243 min read

"We are proud to make another significant investment in the water health of our country’s vital Great Plains ecosystems," said Jared McJunkin, NWTF director of conservation operation for the central region. "Our Waterways for Wildlife team diligently ranked and scored projects, ensuring our investment has the greatest impact on our nation's natural resources, and we are once again elated to see Waterways for Wildlife bring in diverse stakeholders rallying for the common good. Everybody appreciates clean water and healthy habitats."

Waterways for Wildlife's 2024 announcement comes off the heels of two solid first years for the initiative and its partners, including 2022's $2.8 million investment in 14 projects and 2023's $5.3 million investment in 20 projects.

Partners for 2024's projects include: American Conservation Experience, American Rivers, Anaconda Deer Lodge County, Anaconda Sportsmen, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Charlotte Martin Foundation, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Land Board, Conejos Water Conservancy District, Ducks Unlimited, FarWide Conservation Trust, Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Future Fisheries Program, Montana Natural Resource Damage Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, NorthWestern Energy, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Rio Grande Water Conservation District, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Breaks Missouri Audubon, USDA Forest Service, Weston County Conservation District and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

More About Waterways for Wildlife

Waterways for Wildlife addresses urgent conservation needs in riparian ecosystems, areas situated along creeks, streams and rivers. These areas are magnets for wild turkeys and many other wildlife species.

Bridging the gap between water quantity and the quality of available water, these essential ecosystems store water and recharge aquifers; likewise, the plants, soils and wetlands associated with them serve to filter pesticides, herbicides and sediment before they travel into downstream water supplies. In short, they are imperative for a healthy ecosystem.

However, many of these riparian habitats are in poor condition due to various causes – such as increased water demands, disrupted floodplains and changes in land use – that have altered their natural cycle and impacted the health of these essential communities. Through the Waterways for Wildlife Initiative, the NWTF is committed to reversing these trends and implementing work to improve riparian health for wild turkeys and the many other land-dwelling and aquatic species that rely on these ecosystems. 

The initiative began in 2022, and over the next eight years, the NWTF seeks to raise $10 million in private funding and leverage $40 million in matching partner funds to improve 75,000 acres of wildlife habitat along 1,500 linear miles of waterways in the Great Plains landscape by 2032.

For more information about applying for funding through the NWTF's Waterways for Wildlife Initiative, contact McJunkin at

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has positively impacted over 23 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested over $9 million into wild turkey research to guide the management of the wild turkey population and to ensure sustainable populations into perpetuity. The organization continues to deliver its mission by working across boundaries on a landscape scale through its Four Shared Values: clean and abundant water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the NWTF continues its work to provide Healthy Habitats. and Healthy Harvests. for future generations.

Filed Under:
  • Healthy Habitats
  • Land Management
  • Waterways for Wildlife