State Wildlife Grants

Established by Congress in 2000, the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program is the only federal program designed to help prevent wildlife from declining to the point of becoming endangered. The goal: Keep common species common. Georgia's State Wildlife Action Plan ensures that funds are spent strategically on actions to restore and enhance priority wildlife populations and habitat. Since the inception of the program, Georgia WRD has received more than $20 million for biological research, land acquisition, habitat restoration, reintroduction of native wildlife, partnerships with private landowners, education, and other conservation projects. As a condition for receiving SWG funding, every state and territorial fish and wildlife agency is required by Congress to develop, revise, and implement a State Wildlife Action Plan. 

With more than 6,400 member organizations and businesses, the national Teaming With Wildlife (TWW) Coalition is one of the largest and most diverse coalitions ever assembled to support conservation. The TWW Coalition supports robust and dedicated funding for state nongame wildlife conservation, education, and nature-based recreation. The coalition was established in the mid 1990’s to address a long-standing funding disparity in fish and wildlife conservation. Although fish and wildlife are held in the public trust by the states for all citizens, hunters and anglers (who pay excise taxes on their equipment) bear a disproportionate burden of the funding. The TWW Coalition seeks to correct this imbalance by advocating for needed funding such as the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants Program. You can lend your voice to this important cause by adding your organization to the Teaming With Wildlife coalition.

Crucial Funding for Wildlife Conservation

State Wildlife Grants: The Nation’s Core Program for Preventing Wildlife from Becoming Endangered

What Are State Wildlife Grants?

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program—often referred to as State Wildlife Grants—provides federal dollars to every state and territory to support cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. Congress created the program in 2000 as part of the Conservation Trust Fund. Funds appropriated under the State Wildlife Grants program are allocated to the states according to a formula that takes into account each state’s size and population.

America’s Wildlife at Stake

United States laws and policies place the primary responsibility for wildlife management in the hands of the 50 states. State fish and wildlife agencies have a lengthy success record of conserving game species, thanks to the contributions of hunter and angler license fees and federal excise taxes.

But 90 percent of our nation’s wildlife is not hunted or fished for. The result? There is a serious gap in wildlife conservation funding, and thousands of species are falling through the cracks. More than 1,000 species are already listed as federally threatened and endangered, with many more under consideration.

Funding for On-the-ground Wildlife Conservation

State Wildlife Grants support projects that prevent wildlife from declining to the point of being endangered. The goal of the program is to keep common species common. Projects supported by State Wildlife Grants restore degraded habitat, reintroduce native wildlife, develop partnerships with private landowners, educate the public, and collect data to find out more about declining species. Statewide strategic plans developed by each state ensure that funds are spent wisely and effectively on actions to restore and enhance wildlife populations and habitat. Learn about Georgia's State Wildlife Action Plan.

Fiscally Responsible Conservation

State Wildlife Grants save taxpayers millions of dollars. Taking action to conserve wildlife before it becomes endangered is environmentally sound and fiscally responsible. Once a species drops to the point of potential extinction, recovery efforts become risky and expensive. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A non-federal match requirement assures local ownership and leverages funds to support conservation. For each federal dollar appropriated, double or more funds are generated from other sources.

The Outlook

Although enjoying broad bipartisan support during the early 2000s, the recession that followed led to cuts in many federal programs. State Wildlife Grants were sliced by more than 30 percent from fiscal years 2010 through 2012.

The Teaming With Wildlife coalition—made up of more than 6,400 groups, including hunters and anglers, environmentalists, and tourism and other nature-related businesses—works to support State Wildlife Grants, preserving the program's conservation impact on the future of America’s wildlife.