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NRCS and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

CheatgrassThe Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) often works with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and its partners on conservation projects that support working rangelands and wildlife. In Idaho that has included numerous Sage Grouse Initiative and Working Lands for Wildlife projects.

“We are very excited about our most recent collaboration with NFWF,” said Curtis Elke, NRCS State Conservationist for Idaho. “They, along with numerous other partners, are joining us on the Cheatgrass Challenge, which is a call to arms in combating invasive annual grasses on our rangelands.”

NFWF is providing up to $400,000 in matching funds to bolster NRCS’s $800,000 Fiscal Year 2020 investment in the Challenge. The monies are to be used to help implement various conservation practices that will protect intact rangeland and restore native perennial grasses in areas where invasive species such as cheatgrass, ventenata and Medusa head have established a foothold, but have not yet taken over.  Our first phase goal and priority are to protect and grow the core areas of our state that currently are experiencing light or moderate invasive annual infestations.  The healthy non-invasive Core areas will naturally grow as we combat the invasive annuals and push them out of Idaho.  

“The incredible work we’ve done in collaboration with NFWF and our other valuable partners like BLM, USFWS, IF&G, Governor’s Office of Species Conservation, IDL, The Western Governors Association and the Idaho Department of Agriculture all makes me confident that the Cheatgrass Challenge will be a success,” Elke said. “One of the things that makes the Challenge unusual is that at its heart it is a teamwork strategy of combined resources to build on and meet up with existing and past work. That way we are able to keep pushing back against these invasive grasses and not reinvent the wheel.”

Elke sees a lot of potential for the NFWF’s new Rocky Mountain Rangelands Program to compliment the efforts of several initiatives that NRCS cares deeply about, including the Cheatgrass Challenge. The program is the evolution of NFWF’s Sagebrush Landscapes Program and Northern Rockies work and covers numerous priorities in the Intermountain West and Great Basin.

The NFWF is encouraging interested applicants to become familiar with the program goals, which can be found in its Business Plan. The business plan serves as a roadmap of NFWF’s 10-year investment in the region.

If you are interested in applying, please read the Request For Proposals thoroughly. Should you still have questions, NFWF employees are available to discuss potential projects.

DEADLINE EXTENDED for Full Proposals. New Due Date:  Tuesday, October 13, 2020, by 11:59 PM Eastern / 9:59 PM Mountain.