NAWCA Small Grants

The NAWCA Small Grants Program can help fund small-scale wetlands projects. Principal conservation actions supported by the program are acquisition (fee-title or easements), restoration and enhancement of wetlands and streams along with wetland-associated uplands, as well as long-term leases of these habitats. Up to $100,000 may be requested and requires a one-to-one match with non-federal funds. For more information about navigating the NAWCA Small Grant application process, read tips from a successful grant applicant.

Scoring Criteria

If a project has good wetland conservation value, brings partners together, and contributes to conservation plans, the project will rank well. All proposals are scored on a set of evaluation questions, with a total of 15 points possible. PLJV can help you develop your project and proposal to meet all the scoring criteria, as outlined below.

Waterfowl / Wetlands – 5 points maximum

  • Waterfowl – 3 possible points
  • Wetland types – 2 possible points

Non-game Species – 4 points maximum

  • Nongame and other wetland-associated migratory birds – 2 possible points
  • Endangered and SGCN species – 2 possible points

Other Considerations – 6 points maximum

  • Partnerships – 2 possible points
  • Long-term conservation – 2 possible points
  • Public access – 2 possible points

Project Examples

NAWCA Small Grants have been used to fund a variety of wetland conservation practices in the PLJV region. A few examples are listed below.

Foster-Mattern Partnership Playas, Texas – Pheasants Forever
In this project, 75 acres of uplands were planted to native grass surrounding three playas (13.6 acres). Infrastructure for moist soil management was installed to help landowners, with assistance from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Management will be targeted toward growing annuals such as smartweed and millets to provide foraging habitat in playa basins for migrating and wintering waterfowl and the buffer will support cover habitat for Pheasant and Northern Bobwhite.

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This project improved the efficiency of water use and management and the productivity of many wetlands on Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, which is a sand prairie-wetland complex that supports migrating waterfowl and shorebirds and is a major congregation area for migrating waterbirds of the Central Flyway. The main objective of this multi-year project was to fill deeper (est. >3 ft) borrow areas in selected wetland units in summer to improve water conservation and help accomplish wetland habitat goals and objectives.

Kiowa Creek Natural Area, Colorado – Kiowa County Economic Development
This project restored a natural area near Eads which brought the community together to help reclaim an 8-acre pond and spring-fed wetland system while restoring the sandsage prairie uplands to protect the wetlands into the future. Gully reclamation included eradicating non-native tamarisk and Russian olive and replanting with willows.

We Can Help

PLJV can help conceptualize the project, suggest additional partners, review the proposal, and provide the necessary bird conservation information including the project value for birds. PLJV has also developed a checklist and proposal development guide to help applicants stay on top of proposal requirements. For example, certain portions of the proposal will need to be submitted under If you have not previously worked with that website, you’ll need to set up an account at least three weeks prior to when you’d like to submit your proposal to receive a username and password.

If you are interested in developing a NAWCA small grant proposal, contact Christopher Rustay at 505-414-0342 well in advance of when you would like to submit your proposal.