Wildlife Diversity Grant Program

The 2024-25 Wildlife Diversity Grant Program application period is now closed. Please check back on this page for our 2025-27 grant opportunity. 

Photo collage of various animal species showcasing Washington State's biodiversity

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking grant proposals from applicants interested in conducting projects that will benefit some of Washington’s most imperiled wildlife.  

The Wildlife Diversity Grant Program aims to support recovery actions for a suite of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) that are state-listed or candidates for listing. Grant funding can also be awarded for projects aimed at collecting data and information on species abundance, distribution, and habitat associations with priority for those whose habitats are under significant threat of incompatible development, land use, or resource management. 

Funding for the Wildlife Diversity Grant program comes from a significant investment by the state legislature to restore and protect biodiversity in Washington, and the Department expects this funding to be available in future biennia to continue this grant program. 

Information Session and Presentation

WDFW hosted a virtual information session on March 28, 2024 to provide an overview of the grant opportunity and answer questions from prospective applicants. Answers to questions received during the information session are available in the FAQ section on this page. You may also review the presentation slides or webinar recording at the following links:

Grant Opportunity Basics 

Total available funding$1 million for this grant round
Eligible ApplicantsApplicants employed by public, nonprofit, academic, or tribal entities
Eligible project locationAll project activities must be directed toward benefitting species populations within Washington.
Project TimeframeProjects must occur from July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2025
Project budget range$20,000 to $200,000, including indirect/overhead
Match or cost-sharingNot required but encouraged
Priority speciesSGCN that are state-listed or candidates for listing and are within the Wildlife Diversity Division's scope.
Eligible but not prioritizedProjects for non-listed and non-candidate SGCN
Ineligible speciesProjects that are primarily targeting benefit for species outside WDFW Wildlife Diversity Division's scope of responsibility are not eligible. These include fish, aquatic invertebrates, wolves, and harvested wildlife.

Estimated schedule 

Grant application period opensMarch 18, 2024
Informational webinar, register here (recorded)March 28, 2024, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Grant proposals due by 11:59 p.m.Sunday, May 5, 2024
WDFW reviews and evaluates grant proposals  May 8, 2024 – May 24, 2024 
WDFW notifies grant applicants of selection resultsJune 3, 2024 – June 7, 2024
Earliest possible project start dateJuly 1, 2024

Priority Activities for Funding 

Priority activities include: 

  • Implementing recovery and conservation actions for eligible Washington endangered, threatened, sensitive, and candidate species that directly and measurably benefit species populations. These projects contribute to increased species abundance, distribution, population health, or clear abatement of direct threats.  
  • Collecting data and information on the abundance, distribution, habitat associations, or natural history of eligible state endangered, threatened, sensitive, and candidate species, with additional priority given toward species whose habitat is under significant pressure from development, land use, or resource management (i.e., shrubsteppe, eastside forest, prairies, and oak woodlands).  

  • Completing direct actionable steps toward achieving increased populations of eligible species (e.g., conservation translocation feasibility studies) or baseline data collection (e.g., developing survey protocols or assessing habitat use) for eligible species. 

Ineligible activities include habitat restoration, conservation easements, land acquisition, outreach and education, and projects that primarily target benefits for species outside the WDFW Wildlife Diversity Division’s scope of responsibility, including fish, aquatic invertebrates, wolves, and harvested wildlife.  

Review the grant opportunity announcement (PDF) for more details on priority, eligible, and ineligible activities for inclusion in grant proposals, including a list of eligible species. 

How to apply  

The 2024-25 Wildlife Diversity Grant Program application period is now closed. Please check back on this page for our 2025-27 grant opportunity. 

Agency contact info 

Questions and communications concerning this grant opportunity may be directed to:  

Jenna Judge  
Wildlife Diversity Assistant Division Manager 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions clarifying project type eligibility:  

How are you defining outreach? Since Eastern Washington is largely privately owned, how can a project be successful without performing some level of outreach to landowners? 

If outreach is a primary purpose of the project, it would be ineligible. If doing outreach is a component of an otherwise eligible activity (e.g., talking to landowners to ask about access for surveys) those activities would be eligible and perfectly understandable parts of a proposed project.   

Can you elaborate why habitat restoration is not eligible? Could a project be to restore/enhance/manage habitats that specifically benefit some species of greatest conservation need? Habitat is critical for wildlife, so I'd appreciate a better understanding of what you're looking for, or examples of where a project could include habitat restoration. 

Habitat restoration is not eligible for this particular funding opportunity for a few reasons:  

  • We agree that habitat restoration is critical for wildlife recovery.  

  • The Wildlife Diversity Grant program is one piece of a larger investment the WA State Legislature made in restoring and enhancing biodiversity. Habitat protection and restoration is the focus of other major pieces of that larger investment. The component of the larger investment that includes the Wildlife Diversity Grant program is focused on the wildlife species themselves.

  • There are other available funding sources and grant programs that focus specifically on habitat restoration. The Wildlife Diversity Grant program is intended to meet a specific need to support wildlife recovery actions and species information gathering projects. 

  • Some examples of habitat restoration that could be eligible and is not considered the primary purpose of a project include: 

    • Mowing a small area to install survey equipment such as a camera, or artificial habitat components such as a bat box. 

    • Surveying species response to habitat restoration treatments that are funded with another source.   

Is evaluation of a species' use of habitat restoration eligible? 


Would habitat assessments (e.g. assessing quality, weed mapping, etc) be eligible? 


Related to restoration -- could you, for example, do experimental restoration treatments to look at effects on a species?

No, this would be considered habitat restoration as the primary purpose of the project and would not be eligible. 

What are examples of recovery and conservation actions that are eligible? 

  • Projects that focus on abating direct threats, such as bullfrog control to benefit Oregon spotted frog, northwestern pond turtle, or northern leopard frog.  

  • Projects that take steps toward implementing a recovery action such as development of a conservation translocation feasibility assessment. 

  • Headstarting or captive rearing as part of a coordinated conservation translocation action, such as for northwestern pond turtle or island marble butterfly.  

Would a project be eligible that would include conducting a hydrologic assessment/habitat assessment to understand current habitat conditions that could inform future habitat restoration activities, such as an activity related to Oregon Spotted Frog wetland habitat conditions in Eastern WA?


Would constructing artificial wildlife structures be considered "habitat restoration" and thus be ineligible? 

This may depend on what is being proposed, but in general artificial wildlife structures are eligible. 

If we were looking to implement a conservation program of rangeland habitat management, would surveying the existing most imperiled species to inform that next stage an appropriate ask? 


Are projects that track populations and hibernacula of white nose syndrome affected species eligible for the grant? 


Are western gray squirrels considered a species in need of additional data collection? If so, is there a particular type of data collection that is recommended? 

Western gray squirrels are on the list of priority eligible species and are additionally prioritized for data collection projects. For specific questions, please contact WildlifeDiversityGrants@dfw.wa.gov to be connected to a relevant subject matter expert at WDFW. 

Would headstarting be an eligible activity? 


You mentioned habitat structures are not considered a habitat management recovery or management action. What about beaver analog dams to retain water levels for amphibians or NWPT?

Beaver dam analogs are considered habitat restoration for the purposes of this grant opportunity and would not be eligible. 

Questions about eligible and priority species: 

Are fish species listed on the SGCN not eligible? 

SGCN that are fish species are ineligible for this grant program. 

If a project is looking at monitoring or surveying for fish in order to identify them as potential threats to salamander or frog species (so amphibians would be the focus on the project) would that be eligible? 

Yes, if the project is designed to benefit the specific species that are eligible for this grant opportunity, it is eligible. This includes projects that evaluate or directly abate threats to the eligible and prioritized species. 

Would federally listed species receive higher priority than just candidate species? 

Not necessarily, it depends on the project context. For instance, most of the prioritized species for data and information gathering projects are candidates for state listing since those species are the ones that are most in need of additional data and information. 

How are the most imperiled species distinguished from the rest of the SGCNs? 

For this grant opportunity we are prioritizing a suite of the SGCN species that are state endangered, threatened, sensitive, and candidates for listing; these are the species we are referring to as “most imperiled.” 

It was stated that aquatic invertebrates are ineligible for this grant, but the species list on the grant instructions include several mollusk species.  Are these species the only exceptions?  Could you clarify this? 

To clarify, the Species of Greatest Conservation Need cover all animal taxa in Washington and the responsibility for their management is split between the Wildlife Program and Fish Program at WDFW. Most aquatic invertebrates (i.e., marine invertebrates and freshwater bivalves) are under the purview of the Fish Program, however the freshwater snail species that are listed as a priority for this grant program are under the purview of the Wildlife Diversity Division, within the Wildlife Program, and as such are eligible when other aquatic invertebrates are ineligible. 

Will State Candidate species be prioritized or just Threatened and Endangered? 

Candidates are eligible and prioritized for this grant opportunity. 

Do you anticipate species like fish and aquatic inverts will be included in future years? 

We do not currently anticipate adding fish and aquatic invertebrates. 


Questions about applicant eligibility: 

What is the definition of a public entity? 

For the purposes of this grant program, a public entity is the same as a public agency, as defined by RCW 39.34.020: (1) "Public agency" means any agency, political subdivision, or unit of local government of this state including, but not limited to, municipal corporations, quasi municipal corporations, special purpose districts, and local service districts; any agency of the state government; any agency of the United States; any Indian tribe recognized as such by the federal government; and any political subdivision of another state.” 

Are Canadian non-profit organizations eligible applicants for this grant opportunity? 

Yes, eligible entities are not limited to US-based entities. To be eligible, all non-profit organizations must be a nonprofit corporation registered with the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State, including those based outside of Washington State and including Canada. In order to receive funding from WDFW, all grantees will need to have a WA vendor registration number, and this requires having a US Tax ID number. You do not need to have this piece in place before applying for the grant, but it is something we would need in order to establish a grant if selected. 

Does a Washington State nonprofit need to be a 501(c)(3) or can they just be a nonprofit under state-level designation to apply for the grant? 

They must be a nonprofit corporation registered with the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State. 

I have a private wildlife consulting firm. Am I eligible to apply? 

No, private entities are not eligible applicants or grantees. However, subrecipients are allowed and can be private entities.  

Can you further explain what a sub-recipient is in the case of an independent consultant? Would that mean that a consultant could be paid through the grant without being hired by the primary applicant? 

An application from an eligible entity could include costs for subrecipients from private firms or any other kind of entity. The primary grant awardee (i.e., applicant) would be responsible for managing pass-through or subcontract agreement(s) with subrecipients. 

Questions about eligible timeframes for proposals: 

Regarding the project timeframe, are long-term projects eligible if we submit a proposal for project work to be completed in the 1-year timeframe? 

Yes, longer-term projects are eligible, but this opportunity is only available to fund phases of longer-term projects that occur between July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025. There must be clear objectives, outcomes, and deliverables for the specific phase of the project to be completed within the 1-year timeframe. We also encourage including relevant long-term project context in the proposal narrative if the proposal is one piece of a larger or longer-term project. 

Is this going to be an annual fund? If a project activity will not be accomplished by June 30th, 2025. Could we apply for this next year? 

Yes, we anticipate another opportunity being announced for the 25-27 biennium, and for this program to grow over the coming years with additional legislative investment. Future grant cycles will be on a two-year (biennial) cycle. 

Some imperiled species, such as the island marble butterfly, have a life cycle that does not align well with the funding timeline. Is it possible to apply for two years of funding to accommodate species with discordant life cycles? 

No, all project proposals must occur between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. However, the next grant cycle will be a two-year cycle, from July 1, 2025 through June 30, 2027. We also encourage applicants to consider what kind of interim deliverables or outcomes could fit within the time constraints of this program.  


Administrative questions: 

Can WDFW be identified as a partner for conducting work on WDFW land and/or participating in wildlife surveying? 

Yes, if the applicant has already coordinated with WDFW and confirmed collaborative roles for WDFW staff, they may be identified as a partner. However, WDFW staff time cannot be considered match for proposals and WDFW staff are not eligible to receive grant funds.  

I know this is the first year of this grant opportunity, but do you have a ballpark estimate for how many applications you are expecting? 

Because this the first year there is a lot we don't know, including how many applications we may receive. 

Who/what org representatives will be on the review panel? 

All technical reviewers and evaluation panel members are WDFW employees. 

Given the number of grantees, will WDFW consider funding at a lower amount than requested (rather than none at all)? 

The Schedule and Budget templates includes a question to applicants to indicate whether partial funding would be practicable. Partial funding may be considered. 

Is this definitely state money and not federal pass-through? 

Yes, the funding is general-fund state funds from a legislative proviso. 

Do you set the overhead rate, or do you accept the recipient institution’s? 

WDFW will accept the federally negotiated indirect rate and will require documentation of that rate during award negotiation. In the absence of a federally-negotiated rate, WDFW will accept a maximum indirect rate of 10%. 

Would letters of support for an application be allowed/helpful for the proposal? 

We do not require letters of support and we are not asking for them to be submitted. Please only submit the required components of the application to maintain consistency in the kinds of application materials submitted. The only letters we would expect to see would be in the case of a proposal submitted by a non-tribal entity for a project that includes activities on tribal reservation lands, or use of tribal data, and must provide written permission from the respective tribe(s). 

Would you give higher priority to a project in the next funding cycle if part 1 is funded in this grant cycle? 

We have not determined the priorities and criteria for the next grant cycle. 

For a multi-phase project (for example, I am conducting a project that requires three years of data collection) for this funding, are deliverables such as x number of animals collared or x number of plots recorded, etc, acceptable as "deliverables"? 

Yes, a deliverable could be documentation of the activities performed, such as in a final project report.  

Can a project with a budget under $20,000 be submitted? 


If multiple proposals are received that are complementary or focused on similar species/monitoring efforts, will there be a chance to collaborate/combine those? 

Yes, we hope that collaborations would be identified before proposals are submitted, however, if there are multiple successful proposals that present collaboration opportunities, we may propose applicable coordination or collaboration during the grant negotiation stage. 

With funding, what kind of cost-sharing is encouraged? 

All kinds. This could be in-kind staff time, volunteer capacity, or any other form of sharing the costs of a project. 

Can an organization get multiple different projects for different species funded (administered by different people within the organization)? 

Yes, there are no limitations on the number of proposals submitted per entity or per applicant. 

Are you expecting to spread out projects between different habitats throughout WA or will only the best projects be selected? 

There are factors that could be considered in the final selection of projects beyond the scores from technical reviewers. We have not made any determination that distribution among habitat types is a specific factor that will be used. 

In the case of a federally listed organism, a recovery permit from USFWS will ultimately be required. Yet it would be impossible to obtain one before July 1st. How do you foresee this happening? 

Proposed and selected proposals do not need to have all required permits in place before July 1. It is possible that not all project activities will require a permit to be implemented. It is possible for applicants to build permitting processes and timelines into the project schedule.  That said, if you anticipate a lengthy permitting process that would preclude achieving the desired objectives and deliverables, you may want to consider waiting for the 25-27 grant opportunity.

My grant office asked me to inquire about section D4 – Materials, products, and data of the RFP. Will WDFW owning the copyright to the materials generated on this research prevent me from publishing manuscripts, giving professional presentations, producing press releases, and other professional activities? 

You will be able to do those professional activities, the individual grant (contract) language specifies co-publishing rights and I think we would ask to be credited as the funder. 

Questions about eligible spending types: 

Because the grant period is one year, is it possible to apply for capacity building to begin to build out a program to implement recovery/conservation actions? Would preference be given to projects that are doing direct implementation? 

It depends. It would need to be clear how the capacity building is directly linked with the priority goals and outcomes of this grant program. 

I know some grants allow funds to be used only for specific things, e.g. seasonal technician salaries and equipment specific to the project, but not for permanent employee wages. Are there similar restrictions on what these funds may be used for? 

Wages for permanent employees to achieve the objectives of the project are eligible. 

Can this funding include equipment, and if so, is there a cap on how much an individual item or total items cost? 

Yes, equipment purchases are eligible to be part of project budgets. Any equipment (purchases over $5,000) purchased with grant funds from this program may become the property of WDFW after completion of the project. 

Is it ok if the field work happens prior to the funding timeframe (funded by other sources), and this grant is used to fund salary/wages to complete analysis/write-up/deliverables? 

Activities to be paid for by grant funds cannot start until after a grant agreement is in place. That said, yes, analysis or any other activities being proposed can utilize the results or data from prior field work or any other prior phase of a project. 

Would this funding be eligible to reward landowners with a payment for a survey on their lands? 

No, the agency will not approve the use of grant funds for payment to landowners for access to their lands for this grant round. We may reconsider this question for future grant rounds.

Communication questions: 

Can we get a copy of this presentation? 

The information session and the presentation are available on this webpage.

Is there any method that you all have to notify interested individuals of when the next info session/grant period commences?  

Yes, the announcement will come via a WDFW News Release. You can sign up for WDFW News Releases and a range of notifications from WDFW here: WDFW mailing lists | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife 

If, as we develop our project, we have questions that arise, can we send you an email? Are you available for brief phone/video conversations? 

Please email WildlifeDiversityGrant@dfw.wa.gov at any time and we will reply as soon as possible to address your questions.