The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program partnership, is soliciting proposals through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to restore water quality and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. NFWF is soliciting proposals under the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) program for projects within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that promote voluntary, community-based efforts to protect and restore the diverse and vital habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. Proposals are due April 21, 2022.

NFWF will award funding through two distinct funding opportunities: SWG Implementation (SWG-I) grants of $75,000-$500,000 will be awarded for projects that result in direct, on-the-ground actions to protect and restore water quality, species, and habitats in the Bay watershed; SWG Planning and Technical Assistance (SWG-PTA) grants up to $75,000 will be awarded for projects that enhance local capacity to implement future on-the-ground actions through community-based assessment, planning, design, and other technical assistance-oriented activities.

NFWF estimates awarding $15 to $25 million in grants through the combined SWG program in 2022 contingent on the availability of funding. Major funding comes from the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, with other important contributions by Altria Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There are several important changes to this year’s program. For both funding opportunities, non-federal matching funds are encouraged but not required and NFWF anticipates record program funding available. NFWF is also pleased to announce the most expansive set of SWG program priorities ever, while strengthening its commitment to better advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice outcomes from funded projects. New application requirements will help NFWF and its reviewers understand diversity and inclusion within applicant organizations, demographics of communities impacted by proposed activities, and how communities will be meaningfully engaged in project activities.

The deadline for submitting a proposal is Tuesday, April 21st, 11:59pm. All application materials must be submitted online through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system. For more information on the required proposal elements, evaluation criteria, eligibility, and timelines, please the full RFP.

An informational applicant webinar has been scheduled for 1:00pm on Tuesday, February 15th to provide an overview of this funding opportunity. Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate and can register for the webinar at the following link:

For the SWG-Implementation program, applicants will be required to report both project-level metrics via Easygrants and more detailed site and practice-level data via, as applicable. You can register for an instructional webinar scheduled for 1:00pm on Thursday, February 17th to learn about how to use FieldDoc at the following link:

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact Jake Reilly (, Stephanie Heidbreder ( or Nicole Thompson ( via e-mail or by phone at (202) 857-0166. Additionally, NFWF-contracted field liaisons are available to assist prospective applicants. Their contact information and areas of expertise can be found in the following flyer. NFWF strongly encourages prospective applicants to contact NFWF program staff and/or enlisted field liaisons to discuss proposed projects and obtain guidance on program fit and competitiveness.