Watershed Restoration and Community Empowerment Program

New Jersey Audubon Introduces the Watershed Restoration and Community Empowerment Program

New Jersey Audubon is excited to announce the receipt of $439K from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to support the “New Jersey Audubon Watershed Restoration and Community Empowerment Program.” This initiative invites nonprofit partners, local governments, and Tribal organizations to submit proposals for community-based conservation projects within the Delaware River Watershed. Approximately $220K is available for grants.

The program is designed to provide support to smaller organizations and those in need of less than $75,000, with a strong focus on empowering community-based conservation efforts throughout the Delaware River watershed. Grants are available in the range of $10,000 to $75,000, with most grants falling between $25,000 and $30,000. Additionally, New Jersey Audubon will offer mentorship and capacity-building opportunities to enhance the capabilities of basin stakeholders, strengthening their future applications for larger-scale restoration initiatives, whether as individual entities or collaborative partnerships.

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have been supportive partners of New Jersey Audubon for many years. This initiative acts as an entry point for those organizations who have less capacity to compete for federal dollars.,” states Alex Ireland, NJ Audubon, President and CEO. “This program will support planning and capacity building projects that address habitat, water quality, stormwater or public access to water and the outdoors as well as mentor organizations so that they become more competitive when applying for federal grants.”

While it may seem counterintuitive to mentor other organizations in grantmaking, New Jersey Audubon strongly feels that to build a more inclusive and diverse applicant pool and authentically amplify the voices of smaller organizations in both urban and rural communities within the Delaware River watershed, they must offer support to those organizations who need it most.

“NFWF’s Delaware Program recognizes that smaller organizations and Tribal organizations often need seed funding for planning and capacity building so that they have the time and ability to build out on-the-ground projects,” explains Stephanie Heidbreder, NFWF’s Delaware River Program Director. “These projects have the potential to make significant impacts on the water quality, habitats, and public access within the watershed, and at the end of the day, healthy water for people, fish, and wildlife is our ultimate goal.”

The application portal opens on January 15, 2024 with the proposal deadline of March 15, 2024, at 11:45 PM EDT. Awardees will be notified on or before June 1, 2024 with a grant period of July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025. To assist potential applicants in better understanding the program several introduction webinars will be held online. Please visit for more information and to apply.

About New Jersey Audubon:

New Jersey Audubon (NJA) is a privately supported, not-for-profit, statewide membership organization. Founded in 1897, NJA is one of the oldest independent Audubon organizations.  The mission of NJA is to connect all people with nature and steward the nature of today for all people of tomorrow. For more information on New Jersey Audubon, visit For more information about the NJ Audubon Watershed Restoration and Community Empowerment Program and to access application materials, please visit



For media inquiries and further information, please contact:
Chris Neff, [email protected], 908 396 6660