The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced 13 new grants to nonprofit organizations implementing on-the-ground, science-driven projects that will help wildlife and ecosystems adapt to climate change. These grants are made through the award-winning Climate Adaptation Fund, part of WCS’s Conservation Solutions division, which provides a total of $2.5 million in grant awards between $50,000 and $250,000 to conservation non-profit organizations annually. The Fund’s work contributes to WCS’s mission to protect wild places across our globe and connect communities to nature. Funded organizations for 2019 are as follows:

Center for Large Landscape Conservation

Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

National Audubon Society, Connecticut

Playa Lakes Joint Venture

Point Blue Conservation Science

Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves

Scott River Watershed Council

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy, Central Appalachians

The Nature Conservancy, Colorado

The Nature Conservancy, Nevada

The Nature Conservancy, New Mexico


With funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund has awarded over $19 million to 104 conservation projects since its inception. This year’s cohort adds five more projects applying joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) strategies to the portfolio. This year’s JMA adaptation projects include:

·      Implementing soil inoculation where source inoculant materials are derived from areas that are currently hotter and drier than restoration project sites, to enhance riparian restoration on six acres of rangeland in California. The restored vegetation is expected to sequester a total of 150 tons of carbon within 20 years. (Point Blue Conservation Science)

·      Planting trees in “nuclei,” or clusters across the landscape, to create a pattern of openings and patches less prone to high severity events when wildfire occurs.  The project will reforest 4000 acres (1619 ha), with an estimated 1-2 tons C/ha sequestered within 50 years. (The Nature Conservancy New Mexico)

“The 2019 award recipients span a number of geographies and a variety of ecosystems, from the south shore of Kaua`i in the Hawaiian Islands to the Long Island Sound, impacting species far and wide,” says Liz Tully, Associate Director of the Fund. “The results of these projects will help conservation specialists better understand the effects of climate change on a range of habitats, as well as make adaptation strategies more accessible through tangible examples.”

To increase these learning opportunities, the Fund seeks out techniques that are underrepresented in its portfolio and aims to support projects that are cross-sectoral or have leaders from marginalized communities. Projects with approaches and partnerships that are new to the Fund include:

·      In North Central Montana, a partnership with the Aaniih and Nakoda tribes will leverage western science and traditional ecological knowledge to restore ponderosa pine forests to improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfire. (Center for Large Landscape Conservation)

·      In the Mojave Desert, 10,000 native riparian trees will be planted on more than 270 acres throughout a network of wetland oases. This more resilient habitat will allow wildlife species, particularly birds, to better adapt to increasing temperatures and moisture stress. (The Nature Conservancy Nevada)

·      In the largest limestone cave system in the Hawaiian Islands, plant restorations will be expanded to higher-elevation areas, enhancing the ability of recently restored areas to withstand climate challenges, and creating additional freshwater and brackish wetlands for endangered water bird, invertebrate, and plant species farther inland. (Makauwahi Cave Reserve)

These solutions serve a purpose beyond producing climate adaptation results within each of their physical project sites. The Fund encourages grant recipients to dedicate a portion of the awarded funds to strategic communications efforts, which serve to inform other conservationists of successful methods, garner public and funder support, inspire regulatory change, and engage new audiences to bring greater awareness to climate change adaptation for biodiversity. Such actions have amplified funded projects’ results, leading to enhanced benefits for wildlife in a changing climate.

For detailed descriptions and videos of projects previously supported by the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, visit our web site:

For a copy of our newly released report, “Managing Risks to Conservation Investments Through Climate Adaptation,” click here.

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