Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida
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Apply Now for Florida Springs Research, Restoration,

and Education 2020 Grants

Deadline for Submittals:  5:00 pm ET on Wednesday, July 31th, 2019


The non-profit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc. is dedicated to the conservation, management and sustainable enjoyment of Florida’s outstanding lands, waters and wildlife. Since 1994, the Foundation has raised and given away more than $36 million for conservation and outdoor recreation and education programs for adults, children and families.

The Foundation is now accepting applications for grants from the proceeds of sales of the “Protect Florida Springs” specialty license plates. Grant requests will be accepted between July 8th and July 31th, 2019.

Focus of Grants 

The Foundation is seeking freshwater springs-focused projects in two areas; several priority needs within each area for the 2020 grant cycle are noted.

1. Research projects that lead to better understanding of Florida’s springs and how to restore and maintain their long-term ecological health, including development of effective strategies for addressing, one or more principal threats facing Florida’s springs. Preference is given to research and adaptive management projects with the potential to benefit multiple springs.

(Examples: projects that identify the sources of stress for a particular spring; an innovative method of reducing nutrient pollution or controlling invasive species in one or more springs; research to ensure the continued survival of imperiled or declining spring species.)

Current priorities: 

  1. Development of local and regional watershed maps for springs to foster better land-use planning and guide springs- and aquifer-related environmental policy.
  2. Development and testing of strategies to improve water quality of springs.
  3. Funding for communities and organizations working to preserve or restore springs.
  4. Research on control and removal of non-native or otherwise invasive plants and animals that further degrade springs ecosystems.
  5. Research on native Florida species dependent on the springs ecosystem.

2. Community education and other outreach activities that foster adoption of best practices in the restoration, management and conservation of freshwater springs or alter public attitudes and practices detrimental to spring conservation. 

(Examples:  community education projects that encourage landowners to reduce non-point nutrient flow into springs via vegetative buffers, improved septic systems or sewage treatment; fostering and organizing community or interest-group (e.g., divers) springs clean ups, bank stabilization, exotic species removal and similar on-the-ground stewardship work.)

Current priorities: 

  1. Quantification of the long-term economic benefits of springs preservation and restoration; e. g., nature tourism, ecosystem services (health of aquifer/clean drinking water, water for wildlife and agriculture, etc.)
  2. Proposals that address the disconnect between an individual’s actions and the large-scale impacts on springs and the aquifer (for example, that dumping chemicals on the ground can show up in surrounding waters within weeks with little filtration and consequent impacts on human and wildlife health).
  3. Creation of a best-practices manual of restoration and conservation strategies that have worked well at one or more springs.
  4. Effective strategies based on current understanding of social behavior to change behaviors by Florida residents and tourists that degrade Florida’s springs.

The potential conservation impact of each proposal and its possible applicability to multiple springs will have strong bearing on the possibility of being funded. Questions to be answered in the springs grant application include

a.  Does the project have broad applicability?  Could agencies and other communities take the results and apply them elsewhere?

b.  Does the project have the potential to change minds and behaviors?

c.  Are the anticipated results measurable or quantifiable? What is the grantee’s plan for publicizing the findings and having them influence work elsewhere?

d.  Does the project or its anticipated results have the potential to attract new funding, partners or on-the-ground conservation agreements?

Eligible Applicants and Projects

Eligible applicants include federal, state or local government agencies; public and private colleges and universities; and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, including all-volunteer organizations (e.g., “Friends of…” groups). The Foundation may also, at its sole discretion, consider proposals that benefit the public from private, for-profit organizations. 


The Florida Legislature established the Protect Florida Springs specialty license plate in 2007 to fund competitive grants for community-based springs research and conservation not currently available for state funding, as well as funding of community outreach programs aimed at implementing such research findings. The competitive grants are administered and approved by the board of directors of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, with input from a Springs Advisory Committee made up of springs experts and community members. A list of past grants can be found here for guidance.

“Protect Florida Springs” Grant Size

Grant requests up to $75,000 will be considered. The applicant’s ability to procure matching funds from other sources may have bearing on the possibility of being funded but is not a prerequisite.  Multi-year projects will be considered, but funding is generally awarded for 18-month intervals. The project period will be from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 (18 months).

Apply Online

Protect Florida Springs application

Important Dates

July 31, 2019: Deadline for all proposals to be submitted to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.  

September 30, 2019: The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida Board of Directors determines grant awards.  

October 7 – 11, 2019: All applicants notified of the Board’s decisions. Successful applicants will receive formal award letters. 

January 1, 2020: Projects commence. 

July 31, 2021: Final reports and reimbursement invoices, if any, are due.  

For More Information Contact

Mrs. Erin Smart,

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