Pennsylvania Launches New Grant Round to Safeguard Native Biodiversity

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)

HARRISBURG, PA — The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has announced a new grant round under the Wild Resource Conservation Program, aimed at bolstering efforts to protect the state’s rich native biodiversity. Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn highlighted the importance of these grants in supporting vital field research and conservation projects designed to shield some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable non-game animals, native plants, and their habitats.

Starting May 6, the program will begin accepting applications in three critical areas: species surveys, conservation, and management. This initiative is set to play a pivotal role in preserving Pennsylvania’s ecosystem for future generations, with an emphasis on studies and projects that enhance understanding and protection of various species and their environments.

This year’s grant priorities include focused surveys and conservation projects for mammals such as the northern flying squirrel, Allegheny woodrat, and spotted skunk; bird species like the northern harrier; mussels including the clubshell and round hickorynut; and fish species such as the Chesapeake logperch. Additionally, there is a call for research to deepen knowledge on Pennsylvania’s rare plants through genetic studies and habitat modeling, along with examinations of their insect pollinators and documentation of the state’s fungi.

Rebecca Bowen, Conservation Science and Ecological Resources Chief who oversees the Wild Resource Conservation Program for DCNR, pointed out the significance of this grant round in building upon previous research and supporting the state’s extensive wildlife and plant varieties. “This program is special because it allows the citizens of Pennsylvania to directly contribute to non-game wildlife and native plant conservation,” Bowen stated, emphasizing the communal aspect of environmental stewardship.

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The announcement also marks a return to a more regular schedule for the program following disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling a step towards normalcy in the state’s conservation efforts.

Since its inception in 1982, the Wild Resource Conservation Program has championed the research and protection of Pennsylvania’s diverse native wildlife resources, covering a broad spectrum from birds and mammals to amphibians, reptiles, insects, and wild plants.

The application window opens on Monday, May 6 and will run through Monday, July 1, with submissions only accepted electronically through DCNR’s online grant application system. This move underscores Pennsylvania’s commitment to leveraging technology for environmental conservation, ensuring a streamlined and accessible process for applicants looking to contribute to the state’s ecological well-being.

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