News Release

Climate adaptation: WCS awards $2.5 million to 13 US conservation projects

Grant and Award Announcement

Wildlife Conservation Society


image: The Texas thornscrub forest of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, provides a habitat for 11 threatened or endangered species, including the ocelot. This is one of 13 new sites to receive funding from the Doris Duke Foundation's Climate Adaptation Fund. As part of a joint mitigation and adaptation project, 270 acres of degraded ranch lands will be restored to functioning thornscrub, making this habitat more adaptive to the changing climate. view more 

Credit: WCS

NEW YORK (February 12, 2019) - 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 2018 are as follows:

  • Alaska Conservation Foundation
  • American Forests
  • California Wildlife Foundation
  • Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
  • Friends of the Garden - State Botanical Garden of Georgia
  • Landsward Foundation
  • Mississippi Park Connection
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Pacific Rim Conservation
  • Point Blue Conservation Science
  • The Nature Conservancy Oregon
  • The Nature Conservancy Palmyra Program
  • The Nature Conservancy South Dakota

With funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF), the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund has awarded almost $17 million to 91 conservation projects since its inception. This year's grant selection process widened the applicant pool and for the first time, invited projects using joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) strategies to apply. Further, there was a renewed focus on adaptation efforts occurring in urban environments. These urban adaptation projects provide a unique opportunity to communicate the importance of conservation and climate adaptation with diverse audiences. This year's JMA and urban adaptation projects include:

  • Converting 50 vacant lots in Philadelphia to climate-resilient pollinator meadows to protect pollinator populations through changing climate conditions, increase stormwater retention, and reduce urban heat island effects. (National Wildlife Federation)
  • Applying three different adaptation strategies to ash-elm-mixed lowland forest in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, visited by 9 million people annually, in order to inform forest conservation strategies in the face of climate change and improve resistance to climate-induced loss of tree canopy, erosion, increased heat island effects, and dominance of invasive pests. (Mississippi Park Connection)
  • Restoring 270 acres of degraded ranch lands in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, resulting in 100,000 tons of carbon stored over 50 years and a climate-adapted habitat for local species, 11 of which are endangered. (American Forests) The 2018 award recipients span a number of geographies and a variety of ecosystems, from the Alaskan arctic to the Palmyra Atoll south of the Hawaiian Islands, impacting species far and wide. Information obtained from these projects will help conservation specialists better understand the effects of climate change on a range of habitats, as well as making adaptation strategies more accessible through tangible examples. Innovative approaches that will be implemented by the 2018 awarded projects include:
  • On the Louisiana Gulf Coast, discarded oyster shells from restaurants will be used to construct a "recycled oyster shell living shoreline" that will grow as oyster larvae attach to the shells, dissipating wave energy and protecting wetlands. (Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana)
  • In Oregon, innovative herbicide protection pods (HPPs) will protect native perennial bunchgrasses from herbicide and allow them to outcompete invasive species, restoring the ecosystem to a better-adapted state. (The Nature Conservancy, Oregon)
  • The relocation of three endemic sea bird species from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to a restored, adaptive habitat on the main Hawaiian Islands that is strategically sheltered from the impacts of climate change that threaten these species in their current habitat. (Pacific Rim Conservation)

These solutions serve a purpose beyond climate adaptation within their respective ecosystems. The Fund encourages grant recipients to dedicate a portion of the funds to strategic communications, which serve to inform 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 helped scale funded projects, leading to enhanced benefits for wildlife in a changing climate and climate adaptation knowledge.


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, "Embracing Change: Adapting Conservation Approaches to Address a Changing Climate," click here.

Stay updated on the Climate Adaptation Fund and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @WCSAdapts

About WCS Conservation Solutions: Conservation Solutions partners with over 3,000 field staff across 60 countries around the biggest challenges facing WCS's long-term conservation efforts: climate change, sustainable financing, economic and food security, and data and science gaps. Leveraging WCS's 100-year leadership in science and field conservation, Conservation Solutions is also home to some of our newest, most innovative partnerships that transcend boundaries, including the MacArthur-funded Intact Forests initiative to protect the world's vital carbon stores, the European Union-funded WILDMEAT Initiative, the USAID Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group, the Science for Nature and People Partnership, and the Doris Duke Climate Adaptation Fund. Working at multiple scales-- from indigenous engagement to global policy fora--Conservation Solutions helps WCS and its partners deliver on a mission to save the world's wildlife and wild places, for all people and for generations to come. For more information, email

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

About the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation: The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The foundation's Environment Program seeks to enable communities to protect and manage wildlife habitat and create efficient built environments. An awareness of climate change as the greatest emerging threat to biodiversity--and the need to aggressively mitigate it without unnecessarily sacrificing wildlife habitat--shapes the Environment Program's grant-making priorities. For more information, visit

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