State Wildlife Grants Program


In fiscal year 2001, the U.S. Congress created the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program to support the conservation and recovery of declining fish and wildlife species at the state level. With more than 1,000 animals and plants already listed as federally threatened or endangered, Congress recognized that State Wildlife Grants are one of our best options for reversing fish and wildlife declines. Investing federal dollars at the state level – before a species declines to the point of being federally endangered – is far more effective than waiting until the populations need expensive "emergency room care" through the Endangered Species Act. Ultimately, State Wildlife Grants can save both our wildlife resources and taxpayers' dollars.

For more than 10 years, SWG support has enabled the Pennsylvania Game Commission to direct conservation effort toward species in decline or vulnerable to decline, with the hope of addressing their threats before more expensive intervention is needed. SWG has funded dozens of bird and mammal projects, land acquisition, habitat improvement projects, and other efforts.  The Game Commission partners with nature conservancies, colleges and universities, natural history museums, and conservation specialists to maximize the use of these federal funds. SWG funds have dramatically improved the Pennsylvania Game Commission's ability to perform wildlife assessments, respond to emerging issues, and further the agency's ability to conserve species of greatest conservation need.

The Game Commission is responsible for managing 467 species of wild birds and mammals. Most people aren't familiar with the greater majority of these species. But just because they're unfamiliar, doesn't mean they're unimportant. Whether it's a cerulean warbler, a water shrew, or small-footed bat, each has a part in the web of life that is Pennsylvania's biodiversity.

Federal Funding for SWG:

SWG funds are provided to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) through an annual federal appropriation, which means Congress decides on the level of funding for the SWG program each year and then appropriates that amount. For more information on the Federal appropriations process and how you can help make sure SWG funding continues, please visit the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' Teaming With Wildlife website.

Once the annual appropriation is made by Congress – and approved by the President, it must be divided among the states. The formula for determining a state's share is based upon the size of its population and land area. Please take a moment to see how states and territories were apportioned SWG funds, if you would like to see how Pennsylvania stacks up with other states and American territories in this competitive process.

SWG Projects in Pennsylvania:

Working with our partner organizations and SWG funding, the PGC and PFBC focus additional and specialized management at the state level before species require the extreme protection provided under the federal Endangered Species Act. SWG funding has been used for a variety of fish and wildlife projects that further the conservation of species of special concern in the Commonwealth. Descriptions of some of these valuable projects can be found in the PGC Wildlife Diversity Program's Illustrated Annual reports.

Wildlife Action Plan:

A significant requirement of the SWG program was that each state produce a Wildlife Action Plan (WAP; formerly Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy) to identify research and management priorities for species of conservation concern. The WAP has become much more than a legislative requirement, however; it is a blueprint that guides conservation decisions for the Commissions.  Pennsylvania's plan was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Federal Aid in 2005 and must be revised by October 2015.  Projects funded through this year's SWG Call for Projects will provide additional information needed to guide the WAP revision.

Call For 2012 SWG Project Applications:

NOTE:  The application period is now closed.

On May 4, 2012, Pennsylvania Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management Director Calvin W. DuBrock announced an invitation for project applications to the State Wildlife Grants Program.  These projects will help address conservation needs for high-priority projects for endangered, threatened and at-risk species across Pennsylvania. Complete project proposals were due by noon, June 8, 2012.  The Game Commission hopes to finalize project selections in July and award contracts in early 2013.

2012 Invitation Letter
2012 SWG Conservation Project Priorities
2012 Application Package
SWG Project Evaluation Criteria

Contact Us:

If you have questions about the SWG program, please contact Nate Zalik via email at or telephone at 717-461-0927.

Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110-9797