Future Fisheries Improvement Grant Program

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

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Grant amount: US $150,000 - US $350,000

Next deadline: Dec 1, 2019

Later deadlines: Jun 1, 2020

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Individuals Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Capital Project, Project / Program

Location of project: Montana

Location of residency: Montana

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Future Fisheries Improvement Program

For almost two decades, FWP's Future Fisheries Improvement Program has worked to restore rivers, streams, and lakes to improve and restore Montana's wild fish habitats. Between $350,000 and $650,000 are available each year for projects that revitalize wild fish populations. Any entity proposing a project that would benefit wild fish will be considered for funding.

An independent citizen review panel evaluates all applications and makes funding recommendations to the Fish & Wildlife Commission.

Background and history

In 1995, Montana Legislature created the Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP), to restore essential habitats for the growth and propagation of wild fish populations in lakes, rivers, and streams. In 1999, the Legislature expanded the FFIP by adding funding from the Resource Indemnity Trust Fund (RIT) and directing a portion of the funding to projects that specifically enhance bull trout and cutthroat trout, with emphasis on mineral reclamation projects. In 2013, the RIT funding was expanded to all cover of Montana’s native fish species.


Funds used to implement the FFIP originate from the sale of Montana fishing licenses. A portion of the funding also comes from interest generated from Montana’s RIT Fund. 

Use of Funds

Program funding may be provided for costs of design/build, construction, and maintenance of projects that restore, enhance, or protect habitat for wild fishes. 

Project Types

Projects have included (but are not limited to):

  • Riparian fencing and off-stream water development to improve habitat along streamside areas
  • Re-vegetation of stream banks and streamside areas to stabilize banks and cool the water
  • Installation of screening devices on irrigation diversions to prevent the loss of fish into the ditches
  • Removal of barriers, or installation of fish ladders around barriers, to facilitate the upstream movement of spawning fishes
  • Construction of barriers in selected locations to prevent non-native trout from competing or hybridizing with genetically pure native cutthroat populations
  • Reconstruction of stream channels that have been modified from their natural form as a result of land use practices or channelization
  • Water conservation measures that result in a greater quantity of water left in-stream
  • Installation of habitat structures in lakes and reservoirs that provide cover or enhance spawning

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Habitat projects benefiting wild fish, originating from virtually any source, will be considered for funding. This includes (but is not limited to) landowners, anglers, civic groups, conservation districts, or governmental agencies.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that the project will have public benefits and accomplish one or more of these items:
    • Improve or maintain fish passage
    • Restore or protect naturally functioning stream channels or banks
    • Restore or protect naturally functioning riparian areas
    • Prevent loss of fish into diversions
    • Restore or protect essential habitats for spawning
    • Enhance stream flow to improve fisheries
    • Restore or protect native fish populations
    • Improve fishing in a lake or reservoir
    • Other types of projects that restore or protect habitat for wild fish populations
  • Projects must also be conducted with approval of the landowner on whose property the project is being completed, and they may not interfere with water or property rights of adjacent landowners.


  • Preference will be given to projects that restore habitats for native fishes.


  • Funding cannot be used for administration, coordination, overhead, monitoring, watershed assessments, design alone, or contingency costs.