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Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

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Grant amount: Up to US $700,000

Deadline: The deadline for this grant has passed

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in California: El Dorado County, Mono County, Nevada County, Placer County, Sierra County Expand all

Location of residency: United States

About this funder:

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The Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi, or LCT) has a long evolutionary history in the Lahontan Basin, and is highly distinct from other sub-species of cutthroat trout. It is the only salmonid native to the Lahontan basin. LCT express a variety of life histories including resident stream, migratory, and lake-dwelling forms. Today, the sub-species is imperiled by multiple factors and has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1975. Only 8.6% of the historical stream habitat is currently occupied, and self-sustaining native populations remain in less than 1% of historic lake habitat. Non-native fishes have been implicated in most of the LCT extirpations in the last two decades and are a primary source of decline for most remaining populations. Additionally, the majority of remaining conservation populations inhabit small, isolated stream reaches occupying 8 km or less of small stream habitat.

The goals of NFWF's LCT initiative are to protect existing pure populations from contact with non- native trout, sustain LCT populations in lakes, connect isolated populations into larger, more resilient populations, and increase LCT angling opportunities. The LCT initiative will award up to $730,000 in grants in 2018. Major funding for the LCT initiative comes from the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.

Geographic Focus

To be eligible for funding, projects must occur within three major basins:

  • Western Lahontan Basin comprised of the Truckee, Carson, and Walker River watersheds.
    • Of the total funds available for the LCT initiative, $500,000 is designated for the benefit of at-risk natural desert terminal lakes and associated riparian and watershed resources in the Western Lahontan Basin.
  • Northwestern Lahontan Basin comprised of the Quinn River, Black Rock Desert, and Coyote Lake watersheds.
  • Eastern Lahontan Basin comprised of the Humboldt River and tributaries.

Program Priorities

Proposals must specifically advance one or more of the key strategies of the LCT business plan .These include:

  • Reduce threat of non-native fish
    • Eradicate non-native fishes from occupied and historic LCT habitats, and improve management regulations.
  • Native population reestablishment, stronghold/metapopulation reconnection and barrier management
    • Reestablish LCT populations from appropriate genetic source stock to bolster range-wide representation and promote redundancy to ensure the persistence of key elements of diversity.
  • Genetic and population monitoring
    • Establish and support consistent, frequent, and statistically-rigorous LCT monitoring range-wide to track the trajectory of the species as a whole and determine factors related to the persistence or extirpation of local populations.
  • Initiate flow restoration efforts
    • Develop and sustain flow restoration efforts using willing seller transactions and other voluntary/cooperative measures to improve flow-limited habitat in LCT streams.
  • Riparian and habitat improvement
    • Utilize tools such as riparian fencing, prescriptive grazing and management, water development (piping and guzzlers, etc.) and nutrient/forage supplementation to manipulate livestock away from riparian areas, monitoring habitat improvements, and resting pastures to allow for habitat recovery.
  • Initiative Coordinator and Safe Harbors biologist
    • Support an LCT Initiative Coordinator to:
      • provide essential on-the-ground contact and collaboration among the Initiative partners and various agencies and entities involved in LCT restoration and recovery,
      • coordinate and guide Initiative proposals to make sure proposed activities are in keeping with Initiative goals and time-lines, and
      • implement field activities such as monitoring. 
  • Conservation hatchery management
    • Develop a hatchery genetics and management plan to support the creation of LCT conservation broodstocks and guide stocking management for the benefit of LCT.

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


  • Eligible applicants include: local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies (e.g., townships, cities, boroughs), special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts), non-profit 501(c) organizations, schools and universities.
  • Applicants should provide non-federal match of at least $1 for every $1 of NFWF grant funds requested.


  • Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
    • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
    • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.