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Seattle City Light DEBRA SMITH, General Manager and CEO
Wildlife Research Grants Program
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Seattle City Light is offering wildlife research funds to qualifying applicants. The Wildlife Research Program (WRP) was established in response to federal licensing requirements related to the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. The primary goal of the WRP is to facilitate the development of improved methods for the understanding, management, and protection of wildlife resources in the North Cascades ecosystem, with an emphasis on the Skagit River Watershed. A secondary goal of the program is to contribute to the training of new researchers. Since 1995, SCL has funded a wide range of research projects including riparian plant communities, aquatic invertebrates, shorebirds in the Skagit Delta, lynx ecology, land bird monitoring, mountain goats, American pika, wolverines, amphibians, and grizzly bear.

Key criteria to qualify for research funds:

  • Projects must meet all of the WRP's goals as outlined in the Mission and Goals statement;
  • Selected projects should complement or build onto the existing body of wildlife research;
  • Professional standards must be met for all research funded;
  • Projects may not duplicate or substitute for usual agency responsibilities and programs;
  • Due to the limited grant budget, applicants are strongly encouraged to contribute in-kind services and obtain co-funding from other sources;
  • The application process is competitive through the pre-proposal and full proposal stages. If an applicant is invited to submit a full proposal, there is no guarantee that an award will be made for that project.

Program funding:

  • The 2020 WRP budget is approximately $120,000. The amount of funds disbursed will depend on the number and quality of the proposals received and overall budget status;
  • Grant awards can range from $5,000 to $65,000, depending on the scope and quality of the proposal. In certain circumstances, the Wildlife Research Advisory Committee (WRAC) may choose to commit future funds to a proposal received in a given year. If this happens, one or more years may pass before additional funds become available.

Research priorities:

The WRAC will prioritize research proposals that address issues that are of particular interest to resource agencies in the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project Area, the Skagit River watershed, and North Cascades/western Okanogan ecoregions (see map).

The proposals should either include study areas within these ecoregions or if located elsewhere, be directly applicable to management in the region. We strongly encourage applicants to consult with the WRAC prior to proposal development to appropriately focus proposals. Below are some of the current priorities:
  • Federal candidate, threatened or endangered wildlife species in the North Cascades (includes spotted owl, marbled murrelet, wolverine, fisher, grizzly bear, gray wolf): habitat connectivity, population estimates, and/or demography of these species
  • Priority species or animal aggregations, as identified by federal or state agencies or tribes for the North Cascades, because of their population status, sensitivity to hydrologic conditions or habitat alteration, and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance (elk, mountain goats, etc.)
  • Wildlife or ecosystem relationships for WDFW's Priority habitats in the Skagit watershed (see
  • Effects of the hydroelectric project operation on wildlife species
  • Forest carnivore habitat use, population estimates, abundance of potential prey, and demography
  • Big Game (Oreamnos americanus) habitat use
  • Impacts of human activities on wildlife
  • Impacts of climate change on wildlife and responses of wildlife to climate change, for example:
    • What species are expected to be most affected by climate change or the combination of climate change and on-going habitat conversion?
    • Are high-elevation pollinator populations changing?
    • How is climate and habitat fragmentation influencing the distribution of predators and how will changes in predator distributions change prey abundance and distribution?
    • How does climate change affect high-elevation mammal populations such as heather voles, marmots, and pikas? (see ongoing North Cascades research at
    • What is the status of ptarmigan populations and how are they affected by climate change?
    • Are species distributions shifting due to climate change?
    • Are hybridization rates along suture lines changing with the influence of climate change?


  • The WRAC, which oversees the WRP, will review and select pre-proposals that best meet the program's goals. All applicants will be notified in writing of their pre-proposal status;
  • Applicants with pre-proposals that pass the initial screening will be invited to submit a complete proposal. The WRAC may ask some qualifying applicants to modify their proposals. Full proposal guidelines will be e-mailed to all qualifying applicants;
  • The full proposals will be distributed to independent peer reviewers for scientific review. The WRAC will make final selection and funding decisions based on how well the proposal meets the WRP's goals and upon the peer reviews;
  • Successful applicants will be required to enter into a grant agreement with Seattle City Light.


Proposals will be accepted according to the schedule below. Please note that these dates may shift so check this website periodically:

Pre-proposals due January 8, 2021
Invitation for full proposals January 29, 2021
Full proposals due February 12, 2021
Peer Reviews Completed March 12, 2021
Funding decisions made by WRAC March 29, 2021

Contracts and funding:

Successful proponents must enter into a contract with Seattle City Light that stipulates the conditions that must be met during the term of the funding award. Indirect costs cannot constitute more than 15% of the total grant amount. Ten percent (10%) of the final contract amount will be withheld until the applicant has completed all contract requirements and submitted a final invoice. Researchers may only submit invoices for work that has actually been completed (monthly or quarterly); no up-front payments will be made.

While there may be more than one principal investigator for a project, one agency/organization must assume the lead role. For each project, Seattle City Light will enter into a grant agreement with only one agency/organization; multi-party agreements are not permissible.

To apply for a Research Grant

To submit a pre-proposal for consideration by the WRAC, follow the Pre-Proposals Guidelines

For more information, please contact:

Ron Tressler, WRP Manager
Email address:
Phone: 206.386.4506
Fax: 206.386.4589

Mailing address:
Seattle City Light - Environmental Affairs Division
Attn: Ron Tressler
PO BOX 34023
Seattle, WA 98124-4023

The kinds of projects funded previously are available here: List of funded projects.

Reports and publications completed with WRP funding

Other potential funding sources:

Project proponents are encouraged to contact the following organizations for grant information:
contact us

Ron Tressler, WRP Manager
Email address:
Phone: 206.386.4506
Fax: 206.386.4589
Mailing address:
Seattle City Light - Environmental Affairs Division
Attn: Ron Tressler
PO BOX 34023
Seattle, WA 98124-4023

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