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 2013 Coral Reef Conservation Fund RFP

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its partner NOAA are soliciting conservation grant proposals for coral reef conservation. 


All persons, organizations, and non-U.S. Federal agencies are eligible to apply, including parties within and outside the United States. Proposals requesting funding for land or easement acquisition, political advocacy, lobbying, or litigation will not be considered. Priority will be given to proposals submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in the jurisdiction/watershed where the proposed project will take place.

Grant Size

The majority of awards under this program will fall in the range of $25,000 to $100,000. The total amount of all awards made under this RFP is not expected to exceed $600,000. Matching funds from non-Federal sources are required at a 1:1 ratio for all proposed projects.

Grant Period

Projects may extend from 12-24 months.

Proposal Categories

The most competitive applications submitted to this request for proposals will be those that directly implement projects that are closely aligned with the following priority proposal categories. Projects outside of these proposal categories or that indirectly influence these topics are still eligible for funding provided they strongly support the specific goals and objectives of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and NFWF as outlined via the Internet links below.

Projects in Domestic U.S. Coral Reef Jurisdictions

1.      Enhance Watershed Management Planning: Evaluation and monitoring planning for priority coral reefs and associated watersheds

Projects submitted for funding under this category should focus on establishing robust watershed management plans that will foster the ability to measure and evaluate successful investment in priority watersheds.  Specifically, funding will be provided to expand current planning or enhance recently completed plans to focus on elements 2-4 and 8-9 of the EPA watershed management planning handbook (http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/nonpoint/9elements-WtrshdPlan-EpaHndbk.pdf).   Project activities may include establishing measurable goals and threat reduction targets, identifying key questions for evaluation of implementation success and developing a monitoring strategy that will answer these questions throughout the life of the watershed management plan.  Funds should not be requested for predominantly monitoring activities, but may be requested for specific baseline information needed to establish goals or key threats for your watershed.  Projects should build on priorities that have already been identified in the watershed management planning process and will bolster strategic planning for investment and evaluation. Whenever possible, projects submitted under this category should involve working with local organizations in these priority watersheds (http://www.nfwf.org/coralreef).  

Funds are also available to establish science based thresholds for common threats to coral reef health like sedimentation, nitrogen, phosphorus and key fish guilds under a range of domestic reef environments.  Priority locations for establishing these thresholds include but are not limited to Guanica, Puerto Rico and Kaanapali – Kalekili, Hawaii  and Faga’alu, American Samoa reefs.

2.      Reduce Sedimentation: Inputs to coral reefs

Projects submitted for funding under this category should focus on implementing activities identified in approved or draft watershed management plans that will directly reduce inputs of sediments to priority watersheds. Priority will be given to stream bank stabilization projects that foster community engagement and use native planting materials. Projects should also incorporate specific performance metrics to track the effectiveness of project activities in stabilizing and/or decreasing sediment loads to nearshore coral reef ecosystems and estimate the percentage of the sedimentation threat that will be addressed by the project (e.g., 20% (.05 miles) of eroded stream bank restored).

3.      Improve Fisheries Management: Improve sustainable fisheries management of reef fish in U.S. coral reef ecosystems

Projects submitted for funding under this category should focus on improving public knowledge of and compliance with coral reef fisheries regulations, implementation of community education programs to increase public awareness/understanding of MPA and fisheries regulations, or development and support of ‘community watch’ programs. Focus should be on sustainable management of reef fisheries including herbivore stocks and improving compliance with regulations related to fishing and MPAs.  Pelagic fisheries management and new MPA establishment are not priorities for funding.

Projects in existing domestic MPAs that seek to improve specific gaps in management capacity for fisheries and reef management will need to work with the MPA management authority to provide a self-assessment as an upload to their Full Proposal, if invited forward to categorize their current capacity across several themes. Go to www.nfwf.org/coralreef for a preview of the template.

International Projects

1.      Enhance Ecosystem-Based Management in support of NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s International Strategy

International projects submitted for funding should focus on implementation of CRCP’s International Strategy (http://coralreef.noaa.gov/aboutcrcp/strategy/currentgoals/resources/intl_strategy.pdf), particularly objectives 2-5 under Goal 1. Projects should clearly support efforts to strengthen local and national management capacity to improve resilience of coral reef ecosystems and reef-dependent communities, and/or ecosystem-based approaches to management in regional ocean governance initiatives like the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security, the Micronesia Challenge, and Two Samoa’s Initiative.    If the project seeks to increase the capacity of an MPA, applicants will need to work with the MPA managing authority to provide a self-assessment as an upload to their Full Proposal, if invited forward to categorize their current capacity across several themes. Go to www.nfwf.org/coralreef for a preview of the template. Projects that address the objectives under Goals 2-4 may be funded but are a lower priority for this competition. 

Preference will be given to projects that focus on international coral reef areas within CRCP’s priority geographic regions of: Micronesia, Samoa and the Southwest Pacific, the Wider Caribbean (including Mesoamerica), and the Coral Triangle region (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and the Solomon Islands). Strong projects in other international coral reef areas may also be funded but are a lower priority for this competition. 

Projects are strongly encouraged to incorporate social science elements into MPA planning and should use the SocMon (or in the Pacific region, SEM-Pasifika) methodology in order to fulfill MPA goals.  The application of SocMon and SEM-Pasifika methods should result in increased understanding of human interactions with, and dependence on, coastal resources, while simultaneously building capacity that contributes to and also builds support for marine management strategies such as marine protected areas. See www.socmon.org for more information and copies of regional SocMon Guidelines.

2.      Apply lessons from NOAA- and/or NOAA partner-supported training programs

Applicants seeking funding under this category should focus on implementing and institutionalizing the skills, methods and practices that participants gained as a result of their attendance in any of the following capacity-building programs sponsored by NOAA and/or its partners:

  • Reef Resilience and Climate Change and Training of Trainers and Climate Adaptation conducted in: Bonaire (June 2009); Tumon Bay, Guam (August 2009 – international participants only); St. Thomas, USVI (May 2010 – international participants only); Key Largo, Florida (June 2010 - international participants only); Bali, Indonesia (April 2011); Koror, Palau (June 2011); Nassau, Bahamas (July 2011); Playa del Carmen, Mexico (August 2011); Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (September 2011); Tagaytay, Philippines (January 2012); and Bali, Indonesia (May 2012);
  • MPA Enforcement trainings, including: MPA Enforcement and Compliance Workshop, Koror, Palau (March/April, 2011); Surveillance and Enforcement in Remote Coral Reef Settings, Colonia, Yap State, FSM (June, 2011); MPA Enforcement and Compliance Workshop, Honolulu HI, (August 2012 – international participants only), Building Compliance and Enhancing Enforcement for Marine Protected Areas in the Caribbean, Key West, Florida (August, 2012), Compliance and Conservation Training, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (September 2012), and MPA Enforcement Training, Koror, Palau, October (2012)
  • Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) trainings in Indonesia, including: EAFM 101, Jakarta, Mataram and Kendari (April/May 2012); Reef Fish Stock Assessment, Jakarta and Mataram (April/May 2012); and Observer Training Development, Jakarta (June, 2012)
  • Socioeconomic Monitoring/SEM-Pasifika trainings held in Micronesia, including: Hatobei, Palau (November 2009); Chuuk, FSM (January 2011); Majuro, Marshall Islands (March 2011); and Pohnpei, FSM (June 2012).

Applicants seeking funding under this category must have attended, instructed or helped organize one of the trainings. Proposed activities must take place at international sites. Proposal narratives must identify the name, date and location of the training, the person from the organization (or partner organization if operating as the fiscal agent) who attended, and the elements of the training that will be implemented/tested through the project.  Applications up to $10,000 will be accepted from individual participants and up to $30,000 for collaborated projects from two or more attendees.

3.      Increase management capacity in select Caribbean MPAs

Projects submitted for funding under this category should address a specific capacity gap identified at one or more of the 27 MPA locations that participated in the Management Capacity Assessment of Selected Coral Reef Marine Protected Areas in the Caribbean (http://campam.gcfi.org/CapAssess/CaMPAMCapacityAssessment2011.pdf).  Priority will be given to projects that seek to fill gaps for MPAs that identified shortcomings in these topical areas in the Assessment.  See http://www.nfwf.org/coralreef for a listing of the eligible MPA locations under each category and a link to the full assessment.  Applicants under this proposal category should work with the MPA’s managing authority to address the specific capacity gaps identified in the assessment and indicate the extent to which the capacity gap would be mitigated if the proposal was funded.  Applicants under this category will need to work with the MPA managing authority to provide a self-assessment as an upload to their Full Proposal, if invited forward to categorize their current capacity across several themes. Go to www.nfwf.org/coralreef for a preview of the template.

Application Guidelines


All applicants are required to submit an on-line pre-proposal application through www.nfwf.org/easygrants, which includes the specific proposal category under which the applicant wishes to apply, requested grant amount, matching funds and sources, and general project information for review. As part of your on-line application you will be asked to submit a Pre-proposal Narrative as outlined below. No additional supporting materials will be accepted during this phase of the review.

Pre-Proposal Narrative (maximum 4 pages, single-spaced, 12-point type)

The pre-proposal narrative should provide introductory/background information and descriptions of: the project’s goals and objectives, how the project supports CRCP’s goals and objectives, the activities/methods to be used in the project, the anticipated outcomes, and the research and management utility of the results/outcomes. See the Pre-proposal narrative template in the NFWF Easygrants system for further detail.

Full Proposal (by invitation only)

A limited number of pre-proposal applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal to elaborate on their work for a second stage of review. At that time, additional information will be required, including an expanded proposal narrative, detailed budget, organization/team qualifications, status of necessary permits, self-assessment (if submitting an application to do work in an MPA) and other relevant information.

Application Process

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation launched an on-line application program in March of 2008. Applicants can find information about the grant applications at http://www.nfwf.org/applicantinfo.

Organizations interested in applying should submit a pre-proposal using NFWF’s online Easygrants system:

1.   This funding opportunity will open on December 3, 2012. Applicants should visit http://www.nfwf.org/easygrants and register as a new user (unless you have previously applied to NFWF in the Easygrants system under a different funding opportunity) and then follow the instructions below.

2.   Under “Apply for a New Grant”, click the “Start a New Application” link. Select the Coral Reef Conservation Fund 2013 funding opportunity.

3.   Follow the instructions to complete an eligibility quiz and, if deemed eligible, a pre-proposal.

4.   Attend a webinar to learn about the 2013 Domestic and International Priorities. Webinar will be held on January 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM ET.  To reserve a spot, follow this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/965327752

Pre-proposals must be submitted via the Foundation's online system, in English, and received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on February 5, 2013 (no exceptions). Upon receipt and competitive evaluation of the pre-proposal, the Foundation will invite successful applicants to submit a full proposal. Applicants will be notified by March 15, 2013, as to the status of their preliminary applications. Full proposal will be solicited from successful applicants at that time and will be due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on April 15, 2013. Awards for this program are scheduled to be announced in July 2013.

Awards may be contingent upon obtaining permits from appropriate national environmental agencies, and/or approvals from appropriate oversight bodies at the performing institution or appropriate government agency.

For further information on the program or completing the application, please contact Erin Hofmann (202-595-2469 or erin.hofmann@nfwf.org) or Michelle Pico (262-567-0601 or pico@nfwf.org).