Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program 2018 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 by 11:59 PM ET


The Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program (GCCGP) seeks to build and maintain the resilience of the Gulf Coast’s ecosystems, living resources and communities by supporting critical gaps in conservation and catalyzing conservation solutions that can be taken to scale. It is a competitive grants program that supports priority conservation needs of the Gulf Coast that are not otherwise expected to be funded under NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund or other funding opportunities associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

In 2018, the GCCGP seeks proposals with a focus on strengthening coastal resilience; advancing conservation and management on working lands for wildlife and water quality; and conserving living resources, in particular coastal birds.

Up to $1 million in funding is available and individual grant awards range typically between $50,000 and $250,000.

The GCCGP is made available with funding provided by the Shell Marine & Wildlife Habitat Program, Southern Company’s Power of Flight Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service​ (NRCS) and other sources.


The GCCGP supports projects within the coastal areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Please refer to the program priorities below for the specific geographic focus for each priority area.


All proposals must specifically address how projects for which funds are requested will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program goals. The GCCGP seeks projects addressing the following priorities: 

  1. ​Strengthening Coastal Resilience 
    Increase the capacity of coastal ecosystems and communities along coastal Louisiana and the upper coast of Texas to prevent, withstand, and recover from severe disruptive events or to adapt to environmental change through the following strategies: 
  • ​​​​​Restoration
    • Restore coastal and near-shore habitats (i.e., living shorelines, oyster reefs, coastal marshes, wetlands and maritime forests). Proposals should clearly and specifically describe how the project will reduce local communities’ vulnerability to coastal storms, sea level rise, and flooding, while benefitting fish and wildlife habitat. Proposals should also include whether there is an existing plan identifying the project or location as a priority for improving coastal resilience;
  • Planning
    • Develop or accelerate comprehensive, landscape-scale planning and coordination that identifies priority projects for promoting resilience in coastal watershed systems. Projects should be collaborative and include input from the relevant stakeholders in the watershed. Entities considering such a funding request are encouraged to discuss the project with NFWF in advance of submitting a full proposal;
  • Innovation
    • Develop or apply new technologies and strategies to increase the capacity of coastal ecosystems to prevent, withstand and recover from severe disruptive events or to adapt to environmental change.

  1. ​Advancing Conservation and Management on Working Lands
    Enhance conservation on private lands within coastal counties and parishes across the Gulf Coast to benefit wildlife and water quality through the following strategies: 
  • Restoration and Management
    • Improve wildlife habitat and water quality on working lands or other private lands in Gulf coastal habitats by creating or enhancing wetlands, enhancing native vegetation, controlling invasive plants, restoring streams, or reducing sedimentation. Priority will be placed on projects contributing towards goals outlined in state watershed plans, and on proposals that leverage NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds;
  • ​Conservation Easements
    • Support the purchase of conservation easements on wetlands or working lands that will result in significant wildlife and water quality benefits, particularly those that leverage investments through the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Projects must demonstrate the most beneficial management practices for wildlife will be implemented and maintained over time;
  • ​Outreach and Technical Assistance 
    • Provide strategic outreach and technical assistance to private landowners, with particular focus on increasing enrollment in NRCS ACEP or EQIP. Proposals should describe how proposed work fits within and will coordinate with other private lands work in the area, including appropriate state and local NRCS offices. 

  1. ​Conserving Living Resources
    Bolster populations of coastal migratory bird species across coastal Mississippi, Alabama and the Panhandle of Florida through the following strategies: 
  • ​​Restoration
  • Addressing Information Gaps
    • Support critical assessments that fill in key knowledge gaps or information needs to prioritize and sustain restoration action to benefit Gulf coast bird populations. Projects should include a plan for sharing information and describe the potential pathways for being scaled-up across the region. Proposals must demonstrate support from, or describe a practical process for engaging, intended users; and/or
    • Fill key information gaps in species’ migrations and distribution using electronic monitoring tracking systems (e.g. MOTUS).


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program has a list of metrics in our proprietary Easygrants tracking system to choose from for reporting. We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below). If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Suzanne Sessine​ to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity​ Recommended Metric​ Additional Guidance
​Land, wetland restoration ​Acres restored ​In the notes section, please indicate what species is/are benefitting, and the habitat type(s) being restored.
​Improved management practices ​Acres under improved management ​In the notes section, please indicate the type of habitat receiving ongoing active management to improve habitat quality and the targeted species. 
​Conservation easements ​Acres protected under easement ​In the notes section, please indicate if acres protected are enrolled in the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easements Program.
​Outreach and Technical Assistance ​# people with changed behavior ​Enter the number of private landowners enrolled in cost-share or stewardship programs to improve habitat. In the notes section, please indicate the number of landowners enrolled in the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program or Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
​Coastal Resilience Planning ​# plans developed ​Enter the number of plans developed that had input from multiple stakeholders. In the notes section, please indicate the geographic unit of focus for the plan (i.e., watershed). 
​Tool development for decision-making ​# tools developed ​Enter the number and purpose of innovative tools/technologies being developed.
​Research ​# studies used to inform management ​Enter the number of studies or assessments completed whose findings are used to adapt management/inform management decisions.
​Volunteer Participation ​# of volunteers participating ​Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects.


Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include businesses, unincorporated individuals, and international organizations.

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. 


The Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program is expected to award up to $1 million in grant funds in 2018. Grant awards will typically range from $50,000 - $250,000, depending on the overall scale of the project. 

Project Period: Anticipated completion time for funded projects typically will be 12-24 months following finalization of a grant agreement. If the project period exceeds 12 months, significant project deliverables and outcomes are expected to be achieved in year one. Projects may be a discrete part of a longer-term project, provided there are definable outcomes for the proposed phase of the overall effort. The project narrative must include a clear timetable or schedule for project completion.

Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent and all matching funds are spent or applied. 

Match Requirement: Projects must have a minimum match of 1:1 cash or contributed goods and services, but larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive. Please note: for projects on private lands, applicants are encouraged to provide non-federal match to be eligible for NRCS funding consideration. Eligible matching sources can include cash, in-kind donations, and/or volunteer labor directly related to the proposed project. 


All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the objectives of our funding partners and the following criteria.

Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities.

Conservation Plan and Context – Project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy and addresses a gap not otherwise being addressed, nor has the potential to be addressed, through other Gulf Coast resources, including the NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. Proposal should describe how the project complements and helps advance larger efforts led by Federal and state agencies. 

Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible.

Transferability – Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities and/or to be integrated into government programs and policies.

Communication – Project includes a detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.

Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.

Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise. 

Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities.

Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.

Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and the project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant. Identify proposed partners, if known (including potential or contemplated subawards to third party subrecipients of the applicant), the roles they will play in implementing the project, and how this project will build new or enhance existing partnerships. (Note: a project partner is any local community, non-profit organization, tribe, and/or local, state, and federal government agency that contributes to the project in a substantial way and is closely involved in the completion of the project.)


Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories. Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable.

Matching Contributions – Matching Contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive during application review.

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not necessarily constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively. When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations. 

Publicity and Acknowledgement of Support – Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF and program partners the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s/program partners’ financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications. Recipients may also be asked by NFWF to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs depicting the project.

Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable. Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF. A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds.

Compliance Requirements – Projects selected may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), and National Historic Preservation Act. As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.

Federal Funding – The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.


Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

​​Full Proposal Due Date
​Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 11:59 pm ET
Review Period
​March - June 2018
Awards Announced
​July 2018


All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

  1. ​Go to​ to register in our Easygrants online system. New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login). Enter your applicant information. 
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application. Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.


A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded here

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded here​

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on NFWF’s Applicant Information webpage.

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact: 

Suzanne Sessine
Program Director, Southern Coastal Programs

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:

Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday
Include: your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program to which you are applying, and a description of the issue.​​​​​


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