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 Five Star Urban Waters Program 2013 Request for Proposals

Applications must be submitted online by 11:59pm EST, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013


The Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships for wetland, forest, riparian and coastal habitat restoration with a particular focus on urban waters and watersheds. The National Association of Counties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Southern Company, FedEx and others, are pleased to solicit applications for the 2013 Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program.

The partners are pleased to announce an expanded partnership with USFS, EPA, and NOAA through the Federal Urban Waters Partnership that will provide additional resources for restoration work in urban areas. In 2013, NFWF anticipates that approximately $1,500,000 in combined total Five Star/Urban Waters funding will be available:

Please note: this program has one application through the NFWF Easygrants system for all program elements and all sources of funding. Applications can be accessed at www.nfwf.org/easygrants.


Approximately $160,000 is available from EPA, in addition to support from corporate partners listed below, to fund projects meeting the Five Star program elements. Projects competitive for this funding include:

On-the-Ground Restoration: Projects must include on-the-ground wetland, riparian, in stream and/or coastal habitat restoration.

Measurable Results: Projects must result in measurable ecological, educational and community benefits.

Partnerships: Five Star projects should engage a diverse group of community partners to achieve ecological and educational outcomes.

Environmental Education/Training: Projects should integrate meaningful education and training into the restoration project either through community outreach, participation and/or integration with K-12 environmental curriculum.


Approximately $540,000 is available from USFS, EPA, and NOAA through the Federal Urban Waters Partnership, along with funding from partners listed below, to improve water quality, increase access, and restore riparian and forest habitat in urban watersheds throughout the United States. All projects submitted for consideration of Urban Waters funding must include a minimum 1:1 match of non-federal funds. More information on the Federal Urban Waters Partnership is available at www.urbanwaters.gov.

Competitive projects will include a focus on one or more of the following priorities:

  • Urban Forest Restoration: Projects focused on improving water quality in urban rivers downstream from forested lands through invasive species removal, forested habitat restoration and forest connectivity around urban waterways.
  • Education and Training: Develop educational programs to provide training to schools, businesses, community groups, and homeowners on how to implement tree plantings or other programs to reduce water pollution and stormwater flow or to promote low-impact design (LID) and/or green infrastructure practices.
  • Stormwater management: Develop projects intended to control rain water through tree canopy interception and reduce stormwater flow, controlling flooding and slowing run-off into surface water.
  • Monitoring: Establish or advance a monitoring program, especially to those bodies of water used for subsistence fishing, drinking water sources, or human contact to identify areas of concern and possible places where restoration efforts can be effectively targeted.
  • Outdoor Recreation: Design community-based projects that promote access to urban waterways and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • In addition to the overall goal of partnerships, restoration and community outreach, urban projects should focus on the neighborhood benefits of watershed restoration to:
  • Local economic development
  • Public health
  • Livability and as a neighborhood asset
  • Underserved and economically distressed communities

The EPA Urban Waters funds can be used to fund projects intended to protect and restore urban waterways through activities such as public outreach, convening stakeholders, education, training, studies, surveys and designs, demonstration projects, monitoring, and development of urban water project implementation plans.

The USFS Urban Waters funds can be used to implement high impact projects to remove invasives/restore forest fragments in urban areas, as well as forestry projects to plant and maintain trees in neighborhoods, promote riparian buffers, create schoolyard habitat, and engage residents at significant sites used by the community such as schools, parks, and trailways.

Additional settlement funds for environmental violations and natural resource damages in urban waters under laws such as the Clean Water Act, Oil Pollution Act, or Superfund may be available through NOAA. These settlement funds are usually restricted to the urban water area of impact and will be awarded to competitive projects as geographically appropriate.


Corporate funding is available in several priority locations as noted below in addition to federal funds made available by the USFS and EPA (available to all geographic locations).

Southern Company: Approximately $200,000 is available from Southern Company and its operating companies (Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, and Mississippi Power) to support conservation and restoration projects in the Southern Company service area, which includes:

  • Alabama (excluding Lauderdale, Colbert, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, Jackson and DeKalb Counties)
  • Florida Panhandle (west of the Apalachicola River)
  • Georgia (excluding Union, Fannin and Towns Counties)
  • Southeast Mississippi (23 counties, from Meridian to the coast, with the west boundary running from Pearl River County to Union County)

Visit www.southerncompany.com/aboutus/about.aspx to view a map of the Southern Company Service Area.

FedEx EarthSmart Outreach: Approximately $400,000 is available from FedEx's EarthSmart Outreach program to support urban conservation and restoration in the following 19 metropolitan areas:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Indianapolis
  • Colorado Springs
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Los Angeles
  • Memphis
  • Newark
  • Pittsburgh
  • Philadelphia
  • Cleveland
  • San Francisco/Oakland
  • Seattle
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami
  • Harrison, AK
  • Atlanta

Wells Fargo: Up to $200,000 may be available for projects identified in Wells Fargo priority geographic regions for community-based projects supporting restoration, conservation and outreach to communities. For a list of 2013 priority regions, please see the chart on page 2 of the Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities 2013 RFP

Anticipated Additional Opportunities

Up to an additional $165,000 may be available to support projects in the communities noted above as well as the following areas:

  • Boulder/Longmont, CO
  • Thousand Oaks/Ventura, CA
  • Juncos, PR Providence, RI

If additional funds become available from other federal or private donors, more projects may be funded beyond the level currently available.


The Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program is open to any entity that can receive grants. While partnerships are encouraged to include state and federal agencies, those entities may not serve as the grantee unless the community partners demonstrate that the state or federal agency is best suited to coordinate the community-based project.


Grants will be $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 and will vary in size, duration and scale. In general, most smaller-scale, one-year projects will be in the $20,000-$30,000* range. Two-year, larger-scale urban projects will be eligible for grants up to $50,000. Only a very limited number of projects meeting the highest competitive criteria will be awarded at the $50,000 level, so please budget accordingly. We anticipate the average grant award will be $25,000-$35,000.

*Southern Company may fund projects at the $15,000 level.


A minimum 1:1 match of cash and/or in-kind/contributed goods and services to funds requested is expected. The ratio of matching funds offered by the applicant is one criterion considered during the review process. All potential sources of match, including cash contributions and dollar equivalent value of in-kind goods and services (including volunteer services) must be listed on the application.

Matching funds may be federal or non-federal in nature. Federal funds may be used to match only non-federal NFWF funding sources for a project. It is expected that grant awards of NFWF federal funds will be matched 1:1 with non-federal funds or in-kind services. Check with NFWF to confirm applicability.

To be eligible, matching contributions must be raised and dedicated specifically for the project, and be voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are ineligible).


Grant funds may not be used for political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying or litigation activities or to support projects resulting from legal requirements (e.g., permit conditions, mitigation or settlement agreements). However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts. (Note: proposal must provide clear distinction between required and voluntary actions).


Applicants must fully address the key elements discussed above.

Grant requests must be for $20,000 - $50,000.

Projects should be completed within one to two years of award.

For USFS urban waters funding, a preference is given to projects that take place on, or directly benefit public lands.

Partnerships should include at least five organizations contributing to project success through funding, technical support, workforce support, land and/or other in-kind services. Note: Applicant is considered a partner.

Partnerships should include a variety of public and private entities, such as:

  • Youth groups: schools, youth conservation corps, Scout troops, civic and environmental clubs, etc.
  • Colleges and Universities: academia, departments, and local cooperative extension districts
  • Resource Conservation and Development Councils and Soil and Water Conservation Districts
  • Conservation Organizations
  • Businesses or Corporations
  • Local citizens and community groups
  • Government agencies: State, local, federal and/or tribal governments and agencies
  • Technical and design experts: local environmental and restoration consultants, landscape architects, environmental planners, and others that offer technical and design expertise
  • Foundations or other funders

Proposals seeking larger grants (greater than $30,000) are expected to demonstrate greater matching contributions, a larger number and diversity of project partners and more significant ecological and educational outcomes.

Grant funds may not be used to cover indirect costs unless they meet both of the following conditions:

  • The grantee organization has a federally-approved indirect rate; and
  • Indirect cost requests in budget should not exceed 15% of the total grant request (even when the federally-approved rate is greater than 15%).

Projects with a budget primarily consisting of indirect costs and salaries and projects with matching funds primarily consisting of foregone indirect costs will not be as competitive.

Organizations or project sites that previously have received funding under this program are eligible to reapply; however, preference may be given to those that previously have not received support.

To receive consideration for targeted funding in the FedEx urban areas, projects in the targeted cities must include a Community Service Day where 50-100 employees from the project's corporate sponsor (including but not limited to FedEx) may participate in a restoration project (e.g., planting trees or native plants, removing invasive plants, removing trash from urban waterways, etc.). Question 9 in the proposal narrative must be completed to be considered for this funding.


Highest priority will be given to projects that:

  • Help meet ecological and conservation needs of priority species and habitats in priority watersheds.
  • Provide measurable and meaningful conservation outcomes.
  • Establish or enhance a diverse partnership from the public and private sectors, and explain the role and significance of the partnership to the project's success.
  • Identify and expand job training and job readiness to develop community capacity for restoration.
  • Implement or complement an established conservation and/or watershed management plan and demonstrate that the agency or organization that developed the plan is a partner in — or at least supportive of — the project.
  • Support improvements to water quality especially to those bodies of water suited for subsistence fishing.
  • Specifically describe how education and outreach will shape and sustain behavior change of specific audience(s) to achieve your conservation goals and how you will evaluate the impact of your efforts. Additionally, describe how lessons learned about the effectiveness of the education component in achieving conservation goals will be applied and broadly shared with others. Proposed activities should be highly collaborative and designed to address strategic conservation goals.
  • Clearly present a reasonable and detailed budget (including appropriate hourly rates for the type of activities proposed) and document contributions (dollars and/or in-kind) are matched by a broad range of public and private sources and meet or exceed the minimum 1:1 matching requirement.


The Five Star/Urban Waters Online Application will be live and accessible in Easygrants on November 20th. When you are ready to begin the application process, go to www.nfwf.org/Easygrants.

If you are a new user to Easygrants, first you will need to register by clicking on "Register here" and enter your organization's information. Once you are registered, select "Five Star Restoration Grant Program 2013" from the list of programs and follow the instructions.

If you already are registered in Easygrants, login using your e-mail address and password and then select "Start a New Application."

After you have started the application process, you may save your application in progress and return another time to complete and submit it.


Applications must be submitted online in Easygrants by 11:59 pm EST, Thursday, February 7, 2013.


Thursday, December 6 (2-3:30 pm EST) Webinar: The Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program To register, click here.

Thursday, February 7 (11:59 pm EST) Proposals due via Easygrants

July 2013 Anticipated awards announcement


There will be a webinar for applicants on Thursday, December 6, at 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST. The webinar will review the RFP and provide an overview of the program. First time applicants and anyone with questions about the RFP are strongly encouraged to participate in the webinar. (Follow the registration instructions at: www.nfwf.org/FiveStar.) A recording of the webinar will be posted online for those who cannot make these dates.


For questions not addressed in the RFP or webinar, please contact the following individuals:

Carrie Clingan (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South)
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(202) 595-2471

Rebecca Culler
The Wildlife Habitat Council

Claire Thorp (Mid-West and Western States)
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(415) 243-3104

James Davenport
National Association of Counties
(202) 661-8807

For more information on the Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program, please visit NFWF's website at www.nfwf.org/FiveStar, EPA's Five Star website at or the Federal Urban Waters Partnership website at www.urbanwaters.gov.

Five Star/Urban Waters Easygrants HelpSheet

(This help sheet refers sequentially to each section and field in Easygrants required for this program.)


Grant Amount Being Requested from NFWF: Minimum is $20,000. Maximum is $50,000.

Matching Contributions Proposed: A minimum 1:1 match of cash or in-kind/contributed goods and services to funds requested is expected. Enter the total matching contributions anticipated.

Projected Grant Start Date: Projects should begin between July and December 2013.

Projected Grant End Date: Projects should be completed within one to two years of the start date.

Project Title/Name: Please do not call your project "Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Project". Give it a short, descriptive name that will uniquely identify it and distinguish it from the competition. (60 character limit)

Project Description: This two sentence project summary should use the first sentence to describe what your project will achieve and the second sentence to describe what is special about your project. Include the species and/or habitat addressed; the location; at least one quantitative outcome; and primary project activities. (200 character limit)

Project Abstract: Provide an overview of your project that includes and expands on the project description by adding key threats and opportunities specific, measurable outcomes — both quantitative and qualitative (i.e., specify acres or linear feet to be restored plus any education or partnership capacity outcomes anticipated); proposed activities; and identifying all partner organizations that are participating in the project. Clearly breakout planning activities from implementation activities. (1500 character limit)

Keyword(s): You must select at least one Keyword. You are encouraged to use the "Help" feature in Easygrants to identify Keywords. Most applicants' Keywords will include: Conservation Action, Conservation Threat, and Major Habitat Type.

Sub-keyword(s): You also must select at least one Sub-keyword. You are encouraged to use the "Help" feature in Easygrants to review definitions of Sub-keywords. Most applicants will select at least one of the following Sub-keywords:

Under Major Habitat Type: Freshwater — Wetland; Freshwater — Rivers, lakes and streams and riparian zone; Coastal — Estuaries and Bays; Coastal — Coastal beaches, dunes and shoreline

Under Conservation Threats: Residential & Commercial Development; Agriculture & Aquaculture; Human Intrusions & Disturbance; Natural System Modifications; Invasive & Other Problematic Species & Genes; Pollution

Under Conservation Actions: Land/Water Management; Education & Awareness


Project Location Country(ies): Select "North America — United States" from the drop-down menu.

Project Location State/Province: Please select all states and territories that apply.

Project Location U.S. Congressional District(s): Please select all U.S. Congressional Districts in which the proposed project will take place.

Project Location Description: Please include the county/city where the project will occur as well as the most appropriate scale of watershed. Longitude and latitude are especially helpful. (200 character limit)


FOR EACH MAJOR ACTIVITY: List the "Proposed Activity" and then select a "Metric" from the drop down list. If the list does not include a metric appropriate for the activity, you also may enter a new metric; however, we ask that wherever possible you use the metrics provided so that we may standardize our data collection. Then for each metric, provide the "Value at Grant Completion" which should be the gains attributable to the project at the end of the grant. After entering one activity, metric and value, click "add". Then repeat these steps until you have provided a metric and value for each major activity.


To complete your application, you must upload several files into Easygrants. The most important is your actual proposal narrative. The Five Star/Urban Waters Proposal Narrative may be downloaded from Easygrants at any time and completed at your leisure. It must be uploaded back into your Easygrants application before your application may be submitted. Please limit optional attachments to no more than 12 pages. The narrative may not exceed six (6) pages in total length (including questions which should not be deleted).

Narrative Required. Template provided. Six-page limit.

11 pt font minimum, ¾ inch margins

Board of Trustees* Required. Provide a list of members. If your organization is not a nonprofit and does not have a Board, upload a document stating that none exists.

A-133 Audit* Required. If you organization has not expended over $500,000 in Federal funds in the last year, upload a statement saying that an A-133 Audit is not required.

GAAP audited financial statements* Required. If your organization does not have GAAP audited financial statements, you may upload a current and dated balance sheet and profit/loss statement.

IRS Form 990* Required. If your organization is not a nonprofit, upload a document stating that a Form 990 is not required.

Statement of Litigation* Required. Template provided.

Letters of Support Optional. Recommended from significant partners, especially those providing matching contributions.

Map of project site Optional. Strongly recommended for restoration projects.

Photos Optional. Compress photos to minimize file size and limit total.

*If your organization has recently applied to NFWF for a grant and this information already is on file and up to date, they will not appear to you as required uploads in EasyGrants.


This section provides budget detail for the "Grant Amount Being Requested from NFWF." It should not include matching funds.

Please note that no part of the budget (neither NFWF funds nor match) may include: general administrative overhead, contingencies or miscellaneous costs; advocacy/lobbying; fundraising; litigation; terrorist activities; nor activities in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

For information on allowable indirect costs, visit www.nfwf.org/indirect.


List each source of matching contributions separately in the space provided. Matching contributions may include both cash and in-kind contributions. It is our expectation that all of the partners listed in the proposal narrative will be providing some form of cash and/or in-kind matching contribution.

Please note the restrictions on use of matching funds and criteria for competitive applications above. Regarding indirect: if your organization has a Federally-negotiated indirect rate, which, when applied to this project would exceed the NFWF cap of 15%, any difference may count as a matching contribution (i.e., "foregone indirect").

The total of all line items entered in this section must equal EXACTLY the total "Matching Contributions Proposed" in the PROJECT INFORMATION section. (If the amounts do not match, please make certain that no numbers contain decimals.)


If Permits and/or Approvals are required for this project, please list all permits and/or approvals required and their status.


When you are ready to submit, each section of your proposal should be indicated "Complete" with a green check mark in the "Status" column. If any section is indicated "Incomplete" with a red "X", you will not be able to submit and must go back and check your work in each section that is "Incomplete".

To view and save your proposal you may click on the "View PDF" button. This function creates a composite file with all of the fields and uploads, which can be saved as a stand-alone document. Please note that the "Applicant-identified Reviewer Information" section will appear empty in your submission because it is not required for this program. 


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