2017 Coral Reef Conservation Fund Request for Proposals

Pre-Proposal Due Date: March 10, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Full Proposal Due Date (by invitation only): May 15, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will award grants to address negative impacts to coral reefs and improve coral reef management effectiveness. Grants will be awarded to reduce land-based sources of pollution, advance coral reef fisheries management, support recovery and resiliency of coral reef systems and improve watershed management planning.
The Coral Reef Conservation Fund is a partnership with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and works to assist the agency in coral reef conservation. The Coral Reef Conservation Fund expects to have approximately $1,000,000 available for funding.


Domestic U.S. Jurisdictions: Tropical coral reefs in Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Puerto Rico, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Of particular interest are watersheds and associated coral reefs that have been designated as priorities by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.
Tier I Priority: Hawaii: Ka’anapali-Kahekili, Maui; Puerto Rico: Guanica
Tier II Priority: American Samoa: Faga’alu, Vatia; CNMI: Laolao Bay, Saipan, Talakhaya, Rota, Garapan, Saipan; Guam: Manell-Gues, Piti-Asan; Florida: Boynton Inlet; Hawaii: Pelekane Bay, Puerto Rico: Culebra and Northeast Reserves, Cabo Rojo; USVI: East End Reserve, St. Thomas, East End Marine Park, St. Croix, Salt River, St. Croix, Fish Bay, St. John
International: Priority will be given to activities in Micronesia, the Coral Triangle region, and selected priority reefs in the Wider Caribbean; however, all international tropical coral reef locations are eligible.


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Coral Reef Conservation Fund has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees 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 Michelle Pico (pico@nfwf.org) to discuss acceptable alternatives.
Project Activity
Recommended Metric
Additional Guidance
BMP implementation to reduce land-based sources of pollution
·         Acres under improved management
·         Lbs sediment avoided (annual)
·         Lbs nutrients avoided (annual)
Most proposals will have a combination of acres (output) and threat reduction (outcome) metrics.Be sure to include the necessary monitoring equipment and plan to validate these results in your SOW and budget. Please also make sure to define the target pollutants and how you are defining acres and reduction in the ‘notes’ section of the metric.
Watershed planning, Marine Protected Area, capacity building and/or fisheries co-management
·         # plans developed
·         # plan activities implemented
·         # FTE with sufficient training
·         g/m2 of fish biomass
Most proposals will have a combination of capacity building (output) and target fish stock response (outcome) metrics. Be sure to include the necessary monitoring and planning to validate these results in your SOW and budget. Please also be sure to define target species/guilds, the names of plans that are implemented and how you define ‘sufficient training’ in the ‘notes’ section of the metric.
·         # of research studies
If your project is applied research to address a management need please use ONLY this metric as a direct result of your project activities.  The notes section should clearly state the expected progress anticipated in the research within the period of performance and what, if any management questions will be answered at the close of the grant. For example, if only ½ of the samples or testing needed to reach a desired level of confidence or one step in the research needed to address a management question will be reached, then that should be clearly stated.


The most competitive applications under this funding opportunity will directly implement projects in the following priority proposal categories. Coral reef conservation projects outside of these proposal categories or that indirectly influence these topics are still eligible for funding provided but are a lower priority for funding.
Projects that incorporate social science elements should use the SocMon methodology in order to fulfill goals. More information and copies of appropriate regional SocMon Guidelines can be found here.
Pelagic fisheries management is not a priority for funding.
Projects in Domestic U.S. Coral Reef Jurisdictions

1. Improve sustainable coral fisheries management
Projects under this category will improve the sustainable management of key reef fish stocks (e.g., herbivores, apex predators) through improved fishery management capacity, compliance with coral reef fisheries regulations, and/or innovative technologies. Areas of interest include but are not limited to: 

  • Efforts to support the implementation of community based fisheries co-management, such as the Community Based Fisheries Subsistence Area rules in Hawaii;
  • Efforts to better understand the relationship between herbivorous fish biomass and coral reef condition and resiliency; 
  • Collection of essential life history (e.g., age and growth, reproductive characteristics, mortality rates) and ecological information (e.g., trophic interactions, habitat requirements) for key coral reef fish taxa that may be incorporated into fisheries models and/or other reef fish management efforts at state and territorial resource management agencies and/or Federal Regional Fishery Management Council levels;      
  • Efforts to assess community compliance with and acceptance of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) or other fishery management approaches; or
  • Efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of MPA and fisheries regulations, development and support of ‘community watch’ programs, or measurement of fishing effort for coral reef dependent species. 

2. Enhance management for priority coral reefs and associated watersheds
Projects submitted for funding under this category should focus on assessment and prioritization efforts to establish targeted strategies for conservation in priority watersheds such as:

  • Implement and test NFWF rapid assessment tool protocols to prioritize threats for mitigation within the watershed;
  • Expand current planning efforts to focus on elements 2-4 and 8-9 of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) watershed management planning handbook; 
  • Establish measurable goals and reduction targets for identified threats;      
  • Identify key questions for evaluating the success of implementation projects and developing a monitoring strategy that will answer these questions throughout the life of the watershed management plan; or 
  • Establish specific baseline information needed to establish or measure progress towards established goals or threat reduction targets. Note: Direct monitoring activities are not a priority for this competition.   

3. Reduce land-based pollution inputs to coral reefs in domestic priority watersheds
Projects under this category will focus on implementing high priority actions identified in watershed management plans for priority watersheds that will directly reduce inputs of land-based sources of pollution to downstream reefs. Projects should incorporate specific performance metrics to track the effectiveness of project activities in reducing the identified threat to nearshore coral reef ecosystems and estimate the percentage reduction of the threat that will be addressed by the project. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • Activities that engage local private industry, community groups, and individuals in stewardship of the watershed such as streambank stabilization, rain garden construction, promoting the use of native planting materials, installing BMPs for reducing sediment flow to reefs, and water conservation or grey water re-use efforts to reduce polluted runoff.
Projects in International Coral Reef Systems

1. Ensure coral reef fisheries are legal and sustainable
Projects under this category should help ensure that coral reef fish species are harvested legally and sustainably without the use of harmful cyanide that adversely impacts corals and other associated species. Development of a robust, legally sufficient, and reliable method for cyanide detection is critical not only to enforce local regulations but also to help ensure that importing countries, including the United States, are receiving fish that are not harvested through illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing methods. Project activities under this category may include, but are not limited to:

  • Robust scientific and reliable methods of cyanide detection;
  • Means of ensuring that cyanide detection tools can be effectively applied towards fish that are imported into the United States through the chain of custody; and
  • Technical assistance that can help exporting countries monitor exports of coral reef fish species and ensure that these exports are harvested without the use of destructive cyanide.

2. Increase management capacity in priority international regions
Applicants seeking funding under this category should address specific capacity gaps that have been identified as part of a regional planning process and prioritized for action. Guidance for high priority topics can be found in geographic-specific resources outlined below: 

  • In the Caribbean, projects submitted for funding under this category must address a specific and discrete ‘gap’ in management capacity 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”. See the listing of eligible MPA locations here. Applicants under this proposal category must work with the MPA’s managing authority to address the specific management capacity gaps identified in the assessment and indicate the extent to which the capacity gap would be mitigated if the proposal was funded. 
  • In Micronesia, projects submitted for funding in this category must address a specific management capacity gap identified in the following sections of the Pacific Islands Marine Protected Area Community strategic plan: Adaptive Management; Socio-Economic Monitoring; and Behavior Change.

In the Coral Triangle region, projects must support the regional priority actions and activities of the Coral Triangle Initiative – Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security Regional Plan of Action. Particular emphasis will be on projects that address locally managed marine areas and Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).



Eligible and Ineligible Entities

• Eligible applicants include all persons, organizations, and non-U.S. Federal agencies, including parties within and outside of the United States.

• Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies.

• NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program staff are available and encouraged to provide general information on programmatic goals and objectives, ongoing coral reef conservation programs/activities, and regional funding priorities; however, NOAA employees are not permitted to assist in the preparation of applications or write letters of support for any application. If NOAA employees will be a collaborator on a project, they may provide a statement verifying that they are collaborating with the project applicant, confirming the degree and nature of the collaboration, and acknowledging the utility of the proposed work. NOAA employee activities, including travel and salaries, are not allowable costs.

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 Coral Conservation Fund offers one grant cycle per year and available funding is expected to be approximately $1,000,000. Average grant awards will range from $40,000 - $150,000. Projects should be 12 months in duration. Matching funds from non-U.S. Federal sources are required at a 1:1 ratio for all proposed projects.


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 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 outlined in the Request for Proposal.
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.
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 (OMB Uniform Guidance).
Additional Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Full Proposal:
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.)
Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress toward the biological and socioeconomic goals stated in the proposal (i.e. change in habitat/species population number, % behavior change, lbs. sediment reduced, % of predation). Monitoring should occur before, during and after the proposed project activities to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
Local Impact and Broader Transferability – Project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy with clear steps for uptake and integration by local management authority (if applicable) and/or has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities. Preference will be given to applicants that can demonstrate how their data will contribute to the broader conservation community through regional/global/species databases if applicable.
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 and how this project fits into longer-term investment strategies if applicable.
Communication– Project includes a detailed and targeted communication plan to specific audiences and cites the appropriate qualifications/expertise in the project implementation team.


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 the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s 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.  Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved prior to initiating activities that disturb or alter habitat or other features of the project site(s).  Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals.  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 Requirements – Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant.
Permits – Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements.  Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers prior to submitting their proposal.  In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.


Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information (Coral Reef Program).

  • Pre-Proposal Due Date March 10, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
  • Invitations for Full Proposals Sent Week of April 10, 2017
  • Full Proposal Due Date May 15, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
  • Awards Announced November 2017



All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation’s Easygrants system.
1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org 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 as 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 the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (http://www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx).
For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
Michelle Pico, pico@nfwf.org 
For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
Email: Easygrants@nfwf.org 
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 you are applying to, and a description of the issue.

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