Fishing for Energy Request for Proposals 2016

Applicant Overview Webinar: July 14, 2016, 2:00 PM ET (Register Here)

Full Proposal Due Date: August 4, 2016 by 11:59 PM ET


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is pleased to announce on behalf of Fishing for Energy partners Covanta Energy Corporation (Covanta) and the NOAA Marine Debris Program (NOAA), the availability of grant funding to support strategies to reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear to marine and coastal environments.

Fishing for Energy launched in 2008 through a partnership among Covanta, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Its goals are to provide a cost-free solution to fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear and to reduce the amount of derelict fishing gear in and around our coastal waterways.


Proposals are accepted throughout the U.S. and/or its territories under this program.  Focal geographies for a specific priority will be noted in the priority section when applicable.


The Fishing for Energy (FfE) partners recognize that while derelict gear removal and disposal is a critical effort to reduce the threat of entanglement, entrapment and habitat scarring from marine debris, the real conservation gains are to be made in prevention of the gear loss and the reduction of impact when lost. The following priorities target innovations in gear and fishing practices to reduce the loss and impact of gear:

1. Understanding Derelict Nets: While all derelict gear has an impact on the environment, derelict nets are known to have some the highest and most indiscriminant catch rates.  The Fishing for Energy partnership is looking for projects that can assist in determining the sources of derelict nets and to increase the efficiency in which nets are located for removal when lost.  There are three specific management questions that are prioritized for projects  in this category: 

a) Can something be placed on a net (i.e. physical tracker, chemical tracer, or microchip) so that if lost it, it could quickly be recovered?  Would this service be valued by fishermen and if so, at what price point?

b) How can nets be efficiently labeled to begin to determine source – even if only pieces are recovered?

c) What is the most efficient way to find nets when lost in various environments (from turbid to clearer waters)?

  • Projects in this category should demonstrate a clear understanding of the potential feasibility of introduction of the proposed solution(s) into the manufacturing/fisheries/management process.
  • Projects proposing identification/tagging technologies should also aim to give context to net behavior/life cycle that could inform the types of design modifications that could be investigated in future projects to reduce the impacts of derelict nets.

2. Gear Technology to Prevent Loss and Impact. The Fishing for Energy partnership is looking for projects that identify, test, and deploy innovations to prevent/reduce accidental introduction of derelict fishing gear (commercial, aquaculture or recreational) into the marine environment (prevention) and innovations to reduce the efficiency/impact/ effectiveness of fishing gear once lost (disabling/detection). There are two specific project types that are prioritized for projects in this category:

a) Prototype development to address known loss/impact points in gear and/or testing of new innovations in active fishery operations to demonstrate reduction in loss and impact. Projects should identify a fishery where innovations are needed and discuss the effect (regulatory, educational, financial, incentives needed, etc.) that the proposed technology will have on that fishery. Projects should also demonstrate knowledge from the industry that indicates the ‘point of loss’ or ‘point of impact’ that their gear solution would be addressing (through industry interviews, forums, etc.) either as part of the grant or in the context of presenting the problem in the proposal.

b) Cost/Effectiveness and feasibility analysis of taking a tested innovation to scale. Projects seeking to increase uptake of proven prevention solutions must clearly demonstrate how the proposed strategy is feasible for the fishery (economically, time/resources, etc.), management support, and how it will be sustained beyond the grant if incentives are proposed. 

  • Priority will be given to projects that provide side by side investigations of the costs and effectiveness of standard fishing practices versus those that integrate proposed or previously studied technologies (such as: biodegradable panels, lures, and line; disabling mechanisms; buoy rigging designs) as part of their proposal or scope of work. Studies that have incorporated social science, especially scenarios that assess fisher behavior in response to proposed gear change, are encouraged.
  • Projects seeking to assist managers in incorporating new prevention strategies must have an identified management agency partner and a letter of support showing how that agency will collaborate in the project.
  •  Proposals for general outreach to fishers on marine debris are not a priority for this solicitation. Those interested in fisher outreach should explore the NOAA Marine Debris Program Prevention through Education and Outreach grant competition:

3. Partnerships for Education and Outreach. The Fishing for Energy partnership is looking for projects that educate the public about the impact of derelict fishing gear in the marine and coastal environment and highlight the successes of the partnership’s initiatives to make measurable change in this conservation topic. Key messaging can include:

a) Highlighting Covanta ( as a model for how private industry/local business can make impactful contributions to conservation issues;

b) Showcasing results from Fishing for Energy grants completed to date. A list of completed projects can be found at; and,

c) Demonstrating that local community members and businesses have viable solutions making a conservation impact to addressing marine debris issues (specifically related to fishing gear).

  • This priority is targeting larger public institutions like aquariums, zoos and museums that reach a large community audience.  Programs targeting underserved communities are also encouraged.


Eligible Entities
  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions, commercial (for-profit) organizations, or unincorporated individuals.
  • Applications from federal agencies or employees of federal agencies are not eligible for funding under this funding opportunity. Interested federal agencies may collaborate with eligible applicants but may not receive funds through this competition.
  • Foreign organizations and foreign public entities are not eligible to apply. All projects must take place within the United States or territories or their respective waterways.
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 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 $500,000. Matching funds of at least a 1:1 ratio from non-Federal sources are required.


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.

Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals as outlined in the referenced planning documents in the overview and priority sections, 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.

Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and allow for uptake by the appropriate management authority if applicable.  The project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant.

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.

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). Matching funds of at least a 1:1 ratio from non-Federal sources are required.

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 (where applicable) to specific audiences and cites the appropriate qualifications/expertise in the project implementation team.


General: Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements.

Federal Funding Requirements: Projects selected to receive Federal funding may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, 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.  Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant. (OMB Uniform Guidance).


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

Applicant Webinar ​July 14, 2016, 2:00PM ET
​Full Proposal Due Date ​August 4, 2016, 11:59PM ET
​Review Period ​August 2016
​Awards Announced ​October 2016


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 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 at Fishing for Energy here.

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page.

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

Michelle Pico or Courtney McGeachy Courtney.McGeachy@NFWF.ORG

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 you are applying to, and a description of the issue.


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