Fishing for Energy 2019 Request for Proposals

Proposal Webinar: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 12:30 PM Eastern Time 
​​​Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, April 25, 2019 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), on behalf of Fishing for Energy partners Covanta Energy Corporation (Covanta) and the NOAA Marine Debris Program (NOAA), is pleased to announce the availability of up to $1 million in grant funding to support strategies to reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear to marine and coastal environments and navigational safety. This solicitation also makes available funding provided through Community Service funds (arising from a federal environmental prosecution for benefits to marine wildlife and habitats).

Fishing for Energy launched in 2008 as a partnership among Covanta, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). 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.


Grants will target areas in U.S. coastal waters with a priority for areas that have been identified and prioritized for derelict fishing gear prevention, reduction, and gear technology innovation in state or regional plans, such as state marine debris action plans or as part of species or habitat conservation plans. Priority locations include, the Gulf of Maine in areas that are identified as priority for northern right whales, the Chesapeake Bay with targeted benefits to blue crab, the Puget Sound to benefit killer whales and Chinook salmon, and in Hawaii within the borders of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.


This competition prioritizes removal efforts and innovation in gear technology to reduce the loss of gear at sea and the impacts of lost gear on threatened and endangered marine wildlife and the habitats they depend on. Competitive projects will address the following in their proposals: 

  1. Site selection: Describe efforts that have been made or will be made as part of this proposal to identify gear accumulation and species/habitat concerns for removal projects or gear interaction concerns for innovation projects.

​​a. For removal projects: Indicate why this area is prioritized for removal (i.e., conservation benefit to sea turtles, marine mammals and coral reefs are of particular interest). Please also reference any state or regional plans that identify this site as a priority or any link to known impacts at this location or from the target gear to wildlife and habitats of that area.

​b. For innovation projects: Projects should identify the fishery where innovations are needed and discuss the effect (regulatory, education, 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’ that the gear solution would address (through industry interviews, forums, etc.) either as part of the grant or in the context of presenting the problem in the proposal. Applications can propose prototype design and testing for new innovations or on-boarding and adoption of already tested innovations.

2. Clearly defined methods and activities:
a. Removal Methods: Explain methods for removal, best practices that will be used to minimize impact to existing habitat, compatibility with the NOAA Marine Debris Program Programmatic Environmental Assessment  (see NOAA link HERE), status of any necessary permits and the composition and experience of the removal team. Please note any specific engagement of fishermen or veterans in removal efforts. 
​​​Disposal: Proposals for projects that include removal activities must include anticipated disposal costs and logistics and should strive to recycle the material to the extent possible. Projects may be eligible to use the Fishing for Energy Gear Collection program, but applicants much work with NFWF staff prior to listing this as an element of their proposal. Please contact Kaity Goldsmith ( for more information on this option.

b. Prevention Strategies through Gear Technological Advancement: The partnership is looking for projects that identify, test, and deploy innovations to prevent/reduce accidental introduction of derelict fishing gear into the marine environment (prevention) and innovations to reduce the efficiency/impact/effectiveness of fishing gear once lost (disabling).
  1. ​​​Management Connection: NFWF is seeking projects that will tie the direct conservation activity of derelict gear removal and/or technology innovation to state or regional management efforts. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate work with local and national management agencies to address key questions around source, point of loss, rate of loss/accumulation, rate of decay, calculated impact to wildlife, bycatch rates, etc. that can be used to help adjust regulations, gear configuration and other management practices to minimize the occurrence and impact of lost gear. A letter of support is REQUIRED from the management agency (e.g., local, federal, park, etc.) with which you are working that specifically describes how the project will assist in meeting management needs, including information needs that will be met through the project. 

  2. Outreach: Priority projects will include a communication plan to raise awareness around the effort and the findings of the project and where appropriate, engage the local public and fishing communities. 


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, a list of metrics for the Fishing for Energy Program is available in Easygrants. Applicants will choose from this list for future 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 an applicable metric has not been provided, please contact Kaity Goldsmith ( to discuss acceptable alternatives.

​​Project Activity ​Recommended Metric ​Additional Guidance
​Derelict Gear Removal  ​​ # pounds of debris removed Proposal and metric should focus on fishing gear an not other debris
Land, wetland restoration - Acres restored ​Number of acres cleared of derelict gear
​Fishing gear innovation R&D ​Tool development for decision making - # tools/techniques tested Number of gear innovations that will be developed (new innovations that have not previously been tested successfully)
​​Management Application  ​​ Management or Governance Planning - # plan activities implemented​ Preferred metric for this action. Please reference the specific action and plan in the notes field.
Research - # of research studies completed Use this metric for the questions that will be answered which are supported by management but are not referenced in a specific plan
​Outreach and Education  ​​ Volunteer participation - # volunteers participating Please reference in the notes section if volunteers are anticipated to be fishermen
Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance - # people reached Clearly describe the different target audiences that make up your target value and how you will determine whether they have been reached by your message


Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state or territorial government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions, commercial (for profit) organizations, or unincorporated individuals. 
  • Ineligible applicants include federal agencies or employees of federal agencies, foreign organizations and foreign public entities. Interested federal agencies may collaborate with eligible applicants but may not receive funds through this competition. 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 $30,000-$300,000. The total amount of all awards made under this RFP is not expected to exceed $1,000,000. Non-federal matching funds are not required, but are strongly encouraged and likely to impact competitiveness of the proposal. 


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. 

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 management and 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 and knowledge to be integrated into government programs and policies.

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

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. 

Project Team – Applicant team has the appropriate expertise for the scope of work proposed and a proven track record. Project outlines partnerships to implement the project, including local partnerships that leverages additional funds or will sustain it after the life of the grant. (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 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 acknowledge funding sources (NFWF, NOAA Marine Debris Program, Covanta, etc.) in public facing announcements, outreach materials, or media inquiries.  Award recipients will also 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 and should report prior experience in securing permits/clearance for similar activities where appropriate.  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.

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.  

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 program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information: Fishing for Energy.

Applicant Webinar 
​April 10, 2019, 12:30-1:30PM, Eastern 
Full Proposal Due Date
​April 25, 2019, 11:59PM, Eastern
Awards Announced​
​Late August, 2019


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. Please disable the pop-up blocker on your internet browser prior to beginning the application process. 
  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 the NFWF website’s Applicant Information page.

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

Kaity Goldsmith, Manager Marine Conservation

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.