Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative 2023 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date:   Thursday, November 3, 2022, by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


Migratory birds link habitats, people, and cultures, offering an extraordinary opportunity to connect people across a hemisphere. Shorebirds undertake some of the longest migrations of any animals on earth. The great distances and routes travelled each year – referred to as “flyways” – also expose shorebirds to numerous threats. Those threats include habitat loss, human disturbance, predation, harvest pressure, and conflicting resource management objectives. In addition, the relatively small population numbers for many shorebird species make them vulnerable to both anthropogenic and environmental impacts. As a consequence, shorebirds are one of the North American bird guilds undergoing the steepest population declines. 

NFWF and partners developed and implemented a single-species shorebird initiative in 2008 that helped reverse the decline of American oystercatcher along the U.S. east coast. The oystercatcher effort laid the groundwork for NFWF’s Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative, a multispecies business plan drafted in 2018. The goal of this plan is to increase populations of three focal species – American oystercatcher (short-distance migrant), whimbrel (mid-distance migrant), and red knot (long-distance migrant) – by improving the function and condition of habitat at critical sites these migratory species depend on at various stages of their lifecycles. Conservation actions to address threats to each of the focal species is expected to provide ancillary impacts to dozens of other shorebird species. This request for proposals will award up to $625,000 in federal and private funding.


This program focuses on priority shorebird sites along the U.S. Atlantic seaboard, the Florida gulf coast and panhandle, and priority wintering sites for the focal species, including portions of the Caribbean and South America. 


All proposals must address how projects will directly and measurably contribute to the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Business Plan goals. Overall, NFWF is interested in advancing full lifecycle conservation and monitoring for focal species. In 2023, the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative seeks projects that will address at least one of the following priorities:

1.    Focal species: 

NFWF seeks proposals that advance American oystercatcher, red knot and whimbrel focal species goals. In 2023, we seek site-based projects that continue population and reproductive success monitoring for American oystercatcher and population monitoring for red knot & whimbrel. NFWF also seeks projects that fill gaps and evaluate threats for non-breeding red knots using the SE US coast as well as the long-distance migrants that stage and winter in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile (this includes north and south bound migration). NFWF is also interested in projects that increase coordination of whimbrel conservation efforts, address whimbrel juvenile survival and recruitment knowledge gaps (survival rates, movement patterns, staging locations) and assess/address threats during the non-breeding period.

2.    Conserve habitat:

NFWF seeks projects that lead to the designation of new WHSRN sites which support important populations of red knot, whimbrel, and American oystercatchers within priority geographies along the eastern seaboard of the United States and for Tier 1* sites in Latin America and the Caribbean. NFWF also seeks proposals that secure permanent or long-term protection of priority sites.  

3.    Restore habitat: 
NFWF seeks projects that restore shorebird habitat within business plan focal areas [Business plan – refer to page 9], particularly red knot foraging beach habitat, whimbrel roost sites, and American oystercatcher foraging, roosting, and breeding habitat. While it is unlikely that the resources are adequate for large-scale restoration projects, NFWF is interested in project planning for large-scale restoration efforts and coordination that incorporates shorebird habitat considerations into coastal management policies and procedures.

4.    Improve habitat management: 
NFWF seeks projects that improve habitat management at breeding, staging and/or wintering sites for American oystercatcher, red knot and whimbrel along the eastern seaboard. Activities should focus on efforts to improve, implement, and evaluate best management practices developed by AFSI working groups to reduce human disturbance and predation by working with local community groups or networks of local organizations/practitioners.

5.    Monitoring and assessing progress: 
NFWF seeks proposals to expand the monitoring infrastructure in key Atlantic flyway locations (e.g., Motus systems, ISS etc).

* Tier 1 sites are listed in the Business Plan Annex.



To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative has a list of metrics in Easygrants for applicants to choose from 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 you think an applicable metric has not been provided, please contact Scott Hall ( to discuss acceptable alternatives.


Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Habitat Conservation Site protection - # of sites with enhanced protection Enter the number of Tier 1 sites designated by land management authorities - the target is formal agreement for a site's protection (e.g. NWRs, state refuges, private owners, other)
Habitat Restoration Beach habitat quality improvements - Miles restored Enter the # miles of beach restored. In the metrics notes, please also include the equivalent acres restored (if available).
Habitat Restoration Beach habitat quality improvements - Acres restored Enter the # of acres of shorebird habitat restored, including shell rakes or nesting islands.
Habitat Management BMP implementation to mitigate recreational disturbance - # of sites with BMPs Enter the # of sites where BMPs have been successfully implemented for one or more focal species (i.e. contribute to focal species productivity, provide refuge for staging).
Habitat Management BMP implementation to mitigate recreational disturbance – Acres with BMPs Enter the number of acres where Atlantic Flyway, community-based social marketing, or other disturbance reduction BMPs are implemented. If using this metric in combination with acres under improved management, please detail any acreage overlap in the metrics notes.
Habitat Management Improved management practices - Acres under improved management Enter the number of acres with shorebird habitat improvement practices implemented, including predation management, disturbance reduction, vegetation management, etc. If using this metric in combination with acres with disturbance reduction BMPs, please detail any acreage overlap in the metrics notes.
Habitat Management Invasive animal or predator removal/ Fencing nests from predators - # sites with goals met Enter the number of sites with predation reduction goals met.
Planning, Research, Monitoring BMP development - # BMP recommendations developed Enter the number of best management practice documents or tools developed for the Atlantic Flyway or a focal geography therein, such as for human disturbance, coastal engineering, or predation management.
Planning, Research, Monitoring Monitoring - # sites being monitored Enter the number of site assessments completed in focal geographies using the WHSRN Site Assessment Tool.
Planning, Research, Monitoring Research - # studies used to inform mgmt Enter the number of studies completed whose findings are used to adapt management/ inform management decisions.
Planning, Research, Monitoring Tool development for decision-making - # tools developed Enter the number of Motus towers operational as a result of the project (include in narrative number of nanotags deployed through the project); also include narrative on number of other tracking devices deployed through the project.
Capacity, Outreach, Incentives Building institutional capacity - # FTE with sufficient training Enter the number of staff or full-time equivalents with sufficient training and skills engaged in conservation activities. This applies to managers of sites who are professionally trained in harvest mgt techniques in the Caribbean and in particular in French overseas territories and Barbados - two regions identified as a priority by the Foundation owing to sport hunting pressure.
Capacity, Outreach, Incentives Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance - # people reached Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities on shorebird conservation issues like human disturbance and incompatible management practices.



Eligible and Ineligible Entities

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

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds 

  • Equipment: Applicants are encouraged to rent equipment where possible and cost-effective or use matching funds to make those purchases. NFWF acknowledges, however, that some projects may only be completed using NFWF funds to procure equipment. If this applies to your project, please contact the program staff listed in this RFP to discuss options.
  • Federal funds and matching contributions may not be used to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems (including entering into or renewing a contract) that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology of any system. Refer to Public Law 115-232, section 889 for additional information. 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 Atlantic Flyway Shorebird program has approximately $625,000 to award in funding for grants this year. The majority of awards under this program will fall in the $75,000 to $200,000 range. However upper or lower limits to award size are not specified. A minimum of a 1:1 non-Federal match of cash and/or in-kind services is required and will be considered in application review. Projects may extend from one to three years. 



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.

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.

Cost-Effectiveness – Cost-effectiveness analysis identifies the economically most efficient way to meet project objectives. Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds. Cost-effectiveness evaluation includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of effective direct/indirect costs across all categories in the proposed budget according to the type, size and duration of project and project objectives. Project budgets will be compared to similar projects to ensure proposed costs across all budget categories are reasonable for the activities being performed and the outcomes proposed.  

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.

Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy. 

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.)


Applicant Demographic Information – In an effort to better understand diversity in our grantmaking, NFWF is collecting basic demographic information on applicants and their organizations via a voluntary survey form (available in Easygrants). This information will not be shared externally or with reviewers and will not be considered when making grant decisions. For more details, please see the tip sheet and the Uploads section of Easygrants.

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.

Environmental Services – NFWF funds projects in pursuit of its mission to sustain, restore and enhance the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. NFWF recognizes that some benefits from projects may be of value with regards to credits on an environmental services market (such as a carbon credit market). NFWF does not participate in, facilitate, or manage an environmental services market nor does NFWF assert any claim on such credits. 

Intellectual Property – Intellectual property created using NFWF awards may be copyrighted or otherwise legally protected by award recipients. NFWF may reserve the right to use, publish, and copy materials created under awards, including posting such material on NFWF’s website and featuring it in publications. NFWF may use project metrics and spatial data from awards to estimate societal benefits that result and to report these results to funding partners. These may include but are not limited to: habitat and species response, species connectivity, water quality, water quantity, risk of detrimental events (e.g., wildfire, floods), carbon accounting (e.g., sequestration, avoided emissions), environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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 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 by NFWF’s Atlantic Flyway Shorebirds 2022 RFP programmatic funders (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) prior to initiating activities that disturb or alter habitat or other features of the project site(s) on federal or non-federal lands. As necessary, 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.

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.

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: Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Initiative.

Full Proposal Due Date                November 3, 2022, by 11:59 PM EST 

Review Period                              November 2022 – January 2023     

Awards Announced                      March 2023



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 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: 
Scott Hall (

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.