Fishing for Energy 2021 Request for Proposals

Proposal Webinar: March 2, 2021 3:30-4:30PM Eastern Time (recording here)

Full Proposal Due Date: March 30, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has funding available through the Fishing for Energy program (a partnership between NOAA, Covanta, and Schnitzer Steel) to facilitate the collection and proper disposal of retired and derelict commercial fishing gear for recycling and for energy conversion by supporting the placement of disposal bins at select ports across the U.S. The Fishing for Energy bin program provides small awards to grantees to meet their disposal costs and then renew these awards as needed. 

Grantees are responsible for coordinating logistics to facilitate hauls of collected gear, to conduct effective outreach to encourage use of the bins, and to request payments from NFWF as needed until the awarded funds are expended – providing minimal reporting with each invoice (outreach efforts and weight slips associate with the invoice). This year, the Fishing for Energy bin program includes a new priority to support for capacity and logistics development to prepare communities to host bins for gear collection in the future.


Grants will target U.S. coastal communities’ waters. Priority will be given to maintain existing Fishing for Energy bin ports.


1) Bin Host: The Fishing for Energy Bin Program provides funding to maintain an existing port in the program or establish a new port opportunity for fishing communities to recycle and to convert to energy retired and/or derelict fishing gear. Applicants may also propose short-term event bins.  

  • New Port: This priority is for all ports that do not currently have a Fishing for Energy bin and would like one for a period that exceeds a total of one month per calendar year (the bin may be removed in the off-season if needed). A new port proposal may include funding to cover startup costs to address needs to house a bin year-round on site, security such as fencing or a locked bin if needed, monitoring, and outreach and hauling costs. In addition to the monetary award, applicants under this category may receive signage to go on or near the bin. While most communities will set up gear collection bins for their disposal needs, applicants may also propose other mechanisms for gear collection as appropriate to their circumstances.
  • Existing Port: This priority is for ports that already have a Fishing for Energy bin, or other appropriate gear collection mechanism. This grant provides funding for outreach to the service community and logistical support for gear hauls for 3-4 additional years.
  • Event Bin: This priority is for ports that are looking to host a gear collection event and would like to secure 1-2 bins for one month or less. 

All applicants should demonstrate understanding of the community the bin will serve and ability to coordinate bin hauling logistics and outreach to the community. 

  • Service community: Identify the fishing community that the bin will serve and how the need for the bin has been determined.
  • Clearly defined logistics: Explain in detail the logistics plan for collecting, hauling, and recycling retired and derelict fishing gear.  Provide the names of haulers, recyclers and waste to energy, or other facilities that will engage in the project. Quotes or emails from haulers or facilities demonstrating commitment are encouraged. Identify the location where the bin is or will be placed that meets the needs of the service community. Determine any security needs for the bin and how the bin will be monitored for contamination (disposal of household items or other non-fishing-related debris that may hinder recycling).
  • Outreach: Competitive projects will describe planned outreach to the fishing communities to encourage proper use of the bin; this includes steps that will be taken to notify the service community about the Fishing for Energy collection opportunity and the type of gear that may be disposed of throughout the life of the grant (start and end date).

2) Capacity and Logistics Development:  Some communities need additional capacity or must confront other barriers to develop a logistics plan to host a Fishing for Energy bin. Under this priority, applicants may apply for funding to build the capacity and address barriers to establishing logistics and operations at ports and with waste haulers and entities processing end of life fishing gear.  NFWF is interested in projects that develop opportunities to engage alternative (or non-landfill) disposal facilities (e.g. recyclers, upcyclers, waste-to-energy facilities, etc.). This priority will support applicants to build the needed capacity for comprehensive logistics for port communities interested in implementing a long-term bin program. The desired outcome of an award under this priority would be a port that is fully prepared to submit a proposal under the Bin Host priority upon project completion.

 Projects may propose work to identify barriers to proper disposal logistics, overcome known barriers, build needed capacity, and establish infrastructure for new bin ports. Applicants may submit proposals to build capacity and develop logistics at multiple ports. Projects may include a pilot implementation of the logistics developed to test the effectiveness of the plan developed. Applicants are encouraged to identify and develop new innovative logistics models that will reach more of the targeted community, result in more gear collected, and divert items from landfill. 

All applicants should demonstrate understanding of the service community or communities and how they will be engaged in the capacity development:

  • Service community: Identify the fishing community that future bins would serve.
  • Clear plan: Explain in detail how you will determine barriers to logistics at the targeted bin location. Explain the process to be pursued to develop the capacity and logistics needed to host a long-term bin including stakeholder outreach and engagement, bin location, security needs, hauler, recyclers/upcyclers/energy-from-waste facilities/etc., and metrics tracking
  • Outreach: Priority projects will include how outreach will be conducted to the service community to prepare the community for a future bin.


All Fishing for Energy Program applicants under the Bin Host priority are required to track the weight of the fishing gear they recycle and/or convert to energy. For both priorities, please select in EasyGrants the metrics below that pertain to the project proposed.

Project Activity  Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Fishing Gear Collected and Recycled or Converted to Energy  Tons of fishing gear recycled or converted to energy Please enter the tons of fishing gear recycled or converted to energy based on the weight of your hauls.
Outreach and Education   Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance - # people reached Please enter # of people reached through informal outreach and education. 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, Tribal governments and organizations, educational institutions, or ports.  Port applicants: please note that this is a request for grant proposals, not a procurement of goods and services; see the Budget section below for specific cost considerations.
  • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies or employees of Federal agencies, unincorporated individuals, 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

  • 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.


Under priority 1 for Bin Hosts, awards for existing or new ports will be on average $15,000 per port. Awards for event bins should not exceed $10,000. 

Under priority 2 for Capacity and Logistics Development, awards will range between $75,000 to $150,000 on average. 

The total amount of all awards made under this Request for Proposals is not expected to exceed $500,000. A 1:1 non-federal match in cash or in-kind services is strongly encouraged.


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 logistics are researched and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate management, technical, and industry experts (e.g., fishermen, haulers, other logistics entities) throughout project planning, design and implementation.

Cost-Effectiveness – Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds.  Cost-effectiveness evaluation may include, but is not limited to, an assessment of either or both direct and indirect costs in the proposed budget. The federal government has determined that a de minimis 10% indirect rate is an acceptable minimum for organizations without a NICRA, as such NFWF reserves the right to scrutinize ALL proposals with indirect rates above 10% for cost-effectiveness. 
Communication – Project includes a plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.

Monitoring – Project indicates a clear plan for how metrics will be tracked. Bin Host project includes a plan for tracking weight slips and reporting the weight of every haul. 
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, private business, 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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance as applicable.  This funding opportunity will award grants of federal financial assistance funds; applicants must be able to comply with the OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200).  While for-profit entities are eligible applicants, charges to a potential award may include actual costs only; recipients may not apply loaded rates or realize profit from an award of federal financial assistance funds.

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 non-competitively.  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.

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 March 2, 2021 3:00-4:00PM ET
  Full Proposal Due Date March 30, 2021 11:59PM ET
  Awards Announced August 2021



All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF’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. Find the template application document corresponding to the appropriate priority for download 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 you must use to complete the above template is available and can be downloaded for the Bin Host priority here and for the Capacity and Logistics Development priority 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.