Fishing for Energy Bin Program 2020 Request for Proposals - CLOSED

Proposal Webinar: April 7, 2020 3:00-4:00 PM ET
Full Proposal Due Date: April 30, 2020 by 11:59 PM ET


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 proper disposal of retired and derelict commercial fishing gear for recycling and for energy conversion through providing a system of disposal bins at select ports across the U.S. For the first 10 years, the partnership provided the logistical and administrative support for the transport of gear from each port to a Schnitzer Steel recycling and Covanta energy facility. However, the partnership has grown beyond this initial model and has established a new administrative structure that provides greater flexibility for ports to participate and to use additional recyclers and waste-to-energy facilities. 

Under the new program model, the Fishing for Energy bin program will now provide small awards to grantees to meet their disposal costs and then renew these awards as needed. Grantees will facilitate hauls and outreach to encourage use of the bins, and request payments from NFWF as needed until the funds are expended – providing minimal reporting with each invoice (outreach efforts and weight slips associate with the invoice). These adjustments should allow us to expand the partnerships to new locations and increase the amount of gear that can be collected and recycled – even at existing locations.


Grants will target U.S. coastal communities’ waters. Priority will be given to maintain existing Fishing for Energy bin ports with the potential to add additional ports, funds permitting.


The Fishing for Energy Bin Program provides funding to entities to provide interested communities small grants to maintain an existing port in the program or establish a new port opportunity for fishing communities to recycle old or unused fishing gear. Projects can also propose event bins.  

  • New Port: This priority is for all ports that do not currently have a Fishing for Energy dumpster and would like one for more than 1 month throughout the year (can be removed in the off-season if needed). A ‘new port’ grant provides startup costs to address needs to house a dumpster (bin) year round on site including security if needed (fencing or extra cost for locked bin), in addition to outreach and hauling costs. In addition to the monetary award, applicants under this category may receive signage to go on or near the dumpster. 
  • Existing Port: This priority is for ports that already have a Fishing for Energy dumpster. This grant provides funding for outreach to the fishing community and logistical support for gear hauls for 3-4 years.
  • Event Bin: This priority is for all ports that are looking to host a collection event and would like to secure 1-2 bins for one month or less.

All applicants should demonstrate understanding of their service community 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 you will be implementing for collecting, hauling, and recycling old or unused fishing gear.  Provide the names of haulers and recyclers that have been contacted and agreed to engage in the project. Identify a location for the bin to be placed that is convenient for the fishing community. Determine any security needs for the bin.
  • Outreach: Priority projects should include how outreach will be conducted to the fishing communities that will encourage use of the bin. Identify steps that will be taken to notify the fishing 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).


Fishing for Energy Program applicants are required to track the weight of the fishing gear they recycle. Please select this metric in EasyGrants.  

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.


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, 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 federal 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 

  • 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. 


Awards for existing or new ports can be up to $10,000 per port. Awards for event bins should not exceed $5,000. The total amount of all awards made under this Request for Proposals is not expected to exceed $150,000. Non-federal matching funds are not required, but are 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 (fishermen) experts 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 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, 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 (View Recording) April 7, 2020 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time
  Full Proposal Due Date April 30, 2020 11:59 PM Eastern
  Awards Announced June 2020


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 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 PDF version of the RFP can be downloaded here.

A Tip Sheet you must use to complete the above template is available and 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.