Papahānaumokuākea Research and Conservation Program 2022 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Pre-Proposal Webinar (Recording here): Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time
Pre-Proposal Due Date:   Thursday, December 9, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Webinar:  Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 4:00 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date:   Thursday, February 24, 2022 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (MNM) includes dozens of tiny islands, atolls and shoals, stretching across more than 1,200 nautical miles and encompassing over 580,000 square miles across the world’s largest ocean. Coral reefs are the foundation of this ecosystem that hosts more than 7,000 species, including marine mammals, fishes, sea turtles, birds, and invertebrates - many of which are rare, endemic, threatened, or endangered.  The Papahānaumokuākea Research and Conservation Fund (Fund) provides coordinated and collaborative research and conservation in support of effective management of the species and habitats in the Papahānaumokuākea MNM. 

Overarching priorities for the Fund include filling research gaps and supporting management actions directly through grants to increase the effectiveness, capacity, collaboration and community awareness of work in the Papahānaumokuākea MNM. To assist in these goals, investments will be consolidated under the following four key themes that have been identified by the Hawai‘i-based Advisory Committee for greater impact and to facilitate collaboration and communication. 

  • Mitigating Impacts from Environmental Stressors 
  • Reduce the Impact of Marine Debris 
  • Characterization of Unexplored Habitats

Further detail and priorities for this years’ solicitation can be found in the Program Priorities section.

Funding for the Papahānaumokuākea Research and Conservation Fund is provided by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.


Funding under this solicitation is for activities in the northwest Hawaiian archipelago depicted in Map 1. If the proposed project is part of a broader research geography with other funding, please make note of it in the matching funds section and in the proposal narrative. Due to the importance of the environmental and cultural resources of this area, strict attention will be given to biosecurity and culturally significant places and traditions. Applicants must be prepared to secure their own transportation to the study area.

Map of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Map 1: Eligible geographies are within the Papahānaumokuākea MNM. Map provided by the NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Office.




















All projects addressing one or more of the primary three themes listed above are eligible for funding. Additional priority is also listed under two themes for this year’s solicitation. 

  1. Mitigating Impacts from Environmental Stressors:  Assist managers in understanding the potential actions needed to assist in the preservation of fish and wildlife in response to environmental stressors like sea level rise and warming temperatures. Actions may include collection of data to support predictive modeling, to understand recovery rates for episodic events like coral bleaching and hurricanes, and potentially translocation efforts for wildlife in peril with an emphasis on threatened and endangered species. 

2022 Priorities: 

  • Support for addressing priority management questions around the current Chondria outbreak. 
    • What is the current extent of the spread? Utilize all available technologies and appropriate ground-truthing to understand the scope of the outbreak.
    • What steps can be taken to reduce/slow the spread? Examination of existing protocols for vessels and interactions to minimize the spread and/or tools that could be used to minimize transfer through vessel hulls and ballast. Complement and supplement proposed bmp for Chondria developed by the monument management board.
    • What are options for proactive management? Exploration and testing of mitigation options to slowdown the spread and/or reduce impact.
  • Characterization and review of management options for terrestrial and marine species complexes at risk from sea-level rise on French Frigate Shoals/Lalo and the likely impacts at 20-50 year projections. 
    • Conduct a review of management options modeling based on similar situations and management actions employed in other parts of the world.
    • Working directly with the Papahānaumokuākea MNM Management Board to convene experts to assess and recommend monitoring and potential management action for the French Frigate Shoals/Lalo atoll complex. 
  1. Reduce the Impact of Marine Debris:  Coordinate efforts to reduce, remove and better understand the sources and impacts of marine debris on Monument wildlife and habitats. The goal of the Fund is to foster a more sustainable program model that can manage debris at reduced levels and explore ways to reduce impact.

2022 Priority: 

  • Foster coordination and increase capacity and efficiency for marine debris removal.  
    • Conduct a marine debris removal project in Papahānaumokuākea MNM.
    • Begin to explore the valuation of ecosystem services that are lost from debris impacts through a damage assessment that includes impact of debris to systems like coral reefs and updated accumulation rates. 


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Fund has a list of metrics in Easygrants for full proposal 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 Michelle Pico,, to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Community Outreach and Education # people with knowledge Enter the number of people demonstrating a minimum level of knowledge, attitudes, or skills
Community Outreach and Education # social media posts Enter the number of social media posts. Include in the notes platforms and size of target audience.
Community Outreach and Education # of students reached Enter the number of students in pre-school-grade 12 engaged. In the notes, identify the grade level(s) for all students reached.
Community Outreach and Education # of volunteer hours Enter the # of volunteer hours in this project
Beach habitat quality improvements Miles restored Enter the number of beach miles restored
Marine debris removal  # lbs of marine debris removed Enter the number of pounds of marine debris that has been removed from the environment and properly disposed of. 
Marine habitat restoration Acres restored Enter the number of marine habitat acres restored within the project period
BMP development for FFS sustainability # BMP recommendations developed Enter the number of Best Management Practice (BMP) recommendations developed
Monitoring # sites being monitored Enter the # sites being monitored
Monitoring     # square km of benthic mapping Area covered by detailed high-resolution maps of the bathymetry and habitat types for reef fish
Research # research studies completed Enter the number of research studies completed and specify the management application in the notes.
Tools/models development for decision-making  # tools developed Enter the number of  tools developed and specify the management application in the notes.



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 businesses. 
    • For-profit 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 and unincorporated individuals.
  • Applicants must be prepared to secure their own transportation to the study area and coordinate with communications and cultural leads that are part of the overall effort.

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 Papahānaumokuākea Research and Conservation Fund is expected to award up to $1,100,000 in grants funding in 2022. The majority of grant awards are anticipated to range between $50,000 - $300,000 based on the focal priority, scope of work and conservation impact; however there are no set minimums or maximums. Projects must be completed by April 30, 2023. A minimum 1:1 non-federal cash and/or in-kind match is required for this program. If you feel that you have special circumstances that prevent you from meeting this requirement, please contact Michelle Pico, to discuss.

Projects that require work in the Monument must gain all necessary approvals and abide by all cultural and ecological/biosecurity requirements and may need to prepare a permit application package prior to award decisions being made depending on the proposed start date.


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.

Progress to Management Needs – Scope of work is designed to address management questions and needs and to establish actionable conclusions within the period of performance. The project advances an existing research priority or management action called for in the Papahānaumokuākea MNM management plan. 

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.

Past Success - Investigators should have a proven track record of conducting similar work to that proposed, either in the Hawaiian Archipelago or similar island systems.

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.  

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.

Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period (if applicable) 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.

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 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. If you feel you are unable to secure matching funds you should reach out to the Program Manager prior to making the decision not to apply.

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 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. 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.  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 [Papahānaumokuākea].

  Applicant Webinar [Recording here] November 18, 2021, 4:00PM, ET
  Pre-Proposal Due Date December 9, 2021, 11:59PM, ET
  Invitations for Full Proposals Sent January, 2022
  Full Proposal Webinar January 20, 2022, 4:00PM, ET
  Full Proposal Due Date February 24, 2022, 11:59PM, ET
  Review Period March  – April, 2022
  Awards Announced May, 2022


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: 
Michelle Pico
Program Director, Marine Conservation

Arielle Mion
Program Coordinator

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.