Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. ET

Applicant Webinar Recording: Click Here



National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) proposes to partner with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as per the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2019 (P.L. 116-20), to support projects to assess, remove, and dispose of marine debris in and around coastal communities impacted by hurricanes Florence and Michael, and Typhoon Yutu. The Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund will support projects that address marine debris that was caused by or moved by the storms. 

NFWF will award approximately $10 million in grants to remove damaging marine debris from coastal areas of communities impacted by hurricanes Florence and Michael, and Typhoon Yutu to reduce impacts to communities, industry and prevent further harm to habitats and fish and wildlife populations. 

Geographic Focus

Eligible projects must reduce marine debris and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife through the development of high-quality removal projects that help communities within North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands as a result of Hurricanes Florence and Michael and Typhoon Yutu.

Program Priorities

This program will prioritize projects that provide dual benefits – both benefits for human communities and benefits for fish and wildlife. The program will use existing assessment and prioritization efforts conducted by local, state, and federal response agencies to prioritize projects that will address marine debris in areas of greatest impact and most critical to prevent communities and ecosystems from further harm. A limited amount of removal funding will be available to communities that have not yet fully assessed marine debris in the coastal zone. 

​​All proposals must clearly describe how projects will support achieving the overall goals of the Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund, including:

  • Relative benefit to coastal communities from reducing the impact of marine debris to properties and community infrastructure (beaches, marinas), assets of economic importance (fisheries, recreation), and navigational safety; and
  • Anticipated enhancement of the ecological integrity and functionality of ecosystems and/or prevention of further harm (scouring, entanglement) to fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Due to the emergency nature of these funds, the Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund will primarily fund projects that are ready for direct clean-up efforts to remove and dispose of marine debris that resulted from the storms to provide the most accelerated and comprehensive outcomes for impacted coastal resources and communities.  Eligible projects will include marine debris assessment and/or removal activities within the coastal uplands, shorelines and coastal waterways of the affected areas, with the goal of preventing further harm to economic and ecological resources of importance to impacted coastal resources and communities. 

Projects will be prioritized based on the targeted debris’ existing or potential impact to coastal resources and communities and to prevent further harm to sensitive habitats (including but not limited to corals and sea grasses) and species (ESA listed species). Priority will be given to projects that have already completed a marine debris assessment to prioritize debris from the storm(s) and where hazardous materials have already been addressed. Projects that have secured all necessary permits and have mapped out all disposal and recycling logistics will also receive higher priority for funding.

Assessment work may be included to locate submerged debris and help prioritize removal efforts. 

Funding beyond assessment and removal of debris from the storms listed above are not appropriate for ‘requested’ amounts. However, proposals that seek to establish planning, outreach or other actions to prevent or reduce similar harm from future storms are encouraged to do so using matching funds.

Project Metrics

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, applicants will be required to report on specific metrics that relate to their project. The following list are the recommended metrics for this program, most eligible applications should have at least 2 that apply. If you feel that none of these metrics apply to your project please contact to discuss. Additional metrics specifically related to your project’s progress and success should be outlined in the narrative portion of your application.

Project Activity Recommended Metrics Additional Guidelines
Marine Debris Removal & Disposal #lbs of marine debris removed Enter the number of pounds of marine debris that has been removed from the environment and properly disposed of. Do not include full vessels in this weight metric.
# of vessels removed and disposed Enter the number of vessels that have been removed from the environment and properly disposed of.
# of acres restored Enter the number of acres cleared of marine debris. In the notes, indicate the type(s) of habitat cleared of debris.
Marine Debris Assessment # of acres assessed Enter the total area to be assessed for storm debris.
Community Benefits # of critical facilities or infrastructure Enter the applicable benefits to the communities’ critical facilities or important infrastructure that will be enhanced from removal (if applicable). In the notes describe how removal will restore or enhance the socio-economic value
# of jobs created Please complete if any new jobs (do not count veterans) that will be created as a result of these grants. In the notes provide detail on the job types.
# of veterans hired Please complete if any veterans will be hired as a result of these grants. In the notes provide more detail how veterans will be engaged.
# of volunteer hours Please complete the number of hours if any volunteers will be engaged as a result of these grants. In the notes provide more detail how volunteers will be used.
Proactive Planning and Outreach for Prevention (Matching Funds Only) # BMP recommendations developed If part of your scope of work is utilizing matching funds to established pro-active efforts to enhance your ability to respond to future storm events, please document the number of Best Management Practices developed and describe them in the notes.
# of gov’t entities participating If part of your scope of work is utilizing matching funds to established pro-active efforts to enhance your ability to respond to future storm events, please document the number of local/state/federal government entities that are engaged in the process and describe how they will be engaged in the notes.
# of people reached If part of your scope of work is utilizing matching funds to established pro-active efforts to enhance your ability to respond to future storm events, please document the number of people you reach with specific outreach/training. In your notes please outline the target audiences and behaviors you are working to change.


Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state and territorial government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, commercial (for-profit) organizations, Native American tribal governments, or educational institutions. Tribal governments include all Native American tribal governments (both federally recognized tribes and those tribes that are not federally recognized).  For-profit applicants should see the Budget section below for specific budget considerations for for-profit entities.
  • As this program will award grants of Federal financial assistance funds, applicants must be able to comply with the OMB guidance in subparts A through F of 2 CFR 200 (OMB Uniform Guidance​).  
  • Ineligible applicants include federal agencies or employees of federal agencies, foreign organizations, foreign public entities and unincorporated individuals. 

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. 
  • All projects must take place within the United States or territories jurisdiction or their respective waterways within the geographic focus areas.

Funding Availability and Match

The Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund will award approximately $10 million in grants in 2020. While there is no minimum or maximum expected award amount, funding request amounts should be appropriate relative to the overall scale and impact of the project. Please contact Michelle Pico with any questions about funding request amounts.

Project Period: All project dollars, NFWF award request and matching funds, must be secured and expended within the period of performance. The period of performance is the period of time in which all activities in the proposed scope of work occur and is defined by the start and end dates selected in the application. Projects should be able to be completed within 3 years of the start of the grant. Grants under this program cannot start prior to November 1, 2019 and should end no later than December 30, 2023.

Matching Funds: A 1:1 non-federal match cash and/or in-kind services is strongly encouraged, however, due to the emergency nature of the funding and immediate need for project implementation they are not required. There are several elements that cannot be directly supported by these emergency funds such as preventative planning and preparedness for future storms, outreach, longer-term monitoring, etc. that could strengthen a project through the use of matching funds while fostering collaboration and coordination across interested parties.

Match can be any combination of in cash and/or in-kind goods and services and there is no priority given to higher cash percentages. Full information about NFWF matching fund requirements, including a description of acceptable sources of matching funds, is available at​.

Federal leverage:  Applicants are encouraged to describe federal partner contributions as well in the proposal narrative. These contributions will not count toward the non-federal match described above, but will help in understanding the amount of resources and partners contributing to the overall project. 

Evaluation Criteria

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.

Coordinated with State/Territorial Marine Debris Agency - Project areas have been assessed for storm debris through an assessment/prioritization process at the state, regional, or local level for addressing marine debris and demonstrates activities that support community, habitat and fish and wildlife goals of NFWF and NOAA. Project complements and builds off other federal, state, and local conservation priorities that are consistent with the goals of this program and can clearly connect conservation and coastal community benefit. Applications that are not submitted by the relevant state/territorial lead agency for marine debris removal should include a letter from said agency indicating that they are aware of and supportive of the proposed effort.

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, removal and disposal to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible and will reduce interaction/harm to the environment.

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 detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences. Key stakeholders and partners are meaningfully engaged throughout the project.

Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.

Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise. 

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.  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 – Due to the emergency nature of the funding and immediate need for project implementation, matching funds will not be required for this program. However, NFWF will strongly encourage matching contributions where possible to foster partnerships and collaborative implementation. Matching contributions consist of non-federal cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance.

Procurement – Applicants should seek fair and open competition in all procurement activities to the extent practicable. If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, justification should be provided.  Furthermore 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 and the NOAA Marine Debris Program the right and authority to publicize the project and NOAA and NFWF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications.  Recipients are also required 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 are subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (state and federal), and the National Historic Preservation Act, among others. Successful applicants will be required to comply with all Federal, state, or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances prior to conducting activities in the field.

Programmatic Reporting Requirements: Award recipients will be required to submit semi-annual reports on progress towards key implementation milestones and program metrics in addition to a comprehensive final programmatic report. 

Quality Assurance – If a project involves significant monitoring, data collection, or data use, grantees will be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation ( and must comply with NOAA’s Data Sharing Policy for all environmental data. Applicants should budget time and resources to complete these tasks.

Permits – Successful applicants for removal projects 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 and apportionment process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when the Federal funding is received by NFWF.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinars Recording: Click Here

Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. ET

Review Period: January - February 2020

Awards Announced: March 2020

How To Apply

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.

Application Assistance

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:

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.