National Coastal Resilience Fund 2021 Request for Proposals

Increasing the Nation's Natural Defenses

Pre-Proposal Webinar (recording here): Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET
Pre-Proposal Due Date:    Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by 11:59 PM ET
Full Proposal Invitations: Mid-May 2021
Full Proposal by Invite Only Due Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021 by 11:59 PM ET


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is pleased to announce the 2021 National Coastal Resilience Fund Request for Proposals (RFP). NFWF will make investments in planning, design, and restoration of natural and nature-based solutions to help protect coastal communities from the impacts of storms, floods, and other natural hazards and enable them to recover more quickly and enhance habitats for fish and wildlife.

Natural habitat such as coastal marshes and wetlands, coastal forests, rivers, lakes, and streams, dune and beach systems, and oyster and coral reefs -- maintained at a significant size for the habitat type and natural hazard being addressed -- can provide communities with enhanced protection and buffering from the growing impacts of sea-level rise, changing flood patterns, increased frequency and intensity of storms, and other environmental stressors. NFWF’s regional coastal resilience assessments seek to identify areas where natural resource restoration efforts will have the greatest impact for human community resilience, as well as for fish and wildlife, and identifies these types of natural areas as Resilience Hubs1. Projects need not be located in an area identified by NFWF as a Resilience Hub to be eligible, but applicants may find this tool useful to assess projects based on the dual benefits to habitats and human communities. Applicants may explore Resilience Hubs on the Coastal Resilience and Evaluation Siting Tool (CREST)

NFWF will award approximately $34 million in grants to create and restore natural systems in order to increase protection for communities from coastal storms, sea- and lake-level changes, inundation, and coastal erosion, while improving habitats for fish and wildlife species. NFWF will invest in projects in four priority areas:

  • Community Capacity Building and Planning
  • Site Assessment and Preliminary Design 
  • Final Design and Permitting
  • Restoration and Monitoring

In every priority area, NFWF is also interested in funding projects that seek to re-shape our thinking on how to protect communities in light of projected environmental stressors and use innovative approaches to address these challenges. NFWF seeks to advance projects that include adaptation to projected future environmental conditions, so that these individual projects are resilient into the future.

This program is funded by, and coordinated with, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Division, the U.S. Department of Defense, AT&T, Occidental Petroleum, Shell Oil Company and TransRe, and will include input from other federal agencies and outside experts. NFWF will also seek to leverage additional public or private funds that align with the goals of the NCRF projects in order to extend the impact of this program.


Projects must be located within the coastal areas of U.S. coastal states, including the Great Lakes states, and U.S. territories and coastal tribal lands. For the purpose of this funding opportunity, the eligible project area is defined as all coastal Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 8 watersheds that drain to the sea and any adjacent HUC 8 watersheds that are particularly low-lying or tidally influenced2.

This program is being implemented nationally and is focused on enhancement of resilience for coastal communities. Award decisions will be made based on regional circumstances, needs, and priorities. Projects will help to reduce flooding threats due to, but not limited to: sea-level rise, lake-level change, coastal erosion, increased frequency and intensity of storms, and impacts from other chronic or episodic factors. Many of these threats are connected, and NFWF anticipates that the proposed projects will address reducing vulnerability to multiple threats, as appropriate.


Applicants should apply under the program priority area that best describes the purpose of their project; NFWF will not accept an application that seeks funding across multiple program priority areas. Funding will be available for Community Capacity Building and Planning, which will support the development of prioritized coastal resilience strategies and projects. For the Site Assessment and Preliminary Design, Final Design and Permitting, and Restoration and Monitoring priority areas, it is expected that planning, relevant assessments, and prioritization of project to address specific community threats have occurred prior to application submission and that any prior work done to prepare for the activities being proposed will be described in the proposal. 

Community Capacity Building and Planning: Many coastal communities are in the early phases of understanding and identifying their resilience needs. This includes engaging stakeholders and building the capacity to plan and execute a variety of future resilience strategies, projects, and other activities. This priority will support the prioritization of strategies and projects, and development of plans in order to identify specific efforts that, when implemented, will meet the needs of a community to increase resilience and reduce exposure to or risks from coastal storms and flooding. Desired outcomes include a plan with a prioritized set of potential strategies and projects, to include, but not be limited to, identified geographies and/or projects where natural and nature-based solutions may be implemented in the future to reduce flooding risk and exposure. Projects proposed for this phase should engage and involve key partners, community members, and stakeholders (e.g. local government and community leaders, citizen groups, federal, state, territorial, or tribal governments or affiliates, emergency management entities, and/or natural resource agencies) throughout the planning process to ensure broad utility of the resulting resilience plan. Proposed projects should clearly describe the coastal community(ies) and the geography(ies) for which resilience projects will be considered, discuss the factors that will be considered in prioritizing projects and other activities, and discuss potential nature-based solutions likely to be considered in the planning efforts. Proposed projects should result, at a minimum, in communities being well-prepared to begin site assessment and design for specific strategies or coastal resilience projects to enable them to seek future funding under this program or other Federal, state, or local programs. 

The amount requested should reflect the scope and needs of the project proposed. Projects that contain a larger, more comprehensive geographic area of interest (e.g. across several communities within a region) or a broad scope of projects and activities are likely to be more competitive. NFWF expects the average award to be $250,000 for this priority area, but awards will vary significantly in amount based on the scope of the project and the work proposed. Applicants are encouraged to include collaboration with a diverse suite of partners and sectors (e.g. emergency managers, transportation and economic development officials, local planners, natural resource managers, community groups), and should explain how these key partners and stakeholders will be meaningfully involved in the planning and prioritization process. The resulting plan should describe activities to mitigate risks, increase community social and economic resilience, and/or ecosystem resilience and how those activities are prioritized. Proposals should clearly indicate a geographic area, anticipated or example strategies to be considered, and the criteria and methodology to be used in prioritizing natural and nature-based solutions with community-resilience benefits. 

Most Community Capacity Building and Planning projects are expected to be completed within 24 months of the start of the grant and result in the understanding and identification of specific community and ecosystem resilience needs and the development of resilience strategies that can be used to advance site assessment, design, and on-the-ground activities in future years, based on clear resilience needs and criteria.

Site Assessment and Preliminary Design: Many coastal resilience projects require preliminary design and feasibility assessments to lay the groundwork for successful implementation to meet resilience targets for communities and natural resources. Recognizing this need, applicants may request funding to complete site assessments and preliminary designs of best options to address restoration and community resilience goals. Projects under this phase will have previously identified and prioritized a community for which increased resilience and risk reduction is the goal, but for which a site or sites are still under consideration to determine the most appropriate site and project to achieve resilience goals. At the end of the grant period, projects under this category are expected to be ready for the next phase, final design and permitting.

The amount requested should reflect the project proposed. NFWF expects the average award to be $250,000 for this priority area, but that awards will vary significantly in amount based on the scope of the project and the work proposed. Eligible activities under this priority area include evaluation of potential project sites, through continued community engagement, assessing alternatives for restoration and protection activities and site-specific characteristics that influence project and activity selection, assessing the potential improvements in risk reduction, identifying and addressing barriers to moving to the final design and implementation phases, gathering baseline data, conducting cost-benefit analyses, selecting the most appropriate natural or nature-based solution for a site, and preparing preliminary project designs that allow a community to make a “go/no-go” decision on the project.

Proposals should clearly indicate that the proposed project has been prioritized for risk reduction and increased resilience benefits and the specific site(s) selected to achieve these goals. This can include relevant local, state, or national-level resilience plans, prioritization tools, cost-benefit analysis, etc. While Site Assessment and Preliminary Design projects are not required to secure permits for project restoration during the life of a NFWF grant, proposals should ensure affected land owners and community members are supportive and indicate plans for preliminary conversations with relevant permitting officials by the end of the grant period.

Proposals should provide examples of natural or nature-based solutions or hybrid features they anticipate designing. If a project will develop several conceptual designs and advance a small portion of those to preliminary designs, the proposal should be clear that the focus of preliminary designs to be developed will be natural, nature-based, or hybrid and have clear community resilience benefits. 

Most Site Assessment and Preliminary Design projects are expected to be completed within 12 months of the start of the grant and result in a preliminary design that allows the community to make a “go/no-go” decision on the project (this is generally between a 30-60% design depending on the needs of the community).

Final Design and Permitting: Applicants may request funding to support final design and permitting for on-the-ground projects. Such funding may be used to develop conceptual or preliminary designs into final designs and engineering plans, continued and expanded stakeholder engagement efforts, detailed cost estimates, robust communications with permitting officials at various levels of government, and other related tasks to position projects for restoration-ready implementation. NFWF expects the average award to be $350,000 for this priority area, but that awards will vary significantly in size based on the scope of the project and the work proposed. Proposals for a larger, more comprehensive project are likely to be more competitive.

Recognizing that permitting requirements may vary among states, counties, tribes, territories, etc., proposals should demonstrate an understanding of the relevant permitting considerations to be addressed. Proposals should indicate plans to hold robust conversations with permitting officials at various levels of government early on and throughout the design process and prior to submission of permitting applications.

Final Design and Permitting projects are not expected to achieve immediate environmental or conservation outputs and outcomes, and proposals are not required to obtain permits by the end of the grant period, but projects should result in demonstrated readiness to move a designed project to the restoration phase. Proposals should demonstrate that the resulting project plan will be sufficient to meet requirements for environmental review and permitting and, when implemented, will address needs prioritized through a formal coastal resilience planning process and meet specific program goals related to community resilience and ecosystem enhancements.

Most Final Design and Permitting projects are expected to be completed within 18 months of the start of the grant and result in a 90-100% design.

Restoration and Monitoring: There is no maximum limit on the award amount of Restoration and Monitoring grants. Grants should be appropriate to the scope and scale of the project. NFWF expects awards for this priority area to range from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 and anticipates awards will vary significantly in amount based on the scope of the project and the work proposed. Proposals for larger, more comprehensive projects that are designed for greater impact are likely to be more competitive; however, where appropriate, ‘demonstration’ or ‘pilot’-scale projects will be considered. If a ‘demonstration’ or ‘pilot’ project is proposed, please be clear about the need for this scale of project and any efforts that will be taken to increase the transferability of the project to broader, larger-scale implementations of nature-based solutions in the future. Projects proposed under this category are expected to have already been prioritized through planning processes that address coastal resilience, completed all design and engineering plans necessary for implementation, and readiness to secure all permits and other approvals necessary for implementation. Projects that have secured all necessary permits and approvals will receive higher priority for funding. Proposals should clearly state the month and year in which the project’s preliminary design and final design was or will be completed. 

Proposals must clearly describe how the project will protect and enhance resilience of natural systems and help mitigate the impacts of future storms and other natural-hazard events and threats on key, local community assets (such as emergency services, infrastructure, and centers of economic activity), and the expected benefit to fish and wildlife. Projects should result in measurable and observable improvements to these systems.

Projects may be conducted on Federal, tribal, state or local government lands, or private lands where there is a demonstrated commitment to the protection of those lands for conservation purposes. Projects that consider the larger landscape and involve multiple landowners and/or partners and jurisdictions, as appropriate, are encouraged.

Restoration and Monitoring projects should be able to be constructed within three years of the start of the grant and should include at least one year of post-construction monitoring (total of 4 years). For many project types, NFWF has developed monitoring metrics and protocols that are required at a minimum and will need to be incorporated in full proposals. These minimum metrics and protocol standards are located here. Acquisition of land and conservation easements are not eligible activities (although they may be part of the match; see Office of Management and Budget Uniform Guidance for more information).

Eligible projects include ecosystem restoration projects and the construction of natural, nature-based, and green-gray (hybrid) features, where tangible community resilience and conservation outcomes can be measured. Restoration projects should advance resilience goals (e.g. reduction of storm-surge impacts), community goals (e.g. protecting critical assets), and conservation goals (e.g. creation of habitat for native species). Living shoreline projects that advance both conservation goals and community resilience goals are also eligible. Projects that conduct monitoring only are not eligible. 

All Priority Areas: Proposals should explain how key partners and stakeholders (e.g. local government leaders, federal, state, territorial, or tribal governments or affiliates, emergency managers, and/or resource agencies) will be involved in the project. Partners and stakeholders should be meaningfully engaged, allowing partner and stakeholder perspectives to be more fully integrated throughout the project, to ensure broad utility of the work and enhance likelihood of successful implementation. Proposals should identify how stakeholders have been meaningfully engaged leading up to the stage of the project being proposed. Applicants should provide letters of support and commitment from partners and stakeholders key to the successful completion of the project, to demonstrate that the intended project is a priority and is likely to advance to the next stage if applicable. 

Applicants are also encouraged to identify potential sources of funding to advance projects into future phases if applicable.

Proposals should be as specific as possible in identifying the tangible flooding risk(s) the project will seek to address. Proposals should be as specific as possible in identifying the anticipated benefits to habitats and species that will result from the project proposed, as well as how the project will lower community vulnerability to flood risk.   


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, applicants will be asked to report on specific metrics from the list below that relate to their project. Applicants should select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible project metrics for this program are shown in the table below). In most cases, this will be 1-2 metrics from the relevant priority area section and 1-2 metrics from the Community Benefit and Outreach section. For restoration metrics, please represent one acre/mile in only one metric. For example, if you are enhancing a floodplain that is also considered a wetland, just select the most relevant habitat. If you think an applicable metric has not been provided, please contact Kaity Goldsmith ( to discuss acceptable alternatives.

In addition to the project metrics listed below, NFWF has developed additional ecological and socio-economic indicators to better assess the projects’ impacts on resilience. NFWF will request applicants that are invited to the full proposal for Restoration and Monitoring to include specific ecological monitoring metrics and protocols into their projects and NFWF may contract a third party to collect socio-economic data across several funded resilience projects post-award. All awardees under this program may be engaged during their period of performance or in the years following to support these monitoring and evaluation efforts.

Community Capacity Building and Planning

Project Activity Recommended Metric  Additional Guidance
Tool development for decision-making # tools developed that are used by decision-makers Enter number of tools developed to be used by decision-makers
Government Agency Participation and Engagement Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Outreach/Education/Technical Assistance - # of governmental entities participating Enter the number of municipalities, local, state, and federal government entities participating in the project, and add the names of these institutions in the notes and their primary role.

Site Assessment and Preliminary Design

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Site Assessment and Design Plans Development Capacity, Outreach, Incentives - Volunteer participation - # volunteers participating Enter the number of volunteers engaged in assessment of sites and preliminary design. Please include the percent design to be completed at the conclusion of the project in the notes.
Government Agency Participation and Engagement Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Outreach/Education/Technical Assistance - # of governmental entities participating Enter the number of municipalities, local, state, and federal government entities participating in the project, and add the names of these institutions in the notes and their primary role.

Final Design and Permitting

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Engineering and Design Plans Developed Planning, Research, Monitoring – Restoration planning/design/permitting - # E&D plans developed Enter the number of Engineering and Design plans developed to construction ready (90-100%). Generally, there will be one plan per project to be constructed.
Government Agency Participation and Engagement Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Outreach/Education/Technical Assistance - # of governmental entities participating Enter the number of municipalities, local, state, and federal government entities participating in the project, and add the names of these institutions in the notes and their primary role.

Restoration and Monitoring

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Floodplain Restoration Habitat Restoration – Floodplain Restoration – Acres Restored  Enter the number of acres restored. In the notes, indicate the type(s) of floodplain habitat (i.e., coastal forest) restored and restoration method(s).
Beach and/or Dune Restoration Habitat Restoration – Beach habitat quality improvements – Miles Restored Enter the number of miles of beach or dune restored. In the notes, indicate restoration action(s) taken (e.g., beach enhancement, dune vegetation planting).

Marsh/Wetland Restoration



Marsh/Wetland Restoration 

Habitat Restoration – Wetland Restoration – Acres Restored



Habitat Restoration - Erosion Control - Acres Restored

Enter the total number of marsh or wetland acres restored. Do NOT include acres of marsh or wetland outside the scope of the work proposed in your application (i.e. marsh landward of a living shoreline proposal).


Enter total acres of eroding wetlands restored.

For each metric, in the notes, indicate the type of wetland (using the Cowardin classification system3) and restoration method(s) used (e.g., invasive species removal, thin- layer dredge deposition).

Oyster or Coral Reef Restoration or other submerged aquatic habitat Habitat Restoration – Marine Habitat Restoration – Acres Restored Enter the number of acres of oyster or coral reef structures restored. In the notes, indicate the type of reef restored – oyster reef or coral reef.
In-stream Restoration Habitat Restoration – Instream Restoration – Miles Restored Enter the number of miles of instream habitat restored. Note, this is in-stream restoration only. Stream miles opened should NOT be counted under this metric, rather use # miles of stream opened under Aquatic Connectivity Restoration if applicable.
Aquatic Connectivity Restoration

Habitat Restoration – Fish Passage Improvements - # of fish passage barriers rectified


Habitat Restoration – Fish Passage Improvements – miles of stream opened

Enter the number of fish passage barriers rectified and in the notes indicate the number of remaining barriers in the system.


Enter the number of stream miles opened and, in the notes, those miles as a percentage of habitat available for restoration or reconnection.

Community Benefit and Outreach

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
Community Benefits

Planning, Research, Monitoring
– Community Benefits Projected - # of Critical Facilities or Infrastructure Within Radius of Enhanced Protection


Planning Research, Monitoring – Community Benefits Projected - # of Properties with Enhanced Protection

Enter the number of critical infrastructure assets or facilities that are within the radius of enhanced resilience4.  This can include those necessary or ensuring public health and safety, such as hospitals, shelters, emergency and evacuation routes, fire and police stations, etc. as well as critical infrastructure – wastewater treatment facilities, power plants, etc.


Enter the number of commercial or residential properties within the radius of enhanced resilience.

Community Outreach and Engagement

Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Building Institutional Capacity - # of Individuals Reached by Outreach, Training, or Technical Assistance Activities


Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Volunteer participation - # of volunteer hours


Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – # people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities 

Enter the number of people demonstrating a minimum level of knowledge, attitudes, or skills. This metric refers to people other than staff or FTEs. In the notes, please indicate the groups targeted by outreach efforts and how they engage.


Enter the number of volunteer hours in this project.


Enter the number of people meaningfully engaged in the process of the proposed project.



Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state and territorial government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Tribal governments and organizations, educational institutions, or commercial (for-profit) organizations. 
    • Tribal governments include all Native American tribal governments (both federally recognized tribes and those tribes that are not federally recognized). 
    • 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.
  • 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

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


The National Coastal Resilience Fund will award approximately $34,000,000 in grants in 2021. Most project awards will average between $250,000 and $5,000,000 in accordance with the guidance provided under the Program Priorities section above. A minimum 1:1 non-federal match5 in cash or in-kind services is expected and strongly encouraged. Match can be any combination of in cash and/or in-kind goods and services (for example external/partner services, volunteers or grantee in-kind, etc.) 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 Applicants who would have difficulty meeting 1:1 non-federal match, or who have questions regarding match beyond this guidance, may reach out to Kaity Goldsmith (


All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness, and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on alignment with the priorities of the program and the extent to which they meet the following criteria.

Prioritized in Existing Plans – Project has been prioritized through an existing planning process or identified as a need at the state, tribal, regional, or local level for addressing coastal resilience and demonstrates activities that support habitat, fish and wildlife restoration, and community resilience goals of NFWF and NOAA. Project complements and builds off other federal, tribal, state, and local conservation priorities that are consistent with the goals of this program and can clearly connect ecosystem and coastal community resilience actions. 

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 – 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 includes a meaningful 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. Key stakeholders and partners are meaningfully engaged throughout the project.

Monitoring and Adaptive Management – 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 reflects planning and design that takes into account the future conditions of a site and adapts the project to those conditions. Project design either does not require maintenance, or will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. Narrative includes how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities, as well as risk associated with not securing future funding. For planning and design projects, narrative includes information on likely sources of funding for eventual project implementation. 

Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing complex projects with specific, measurable results.

Innovation – The project proposes to conceptualize and develop or apply innovative solutions for habitat restoration activities that incorporate best practices testing and learning to increase desired impact. Projects seeking to employ innovative thinking to approach community protection should still have natural and green infrastructure as part of the design.

Scale or Comprehensiveness – The project is at a large enough geographic scale to have an impact on flood risk reduction. The project is comprehensive and designed for a greater impact – versus a ‘demonstration’ or ‘pilot’-scale project. If a project is not itself large or comprehensive, then it proposes the advancement of a piece of a larger, more comprehensive effort underway. 

Partnership – Applicants demonstrate strong partnerships with Federal, state, and local agencies, existing regional partnerships (e.g. Landscape Conservation Cooperatives), as well as communities and/or non-profit organizations necessary to implement the project. Project is supported by a strong local partnership, including key state agencies with responsibility for developing and implementing coastal resilience plans, to leverage additional funds and sustain the work after the life of the grant.


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 non-federal 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 that 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 – Selected projects may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), and the 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.

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 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 U.S. 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. NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct conversations with all relevant permitting agencies. 

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 the Federal funding 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.

  Pre-Proposal Webinar: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET
  Pre-Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by 11:59 PM ET
  Full Proposal Invitations: Mid-May 2021
  Full Proposal Webinar: Wednesday May 26, 2021 at 3:00 PM ET
  Full Proposal Invite Only Due Date: Wednesday June 23, 2021 by 11:59 PM ET
  Awards Announced: Late November 2021



All application materials must be submitted online through the 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 later for completion and submission.


A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. The Tip Sheet 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 one of the following individuals based on your question:

If you have a question about a project idea in… Please contact…
Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states (Maine to Virginia) Stephanie Heidbreder –
Southeastern and Gulf States (North Carolina to Texas) Suzanne Sessine –
West Coast and Alaska Femke Freiberg –
Great Lakes Aislinn Gauchay –
Hawaii, Caribbean and Pacific territories Michelle Pico –
General questions about this RFP or requirements of the program Kaity Goldsmith –

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.


1More about NFWF’s coastal resilience assessment can be found at

2The NCRF footprint map can be found here

3For more on the Cowardin classification system see

4The radius of enhanced resilience refers to the area predicted to benefit from an implementation project.

5If funds originated as a federal appropriation, they are unlikely to be acceptable as match.