Sea Turtles 2023 Request for Proposals


Pre-Proposal Applicant Webinar [View Recording]: Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 2:00PM Eastern Time
Pre-Proposal Due Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2022 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Applicant Webinar: Tuesday, October 11, 2021 at 2:00PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2022 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


NFWF's Sea Turtles Program implements a multi-species business plan that guides conservation investments to measurably improve the current recovery trajectories of four sea turtle populations in the Western Hemisphere: leatherbacks and loggerheads in the Northwest Atlantic, and leatherbacks and hawksbills in the Eastern Pacific. This Request for Proposals will award up to $500,000 in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) funds and up to $450,000 in U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funds.

Key conservation strategies for this program include:

  • Reduce bycatch in fishing gear - support incentive-based approaches for the development and implementation of turtle-friendly fishing gear and practices;
  • Increase and protect the productivity of priority nesting beaches;
  • Build strong regional networks to implement conservation activities – support standardized methods, models and learning networks across the population range as well as coordinated monitoring networks to evaluate the progress of conservation efforts.


The majority of projects will take place in the Western Hemisphere within the focal areas outlined in the business plan for each population. Applicants should reference the business plan and the Program Priorities section below for further guidance. Additional priority is given to Ecuador this year through the USAID partnership.


The most competitive projects under the 2022 grant cycle of the Sea Turtles Program will directly implement projects that implement the updated Sea Turtle Business Plan strategies with highest priority strategies outlined below. Other projects targeting sea turtle conservation in the Western Hemisphere will be considered but as a lower priority for funding.

Strategy 1: Promoting Sustainable Fishing Communities through Reduced Sea Turtle Bycatch in Focal Fisheries - The business plan outlines a four-part strategy to understand and reduce the impacts of bycatch in known priority geographies and fisheries. Projects under this strategy will build capacity for and implement testing of configurations and technologies in fishing gear and practices in these prioritized locations to meet bycatch reduction goals in these ports. Proposals should characterize the fishery, articulate the bycatch rate and known drivers of interaction and how the industry will be engaged toward solutions at the proposed location.

Strategy 2: Nesting Beach Habitat Restoration, Protection, and Management - Specific beaches and threats are identified for each focal population in the business plan. Projects under this priority will identify and implement activities that will improve hatchling production in these locations through tangible approaches such as (but not limited to) reduction of light pollution, beach revegetation, and targeted protection of nests to increase nesting success, hatching success, and hatchlings entering the sea. Proposals should identify the documented threat at the proposed location and measurable targets for hatchling production as a result of proposed activities.

Priority for this solicitation is to address nesting beach habitat concerns identified in the business plan for the ET Pacific and to facilitate in situ nest management strategies. Planning and design of options to protect priority U.S. nesting beaches from storm surge and sea level rise is also eligible to prepare projects for other funding opportunities.

Strategy 3: Building and Maintaining Capacity for Population-Scale Conservation - Projects within this priority would seek to expand existing networks to enhance proactive conservation coordination on specific strategies in the business plan and/or establish new networks for this purpose. Successful applications will engage multiple nesting or foraging sites under one application and present a highly collaborative project and will seek to make significant gains in conservation-relevant knowledge for focal populations.

Special priority for Ecuador: In Ecuador, NFWF is partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to address species at risk from plastic ingestion. The focus will be on building population resilience by mitigating other stressors impacting populations, such as bycatch in fisheries or threats to nesting beaches. For this priority, NFWF and USAID seek proposals that address threats to EP Leatherbacks and EP Hawksbills populations. Supported actions include the primary activities listed above for bycatch reduction and nesting beach protection as well as additional activities with high community engagement/benefit geared toward reducing intentional capture/harvest of turtles and their eggs and increasing awareness around sea turtle conservation and the relationship with plastics. Total funding available for this RFP priority is $450k.  


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Sea Turtles Program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting.

These metrics are not formally reported at the Pre-Proposal stage; however, it is important for applicants to frame their narrative in a way that they will be able to report on relevant metrics if invited to submit a Full Proposal. At the Full Proposal stage, we ask that you select the 1-3 most relevant metrics from this list for your project. If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Michelle Pico ( to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Some proposal types – such as networked monitoring projects – will have additional reporting requirements as part of their annual report.

Project Activity     Recommended Metric     Additional Guidance and
Needs for Metrics Notes
Nesting beach projects that seek to protect or enhance nesting Species Outcome- Reproductive success- # nests or redds  Enter the number of nests that are anticipated to be protected as a direct reflection of the NFWF grant scope of work.
Nesting beach projects that work to increase site protection through acquisition or designation as a protected area Habitat Conservation- Site protection- # of acres with enhanced protection Enter the number of acres with enhanced protection from development activities.
Nesting beach restoration projects that work to increase shading, dune structure or other elements of the beach habitat to increase quality for nesting  Habitat Restoration - Sea Turtle
- Beach habitat quality improvements - Miles restored 
Enter the number of miles of nesting beaches restored to improve beach habitat quality for nesting. Please report only those miles where restoration is being done in the scope of work and period of performance.
Please do NOT record miles that are also recorded for lighting reduction or predation/poaching.
Nesting beach projects which work to reduce light pollution Habitat Management- Sea Turtle
- Beach habitat quality improvements - Miles restored (lighting)  
Enter the number of miles of nesting beaches that, as a result of a light reduction project, have been ‘restored’ to a level of lighting at which disorientation no longer occurs. In the metric’s notes, please estimate the total number of properties that will be impacted by the project.
Engagement of fishing community to reduce bycatch Species-specific Strategies - Reduction in by-catch - # of boats implementing bycatch reduction strategy This metric should only be used to record targeted fishing boats involvement in bycatch reduction projects. Please include the total number of fishing boats for this location/fishery in the notes.
Bycatch reduction projects such as those which distribute alternative gear or fishing methods to reduce sea turtle interactions  Species-specific Strategies- Turtle - Reduction in by-catch -# of bycatch mortality events prevented Enter the estimated number of bycatch mortality events prevented. Reporting values for this metric must reflect documented change in calculated use/effort based on an accepted model of the method/gear employed or from in-water/stranding monitoring. Please clearly explain how you came up with your projected prevention number in the notes.
Bycatch projects seeking to assess bycatch rates for a fishing community or location (port)   Planning, Research, Monitoring
-Sea Turtle - Research - # sites assessed  
Enter the number of sites for which bycatch rates will be assessed. In the Notes, please list the name of the port and gear type (i.e., Gillnet Lobster Fishery at Port A, Mexico) and the known level and distribution of effort serviced by this port/community (i.e., number of vessels/fishermen, miles of coastline in the fishery area)
Research to address a specific management question with an expectation to publish     Planning, Research, Monitoring
– Research - # research studies completed    
This value should be the number of published papers or official management reports expected as a product of this proposal within 12 months of the end date.


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, international organizations.
  • 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 U.S. Federal government agencies and for-profit entities.

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.


This Request for Proposals will award up to $950,000 in USFWS and USAID funds. Most awards under this program will fall in the range of $50,000 to $400,000; however upper or lower limits to award size are not specified. A minimum of a 1:1 non-Federal match of cash and/or in-kind services is required for most projects. Match is not required for projects applying to the Ecuador priority geography but are strongly encouraged. Additional year funds are not guaranteed to be available in future years to supplement awards made as a result of this review. Selected projects may be required to submit data funded by this program to global databases and/or present their results through NFWF-sponsored forums.


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.
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.

Partnership and Community Impact – The applicant organization partners and engages collaboratively with diverse local community members, leaders, community-based organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement the proposed project. This ensures long-term sustainability and success of the project, integration into local programs and policies, and community acceptance of proposed restoration actions. Non-traditional partners or communities are enlisted to broaden the sustained impact from the project. Describe the community characteristics of the project area, identify any communities impacted, describe outreach and community engagement activities and how those will be monitored and measured. Use demographic data to support descriptions and submit letters of support from community partners and/or collaborators demonstrating their commitment to the project and engagement in project activities as proposed.

Cost-Effectiveness – Cost-effectiveness analysis identifies the economically most efficient way to meet project objectives. Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds. Cost-effectiveness evaluation includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of effective direct/indirect costs across all categories in the proposed budget according to the type, size and duration of project and project objectives. Project budgets will be compared to similar projects to ensure proposed costs across all budget categories are reasonable for the activities being performed and the outcomes proposed.

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.

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

Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy. 

Monitoring – 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 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.

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.)


Applicant Demographic Information – In an effort to better understand diversity in our grantmaking, NFWF is collecting basic demographic information on applicants and their organizations via a voluntary survey form (available in Easygrants). This information will not be shared externally or with reviewers and will not be considered when making grant decisions. For more details, please see the tip sheet and the Uploads section of Easygrants.

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.

Environmental Services – NFWF funds projects in pursuit of its mission to sustain, restore and enhance the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. NFWF recognizes that some benefits from projects may be of value with regards to credits on an environmental services market (such as a carbon credit market). NFWF does not participate in, facilitate, or manage an environmental services market nor does NFWF assert any claim on such credits. 

Intellectual Property – Intellectual property created using NFWF awards may be copyrighted or otherwise legally protected by award recipients. NFWF may reserve the right to use, publish, and copy materials created under awards, including posting such material on NFWF’s website and featuring it in publications. NFWF may use project metrics and spatial data from awards to estimate societal benefits that result and to report these results to funding partners. These may include but are not limited to: habitat and species response, species connectivity, water quality, water quantity, risk of detrimental events (e.g., wildfire, floods), carbon accounting (e.g., sequestration, avoided emissions), environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

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 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. 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. Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the 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.

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 [Sea Turtles program].

Pre-Proposal Applicant Webinar [View Recording] September 8, 2022, 2:00PM ET
Pre-Proposal Due Date             September 27, 2022, 11:59 PM ET 
Invitations for Full Proposals Sent       October 6, 2022
Full Proposal Applicant Webinar  October 11, 2022, 2:00PM ET
Full Proposal Due Date   November 8, 2022, 11:59 PM ET 
Review Period        November 2022-February 2023
Awards Announced      March 2023

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

Hannah Lam
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.