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Long Island Sound Futures Fund​ (Futures Fund) Grant Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs in Multiple
States to Improve the Long Island Sound Watershed

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Long Island Sound Study and US Environmental Protection Agency - Long Island Sound Futures Fund

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

06/22/17 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions to improve watershed quality and wildlife habitat in Long Island Sound. The purpose of this program is to restore habitats and wildlife, secure clean water and healthy watersheds, and engage the public in creating sustainable and resilient communities.

Geographic Focus:

Habitat restoration projects must fall within the coastal boundary established by the LISS, as indicated by the red outline on the Interactive LISS Coastal Boundary Map. This boundary includes coastal portions of New York that drain to Long Island Sound (portions of Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and portions of Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan in New York City) and the coast of Connecticut.

Water quality, education and fish passage projects may be in any portion of Long Island Sound watershed within the states of Connecticut and New York as shown in the Interactive LISS National Estuary Program Map. This area includes all the outlined portions of CT and NY as shown in Figure 1 in the RFP.

Water quality nitrogen removal projects may be anywhere in the Long Island Sound watershed within Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont as shown in Figure 2 of the RFP

All projects must demonstrate a quantifiable and measurable impact on improving Long Island Sound. ​

Program Priorities:

The most competitive proposals will: 1) address one or more of three “Themes” and associated “Implementation Actions” (IAs) from the 2015 Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP); and 2) contribute directly to implementing CCMP IAs as described below. Please note that not all the IAs found in the three Themes are priorities addressed by Futures Fund grants.

Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds – improve water quality by delivering projects that reduce nutrient loading, Combined Sewer Overflows, stormwater runoff and nonpoint source loading into Long Island Sound including:

​​​-Promote and implement green infrastructure that reduces polluted runoff from entering waterways i.e., rain gardens, porous pavers, bioswales, rainwater harvesting, green streets etc.

-Promote and implement conservation activities that reduce pollution at its source including: develop and implement alternatives to current decentralized on-site wastewater treatment systems, implement alternatives to current chemical and nitrogen-intensive residential and commercial turf fertilizer applications, deliver fertilizer reduction and/or soil health practices in agriculture, implement actions to support trash-free waters etc.

-Identify opportunities to further nitrogen removal, including: low-cost retrofits at wastewater treatment facilities, expansion of point and nonpoint source nutrient trading programs, and/or developing a water quality monitoring strategy for nitrogen in the upper basin states of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire etc.

-Help develop and implement locally-driven watershed plans to mitigate eutrophication-related impairments. The plans should consider the relative importance of nitrogen from centralized and individual on-site wastewater treatment, agriculture, turf fertilizer and atmospheric deposition sources. For more information go to the Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans, and review local and regional nitrogen action plans described below.

-Identify, and monitor local pollution sources in embayments and near-shore areas that affect the water quality of the Sound. Water quality monitoring must: 1) be related to the nature of the impairment i.e., dissolved oxygen, nutrients, sediments etc. as designated under the Clean Water Act, Section 305(b) in Connecticut and New York; 2) demonstrate how the data collected is used to address use impairments i.e., reduce annual beach-day closures, improve water clarity, upgrade the acreage restricted or closed for shellfishing, reduce the area of impaired sediment in the Sound etc.; 3) describe how the resulting data and assessments will work to align with Long Island Sound open water and other embayment monitoring i.e., how data will support intersystem comparisons; and 4) describe how the project will manage data so it is accessible to citizens and public resource managers.

Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife – restore coastal habitats to maintain resiliency and function; and foster diverse, balanced and abundant populations of fish, birds and wildlife including:

​-Restore one or more of the Important Coastal Habitat Types targeted for restoration by the LISS. Restore one or more of those Important Coastal Habitat Types to enhance biodiversity and increase populations of species representative of system health such as coastal birds and fish.

-Enhance the resiliency of coastal habitat by: 1) removing barriers to the natural resources of these habitats to migrate inland; and 2) by replacing armored shorelines or stabilizing shorelines with living shorelines to mitigate shoreline erosion while sustaining habitat that can adapt to sea level rise.

-Create fish passage or reduce barriers to fish passage in order to: increase access to high quality habitat for Long Island Sound diadromous and freshwater fish such as alewife, blueback herring, brook trout, American eel and American shad; and/or increase aquatic connectivity (measured by river miles reconnected). Priority will be given to proposals that include monitoring strategies to support and/or establish long-term spawning run counts.

-Restore habitat connectivity to increase biodiversity, habitat migration, and migratory pathways that promote species dispersal (measured by contiguous acres of restored coastal habitat).

-Reduce the impact of invasive species through targeted management and eradication programs supported by ongoing invasives management operating together to prevent the introduction of new invasive, exotic species.

Educating to Engage Sustainable and Resilient Communities – increase the knowledge and engagement of the public in the protection and restoration of Long Island Sound including projects that will:

-​​Involve the public in the cleanup and ecological restoration or protection of the health and living resources of the Sound.

-Provide natural landscaping guidance to communities and homeowners to encourage the use of alternatives to chemical and nutrient-intensive landscaping.

-Increase appreciation and understanding of the Sound for underprivileged and non-traditional audiences in urban areas. The definition of an “Urban Area” may be found at the U.S. Census Bureau.

-Increase Long Island Sound environmental and conservation-related instruction in classrooms.
Offer festivals, celebrations and events in natural resource-based, science education locations (i.e., aquariums, museums) to develop awareness about and encourage appreciation and use of the Sound.

-Develop education and awareness by engaging comprehensive social marketing campaigns1 targeting specific stakeholders with projects or programs to achieve measureable environmental improvements in the Sound.

-Promote environmentally sustainable recreational activities along the Sound.

All education projects must involve hands-on activities that engage target audiences. All public engagement and education projects must be specifically related to and integrate into their delivery concepts and activities focused upon protection or restoration of the health and living resources of the Sound.

Urban Waters. One additional focus of the Futures Fund is to assist communities especially underserved and distressed communities, to access, improve and benefit Long Island Sound and its urban tributaries and surrounding land. Urban waters project proposals may fit within any of the three program priorities shown in this RFP. The definition of an “Urban Area” may be found at the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Futures Fund has four categories of grants:

-Implementation Grants: Awarded to support on-the-ground projects that result in quantifiable pollutant reductions or lead to measureable gains in habitat restored.

-Planning and Water Quality Monitoring Grants: Awarded primarily to support planning and design activities that set the stage for on-the-ground implementation of water quality or habitat restoration projects that result in quantifiable pollutant reductions or lead to measureable gains in habitat restored; for water quality monitoring of the Sound and/or its embayments; or for planning associated development of an in-depth social marketing campaign.

-Education and Public Participation Large Grants: Awarded to hands-on, visible public participation and education projects of more significant scale and scope.

-Education and Public Participation Small Grants: Awarded to hands-on, visible public participation and education projects involving a limited number of activities and/or locations.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 142753

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

-Implementation: $20,000 to $250,000
-Planning/Monitoring: $20,000 to $100,000
-Education: $3,000 to $10,000 for small projects, and $20,000 to $45,000 for large projects

Term of Contract:

Projects must start within six months and be completed within 12-15 months after notification of grant award. Notification of award is projected to be November 2017. Project start dates cannot be before October 1, 2017.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible and Ineligible Entities:

-Eligible applicants include nonprofit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local government, municipal government, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.

-Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, 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.

-Individual projects that have received funding from the Futures Fund for three consecutive years.

-Submitting more than three proposals per organization. For example, you may submit two large grant proposals and one small grant proposal for a total of three proposals. Universities are excluded from this limit if multiple departments or investigators are submitting proposals. However, no more than one proposal will be accepted from any individual principal investigator. Please note that while your organization may submit multiple proposals, it is unlikely that all proposals will be funded given the competition for funding.

-Alternatives analysis and/or feasibility assessments to inform the development of potential projects.
Stand-alone public access projects such as creation of boat launches, fishing piers, public viewing areas, waterfront trails, walkways, and/or fencing.

-Stand-alone signage projects.Research projects. Those interested in funding for research should consider the LISS Research Grant Program.

-Development of new educational curriculum.

-Marketing efforts that serve to generally promote the applicant organization and its initiatives.

-Funding for lunches or snacks, t-shirts and promotional items (i.e. key chains, coffee mugs, pens etc.).

-Proposals requesting funds below the minimum and above the maximum allowable award amount in the grant categories.

-The placement of fill, pilings, or platforms in open waters, near shore waters, or wetlands to create artificial islands or serve as infrastructure for commercial development or new land for purposes other than habitat restoration.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The following webinars will discuss the application process for the Long Island Sound Futures Fund:

-​5/23/2017, 1:30 - 3:00 PM Eastern Time
-​5/31/2017, 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern Time

The Webinar recording may be accessed here:

Webinar slides are attached below.

Pre-Application Information:

Match Requirements: Applicants must contribute non-federal matching cash funds and/or in-kind services valued at a minimum of 50 percent of the total grant amount requested from the Futures Fund (not your total project budget). For example, if you are requesting $100,000 from Futures Fund, the required match is $50,000. Preference will be given to proposals that have matching contributions valued at 76 percent and greater of the total grant amount requested from the Futures Fund as described in the “Evaluation Criteria” section of the RFP. Eligible indirect costs (that would not be paid with requested grant funding) may be applied as match.

​​-Applicant Webinar 1: ​5/23/2017, 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern Time
​-Applicant Webinar 2: ​5/31/2017, 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern Time
​-Full Proposal Due Date: ​6/22/2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
​-Review Period: Summer/Fall 2017
​-Awards Announced: ​November 2017

Budget Instructions:

Required Financial Documents FAQ:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For issues or assistance with the online Easygrants system, please contact:

Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday.
Include: your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.

Staff Representatives:

Michael Lagua, Coordinator, Long Island Sound and Delaware River

Lynn Dwyer, Program Director, Northeast - Coastal

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Connecticut: Long Island Sound watershed;   Massachusetts: Long Island Sound watershed;   New Hampshire: Long Island Sound watershed;   New York City: Long Island Sound watershed;   New York: Long Island Sound watershed;   Vermont: Long Island Sound watershed