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FY2021 Marine Debris Removal

Grants to USA Agencies, Nonprofits, IHEs, and For-Profits
for the Removal of Waste in Marine Environments

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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US Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

12/04/20 11:59 PM EST


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Grants to USA and territories agencies, nonprofits, IHEs, and commercial organizations for the assessment, prevention, and removal of waste and debris in marine environments. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full proposal. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to several weeks to complete.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program, authorized in the Marine Debris Act, codified at 33 U.S.C. § 1951 et seq., supports the development and implementation of locally-driven, marine debris assessment, removal, and prevention projects that benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and NOAA trust resources. Projects awarded through this grant competition will create long-term, quantifiable ecological benefits and habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources through on-the-ground marine debris removal activities, with highest priority for those targeting derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris. Projects should also foster awareness of the sources and effects of marine debris to further the conservation of living marine resource habitats, and contribute to the understanding of marine debris composition, distribution and impacts. Successful proposals through this solicitation will be funded through cooperative agreements. 

Marine debris removal is the most direct approach to restoring damaged or depleted habitat and mitigate any future impacts. Another principal objective of the Marine Debris Program is engaging the public to promote the long-term prevention of marine debris. NOAA supports this objective through education and outreach projects that provide the knowledge and resources necessary to change behaviors and raise awareness of the issue. In conjunction with all removal efforts, NOAA encourages such activities to be integrated into the project to maximize the long term impact of a removal project. NOAA also encourages partnerships with relevant groups to this end. These may include partnerships with public and nonprofit organizations, citizen and watershed groups, anglers, boaters, industry (e.g. the commercial fishing industry, the aquaculture industry, fishing gear manufacturers, other marine industries, and the plastics and waste management industries), corporations and businesses, youth conservation corps, students, landowners, academics, and local, state, and federal government agencies.

For funding priorities, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 148236

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The NOAA MDP anticipates that between 8 and 15 awards will be made under this solicitation.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The NOAA MDP does not plan to fund proposals for removal activities at less than $50,000 or more than $250,000 under this solicitation, however the exact amount of funds to be awarded and the number of awards made will be at the discretion of NOAA following preaward negotiations with highly meritorious applicants. The typical funding level for the federal share of project awards ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. For projects that include habitat recovery monitoring activities, applicants may request additional funds not to exceed $100,000 for such activities, for a project total of up to $350,000. In such cases the NOAA MDP would work with successful applicants to determine final levels of monitoring effort and funding.

Term of Contract:

Applications should cover a project period of performance of no more than two years in duration. If habitat recovery monitoring activities are proposed to be conducted before or following removal, NOAA may consider applications with a period of performance of up to three years as long as there is reasonable justification provided. The earliest anticipated start date for awards will be September 1, 2021.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

As outlined in the Marine Debris Act, eligible applicants are state, local, tribal, and territory governments whose activities affect research or regulation of marine debris and any institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or commercial (for-profit) organization with expertise in a field related to marine debris.

Applications from federal agencies or employees of federal agencies will not be considered. Interested federal agencies may collaborate with eligible applicants but may not receive funds through this competition.

All projects should take place within the United States or territories or their adjacent waterways and have clear benefits to NOAA trust resources. Foreign organizations and foreign public entities are not eligible to apply as the primary applicant but can be involved as project partners.

NOAA is strongly committed to broadening the participation of veterans, minority-serving institutions, and entities that work in underserved areas. The NOAA MDP encourages proposals from, or involving any of the above types of institutions. Applications that have been submitted to other NOAA grant programs or as part of another NOAA grant may be considered under this solicitation.

Projects focused on removing primarily hazards to human health or removals for aesthetic purposes, with no clear connection to NOAA trust resources are not a focus of this grant competition.

Applicants should also note that the following activities, in general, will not be considered under this competition: (1) activities that constitute legally required mitigation for the adverse effects of an activity regulated or otherwise governed by local, state, or federal law; (2) activities that constitute restoration for natural resource damages under federal, state, or local law; and (3) activities that are required by a separate consent decree, court order, statute, or regulation.

Applications addressing other types of pollution not fitting the definition of marine debris are not priorities for this solicitation and may not be considered.

Pre-Application Information:

This funding opportunity requires a Letter of Intent (LOI) to be submitted before full proposals will be invited. LOIs must be received via email no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, September 4, 2020.

Full Proposals may only be submitted if invited by NOAA. Invited full proposals must be received and validated by on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, December 4, 2020.

Successful applications generally will be identified by May 1, 2021. Typically, the earliest start date for projects will be September 1, 2021

Applicants are strongly advised to begin the application process early and submit in advance of the deadline.

Registration with the system is required in order to be eligible to submit via, and to be a recipient of federal funds. It is recommended that as soon as you are sure you are going to apply for a NOAA grant, you begin your organization’s registration process in, as it may take several weeks to complete. Problems or issues related to registration may prevent the timely submission of an application, as such please plan accordingly and register early. See and the Quick Guide for Grants Registrations in Supporting Documents below for more information.

Applicants can receive a DUNS number at no cost by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or online at

Please keep in mind that acquiring a DUNS number, and the registration processes for and may take as long as several weeks and may impact the submission timeline.

The Marine Debris Act (33 U.S.C. § 1951 et seq.) requires NOAA MDP’s grant programs to leverage its federal grant funding with non-federal cost share or match. Applicants often satisfy this requirement by developing and including public and private partnerships, as well as in-kind and financial contributions, to accomplish the overall project objectives. Applicants must provide a minimum 1:1 ratio of non-federal matching contributions to NOAA funds requested to conduct the proposed project. In addition to required cost sharing, the NOAA MDP encourages applicants to leverage additional investment where possible. For more information, see

Proposal Submission Guidance for Applicants:

View this opportunity on
For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

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

Email LOI to Please put "FY2021 Marine Debris Removal Letter of Intent (LOI)" in the email subject heading. Do not direct questions to this email address.

For further information contact Tom Barry (, 202-870-2863)

Any technical issues or questions should be addressed to the Helpdesk staff at 1-800-518-4726;

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Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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