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Hudson River Estuary Grants Program - River Education

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Agencies for
Environmental Education in the Hudson River Estuary

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Deadline Date:

08/22/18 3:00 PM ET


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Grants starting at $10,500 to New York nonprofit organizations, community colleges, school districts, municipalities, conservation districts, and other public agencies for environmental education relating to the Hudson River Estuary. Nonprofit applicants must be prequalified in the online grants system in advance of the deadline.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is pleased to announce funding for projects that implement priorities of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda to conserve, restore and revitalize the estuary and its ecosystem.

Eligible Project Locations:

Eligible projects for grant funding must be located within defined geographic boundaries of the Hudson River Estuary watershed. “Hudson River Estuary” refers to the legislatively designated Hudson River Estuarine District established in Environmental Conservation Law §11-0306, which extends from the Troy dam to the Verrazano Narrows and includes Upper New York Bay to Kill Van Kull and the East River to Hell Gate, focused on the tributaries that flow into any of these waters.

Project Objectives:

This Hudson River Estuary Grant RFA for River Education seeks to assist Hudson Valley municipalities and organizations build their capacity to implement the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda, Benefit 6: Access for Education Recreation and inspiration, Targets 1 and 2:

“Residents of the Hudson Valley understand and appreciate the contribution of the estuary, its watershed, and its fish and wildlife to their lives, and take action to conserve the estuary and its resources.”

“Students who graduate from high school and colleges in the Hudson River Valley have a fundamental understanding of the estuary and its connected local waterways. They appreciate the river’s value to natural and human communities and have participated in stewardship activities along the estuary or in its watershed.”

Funding under this RFA is available to support projects and plans to enhance education about the estuary along the tidal waters of the Hudson and make opportunities to learn about the Hudson River Estuary more accessible for a wide range of people. This funding may be used to support development of plans or curriculum, purchase of equipment, development of web sites or mobile phone apps, and/or construction of physical improvements, as described in greater detail below under “eligible projects.” Throughout the RFA, the word “plan,” as used to describe a deliverable, is deemed to broadly include: plans, feasibility studies, designs and related permitting activities, etc.

Programming to engage user groups, students, or other target audiences in the design, use, and/or roll-out of the funded education products and/or improvements may be included as part of the project scope of work. Up to 30% of the grant request may be allocated toward programming activities, as described for each project type below.

Project Types:

Funding must be used to implement one of the following project types to meet the above Project Objectives. Applicants will identify the project type number for the Program Question.

(1) Hudson River shoreline facilities for education about the Hudson River Estuary (planning and/or construction)

Applicants may apply for projects on or in sight of the shoreline of the Hudson River estuary or relevant portions of NY Harbor to plan, design, equip and/or construct facilities (including signage, exhibits and river-focused art installations) to be used for education of students, families, tourists and residents. Such projects must be consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and should strive to utilize the principles of universal access or design wherever possible so that people of all abilities can learn about and enjoy the river. Projects should also be designed to be resilient to future storms and sea-level rise, if applicable. Projects budgets may include up to 30% for program costs related to using the facilities that have been constructed with these grant funds. The proposed project should provide a lasting change or improvement.

(2) Hudson River Resources for Education about the Hudson River Estuary

Applicants may apply for equipment, materials, transportation equipment, or other capital investments that will be used to help students, families, tourists and residents directly learn about the estuary. This may include transportation equipment used to provide accessibility to existing river education facilities and waterfront sites. Projects budgets may include up to 30% for program costs related to use of the newly- acquired products. The proposed project should provide a lasting change or improvement.

(3) Boats used for education about the River

Applicants may apply to purchase, construct or repair vessels specifically and primarily used as floating classrooms with education programming purposely focused on estuarine ecology, natural history, and water quality, or to purchase, construct, and repair human-powered small craft (canoes, kayaks, rowboats) used to get the public out on the tidal waters of the estuary for that purpose. Project budgets may include up to 30% for program costs related to use of the grant-funded boat project for education upon completion of the purchase, repair or construction. Projects should strive to be inclusive of individuals with diverse needs and abilities. The proposed project should provide a lasting change or improvement.

(4) Internet-based learning about the Estuary

Applicants may apply for projects to expand the audience for science-based information about the natural history of the Hudson estuary, promote a natural history-based sense of place, and create a multiplier effect for learning about the estuary through engaging use of the internet, Web applications for mobile devices, and social media. Projects budgets may include up to 30% for program costs related to testing the product upon its completion. Projects should strive to be inclusive of individuals with diverse needs and abilities. The proposed project should provide a lasting change or improvement.

(5) Curriculum development directly linked to the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda

Applicants may apply for projects to develop new curriculum, improve, or build on existing curriculum directly linked to the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda. The application must demonstrate commitment to teach about the Hudson River and demonstrate consistency with state learning standards. The final product must include lesson plans or other curriculum products which will be made available uncopyrighted for NYSDEC to post on its public web site of Hudson River lesson plans, so that it may be widely shared with other educators. Project budgets may include up to 30% for program costs related to testing and improving the curriculum. The proposed project should provide a lasting change or improvement.

4. Project Objective and Impact (Program Question 5)

Describe the objective for the proposed project, including methods, deliverables, and the need for the project. Projects that are likely to have an exceptional educational and/or positive impact on opportunities for a wide range of people to learn about the Hudson River Estuary will be the highest priority. Higher points will be awarded to projects that also have a regional impact.

For purposes of this RFA, “regional” is defined as two or more municipalities (including counties and boroughs).

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183956

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The minimum grant amount is $10,500. The maximum grant amount is $40,000.

Term of Contract:

Applicants MUST provide a timeline for meeting project objectives and identified tasks between February 1, 2019 and January 31, 2021.

All projects must have defined objectives, tasks, and deliverables accounted for in performance measures that can be completed and invoiced within a two-year contract period/term.

Applicants should not begin their projects or incur costs until a MCG has been fully approved by DEC, and if applicable approved by the Attorney General and the State Comptroller. Time extensions beyond the contract term end date will be determined by the DEC based upon written justification from the Grantee. Applicants should not submit an application if they do not anticipate their project can be completed within the specified contract term.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

For the purposes of this grant program, the following entities are considered eligible applicants: Governmental Entities, Municipalities, and Quasi-Governmental Entities, including but not limited to Counties, Cities, Towns, Villages, or Indian nation or tribe recognized by the state or the United States with a reservation wholly or partly within the boundaries of New York State, or any combination thereof, Public Benefit Corporations, Public Authorities, Municipal Corporations, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, School Districts, and Community Colleges, and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporations whose projects are located within the eligible geographic boundaries defined in this RFA.

For this grant opportunity, a “Not-For-Profit Corporation” (NFP) is subject to New York State’s Not-For- Profit Corporation Law and is qualified for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, has an IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter to be incorporated in New York State and is current in their charities reporting requirements with the Office of the Attorney General.

Individuals and unincorporated groups are not eligible for this grant opportunity. However, an eligible applicant may apply on behalf of an individual or unincorporated group as a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor accepts responsibility of the grant, and serves as a fiscal conduit for a DEC-funded project, receiving and disbursing funds related to the grant, and administering the requirements throughout the DEC grant process, including final reporting of grant activity.

For Multi-Partner and Inter-Municipal Projects: If a proposed project involves a cooperative agreement or partners, only one eligible, designated lead applicant must submit the application for grant funding. The lead applicant must assume the responsibility for the project application, performance of work consistent with this RFA, and the State of New York Master Contract for Grants (MCG). Letters substantiating the collaboration from each partner are required. These letters are to be uploaded to the Grants Gateway in a single PDF.

Minimum Eligibility (Pass/Fail criteria):
-The applicant must be eligible, as shown on page 4 of the RFA. A not-for-profit organization must also be prequalified in the Grants Gateway by the application due date to be determined eligible under this grant opportunity.
-The project must be located within the defined geographic boundaries of the Hudson River Estuary. In general, for purposes of this RFA, as defined in the eligible project types, that means projects will be on, near or tightly-focused on the tidal Hudson or relevant portions of NY Harbor.
-The applicant must provide photos of the project location, and condition of the site (if applicable), uploaded to the Grants Gateway.
-Projects must implement one of the eligible project types identified in this RFA.
-The uploaded project time line indicates completion of project objectives, tasks and deliverables on or before January 31, 2021.
-Proposed projects must provide or improve estuary-focused education as defined in eligibleproject types. If the project involves an educational facility, the facility must be on, near, or tightly- focused on the tidal Hudson or relevant portions of NY Harbor.
-All project funding sources are eligible and at least 15% in eligible match is identified.
-If applicable, letters of collaboration that include the “Lead” applicant designation are provided from all applicant partners.
-Construction projects must have all required permits in place at the time of application.
-For projects involving work on property owned by an entity that is not the applicant, the applicant must provide as an upload to the application, written documentation from the landowner indicating willingness for the project to take place on their property. For example, a “Friends of the Park” group must have documentation from the park owner.
-Application completeness: The application is broken out into four sections in the Grants Gateway: Program Information, Expenditure Budget, Work Plan, and Pre-Submission Uploads. To be eligible, applicants must complete all of these sections and upload the required documentation. See the checklist on the last page of the RFA as a reference.

Pre-Application Information:

Match is the portion of project expenditures not paid for with grant funds. Match can be from local and/or in-kind contributions. Local sources can include funding from other non-state and/or non-federal grant sources or from project partners. In-Kind contributions are non-cash donations provided by non-state and/or non-federal third parties, which can include equipment, supplies, services, and other expendable property. Matching share contributions must support the objectives outlined in the Work Plan.

Eligible sources of match funds cannot come from other New York State or federal funding sources. Applicants will be required to provide the sources of all matching funds using the Match Worksheet in the Grants Gateway.

For this grant opportunity, applicants must match at least 15% of the grant funding amount.

Questions regarding this grant opportunity will be accepted by the DEC until C.O.B. August 15, 2018. All questions, and answers, will be uploaded in the Grants Gateway application for all applicants to view.

Applications must be submitted through the NYS Grants Gateway ( Paper applications will NOT be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications prior to the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.

All Applicants must be Registered with Grants Gateway to submit an application. In addition to registration, not-for-profits must also be Prequalified at the time and date that the application is due. If you are not Prequalified at that time and date, your application will not be considered.

The State reserves 5 days to review submitted prequalification applications. Prequalification applications submitted to the State for review less than 5 days prior to the deadline for this application may not be considered. Applicants should not assume that their prequalification information will be reviewed if they do not adhere to this timeframe.

-Application Period Begins: June 22, 2018
-Question & Answer Period Ends: August 15, 2018
-Applications Due: August 22, 2018; 3:00 p.m. ET
-Award(s) Announced By (anticipated): Approximately October 2018

View this opportunity on the Grants Gateway:

Contact Information:

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

Susan Pepe, Hudson River Estuary Program Grants Coordinator

Grant Coverage Areas:

Eligible projects for grant funding must be located within defined geographic boundaries of the Hudson River Estuary watershed. A map may be found in the Supporting Documents.

A searchable Google Maps version is also available for download at:

Use the data set titled “Hudson River Estuary Grant Program boundaries” listed under the “Misc. Environmental Maps” Section.

Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York