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National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Collaborative Science Program 2019

Grant to a USA IHE, Nonprofit, Commercial Organization, or Agency in
an Eligible State for a Long-Term Estuarine Research Program

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - National Ocean Service (NOS)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

12/03/18 11:59 PM


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Grant to a USA nonprofit, IHE, commercial organization, or local, Tribal, or state government in an eligible state or Puerto Rico for a long-term estuarine research program. Funding is intended to support the development and administration of a national program that funds extramural collaborative science projects to address the system-wide research and management needs of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

Eligible states include Alabama, Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico.

Funding Opportunity Description

A. Program Objective Congress passed the Coastal Zone Management Act in 1972 that established the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). The NERRS is a network of 29 coastal sites across the contiguous U.S., and in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico that are managed in a partnership between NOAA and the coastal states to provide opportunities for long-term research, education, and interpretation. The goals of the NERRS are to: (1) ensure a stable environment for research through long-term protection of National Estuarine Research Reserve resources; (2) address coastal management issues identified as significant through coordinated estuarine research within the System; (3) enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas and provide suitable opportunities for public education and interpretation; (4) promote Federal, state, public and private use of one or more Reserves within the System when such entities conduct estuarine research; and (5) conduct and coordinate estuarine research within the NERRS, gathering and making available information necessary for improved understanding and management of estuarine areas. NOAA provides funding and national guidance, and each site is managed by a lead state agency or their designee or by a university, with input from local partners.

The purpose of this Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) is to support a national-level collaborative science program that, through a cooperative agreement with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management (OCM), will administer funding and support the reserves and their prospective research partners to address system-wide NERRS research and management needs, while being responsive to local and regional reserve priorities, and those of NOAA. This funding opportunity is not requesting proposals for individual research projects or short term activities focused on specific local coastal and estuarine issues.

Collaborative science is defined in the context of this funding announcement as a process that integrates intended users of the science in all aspects of a research project, from problem definition to project implementation. NOAA’s goal in funding a NERRS collaborative science program is to increase the capacity of reserves to effectively develop, share, and communicate knowledge and information to the coastal management community. By incorporating user input and stated needs into the design and implementation of research projects, the activities supported by this program better meet the interests and needs of stakeholders. More information on collaborative science projects previously funded by a collaborative science program in the reserve system can be found here

The collaborative science program will encourage applicants to utilize the best available natural and social science approaches that allow local, state, or federal resource management to make informed decisions about managing complex estuarine ecosystems. NERRS system-wide priorities for applied research include:

- Research and monitoring related to biophysical, social, economic and behavioral impacts of habitat change resulting from climate and coastal development.;
- Understanding how an ecosystem service approach can be utilized to support protection and restoration of estuarine ecosystems;
- Understanding the impacts of land use change, eutrophication, and contamination in estuarine ecosystems and the options for management and mitigation;
- Investigating options for improving estuarine habitat resilience; processes for identifying, prioritizing, and restoring sites; and monitoring and evaluating success; and
- Syntheses of long-term monitoring data and information, originating from programs such as the NERRS System-wide Monitoring Program and associated monitoring efforts, to develop regional and national data products that address coastal management priorities for the NERRS and NOAA.

By administering funding for collaborative science that can address NERRS system-wide, regional, and local priorities and by effectively leveraging and sharing research methodologies and results, this program will increase the capacity of the NERRS management, research, education, stewardship, and coastal training sectors to effectively support coastal and estuarine resource management.

Through a cooperative agreement, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management may work with the successful applicant through activities such as consulting on program focus and priority setting; facilitating communications with partners to obtain input on program priorities; providing expertise in meeting planning and facilitation; information analyses; assisting with program management; and leveraging other resources and funding to further the program goals. Successful proposals will include an adaptive management approach that incorporates input from NOAA and from stakeholders to effectively administer funding and support reserves and their prospective research partners.

Program Priorities

Proposals funded under this announcement must be focused on the system of 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves (see for information about the research reserve system) and the associated estuarine habitat, watersheds, and ecosystems that are adjacent to or that directly impact reserve-based natural resources. The successful applicant(s) will be an organization or group of organizations that will manage an applied research program to administer funding and provide support for coastal management research projects that actively engage intended users in the development of the questions to be addressed and in the implementation of the work. The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of the challenges and benefits associated with managing national-scale programs focused on coastal and estuarine ecosystem science and coastal resource management. A successful proposal must include an explanation of how the following activities will be accomplished and a strategy for soliciting input and feedback from NOAA and the reserve system to adaptively manage and administer the program.

1. In the first year of the award, establish a national program that will solicit, administer, and support competitive, peer-reviewed, collaborative natural and social science projects that directly address system-wide, regional, and local reserve management priorities. Project solicitations developed by the program shall address innovative applied research and the sharing of information within the reserve system.

2. Support sharing and transfer of research outcomes and monitoring information, as well as knowledge related to methodologies, best practices, lessons learned, and tool development, among the reserves and with stakeholders in the coastal management community.

3. Increase the capacity of reserves to develop and participate in collaborative research projects and enhance their ability to communicate the outcomes of collaborative research projects to decision-makers. Activities to increase reserve capacity may include such things as: engaging undergraduate students and graduates to support and contribute new and creative thinking on projects, advancing reserve expertise on collaborative processes, or providing training, opportunities, or resources for staff to translate and communicate project results to decision-makers and managers.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184413

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

NOAA anticipates making one award.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Total anticipated funding is approximately $20,000,000 over five years. The anticipated federal funding per year is approximately $4,000,000. An applicant may request the full $20 million.

Term of Contract:

The start date on proposals shall be on October 1, 2019. Projects funded in FY 2019 shall have a performance period up to 60 months. The project will be awarded as a multiyear award. Proposed projects should request funding for up to five years, and applicants must include project plans and budgets for each year of the project. When multi-year proposals are approved, funding initially will be provided for only the first year of the program. Once awarded, applications that request more than one year of funding will not compete for funding in subsequent years. Funding for years two through five is contingent upon availability of funds from Congress, satisfactory performance, continued relevance to program objectives, and is at the sole discretion of the agency.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible funding applicants are: non-federal institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, state, local, Indian Tribal Governments, and commercial organizations. Federal agencies and employees are not allowed to receive funds under this announcement, but may serve as collaborative project partners. If federal agencies are collaborators, applicants are expected to provide detail on the planned level of federal engagement in the application. Examples might include, but are not limited to partnership services; serving in a review capacity; or participating in priority task teams, working groups, or leadership teams.

DOC and NOAA support cultural and gender diversity and encourages women and minority individuals and groups to submit applications to this program. In addition, DOC and NOAA are strongly committed to broadening the participation of historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions that work in underserved areas. DOC and NOAA encourage applications involving any of the above institutions to apply.

Construction grants will not be awarded under this announcement. A construction award is an award in which the major purpose of the project or program is construction.

Ineligible projects:
The following projects will not be eligible for funding: (1) Activities that constitute legally required mitigation for the adverse effects of an activity regulated or otherwise governed by state or federal law; (2) Activities that constitute mitigation for natural resource damages under federal or state law; and (3) Activities that are required by a separate consent decree, court order, statute or regulation.

Pre-Application Information:

Dates of Interest:

- Letters of Intent or Pre-applications: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, October 10, 2018
- Proposal Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, December 3, 2018
- Earliest Start Date: October 1, 2019

The LOI process is a critical step to determine if proposed programs are well suited for this specific competition. Submission of an LOI is strongly recommended for applicants to this funding announcement. The goal of this process is to streamline the review process by only encouraging proposals that strongly align with the program goals and objectives. The Office for Coastal Management will respond to each LOI by email informing the lead Principal Investigator (PI) whether or not they are encouraged to submit a proposal. The funding source anticipates sending responses by approximately October 22, 2018. If the lead PI does not receive an email by October 22, 2018, the lead PI must contact Marie Bundy and request the status of their LOI.

Applicants may choose to submit a proposal even if they are not encouraged by NOAA to do so after submitting an LOI.

Formal announcement of an award will be made by approximately August 30, 2019.

For full proposals, the standard NOAA funding application package is available at (; and application packages, including all letters of collaboration, shall be submitted through the “Apply” function on

Applicants must register with before any application materials can be submitted. To use, applicant must have a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number ( and be registered in the, and periodic renewals are required. Applicants should allow a minimum of seven days to complete the SAM registration.

Audio recording from a public webinar:

View this opportunity on

Contact Information:

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

Email letters of intent to:

Marie Bundy, NOAA
Phone: (240) 533-0820

Insert "FY2019 NERRS Collaborative Science Program Letter of Intent" as the subject line of the email.

If you are unable to email, a hard copy LOI must be sent to:

Office for Coastal Management
Attn: Marie H. Bundy
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   California;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Mississippi;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New York;   North Carolina;   Ohio;   Oregon;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   Texas;   Virginia;   Washington;   Wisconsin

USA Territories: Puerto Rico (USA)