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 Coral Reef Conservation Fund 2014 RFP


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will award grants to mitigate negative impacts to coral reefs and improve coral reef management effectiveness. Grants will be awarded to reduce land-based sources of pollution, advance coral reef fisheries management and improve watershed management planning.

The Coral Reef Conservation Fund is a partnership with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and works to assist the agency in implementing the CRCP Goals & Objectives for 2010-2015 for domestic coral reefs and the CRCP International Strategy for international coral reefs; both documents can be found here.

Pre-proposal Online Applications Must be Submitted by: Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 11:50 PM EST at www.nfwf.org/easygrants.

Interested applicants are encouraged watch a recording of the Overview webinar to learn about 2014 priorities. The webinar was held on December 11, 2013 at 3pm EST. To watch a recording of this webinar, follow this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/756944193.

To learn about how to complete a pre-proposal application using NFWF’s online application system, easygrants, you can view a pre-recorded webinar here.


Domestic U.S. Jurisdictions: Tropical coral reefs in Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Puerto Rico, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Priority reef and watershed geographies within these jurisdictions are listed here.

International: Priority will be given to activities in Micronesia, Samoa and the Southwest Pacific, the Coral Triangle region, and the Wider Caribbean; however, all international tropical coral reef locations are eligible.


The Coral Conservation Fund offers one grant cycle per year and available funding is not expected to exceed $500,000. Average grant awards will range from $40,000 - $75,000 with the exception of the international category “applying lessons learned from NOAA-training programs” where the maximum requested amount is $10,000 from individual participants and $30,000 for collaborative projects.  Projects should be 12-24 months in duration. Matching funds from non- U.S. Federal sources are required at a 1:1 ratio for all proposed projects.


  • Eligible applicants include: all persons, organizations, and non-U.S. Federal agencies, including parties within and outside of the United States.

  • NOAA employees are not eligible to apply for grants. NOAA CRCP staff are available and encouraged to provide general information on programmatic goals and objectives, ongoing coral reef conservation programs/activities, and regional funding priorities; however, NOAA employees are not permitted to assist in the preparation of applications or write letters of support for any application. If NOAA employees will collaborate with a project, they may provide a statement verifying that they are collaborating with the project applicant, confirming the degree and nature of the collaboration, and acknowledging the utility of the proposed work. NOAA employee activities, including travel and salaries, are not allowable costs.

  • Funds granted under this program may not be used for political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, and litigation or to support projects resulting from legally-mandated mitigation projects.  Grant funds may not be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.

  • Only projects that address tropical coral reefs are eligible for funding. Pelagic fisheries management and new MPA establishment are not priorities for funding.


The most competitive applications under this funding opportunity will directly implement projects in the following priority proposal categories. Projects outside of these proposal categories or that indirectly influence these topics are still eligible for funding provided they strongly support the specific goals and objectives of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and NFWF as outlined via the Internet links below.

Projects that incorporate social science elements should use the SocMon methodology in order to fulfill goals.  More information and copies of appropriate regional SocMon Guidelines can be found here.

Projects in Domestic U.S. Coral Reef Jurisdictions

1. Enhance Watershed Management Planning for priority coral reefs and associated watersheds

Projects submitted for funding under this category should focus on establishing robust watershed management plans that foster the ability to measure and evaluate successful investment in priority watersheds.  Specifically, funding will be provided to expand current planning efforts to focus on elements 2-4 and 8-9 of the EPA watershed management planning handbook. Project activities may include but are not limited to:

  • Establishing measurable goals and threat reduction targets for threats identified in the plan;

  • Identifying key questions for evaluating the success of implementation projects and developing a monitoring strategy that will answer these questions throughout the life of the watershed management plan; and, 

  • Funds should not be requested for direct monitoring activities, but may be requested for specific baseline information needed to establish goals or key threats for a watershed. 

Projects should build on priorities that have already been identified in the watershed management planning process and will bolster strategic planning for investment and evaluation. Whenever possible, projects submitted under this category should involve working with local organizations that are developing the watershed management plans in these priority watersheds.

2. Tools for U.S. Coral Reef Managers: Coral-specific Thresholds, Models and Protocols for addressing Land-based Sources of Pollution (LBSP) Threats to U.S. Coral Reefs

Projects submitted for funding under this category will foster the ability to measure and evaluate LBSP mitigation actions in priority coral reef watersheds and support key elements of the CRCP LBSP Implementation Plan.  Projects may include but are not limited to one or more of the following areas of interest:

  • Efforts to establish science-based thresholds and threat reduction targets for common threats to coral reefs from LBSP, including sedimentation, turbidity, nitrogen, and phosphorus; and create new or adapt existing models to include the thresholds from these land-based sources of pollution in management decision making analysis;

  • Assessment, development, and/or refinement of models for LBSP inputs that are better suited to tropical, high island environments  and could be adapted to meet the specific needs of coral reef managers;

  • Sedimentation and land-use mapping of priority watersheds to identify specific sediment sources that are impacting targeted reefs and prioritize specific parcels for mitigation; and,

  • Efforts to institutionalize standardized methods, protocols and thresholds for use by state and territorial managers in determining the extent of land-based threats to coral reefs. Projects proposed under this category should complement ongoing work within NOAA’s existing LBSP portfolio and incorporate EPA’s water quality standards to the extent practicable.  Projects under this category should allow for scaled implementation based on historical data and available resources of the current management regime. Collaboration between managers in multiple jurisdictions is encouraged. The creation of new rapid assessment protocols is not a priority for funding.

3. Reduce Land-based Pollution inputs to coral reefs in domestic priority watersheds

Projects under this category will focus on implementing high priority actions identified in watershed management plans for priority watersheds that will directly reduce inputs of sediments to coral reefs and/or projects that fill key gaps in knowledge identified in the associated watershed management plan. Projects should incorporate specific performance metrics to track the effectiveness of project activities in reducing the identified threat to nearshore coral reef ecosystems and estimate the percentage reduction of the threat that will be addressed by the project. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Activities that engage local, private industry, community groups, and individuals in stewardship of the watershed such as streambank stabilization, rain garden construction, promoting the use of native planting materials, installing BMPs for reducing sediment flow to reefs, and water conservation or grey water re-use efforts to reduce polluted runoff.

4. Improve sustainable coral fisheries management

Projects under this category will improve the sustainable management of key reef fish stocks (e.g., herbivores, apex predators) through improved fishery management capacity and/or compliance with coral reef fisheries regulations. Areas of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Collection of essential life history (e.g., age and growth, reproductive characteristics, mortality rates) and ecological information (e.g., trophic interactions, habitat requirements) for key coral reef fish taxa that may be incorporated into fisheries models and/or other reef fish management efforts at state and territorial resource management agencies and/or Federal Regional Fishery Management Council levels;

  • Efforts to better understand the relationship between herbivorous fish biomass and coral reef condition;

  • Efforts to assess community compliance with and acceptance of MPAs or other fishery management approaches; and,

  • Efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of MPA and fisheries regulations, or development and support of ‘community watch’ programs.

Pelagic fisheries management and new MPA establishment are not priorities for funding.

Projects in International Coral Reef Systems

1. Enhance Management Capacity for Improved Ecosystem-Based Management

Projects submitted for funding should focus on implementation of CRCP’s International Strategy, particularly coral reef management goals in support of regional collaborations in priority international geographies. Projects should clearly support efforts to strengthen local and national management capacity, improve resilience of coral reef ecosystems and reef-dependent communities, and/or promote ecosystem-based approaches to management in regional ocean governance initiatives, such as the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security; the Micronesia Challenge; the Caribbean Challenge; and the Two Samoa’s Initiative.

2. Apply lessons from NOAA- and/or NOAA partner-supported training programs for coral reef managers through implementation of small-scale pilot projects

Applicants seeking funding under this category should focus on implementing and institutionalizing the skills, methods and practices that participants gained as a result of their attendance in capacity-building programs sponsored by NOAA and/or its partners in Micronesia, the Coral Triangle, Samoa and the SW Pacific, and the Caribbean on the following topics within the last five years. Priority training themes include but are not limited to:

  • Reef Resilience, Climate Variability and Climate Adaptation

  • MPA Enforcement

  • Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM)

  • Socioeconomic Monitoring/SEM-Pasifika

Applicants seeking funding under this category must have attended, instructed or helped organize one of the trainings. Proposed activities must take place at international sites. Proposal narratives must identify the name, date and location of the training, the person from the organization (or partner organization if operating as the fiscal agent) who attended, and the elements of the training that will be implemented or tested through the project.  Applications up to $10,000 will be accepted from individual participants and up to $30,000 for collaborative projects proposed by two or more attendees of the same training.

3. Increase management capacity in priority international regions

Applicants seeking funding under this category should address a specific capacity gap that has been identified as part of a regional planning process and prioritized for action.

  • In the Caribbean, projects submitted for funding under this category must address a specific and discrete ‘gap’ in management capacity at one or more of the 27 MPA locations that participated in the “Management Capacity Assessment of Selected Coral Reef Marine Protected Areas in the Caribbean”. See the listing of the eligible MPA locations here.  Applicants under this proposal category must work with the MPA’s managing authority to address the specific management capacity gaps identified in the assessment and indicate the extent to which the capacity gap would be mitigated if the proposal was funded. 

  • In Micronesia, projects submitted for funding in this category must address a specific management capacity gap identified in the following sections of the PIMPAC strategic plan: Adaptive Management; Socio-Economic Monitoring; and Behavior Change.

  • In the Samoan Archipelago, projects must work to promote collaboration on shared marine and coral reef conservation issues among Samoa and American Samoa resource management agency partners participating in the Two Samoas Initiative. Projects may involve formalization of the governance structures for the Two Samoas Initiative and other key administrative and coordination tasks that support implementation for the international portion of this regional partnership.

  • In the Coral Triangle region, projects must support the regional priority actions and activities of the CTI-CFF, as established by the CTI-CFF Technical Working Groups at the Regional Priority Workshop, Manado, Indonesia, August 2013. More information can be found at the CTI-CFF website.


  • Conservation Focus: Projects that address at least one of the program conservation priorities described above.
  • Performance Metrics and Evaluation:  Projects that clearly identify quantitative performance metrics for assessing changes in project activities and outcomes. Competitive projects will also outline the monitoring approach or plan that will be used to evaluate progress in achieving the project’s conservation goals and determining the environmental impact of the investment.

  • Relationship to Former or Existing NFWF Grants (If applicable):  Proposals that describe the relationship to former or existing NFWF grants, including whether or not:
    • Any of the projects’ activities and outcomes overlap;
    • The projects are working in the same geographic area;
    • The proposal is an extension of a previous grant or fits within a larger strategy.

If NFWF has funded grants closely related to this proposal, the proposal must describe:

    • Key results from the former or existing grant;
    • How this proposal differs from or builds upon that previous grant.
  • Innovation (If applicable): Projects that encourage public involvement, develop new technologies that can be applied successfully elsewhere, and/or teach proven habitat restoration methodologies by example.

  • Long-term Sustainability (If applicable):  Proposals that describe how the project will maintain results and/or funding over the long-term.


The anticipated timeline for this grant round is as follows:

December 11, 2013 3:00PM EST

​Webinar for Potential Applicants

February 5, 2014, 11:50PM EST

​Pre-proposals due via Easygrants

Mid-March, 2014

​Full proposals invited

April 15, 2014, 11:50PM EDT

​Full proposals due

August 2014

​Anticipated announcement of awards

Please do not contact the Foundation regarding the status of your proposal until August 2014.


To start an application, please click on the following link: http://www.nfwf.org/easygrants. New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting their application. Once you have started an application you can save it and return at a later point to complete it up until the application deadline. Please be sure to disable the pop-up blocker on your Internet browser prior to starting an application.


Please be aware that if you are invited for a full proposal, you may be expected to submit additional documentation (e.g., NICRA, permits) through the Easygrants application system.

All entities applying for a grant from NFWF must provide to NFWF a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. A DUNS number may be obtained free from Dun & Bradstreet by telephone at 866-705-5711 or the internet at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.

Applicants may be required to provide additional detail about proposed projects prior to a final award decision in order to ensure that projects are adequately reviewed in compliance with NEPA regulations.


For additional information, please contact Erin Hofmann at erin.hofmann@nfwf.org or (202) 857-0166 or Michelle Pico at pico@nfwf.org or 262-567-0601. For technical assistance, please contact info@nfwf.org.