What We Do

 Fishing for Energy 2013 RFP


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is pleased to announce on behalf of Fishing for Energy partners Covanta Energy Corporation (Covanta) and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program (NOAA), the availability of grant funding to support public outreach and prevention strategies to reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear to marine and coastal environments.

Fishing for Energy launched in 2008 through a partnership among Covanta Energy Corporation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Its goals were to provide a cost-free solution to fishermen to dispose of old, derelict or unusable fishing gear and to reduce the amount of derelict fishing gear in and around our coastal waterways. The Fishing for Energy (FfE) partners recognize that while derelict gear removal and disposal is a critical effort to reduce the threat of entanglement, entrapment and habitat scarring from marine debris, the real conservation gains are to be made in prevention of the threat which is the focus of this Request for Proposals.   

Online Applications must be submitted by: Tuesday October 15, 2013 by 11:50PM ET (no exceptions).

Interested applicants are encouraged to attend a webinar to learn about 2013 priorities. The Webinar was on September 17, 2013. To watch a recording of the webinar, follow this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/783443185.

To learn about how to complete the full proposal application, you can view a pre-recorded by following this link:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/305663152.


Proposals seeking funding for prevention projects emphasizing research and development of gear technology modifications and where fixes exist, incorporate solutions through management actions, and/or outreach to targeted U.S. fisheries will be accepted. 

Proposals seeking funding for outreach and education will be accepted from AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos within the Partnership’s priority metropolitan locations of Washington, DC; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; New York/New Jersey/Connecticut; Miami/Tampa, FL; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Oregon; and Seattle, WA.


The majority of awards under this program will fall in the range of $25,000 to $100,000. The total amount of all awards made under this RFP is not expected to exceed $500,000. Proposals requesting less than $10,000 or more than $150,000 will not be considered. Matching funds from non-Federal sources are not required but strongly encouraged.


  • Prevention Strategies through Gear Technological Advancement: All persons, organizations, and agencies (excluding NOAA) are eligible to apply under this category. Collaboration with the U.S. target fishery is STONGLY encouraged.

  • Outreach and Education: Only AZA-Accredited members from the geographic priorities listed above are eligible under this category. If the proposal is for a national or regional project that will encompass one or more of the priority areas then any AZA-Accredited member is eligible.

  • Funds granted under this program may not be used for land or easement acquisition, political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation or to support projects resulting from legally-mandated mitigation projects.   


The most competitive applications will be those that are closely aligned with the following proposal categories. Projects outside of these proposal categories or that indirectly influence these topics are still eligible for funding, but at a lower priority.

Prevention Strategies through Gear Technological Advancement. The Fishing for Energy partnership is looking for projects that identify, test, and deploy innovations to prevent/reduce accidental introduction of derelict fishing gear into the marine environment (prevention) and innovations to reduce the efficiency/impact/effectiveness of fishing gear once lost (disabling).

  • Projects should identify a fishery where innovations are needed and discuss the effect (regulatory, educational, financial, incentives needed, etc.) that the proposed technology will have on that fishery.   Projects should also demonstrate knowledge from the industry that indicates the ‘point of loss’ that their gear solution would be addressing (through industry interviews, forums, etc.) either as part of the grant or in the context of presenting the problem in the proposal.

  • Projects may develop new technological innovations, complete pilot-testing with fishermen or in aquarium settings, or transfer a proven technology to a new fishery and/or geography (through outreach, demonstration projects, coordination with management, etc.). 

  • Projects that are proposing new gear innovations should also discuss whether the proposed technology/method has been successful in other geographies/fisheries and/or history of similar attempts with this type of technology/method.

  • Projects seeking to assist managers in incorporating new prevention strategies must have an identified management agency partner and a letter of support showing how that agency will collaborate in the project.

  • Projects seeking to increase uptake of proven prevention solutions must clearly demonstrate how the proposed strategy is feasible for the fishery (economically, time/resources, etc.), management support, and how it will be sustained beyond the grant if incentives are proposed.  General outreach proposals to fishermen on marine debris are not a priority for this solicitation.

Education and Outreach. The Fishing for Energy partnership is looking for projects that educate the public about the impact of derelict fishing gear on the marine and coastal environments and highlights the successes of the partnership’s initiatives to make measurable change in this conservation topic. Key messaging can include:

  • Highlighting Covanta Energy Corporation as a model for how private industry/local business can make impactful contributions to conservation issues;

  • Showcasing results from Fishing for Energy grants completed to date. A list of completed projects can be found at www.nfwf.org/fishingforenergy; and,

  • Demonstrating local community members have viable solutions making a conservation impact to addressing marine debris issues (specifically related to fishing gear).


  • Project Duration: Most awarded projects will complete activities within 1-2 years. The partners cannot guarantee that additional funds will be available in future years to supplement awards made as a result of this review. Outreach and Education projects with activities that occur in calendar year 2014 will be more competitive for funding.

  • Relationship to Former or Existing NFWF Grants:  Proposals that feature former or existing Fishing for Energy grants or activities (2010 - 2012) in new outreach and education proposals will be more competitive for funding.  Proposals should be explicit on which projects will have a nexus with the proposed activities and how they will be highlighted, replicated or advanced. 

  • Innovation: Projects that encourage public, community (business) and fishing industry involvement, develop new technologies that can be applied successfully elsewhere, and/or teach proven actions by example.

  • 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 or social impact of the investment.

  • Long-term Sustainability:  Proposals that demonstrate continued positive impacts beyond the life of the project period or demonstrate how the project will maintain results and/or funding over the long-term.


Applicants are encouraged to attend a webinar to learn about 2013 priorities and general application instructions. The Webinar was held on September 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM ET. To view a recording of this webinar, follow this link: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/783443185.  General application steps are provided below and were covered in the webinar in more detail.

  1. This funding opportunity opened on September 4, 2013. 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.

  2. Under “Apply for a New Grant”, click the “Start New Application” link. Select the Fishing for Energy 2013 funding opportunity.

  3. Follow the instructions to complete an eligibility quiz and, if deemed eligible, click on the Full Proposal task on the task list.

  4. As of January 1, 2013, congressional district lines were redrawn in many states.  Please carefully review the district(s) for your project's location when entering them into your full proposal application in Easygrants.  If you are not sure what the congressional district(s) should be, you can enter the project zip codes or addresses here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/map#  to determine the correct district(s) for your project.

  5. Applications must be submitted via the Foundation’s online system and received by 11:50 p.m. ET on October 15, 2013 (no exceptions).


The anticipated timeline for this grant round is as follows:

     September 17, 2013                                        Webinar for Potential Applicants

     October 15, 2013                                            Full proposals due via Easygrants

     Winter 2014                                                    Anticipated announcement of awards

Please do not contact the Foundation regarding the status of your proposal until after the announcement date. 


Please be aware that you may be expected to submit additional documentation (e.g., NEPA, permits, NICRA) through the Easygrants application system.


For further information on the program or completing the application, please contact Erin Hofmann, Manager for the Fishing for Energy Program at Erin.Hofmann@nfwf.org or (202) 857-0166.

Technical questions regarding Easygrants can also be directed to info@nfwf.org.