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NOAA Marine Debris Removal

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, and
Agencies to Remove Debris from Marine Habitats

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

12/04/19 11:59 PM ET Postmarked, Delivered, or Electronic Receipt


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Grants starting at $50,000 to USA and territories nonprofits, for-profits, IHEs, and government agencies for locally-driven marine debris assessment, removal, and prevention projects. Applicants must first submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. Required registrations for the final application process may take 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 prevention, assessment, and removal 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 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.

The highest program priorities for this solicitation are the detection and removal of derelict fishing gear and the removal of medium- to large-scale marine debris that have a negative impact on NOAA trust resources and important habitat areas. Derelict fishing gear includes, but is not limited to, such items as abandoned crab or lobster pots/traps, fishing nets, and synthetic (e.g., monofilament, polypropylene) line. Medium and large-scale debris are items that generally cannot be manually removed by an individual. Such projects must comply with applicable federal and state laws regarding handling and ownership.

Other priority activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Abandoned / derelict vessel (ADV) removal and associated vessel debris removal activities.
  • Proposals that pair removal activities with technically-sound, cost-effective habitat monitoring that measures the benefits of debris removal to NOAA trust resources.
  • Detection and removal of debris resulting from hurricanes or other natural disasters.
  • Detection and removal of legacy aquaculture debris.
  • Shoreline or riparian cleanup projects should be coupled with a comprehensive outreach program, monitoring program, or volunteer involvement that aims to reduce or prevent future accumulation of marine debris.
  • Derelict piling removal projects should have a meaningful benefit to NOAA trust resources or have a strong debris impact-related reason supporting removal (e.g., derelict pilings that snag marine debris and add to the impact of this debris in that area or pilings that are breaking up and generating more debris).
  • Prevention, outreach, education, volunteer activities and data collection are important aspects of debris removal projects. Proposals are encouraged to include such activities as project components, but they should not be the main focus of the project - proposals that focus mainly on prevention through education and outreach are not a priority for this competition.

For more information on program priorities, see pages 4-7 of the Full Announcement document in Attached Files below. 

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. 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 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 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, 2020 – applicants should consider this date when developing plans for initiating proposed project activities.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:


In accordance with the Marine Debris Act, eligible applicants are state, local, and tribal 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 must take place within the United States or territories or their respective waterways. 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 navigation, 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 provided in the guidelines are not priorities for this solicitation and may not be considered.

Pre-Application Information:

This funding opportunity requires a letter of intent to be submitted before full proposals will be invited.

Letters of intent must be received via email (as an attachment) no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, September 4, 2019. If invited per the instructions in this announcement, full proposals must then be submitted through and validated by, postmarked, or provided to a delivery service on or before 11:59 p.m. EST, December 4, 2019. Applications may be mailed, but applications not adhering to postmark or submission deadlines will be rejected without further consideration.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply through the website. If cannot reasonably be used, or internet access is not available to the applicant, a paper-copy application must be mailed to the NOAA MDP.

Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM): To enable the use of a universal identifier and to enhance the quality of information available to the public as required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, 31 U.S.C. 6101 note, to the extent applicable, any proposal awarded in response to this announcement will be required to use the System for Award Management (SAM), which may be accessed online at Applicants are also required to use the Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System, as identified in OMB guidance published at 2 CFR Parts 25.

Applicants should allow a minimum of several weeks to complete each of these registration processes. Registrations may need to be periodically renewed.

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.

In accordance with 48 U.S.C. 1469a, NOAA has determined that any requirement for local matching funds less than $200,000 (including in-kind contributions) to be provided by American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands shall be waived, notwithstanding any other provision of law. Any matching Notice of Federal Funding Page 10 of 42 funds otherwise required by law to be provided by government entities of the abovementioned insular areas may be waived at the discretion of NOAA.

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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.

LOIs must be submitted as an email attachment to by 11:59 pm EDT on September 4, 2019. Please put “FY2020 Marine Debris Removal Letter of Intent (LOI)” in the email subject heading. Do not direct questions to this email address.

For further information:

Tom Barry

CFDA Number:


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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