Estuary at sunset with dock

RAE Announces 2023 NEP Coastal Watersheds Grant

Restore America’s Estuaries, in partnership with the U.S. EPA, is pleased to announce the 2023 funding round of the National Estuary Program (NEP) Coastal Watersheds Grant. Approximately $1 million in grants will be made available.

The NEP Coastal Watersheds Grant Program is a nationally competitive grants program designed to support projects that address urgent and challenging issues threatening the well-being of coastal and estuarine areas within determined estuaries of national significance.

Released on Friday, March 10, the Request for Proposals (RFP) outlines the funding priorities for this year’s cycle:

  • Recurring harmful algae blooms;
  • Flooding and coastal erosion that may be related to sea level rise, changing precipitation, or salt marsh, seagrass, or wetland degradation or loss;
  • Impacts of nutrients and warmer water temperatures on aquatic life and coastal ecosystems, including low dissolved oxygen conditions in estuarine waters; and
  • Contaminants of emerging concern found in coastal and estuarine waters such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and microplastics.

Interested applicants are encouraged to join one of two informational webinars hosted by RAE. Our goal with these virtual events is to explain the RFP in detail, discuss the application process, and answer questions from prospective applicants. The first webinar will be help March 15 at 1:00 PM ET and the second on March 20th at 3:00 PM ET.

A recording of this event will be posted to our website for those unable to join either workshop.

As in year’s past and noted in the RFP, projects must occur in their entirety within the geographic areas shown below and on this interactive map. Efforts adjacent to, upstream of, or as a tributary to waterbodies in the polygons will not be funded.

Projects occurring outside of these areas will not be considered, nor will the geographic boundaries change. Note that the eligibility boundaries do not necessarily align with NEP boundaries. Supporting activities, such as laboratory analysis, may occur outside of the geographic eligibility polygons but all fieldwork and anticipated ecosystem improvements must occur within them.

RAE will select grantees through a two-step process: 1) letters of intent (LOI); and 2) full proposals by invitation only. Both steps are competitive and a request for full proposal does not guarantee funding. LOIs are due on Friday, May 5, 2023. The submission portal will be open in the coming days.

Funded projects must provide an additional 33% of the requested amount in nonfederal matching funds or 25% of the total project cost. However, in an effort to reduce barriers to application and project implementation, organizations may request a full or partial waiver from the non-federal match requirement as part of the submittal process.

Applicants are encouraged to set up one-on-one discussions with the Program Director, Suzanne Simon, via email or via Calendly.