National Estuary Program Watersheds Grant Program

The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 2023 funding round of the NEP Watersheds Grant Program is now available. Please read the RFP in its entirety before submitting your letter of intent (LOI). LOIs are due on Friday, January 26, 2024, and must be submitted online via the submission portal below.

Download the RFP Budget Template

RAE will select projects 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.

RAE hosted two information sessions for prospective applicants describing this program, including eligibility aspects, and provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions. You can watch a recording of the webinar below.

Applicants are encouraged to set up one-on-one discussions with the Program Director, Suzanne Simon, via email or the Calendly app: calendly.com/nepcwg_infosession. This scheduling app is user friendly and allows prospective applicants to find time to get feedback on aspects of their project and application. To prepare for these discussions we recommend potential applicants review the RFP completely and come with project ideas or key questions to make effective use of the time.

LOIs and full proposals will be evaluated by an independent panel comprised of individuals with expertise in the priorities for this RFP, in accordance with the criteria in Sections B and C. Following consultation with the review panel regarding the LOIs, RAE will invite a subset of applicants to submit full proposals. In some cases, RAE may suggest changes or clarifications for inclusion in full proposals. RAE will notify applicants of the status of LOIs on March 8, 2024. Full proposals, if invited, must be received by Friday, April 5, 2024.  Awards will range from $200,000-500,000 and will be completed within a four year period.


About the NEP Watersheds Grant Program

Morro Bay NEP
Morro Bay, California

Restore America’s Estuaries, in close coordination with and financial support from EPA, administers the National Estuaries Program (NEP) Watersheds Grants. The Program is a nationally competitive grants program designed to support projects that address urgent, emerging, and challenging issues threatening the well-being of estuaries within the 28 NEP boundary areasThis grant program funds projects aimed at addressing the following Congressionally-set priorities: 

  • Loss of key habitats resulting in significant impacts on fisheries and water quality such as seagrass, mangroves, tidal and freshwater wetlands, forested wetlands, kelp beds, shellfish beds, and coral reefs; 
  • Coastal resilience and extreme weather events including flooding and coastal erosion related to sea level rise, changing precipitation, warmer waters, or salt marsh, seagrass, or wetland degradation or loss and accelerated land loss; 
  • Impacts of nutrients and warmer water temperatures on aquatic life and ecosystems, including low dissolved oxygen conditions in estuarine waters; 
  • Stormwater runoff which not only can erode stream banks but can carry nutrients, sediment, and trash into rivers and streams that flow into estuaries; 
  • Recurring harmful algae blooms; 
  • Unusual or unexplained marine mammal mortalities; and 
  • Proliferation or invasion of species that limit recreational uses, threaten wastewater systems, or cause other ecosystem damage. 

About the National Estuary Program 

Established in 1987 through the Clean Water Act, the National Estuary Program (NEP) is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) place-based program dedicated to protecting and restoring the water quality and ecological integrity of 28 estuaries across the country. 

EPA’s NEP is a non-regulatory program that improves the waters, habitats, and living resources within these estuaries. In overseeing and managing the national program, EPA provides annual funding, national guidance, and technical assistance to the local NEPs.