Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Support of the National Estuary Program Watersheds Grant

Funding Agency:
Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting applications from eligible applicants for the National Estuary Program (NEP) Watersheds Grant1 to support projects that address urgent, emerging, and challenging issues that threaten the ecological and economic well-being of estuarine areas. EPA seeks applications that address the priorities established by Congress under Public Law No: 116-337, the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, including:

• 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.

Specifically, EPA is soliciting applications from eligible applicants to administer a national competitive subaward grant program to be performed under the agreement awarded under this announcement as further described in Section I. The competitive subaward process to be implemented by the applicant must be on a national scale and recipients must address urgent, emerging, and challenging environmental issues that threaten the ecologic and economic well-being of estuarine areas. Applications should reflect the applicant’s familiarity with the NEP (see and the key role EPA-approved Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 320 NEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs) play in addressing those environmental issues. The competitive subaward process described in the application must also demonstrate how it will support estuary protection and restoration subaward projects located entirely within the identified NEP Watersheds Grant geographic areas as defined by the EPA in this RFA. Please see Section III.D for those activities that are not eligible as subaward projects.

Deadline: Nov. 15, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants under this announcement include state, interstate, tribal, inter-tribal consortia, and regional water pollution control agencies and entities; state coastal zone management agencies; and other public or nonprofit private agencies, institutions, and organizations2 . Applicants must have the ability to work nationally within the defined geographic areas and be capable of undertaking activities that advance the NEP Watershed Grant priorities. Nonprofit private universities and colleges and non-profit institutions of higher education are considered non-profit organizations and are eligible under this announcement. Nonprofit organizations described in section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are not eligible to apply under this announcement.

Amount Description

EPA expects that funding for each subaward to be awarded by the recipient of the award under this RFA will range from $200,000 to $500,000 per project. Note: applicants can identify a slightly different range for each subaward as part of their application narrative and explain why they have chosen a different range. The subawards funded under the cooperative agreement are anticipated to have project periods ranging from three to four years and must be completed prior to the end of the cooperative agreement project period. The subaward projects must be completed in sufficient time to allow the recipient, to, for example, aggregate results and ensure that subawardees have been reimbursed for eligible incurred costs.

Funding Type





Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

November 15, 2021