National Park Service -- Effects of sound on wildlife, ecosystems, and visitors in units of the National Park system

Funding Agency:
Department of the Interior

The National Park Service “preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” A key consideration for protecting park resource, values, and visitor enjoyment is ability to hear the natural and cultural sounds of parks. Excessive noise influences many animal species with effects that can cascade through park ecosystems, such as altering wildlife distribution and reducing the listening area for predator/prey relationships. Further, the National Parks Air Tour Management Act (NPATMA, Public Law 106-181) requires the NPS, in cooperation with the FAA, to manage air tours over NPS units. Critical to this management is ensuring compliance of air tour operations, including the number, routes, altitudes, and times of day of air tours. A key component of the Air Tour Management Planning process includes the identification of audible sounds and their sources.

The Public Purposes of this financial assistance include strengthening scientific support for NPS management of national park resources and visitor experience; increasing public awareness of national park soundscapes; stimulating scientific research and the development of emerging technologies that can reduce noise; and educating and training of students and young scientists. Improved management of noise within parks will increase habitat availability to wildlife and increase opportunities for visitors to view wildlife in a natural setting, and experience the health benefits of spending time in nature.

The Overall Goals are to provide direct support to park managers by measuring and interpreting responses of wildlife to noise, monitoring noise levels in parks and protected areas, and quantifying the benefits of managing or mitigating noise. The Objectives are to 1) to advance sound source identification beyond its current manual state by developing and using machine learning techniques, 2) to provide scientific support to NPS staff in parks, regions, and national offices by analyzing park acoustic monitoring data, and publishing scientific reports and papers that elevate conservation, 3) to engage a cadre of trained students of varying levels to analyze, interpret, and research acoustic analyses, and 4) to support career development for young scientists.

Deadline: June 1, 2023

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

State and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, public/private nonprofit organizations, nonprofit institutions of higher education, and individuals. All applicants must be a partner of the CESU network prior to being considered for an award of a Cooperative Agreement under this announcement.

Amount Description

The amount of funding available per award for this NOFO will be determined once final fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations have been made. This NOFO will be cancelled if FY 2024 appropriations are insufficient to support new awards. The initial award in FY24 will be $120,000 and there will be additional funding opportunities in FY 2025 and FY 2026 of $120,000 each for year two and year three of the agreement.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

June 1, 2023