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Cooperative Agreements to USA Agencies, Nonprofits, IHEs, and
For-Profits for the Removal of Waste in Marine Environments

Marine Debris Removal

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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US Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Office of Response and Restoration

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/14/22 11:59 PM ET


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Cooperative agreements to USA and territories agencies, nonprofit organizations, IHEs, and for-profits for the assessment, prevention, and removal of waste and debris in marine environments. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full proposal. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to several weeks to complete. The NOAA Marine Debris Program supports the development and implementation of locally-driven, marine debris assessment, removal and prevention projects that benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and marine and Great Lake resources.

Projects awarded through this grant competition will create long-term, quantifiable ecological benefits and habitat improvements 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 sources and effects of marine debris to further the conservation of living marine resource habitats, contribute to the understanding of marine debris composition, distribution and impacts, and work to prevent marine debris reaccumulation. Projects awarded through this competition may be implemented throughout all United States coastal, marine, and Great Lakes areas; the coastal and marine areas of United States territories and Freely Associated States, or; within coastal areas of Mexico or Canada as long as benefits to United States resources, navigation or economy can be clearly demonstrated. 

Marine debris removal is the most direct approach to restoring damaged or depleted habitat and mitigating any future impacts. Another principal objective of the Marine Debris Program is engaging the public to promote the long-term prevention of marine debris. NOAA supports this objective through education and outreach projects that provide the knowledge and resources necessary to change behaviors and raise awareness of the issue. In conjunction with all removal efforts, NOAA encourages such activities to be integrated into the project to maximize the long term impact of a removal project. NOAA also encourages partnerships with relevant groups to this end. These may include partnerships with public and nonprofit organizations, citizen and watershed groups, anglers, boaters, industry (e.g. the commercial fishing industry, the aquaculture industry, fishing gear manufacturers, other marine industries, and the plastics and waste management industries), corporations and businesses, youth conservation corps, students, landowners, academics, and local, state, and federal government agencies. 

To better achieve these program objectives, the NOAA Marine Debris Program encourages applicants and awardees to support the principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion when writing their proposals and performing their work.

For funding priorities, see page 6 of the NOFO. See Attached Files below.

Allowable Costs can be found on page 27 of the NOFO.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 148236

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 15

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Award Ceiling: $750,000
- Award Floor: $50,000

The typical funding level for the federal share of project awards ranges from $150,000 to $350,000.

Term of Contract:

Applications should cover a project period of performance of no more than two years in duration. If habitat recovery 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 total as long as there is reasonable justification provided. The earliest anticipated start date for awards will be September 1, 2022 – applicants should consider this date when developing plans for initiating proposed project activities.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

As outlined in the Marine Debris Act, eligible applicants for projects taking place in the United States, territories, or Freely Associated States (or their adjacent waterways), are state, local, tribal, territory, and freely associated state governments whose activities affect research or regulation of marine debris. Equally eligible are 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. Foreign public entities (see 2 CFR 200.1) from outside of the Freely Associated States are not eligible to apply as the primary applicant but can be involved as project partners.

Eligible applicants for projects taking place in Mexico or Canada are limited to any institution of higher education, nonprofit organization or commercial (for-profit) organization with expertise in a field related to marine debris. This includes community based organizations, business associations, and non-public foreign organizations. Foreign public entities (see 2 CFR 200.1), from Canada or Mexico are not eligible to receive awards or subawards under the Marine Debris Act and will not be considered. Interested governmental agencies in Canada or Mexico may collaborate with eligible applicants but may not receive funds through this competition.

NOAA is strongly committed to broadening the participation of veterans, minority-serving institutions, and entities that work in underserved areas. The NOAA MDP encourages applicants of all backgrounds, circumstances, perspectives and ways of thinking to apply.

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 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 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 for competitive review before a full proposal can be submitted. LOIs must be received via email as an attachment no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, September 24, 2021.
- If invited per the instructions in this announcement, full proposals must then be submitted through and validated by on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, January 14, 2022.

Successful applications generally will be identified by May 1, 2022. Typically, the earliest start date for projects will be September 1, 2022, dependent on the completion of all NOAAapplicant negotiations, NEPA analysis and documentation supporting cooperative agreement activities. Applicants should consider this timeline when developing requested start dates for proposed project activities.

Applicants are strongly recommended to begin the application submission process early and submit in advance of the deadline. NOAA will not accept late submissions. Please plan accordingly.

Due to limited staffing of federal offices, hardcopy LOIs or full applications will not be accepted. Please follow all LOI submission guidelines and instructions outlined in the notice of funding opportunity.

Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement:
The Marine Debris Act (33 U.S.C. § 1951 et seq.) requires NOAA MDP’s grant programs to leverage its federal grant funding with non-federal cost share or match. Applicants often satisfy this requirement by developing and including public and private partnerships, as well as in-kind and financial contributions, to accomplish the overall project objectives. Applicants must provide a minimum 1:1 ratio of non-federal matching contributions to NOAA funds requested to conduct the proposed project.

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 must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) in order to apply via and to be funded by NOAA. Applicants must: (1) Be registered in the federal System for Award Management (SAM) before submitting an application; (2) provide a valid Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number on an application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a federal awarding agency. The federal awarding agency may not make a federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the federal awarding agency is ready to make a federal award, the federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a federal award to another applicant.

View this opportunity on
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.

Email LOI to

The Responsible NOAA MDP Official for questions regarding this guidance and for verifying accessibility of data produced by funding recipients:
Tom Barry
Management and Program Analyst
NOAA Marine Debris Program

CFDA Number:


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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)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

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