2021 NEP Coastal Watershed Grants Program

2021 NEP Coastal Watershed Grants Program

Restore America’s Estuaries recently announced the 2021 funding cycle for the National Estuary Program – Coastal Watershed Grants. This year, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, they will award competitive grants to improve clean water, healthy ecosystems, and habitat restoration. Projects for this competition must address one or more of the following priorities: harmful algal blooms; loss of habitat; and/or flooding and coast erosion.

Dates and Limitations

UM may submit only three proposals, whether as the lead institution, or as a budgeted team member on a proposal led by another institution. UM individuals or teams interested in competing for one of these slots should submit a UM Internal Letter of Intent (NOI) by Monday, May 10. ORSP Research Development will follow up with all LOI submitters, requesting additional information if needed, and make a determination no later than Monday, May 17, which proposals ideas may move forward to develop and submit a full LOI to the sponsor. Transmittals for these NOIs should be submitted no later than May 28. The full LOI’s are due to the sponsor on June 7.

UM Internal LOI Instructions

Please prepare a very abbreviated version of the LOI, following the general directions provided under “A. Letter of Intent Requirements and Limits” in the RFP, as follows:

-       The name, e-mail address, and primary appointment title of the proposed UM lead investigator (yourself, presumably).

-       The name, e-mail address, institution, and primary appointment title of the OVERALL lead investigator. (If this is to be a UM-led project, then this should, again, be your own information. But, if another institution would be serving as the lead, then this would be the lead investigator from that institution.

-       Name of project (can be changed later).

-       Project summary (50 word maximum, can be tweaked later if internally selected).

-       List of ANTICIPATED partner organizations. Only include those where a collaborator has consented to having their name associated with your internal UM LOI at this stage.

-       Location of Proposed Project, including name of water body (if applicable): You do NOT have to include an address, or coordinate data at this internal stage, but are welcome to do so if known.

-       ESTIMATED Total direct project costs (excluding F&A, which will be calculated later).

-       Anticipated sources and amounts of required direct cost share (excluding F&A). Only include sources where you have had an encouraging (if not necessarily committal) preliminary conversation with the individual authorized to commit the funds; list those individuals and include an extremely brief summary of those conversations. (For example: “I asked my departmental chair if they would help me identify local sources of cost share and they said they would be open to discussing this if my LOI is selected institutionally to move forward,” or “My Chair and Dean have agreed to provide the cost share if my LOI, and ultimately my proposal, are selected for an award,” etc.)

-       Project Details: 500 words total. A preliminary description of the project details, including: Project Purpose, Project Description, Impact, Relevance, Project Team, and Outreach/Technology Transfer.

o   If institutionally selected to move forward, you will have the opportunity to develop an expanded version of these Project Details, up to 1,200 words (or 200 words per each of the six sections identified above).

o   If you are not the lead, but rather proposing to use one of UM’s slots to be a funded collaborator on a project that a PI at another institution is proposing to lead, provide as much information as is currently available about that project, including whether or not it has yet been selected by that institution as one of its own submissions.

-       Map (1 page) demonstrating that the project falls within the CWG Program delineated geographic area


Submit your UM Internal NOI

UM Internal NOIs should be submitted no later than May 10 via the UM InfoReady Review Portal.

ORSP reserves the right to route these to your departmental Chair, Director, and/or Dean for endorsement before reviewing, but it is your responsibility as the prospective PI to ensure that your appropriate administrative supervisor(s) are aware and supportive of interest and competition for these resources.  

Internal Selection Process and Prioritization Considerations.

Priority for UM’s three slots will be given to LOIs with UM lead investigators—that is, for those where UM will be the lead applicant over those from where the lead will be another institution. Due to the limited timeframe, ORSP RD will NOT attempt to solicit reviewers from campus to help with the selection process, but will consult with the Deans Offices and/or home Departments in selecting and prioritizing LOIs for UM’s three allowed slots; ultimately, the decision of which LOIs to greenlight for submission belongs to the VCRSP, and will be made at least in part based on which LOI appears to have the best chance to result in an invitation to submit a full proposal; which LOI appears to have all of its required cost share lined up the best; and which LOI, if resulting in an eventual award, has the greatest potential to result in success and strong impacts.

Late Requests

If there are still open UM slots after all on-time UM Internal LOIs have been considered, those wishing to be considered for a slot may contact Jason Hale at jghale@olemiss.edu. Such requests will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Unapproved LOIs

Submitters of LOIs by, or with collaborative involvement from, UM investigators, that have not been approved for a UM slot, and not gone through the ORSP transmittal process, will be asked to withdraw their LOIs, or UM’s involvement in them.


Prospective applicants are encouraged to participate in one of two informational webinars:

·      Tuesday, April 27, 1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PT: to participate, please register via https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7201202341950221835; and

·      Wednesday, May 5, 1 p.m. ET/10 am PT: to participate, please register via https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4943205680730843403.

The webinars will be recorded for those unable to participate, and in fact, the recording of April 27’s webinar is already available. Click the registration link and the video will display after you complete the registration.


Additional Information

For more information, click the following link to read the 2021 RFP: https://estuaries.org/initiatives/watershedgrants/


Questions about UM’s process should be directed to Jason Hale at jghale@olemiss.edu. If you want to send questions to the sponsor, see the point of contact listed in the RFP.