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Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Grants Program

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Municipalities in Multiple
States for Water Conservation Projects in Eligible Regions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) - Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

05/01/20 11:59 PM EDT


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Grants to Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia nonprofits, agencies, Tribes, and schools for water conservation projects in eligible regions. Applicants must submit a pre-proposal prior to submitting a full application. Funding is intended to help restore the water quality and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. The program will focus primarily on efforts to enhance and expand the capacity and impact of existing partnerships.

NFWF will competitively award funding under the INSR program to partnership projects that simultaneously (1) cultivate the growth and maturation of existing regional-scale partnerships working on watershed restoration, and (2) measurably accelerate the geographic scale and/or rate of implementation for priority water quality improvement practices identified through the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and associated WIPs.

Pre-proposals must summarize both the current composition, structure, and function of the existing partnership(s) included in the proposal, citing formal and informal mechanisms for coordination and collaboration, as well as enhancements in these partnerships that will be achieved through the proposed project activities. Pre-proposals must also establish a clear connection as to how proposed changes in coordinated and collaborative structures and/or functions will help to accelerate water quality improvements, a quantification of those water quality improvements, address key implementation and adoption barriers for priority practices, and improve long-term sustainability and durability of associated partnerships. Invited full proposals will be expected to expand on these details by providing a specific work plan for growth and maturation complete with timelines for major milestones and interim indicators of partnership growth and maturation.

The following four key areas for investment have been identified:

  • Building and Sustaining Motivation
  • Establishing and Improving Effective Collaborative Processes
  • Enhancing Core Capacities
  • Promoting Continuous Evaluation

For additional information about these key areas, see:

Special consideration will be afforded to proposed partnerships or networks that address one or more of the following specific strategies with the potential to advance transformational water quality improvement approaches: 

  • Managing Upland Agricultural Runoff through Farm-Scale Conservation Systems and Solutions
  • Managing Upland Urban Runoff through Green Stormwater Infrastructure Improvements (GSI)
  • Restoring Riparian and Freshwater Habitats through Forested Buffers, Floodplain and Wetland Reconnection, and Stream Restoration and Habitat Improvements

For additional information about these strategies, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 156219

Number of Grants:

An estimated 6-8 individual grant awards

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards will range from $500,000 to $1 million each.
NFWF estimates awarding $5-7 million in grants through the INSR program in 2020.

Term of Contract:

All 2020 INSR grants must be completed within three years of grant award.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.

Ineligible applicants include U.S. federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals, and international organizations.

NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.

Funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts, for example in achieving municipal separate storm sewer system requirements.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicant webinars will be held as follows:

Applicant Webinar: Thursday, January 9, 1:00 PM EDT

FieldDoc Webinar: Thursday, March 5, 10:30 PM EDT

Pre-Application Information:

- Pre-proposal due date: Friday, February 28, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT
- Full proposal due date: Friday, May 1, 2020, 11:59 PM EDT

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

Awards will be announced in September (anticipated).

Matching contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive during application review. In general, applicants may consider matching contributions raised or spent on or after January 1, 2020 as eligible under the 2020 INSR program.

Award payments are primarily reimbursable. Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.

Additional information:

Applicant information:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register and apply online:

Sydney Godbey
(202) 857-0166

Jake Reilly

Stephanie Heidbreder

Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday.
Include: Your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program to which you are applying, and a description of the issue.

Grant Coverage Areas:

Chesapeake Bay

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Delaware;   Maryland;   New York;   Pennsylvania;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   West Virginia

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