NEP 2015 Water Quality Management Grants

The Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Estuary Programs have each issued a request for proposals for nutrient, pathogen, and stormwater management projects under the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) Southeast New England Program ("SNEP"). Projects that address fresh or marine water quality degradation from nutrients (phosphorus or nitrogen), pathogens, and stormwater will be considered. Each NEP will award up to $900,000 in grants. This grant program supports the U.S. EPA's SNEP mission to protect and restore the southeast New England ecosystem by connecting communities through collaboration and partnerships throughout the region; fostering and promoting innovative approaches; and engaging public stewardship.

The solicitation for projects in the Buzzards Bay watershed is open to Massachusetts county, municipal, and local subdivisions of state government, tribes, non-profit organizations, and research and educational institutions of higher learning. For-profit organizations and executive state agencies are not eligible, but they may subcontract or partner with the grantee. Proposals up to $200,000 will be considered, and individual applicants will be limited to receiving $250,000. Both large and small proposals are encouraged. The deadline for pre-proposals is September 15, 2015. The deadline for invited full proposals is November 6, 2015. Applicants must provide a non-federal match that will equal or exceed 25% of requested funds. Projects are anticipated to end either June 30, 2016 or June 30, 2017 as proposed by the applicant.

How to apply

One original and seven complete copies of the full proposal and any attachments must be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. Friday, November 6, 2015 to the Buzzards Bay NEP office in Wareham, MA. The Request for Proposals for projects in the Buzzards Bay watershed are posted at this CommBuys website page (click the link near the central bottom right of the page called "FY16 SNEP RFR"). We strongly encourage applicants to register with CommBuys so that you receive automatic updates and notices about this other solicitations. Grant recipients will be required to register. For applicants in the Narragansett Bay watershed (in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts), go to to apply online.

How does the final RFP differ from the draft issued in June?

In June, we issued a draft of this request for proposals. We received few comments on the draft, and those that we did receive focused on providing clarity to certain scoring criteria in the reviewers scoring sheets. One specific concern raised was that the criteria was biased against research proposals and favored municipal implementation projects and other management action. This was our intent, however, we are sensitive to fact we need to continually improve our understanding of critical processes that limit the effectiveness of management action, and we recognize the need to evaluating the effectiveness of novel approaches to reduce nutrient and pathogen impairments. To address the various concerns raised, we made these changes:

  • Summary information about eligibility, match, application deadlines, and project duration were added to page 1 of the RFP.
  • The scoring sheet criteria "Innovation, Sustainability, And Strategic Benefits" (10 pts) was combined "Regional Significance And Transferability" (5 pts) into a single category "Innovation, Sustainability, Transferability, and Strategic Benefits" (15 pts) because of overlap in these two criteria. Other changes were made to the scoring sheets to improve clarity and reduce redundancy.
  • Some changes were made to the criteria to encourage proof of concept, applied research, and basic research that complement the specific goals of the RFP.
  • We changed certain deadlines, including providing more time for applicants to prepare final proposals

Overview of Southeast New England Program 2015 Funding

The U.S. EPA received $5 million for federal FY2015 in support of the SNEP initiative. About $1.5 million of this was released through EPA New England's Healthy Communities Grant Program, according to this 2015 application guidance. An additional $2 million will be issued in grants by the National Estuary Programs in the summer of 2015. The remainder of the funds will be issued by EPA through various grants and contracts.

SNEP Healthy Community Grants 2015

The deadline for pre-proposals for Healthy Communities was April 30, 2015 (applications had to have been submitted through Grants.Gov), with awards expected to be made in the fall of 2015. Proposals up to $200,000 are eligible, and a 5% match is required. The Healthy Communities Grant Program is EPA New England's main grant program to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks in order to protect and improve human health and the quality of life, advance resilience, and preserve/restore important ecosystems. The Healthy Communities Grant Program will achieve these goals through identifying and funding projects that:

  • Target resources to benefit communities at risk [areas at risk from climate change impacts, environmental justice areas of potential concern, sensitive populations (e.g. children, elderly, tribes, urban/rural residents, and others at increased risk), and/or southeast New England coastal watersheds].
  • Assess, understand, and reduce environmental and human health risks.
  • Increase collaboration through partnerships and community-based projects.
  • Build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and human health problems.
  • Advance emergency preparedness and ecosystem resilience.
  • Reduce pollution at the source.
  • Achieve measurable environmental and human health benefits.

To qualify as eligible projects under the Healthy Communities Grant Program, proposed projects must: (1) be located in and/or directly benefit one or more of the Target Investment Areas; and (2) identify how the proposed project will achieve measurable environmental and/or public health results in one or more of the Target Program Areas. A description of these target areas can be found in the 2015 Application Guidance. For more information, please contact Sandra Brownell at 617-918-1797 or

Summary of 2014 Nutrient Management Grants

In the summer of 2014, the Buzzards Bay NEP received 19 proposals totaling $3,082,379 from 12 entities (3 non-profits and 9 governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth) by the June 9, 2014 pre-proposal deadline. On June 25, 2014, 8 of the 19 applicants, with requests totaling $1,215,999, were invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals were due Monday, July 21, 2014.

On July 21, the Buzzards Bay NEP received 7 full proposals with requests totaling $843,674 [corrected value]. On Thursday, July 31, 2014, a review committee consisting of three federal agency employees and four state agency employees met to discuss, score, and rank the full proposals. On August 6, the Buzzards Bay NEP provided to the U.S. EPA a letter containing the reviewers' combined rank order of the proposals and the mean rank scores of the seven proposals we received. The Buzzards Bay NEP provided this letter to the applicants when the EPA publically announced the funding levels for projects on Cape Cod, and in the Buzzards Bay NEP and Narragansett Bay Estuary Program watersheds. The Buzzards Bay NEP received EPA funding levels, and proposals were funded in their rank order determined by the selection committee to the extent of EPA funding. On October 15, 2014, the Buzzards Bay NEP awarded $728,559 in 6 grants in support of the Southeast New England Program at a public event in the Town of Wareham. Go to our Grant Funding page to see a description of the 2014 awards.