EPA Seeks Project Proposals to Reduce Marine Debris

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking project proposals to reduce land-based trash at the source, thus preventing trash from entering coastal runoff and becoming marine debris.

The amount of funding available is approximately $280,000 and projects must occur in a coastal or estuarine watershed in U.S. EPA Region 9, which includes coastal areas of California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories of Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  States, local governments, public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, U.S. territories or possessions and interstate agencies, are eligible and encouraged to apply.

The aim of the grant is to reduce marine debris from coastal watersheds with true source reduction practices, not with the more commonly used capture and removal practices such as inserting catch basin screens and enhancing street sweeping. Methods that businesses can use to facilitate true source reduction include creating mechanisms for product/packaging take-back, minimizing procurement of difficult-to-recycle goods and ‘incentivizing’ reuse.

Proposals should demonstrate and promote the economic benefits of source reduction to business and government, inspire innovative local policies promoting litter prevention, and foster creative collaborative partnerships between local government, non-profits, and business.  Proposals that principally support recycling, clean-up, treatment, trash capture/removal, plastic bag and/or polystyrene bans, or disposal activities will not be considered for funding.

Marine debris degrades estuarine, near shore, and open ocean habitats. It endangers marine and coastal wildlife, causes navigation hazards, results in economic losses to industry and governments and threatens human health and safety. With up to 80 percent of marine debris coming from land-based sources, reducing what is generated upstream will result in less trash having to be captured and removed downstream.

Submission Date:  Proposals are due on Friday, June 8, 2012, 5 pm (PDT). EPA anticipates awarding one to three grants under this solicitation with project periods of up to three years. Applicants must demonstrate how they will provide the minimum non-federal match of 25 percent of the total cost of the proposal.

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