The NOAA Open Rivers Initiative (ORI) provides funding and technical assistance to catalyze the implementation of locally-driven projects to remove dams and other river barriers, in order to benefit living marine and coastal resources, particularly diadromous fish. Projects funded through the Open Rivers Initiative must feature strong on-the-ground habitat restoration components that foster economic, educational, and social benefits for citizens and their communities in addition to long-term ecological habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources. Proposals selected for funding through this solicitation will be implemented through a cooperative agreement. Funding of up to $6,000,000 is expected to be available for ORI Project Grants in FY 2011. The NOAA Restoration Center within the Office of Habitat Conservation will administer this grant initiative, and anticipates that typical awards will range from $200,000 to $750,000. Although a select few may fall outside of this range, project proposals requesting less than $100,000 or greater than $3,000,000 will not be accepted or reviewed.
Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education, non-profits, industry and commercial (for profit) organizations, organizations under the jurisdiction of foreign governments, international organizations, and state, local and Indian tribal governments whose projects have the potential to benefit NOAA trust resources. Applications from Federal agencies or employees of Federal agencies will not be considered. Federal agencies are strongly encouraged to work with states, non-governmental organizations, national service clubs or youth corps organizations and others entities that are eligible to apply. The Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (DOC/NOAA) is strongly committed to broadening the participation of historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions that work in under-served areas. The ORI encourages proposals from or involving any of the above institutions.