Dabob Bay, Washington

Applying for a CELCP Grant

NOAA has administered a competitive process each year in which funding was available; the last funding competition was held in fiscal year 2017.

Application Process

Each year funding is available, NOAA runs a funding competition, which has two phases—a state competition and a national competition. NOAA initiates the competition by issuing an annual federal funding opportunity notice, which describes the eligibility criteria for the competition, including who may apply, how many projects each eligible coastal state or territory may submit, and how much funding may be requested for each project. It also provides important details about any required templates, due dates, and submission requirements. You may find a copy of the 2017 Announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity here for reference.

Phase 1—State Competition
Each state or territory designates a CELCP lead agency, which is responsible for running the state-level selection process to determine which projects are eligible and best suited for the national competition. In most cases, the lead agency is the state or territory’s coastal management program (CELCP in Your State). That agency would provide information on submitting a project proposal to the state-level competition. The CELCP lead agency then would submit selected applications for the national competition to NOAA (typically through

Phase 2—National Competition
For the national competition, NOAA conducts a technical review and a merit-based peer review to rank the projects. The ranked list serves as a guide for selecting projects for funding. Once NOAA announces the list of selected projects, CELCP staff members would then work with recipients to finalize their grant application for NOAA approval.

What is included in a CELCP Grant Application?

For projects selected, final NOAA CELCP grant applications consist of, at minimum, the following materials:

      1. Standard forms for federal assistance (SF-424, SF-424A, 424B, CD-511, and if applicable SF-LL and CD-346)
      2. Project description and scope of work, which include a description of the properties to be purchased or used as an in-kind match, as well as a timeline for completing the project
      3. Project budget and justification of proposed costs, which describe the costs of the project, the use of the federal funds, and how the nonfederal match will be met
      4. CELCP project application checklist
      5. Site map or aerial photograph
      6. Regional map

    The following information will also be needed. It can be submitted with the final application, or if the information is not available at that time, a special award condition will be placed on the grant requiring that the materials be submitted to and approved by NOAA before federal funds can be expended for each property.

      7. A complete, self-contained appraisal prepared to federal appraisal standards
      8. Survey
      9. Evidence of title for each property showing that the seller is the legal owner of the property and identifying any easements or other encumbrances on the property to be acquired. Examples of such documentation include an attorney title opinion or property report from a title insurance company.
      10. Contract for purchase, sale, or option agreement
      11. Willing seller letter (samples)
      12. Copy of draft deed or conservation easement containing the required deed-restriction language
      13. Documentation of federal consistency review or documentation that the state has waived review of CELCP projects. Contact the federal consistency coordinator (State Coastal Management Program Manager and Federal Consistency Contacts) in your state’s coastal management program for more information.
      14. Documentation of project review by the National Register of Historic Places Program (State Historic Preservation Officers)
      15. Certification from the CELCP lead agency that the proposed project complements (i.e., does not conflict with or impede) working waterfront needs
      16. Copy of any other easements or use agreements to be placed on the property
      17. OPTIONAL – Environmental assessment, if available (e.g., phase I environmental assessment).


Coastal states having a coastal management program or National Estuarine Research Reserve approved under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 may participate in CELCP. A state must have developed a CELCP plan (CELCP in Your State) to compete for funding. Each participating state or territory has a lead CELCP contact who coordinates the program (typically, the coastal management agency), including the development of its CELCP plan, and runs the state selection process.

Within those states eligible to compete for funds, additional state agencies and local governments, as defined in the CELCP Final Guidelines, may receive funds and hold title to land under CELCP. Eligible state and local governments should contact their state CELCP lead for information on the state’s priorities and selection process

The maximum amount of grant funds available per project is specified in the federal funding opportunity notice. To be eligible for funding, the proposed project must fulfill these criteria:

  • Protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, ecological, historical, aesthetic, or recreation values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational state to other uses.
  • Be located within a state’s designated CELCP area (as defined in its CELCP plan), which is based on its coastal watershed or state coastal zone boundaries.
  • Be submitted by an eligible public entity, i.e., state agency, local government, or other entity specified in the CELCP Final Guidelines.
  • Provide for nonfederal public ownership in perpetuity. Note that in-kind match properties may be held by a qualified nongovernmental organization whose primary mission is to acquire and manage land for the purposes of conservation.
  • Provide public access, or other public benefit, as appropriate and consistent with resource protection.
  • Acquire property or conservation easements from willing sellers.
  • Provide nonfederal matching funds in the form of cash or in-kind contributions at a 1:1 ratio. Visit the “Cost Share Requirements” section of the CELCP Final Guidelines for more information.
  • Advance the goals, objectives, or implementation of the state coastal management program or plan or National Estuarine Research Reserve management plan or a local, regional, or state watershed protection plan.
  • Be consistent with the state’s approved coastal management program.

CELCP’s authorizing legislation requires that 15 percent of funds be provided to projects that benefit National Estuarine Research Reserves. To qualify, applicants must include a support letter from the appropriate reserve manager describing and validating benefits to the reserve. Applicants should show the relative location of the project to the reserve’s targeted watershed boundary, within which conservation activities provide direct benefits to the reserve. Targeted watershed maps may be found in CELCP in Your State.

For more information, contact us and include “CELCP” in the subject line.