NC Coastal Recreational Fishing License Grant Program

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

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Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $450,000

Anticipated deadline: Jul 31, 2020 2:00pm PDT

Applicant type: College / University Government Entity

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program

Location of project: North Carolina

Location of residency: North Carolina

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Overview:

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is issuing a request for proposals for consideration of funding from the Marine Resources Fund. The Marine Resources Fund is composed of proceeds from the sale of the Coastal Recreational Fishing License. The N.C. General Assembly created the fund to manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate and enhance the marine resources of the state. 

The purpose of this document is to announce a request for proposals to identify project areas and priorities eligible for funding by the Marine Resources Fund in accordance with the North Carolina Marine Resources Fund and Marine Resources Endowment Fund Strategic Plan to Manage, Protect, Restore, Develop, Cultivate, Conserve, and Enhance North Carolina's Marine Resources, and to assist you in preparing the proposal. Please read the enclosed information closely. Proposals will be evaluated, and applicants notified of acceptance or rejection after a funding decision has been issued.

The mission for the use of funds is to manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve, and enhance the marine resources of North Carolina based on sound science, compliance to fisheries management measures and public access and education. The Strategic Plan sets forth a framework to meet these goals. The framework provides the basis upon which to evaluate and select proposals seeking Coastal Recreational Fishing License funds. Focused solicitation strategies have been compiled based on priority needs in fishery management plans approved by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, issues identified in the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, and research needs identified cooperatively with other agencies. The objectives and strategies beginning on page 8 are specific topics of interest at this time. Only proposals that directly address the Specific Priority Needs beginning on page 8 will be considered.

Projects that are currently being funded can be viewed on the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries website under Recreational Fishing Reports/Grants, Programs and Reports

Funding Year 2019 Coastal Recreational Fishing License Grant Specific Priority Needs

GOAL 1: MARINE RESOURCES AND HABITAT MANAGEMENT

Support research, surveys, and investigations that provide essential information for the management of marine resources and habitats, including administrative and compliance activities necessary to obtain management objectives.

Objective 1: Enhance Research and Monitoring

Strategy 1: Develop indicator metrics for monitoring status and trends of habitat, including assessment of fish use in strategic habitat areas.

  • 1.1 Verify ecological condition of nominated strategic habitat areas in the Albemarle, Pamlico, and Cape Fear regions, by comparing fish use and habitat condition inside and outside of strategic habitat areas using existing DMF sampling design protocol.
  • 1.2 Develop sentinel sites and sampling design for monitoring shell bottom habitat metrics throughout shellfish growing waters.

Strategy 2: Reduce sedimentation impacts in coastal waters.

  • 2.1 Evaluate the effectiveness of current vegetated buffers, best management practices (BMPs), and low impact development (LID) strategies in limiting sediment and nutrient inputs from development and agriculture into estuarine waters; determine criteria needed for buffers and other BMPs to adequately minimize adverse impacts to fish habitat.

Strategy 3: Expand habitat mapping for NC estuarine waters. Focus on developing innovative, rapid, and cost-effective mapping methods.

  • 3.1 Conduct mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation at established sentinel sites, compare results to previous mapping, and evaluate relationship with environmental parameters.
  • 3.2 Map potential subtidal oyster reef habitat in the lower Neuse and Pamlico rivers and western Pamlico Sound (west of Bluff Shoal), ground truth to determine live oyster presence, and compare to results of Balance (2005) and Winslow (1889). The areal limit of mapping should be prioritized by likelihood of supporting shell bottom habitat.
  • 3.3 Using a spatial planning tool, create coastwide shellfish lease suitability maps that incorporate compatibility with existing uses, such as fishing, hunting, navigation, recreation, and shoreline development.
  • 3.4 Develop an efficient mapping methodology for intertidal and shallow subtidal shell bottom throughout coastal NC.

Strategy 4: Develop reference tools to guide new enhancement decision-making toward positive biological impacts.

  • 4.1 Evaluate temporal changes in fish assemblages or connectivity to other hard bottom habitats. These studies must provide information on a broad spatial scale, surveying reef sites in all five artificial reef regions.

Strategy 5: Identify science-based, minimum and optimal restoration targets for the Oyster Sanctuary Program.

  • 5.1 Define minimum and optimal restoration targets for the Oyster Sanctuary Program. Specifically, studies must address targets for oyster population density, length frequency, and reef population size. Studies must recognize that targets may vary by geographic location, and that sanctuaries are closed to oyster harvest. Targets must be presented in terms of number of oysters per unit area.

Strategy 6: Recommend monitoring metrics and simple methods for surveying multi-substrate oyster sanctuaries

  • 6.1 Identify and prioritize monitoring metrics for annual oyster sanctuary surveys. Minimally, metrics must address oyster population size and oyster population density.
  • 6.2 Provide simple and repeatable methods for the above metrics. Studies must recognize that sanctuaries are constructed using various substrate materials, which may or may not be excavated.

Strategy 7: Identify science-based, minimum and optimal restoration targets for the Cultch Planting Program.

  • 7.1 Define minimum and optimal restoration targets for the Cultch Planting Program. Specifically, studies must address targets for oyster population density, length frequency, and reef population size, pre- and post-harvest. Studies must recognize that targets may vary by geographic location. Targets must be presented in terms of number of oysters per unit area or per unit sample volume.

Strategy 8: Evaluate existing fixed-station fishery-independent Program 120 Estuarine Trawl Survey.

  • 8.1 Conduct a third-party review of existing data collected from the Program 120 Estuarine Trawl Survey. Institute an independent review of data and systems to ensure efficient and effective implementation into current DMF operations, including:
    • Determining if the program is meeting stated objectives, particularly as a survey to monitor relative trends in abundance for recreationally significant species.
    • Evaluating statistical design of survey to meet stated objectives and maintain historical value of survey to meet stated objectives.
    • Determining if the survey could be optimized using a more robust statistical design and provide a demonstrated framework for design implementation.
    • Independent review of data and systems often require consultation and/or partnership of industry experts throughout the U.S. Contact [email protected] for suggested framework and model.

Strategy 9: Evaluate historic tagging data with genetic and environmental information or identify tagging techniques that could be incorporated into tagging programs to assist in identifying inshore/offshore and coastwide migration critical to understanding the life history.

**Applicants are encouraged to partner with accredited universities or colleges in South Carolina, Georgia, and/or Florida for Strategies 9.1 - 9.4. Partnership opportunities within this region may be needed to address the unique spawning, habitat, and migration characteristics of southern flounder and their importance to the marine and estuarine resources of North Carolina.

  • 9.1 Identify offshore spawning locations of southern flounder.
  • 9.2 Identify immigration rates for southern flounder that return to estuaries after spawning.
  • 9.3 Identify migration corridors for the offshore component of the southern flounder stock.
  • 9.4 Identify habitat preference for the offshore component of the southern flounder stock.
  • 9.5 Identify over wintering habitat with emphasis on location and habitat preferences for cobia.
  • 9.6 Identify migration patterns of cobia spawning inshore in North Carolina to elucidate seasonal migration patterns (inshore/offshore and North/South) and connectivity with other stocks in the Atlantic.
  • 9.7 Identify spawning and offshore migration patterns of striped mullet and how these patterns may affect the unit stock for striped mullet stock assessments.
  • 9.8 Identify spawning and offshore migration patterns of sheepshead and how these patterns may affect the unit stock for sheepshead stock assessments.

Strategy 10: Evaluate the complete time series of existing Division survey data applicable to currently designated primary and secondary nursery areas. Compare marine resource utilization for species suites such as summer spawners like spotted seatrout, weakfish; anadromous nursery areas over time within and outside of designated areas.

  • 10.1 Evaluate past and current productivity of existing NC primary and secondary nursery areas, and provide a literature synopsis of considerations for designating nursery areas. Evaluate current NCDMF sampling designs and recommend preferred optimal sampling designs with a demonstrated framework for design implementation.

Strategy 11: Develop and analyze catch-and-release metrics for red drum, flounder, spotted sea trout, and striped bass to define the collective implications of recreational gear and seasonal influence to discard mortality.

  • 11.1 Evaluate fish survival regarding the impacts of hook types and design, such as (or combination thereof) circle hooks, barbless hooks, single hooks, treble hooks, etc.
  • 11.2 Provide recommendations on improving discard mortality.
  • 11.3 Determine how seasonal factors influence catch-and-release mortality.
  • 11.4 Identify species specific data for catch-and-release fishing practices.
  • 11.5 Examine respective fluctuations in catch per unit effort (CPUE) of various hook types and designs for individual fish species.

GOAL 2: ACCESS AND EDUCATION

Enhance public fishing access and angling opportunities and support public outreach and education that are essential to management of marine resources and habitats.

Objective 1: Provide Access to Marine Resources and Angling Opportunities

Strategy 11: Gather information on public use of artificial reefs

  • 11.1 For all 68 reef sites, provide seasonal estimates for number of users, types of activities occurring, and average duration of reef site visit.

Strategy 12: Develop fishing access to enhance angling opportunities through construction of boat ramps, fishing piers, and beach access sites in order to support and provide broader use of these resources.

  • 12.1 Improve and/or develop public fishing access.
  • 12.2 Develop a comprehensive management plan for public access sites evaluating current sites and prioritizing where future sites are needed in coastal fishing waters.

Strategy 13: Use public fishing access sites and structures for outreach, environmental education and community based environmental enhancement activities.

  • 13.1 Coordinate with other agencies and local governments to identify, enhance, and conserve recreational fishing access.

Objective 2: Improve Public Information, Education, and Enrichment

Strategy 14: Develop workshops, clinics, recognition programs, charitable educational opportunities, and materials to promote the benefits of the Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant program to the recreational fishing community.

  • 14.1 Develop comprehensive public education program on recreational fishing practices, including information kiosks at fishing access points.
  • 14.2 Develop information programs on catch and release, ethical angling, fishing techniques, reducing release mortality, and bycatch.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Only proposals from accredited universities, colleges, or local and state governmental entities located in North Carolina are eligible to receive funding.
    • Individuals/groups (i.e. non-profit organizations) desiring funding must partner with one of these eligible agencies.
  • If the applicant desires to partner with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries on a project, they must contact either the appropriate Division Fisheries Management Species Lead  , or the Coastal Recreational Fishing License Project Coordinator, William Brantley, by the deadline March 15.
  • The proposal must include a letter defining the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
  • The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has no obligation to enter into any partnership agreement. 

Preferences:


Ineligibility:

  • The Coastal Recreational Fishing License program will not fund land acquisition or construction projects that require other, not yet obtained parcels of land, or are contingent on receiving other grant money before site development can occur.
  • The Coastal Recreational Fishing License program will not fund the design/planning of potential projects, unless funding is already secured for project completion and the design/planning portion is only a part of the current proposal.