Research Project Search
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY
Research and Monitoring Program on Ecological Effects of Environmental Stressors Using Coastal Intensive Sites
Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Research and Quality Assurance
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Ocean Service
National Sea Grant College
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Mission to Planet Earth
An Interagency Research Program
Opening Date: December 23, 1997
Closing Date: April 1, 1998
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announce an opportunity to participate in the establishment of pilot sites for the development of a network of intensive, long-term monitoring and research sites around the U.S. marine and Great Lakes coasts. EPA and NOAA are requesting applications for research and monitoring programs at pilot sites utilizing ecological indicators and investigating the ecological effects of environmental stressors. Indicators are measures that effectively integrate the environmental condition and response. NASA is requesting proposals for research aimed at developing a remote sensing capability that will augment or enhance in situ research and monitoring programs selected by EPA and NOAA under this announcement.
In July 1995 the Federal Interagency Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) convened a team of Federal scientists and program managers to develop a national framework for integrating and coordinating environmental monitoring and related research through collaboration with and building upon existing networks and programs.
In March 1997, this team released a report entitled, "Integrating the Nation's Environmental Monitoring and Research Networks and Programs: A Proposed Framework." A major recommendation of this report calls for the establishment of a nation-wide network of index sites to provide standard information on major environmental variables that are known to influence ecological condition. These sites are to fill a critical gap identified in the nation's capability to integrate the results from environmental monitoring and related research programs and thus to provide an improved basis for development of comprehensive assessments of the condition of the nation's environmental resources.
The development and demonstration of the utility of a network of intensively monitored index sites is one of the four major components of U.S. EPA's next phase of the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). A review by the National Research Council suggested that the EMAP approach could benefit from the strategic placement of long-term monitoring sites that were intensively monitored to establish linkages between observed changes in environmental stressors and concomitant changes in ecological resources. This approach was incorporated into EMAP-Phase II planning in 1994 and led to the development in 1997 of a Memorandum of Understanding among EPA, NOAA, and NASA to establish CISNet (Coastal Intensive Site Network).
CISNet is an interagency effort between EPA, NOAA, and NASA to develop an intensive coastal site network of monitoring and research locations throughout the United States. Many of these Agencies' facilities together with academic research stations will be utilized as "outdoor laboratories" (e.g., EPA's research facilities located in estuarine environments, NOAA's Estuarine Research Reserve system facilities, NASA field centers, numerous academic field stations located in estuarine environments).
CISNet has three objectives:
- (1) To develop a sound scientific basis for understanding ecological responses to anthropogenic stresses in coastal environments, including the interaction of exposure, environment/climate, and biological/ecological factors in the response, and the spatial and temporal nature of these interactions.
- (2) To demonstrate the usefulness of a set of intensively monitored sites for examining short-term variability in long-term trend behavior in the relationships between changes in environmental stressors, including anthropogenic and natural stresses, and ecological response.
- (3) To provide intensively monitored sites for development and evaluation of indicators of change in coastal systems.
The final selection of sites for inclusion in the Coastal Intensive Site Network will be based on the following criteria:
- (1) The site is located where it can be linked to ongoing process-level
research programs that provide important supportive data and information;
(2) The site is located where it can be linked to major ongoing monitoring programs that provide important supportive data and information;
- (3) The site is in proximity to supporting federal, state, or university laboratories or parklands with well-equipped facilities for the support of research and monitoring activities;
- (4) There is a high quality, long-term record of accessible, pertinent data and information from past monitoring and research activities;
- (5) There is a guarantee of long-term accessibility to ensure continued access to the monitoring and research site;
- (6) There is a long-term commitment, federal and/or state, to support monitoring at the site; and
- (7) There is a high likelihood that the data and information obtained at the site can be used to improve the environmental decision-making process.
It is also intended that the entire set of sites include locations that are representative of: (a) various levels and kinds of human impacts to estuarine and coastal environments; (b) the major biogeographical regions associated with the coasts of the United States; and (c) important habitats occurring in and along the estuaries and coasts of the United States (e.g., coral reefs, sea grass beds, rocky fjords). Appendix I lists 41 coastal sites (and the biogeographical provinces they represent) which have been identified as appropriate candidates for inclusion in CISNet based on these criteria. Almost all of the 41 sites are readily accessible, have a history of being monitored for environmental information, and are locations where much environmental research has been conducted. The sites on the list cover a broad spectrum of ecological communities and landscapes. They have been judged to reflect the above criteria and to be representative of the above needs and so are strong candidates for siting of CISNet index sites. Additional sites can also be proposed, however, but should be thoroughly justified in the application on the basis of the above criteria.
CISNet has been developed as a network of long-term trend monitoring sites where research will be supported to examine the interactions of environmental stressors, climate factors, and environmental effects in a well-characterized field setting. The research focus will be on ecological effects of air or water pollution known or determined for the sites (i.e., specific relationships between stressors and effects), as well as the broader regional- and national-scale ecological effects research issues (e.g., air deposition patterns and their effects on coastal ecosystems), and indicators of change/condition in ecological resources.
Therefore, the EPA, NOAA, and NASA request applications for support to: (1) conduct research to address fundamental concepts of environmental stressor-ecological response relationships at coastal monitoring sites, (2) conduct new and additional monitoring at these sites, and (3) develop the capability to use remote sensing as part of an ongoing operational monitoring program.
This solicitation complements ongoing research programs in EPA Laboratories and NOAA and NASA facilities and is consistent with the goals and objectives of their ecologically-based research and monitoring programs. Applications are encouraged that present plans for the establishment of index sites for a three-year period to test the capability and utility of such sites in meeting these objectives. The funded projects are expected to include both the establishment, continuation, or utilization of a set of core monitoring measurements and the carrying out of related research activities directed at one or more of the objectives listed below.
Proposed research projects should be developed for proposed sites to address any or all of the following research areas:
(1) Development of indicators of coastal ecosystem integrity and sustainability: research would focus primarily on the development, testing, and validation of indicators that could be incorporated into a nation-wide coastal intensive site monitoring network to evaluate and track changes in system integrity and sustainability.
(2) Problems of temporal and spatial variability in environmental measurements: research would focus primarily on assessing and quantifying gradients of environmental exposure in complex estuarine systems. Characterization of the gradients and modeling the "exposure surfaces" for a coastal system based on multiple sites will increase the ability to extrapolate stressor effects across a landscape or region. Important anthropogenic stressors include UV-B, point and non-point source deposition of contaminants and nutrients, and the distribution of habitats. Important natural stressors include temperature, salinity, climate, hydrodynamic mixing, and interactions with the ocean.
(3) Nitrogen and phosphorus effects on coastal systems: examination of the effects of addition of nitrogen and phosphorus on the biogeochemical cycles and organisms in coastal waters, in particular the effects of atmospheric deposition of N and P on coastal eutrophication.
(4) Stressor effects on coastal systems: examination and evaluation of the effects of anthropogenic stressors on coastal systems. Example: UV-B effects on coral ecosystems and near-coastal plankton communities.
(5) Development of remote sensing capability: research focused on the development of algorithms for applying aircraft or satellite remote sensing data to provide synoptic information that complements and substantially augments the in-situ monitoring program. Once this capability is developed, the long-term support for the operational use of remote sensing as part of a continuing, monitoring program must be obtained from other sources. Remote sensing must be coordinated with proposals for in-situ monitoring programs.
This solicitation seeks applications for research on important scientific principles related to ecological response and/or exposure, as well as applications for the establishment of monitoring activities based on sound scientific principles. It encourages a diversity of research approaches and collaborations among federal, state, and academic scientists. All applications should include a description of ongoing monitoring at the proposed site and any proposed initiation of additional monitoring. It is expected that, within each funded site, monitoring for a suite of core properties will be continued or initiated at several depths at each of several locations. Applications need not include a remote sensing component. However, if there is a remote sensing component proposed, that aspect of the overall site proposal must be described in detail in a separate project description (see instructions below).
Properties such as water temperature, salinity/conductivity, ambient light, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, and nutrient concentrations, measures of water movements, resource harvest, and contaminant levels as well as indicators of ecosystem condition are expected to be directly observed or otherwise made available for each site. It is also expected that meteorological properties such as air temperature, precipitation, and humidity will be available or measured for at least one location within or adjacent to the defined site. The application should indicate how, where, and at what frequency such core properties will be measured. The application should also indicate what additional properties, if any, will be monitored and how, where, and at what frequency these will be measured.
The application should contain specific plans for making results and data available. Operational monitoring data obtained at each funded site, accompanied by appropriate metadata, must be made available electronically within 3 months after being collected. Research results must be published in the refereed literature, and research data made available electronically by the end of the grant.
Up to about $2 million will be made available for this competition in FY 1998 with the same amount in the following two fiscal years. NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program will support one site at a level not to exceed $100,000 per year for three years; matching funds equivalent to 50% of the Federal award are required for this project. The projected award range for the remaining sites is anticipated to be between $100,000 to $200,000 per year. All awards will be for a duration of three years, but awards are subject to the availability of funds and satisfactory performance. This funding will support the establishment of a program of monitoring and associated research activities at potential core index sites in selected coastal locations. The establishment of up to about 10 sites is anticipated.
Interested applicants must be eligible to receive Federal assistance under the acts giving Statutory authority for research funding by EPA, NOAA, or NASA. Statutory authority for EPA funding of this research is found in Section 103 of the Clean Air Act and Section 104 of the Clean Water Act. Not-for-profit scientific research and educational institutions located in the United States, and State or local governments, are eligible to apply under this solicitation. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive assistance under this program.
Researchers in Federal agencies may submit applications directly, but are strongly encouraged to participate as part of a research/monitoring team working with an academic or state partner. Federal employees may cooperate or collaborate with other eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. Federal employees may not request salary reimbursement and cannot request funding for other than extramural uses.
EPA, NOAA, and NASA welcome applications on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers, and other professionals, and strongly encourage women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in this program.
In accordance with Federal statutes and regulations and EPA, NOAA, and NASA policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal assistance from EPA, NOAA, or NASA.
At various places within the application, applicants will be asked to identify this topic area by using the Sorting Code. The Sorting Code for this solicitation is 98-NCERQA-R1.
The Sorting Code must be placed at the top of the abstract (as
shown in the abstract format), in Box 10 of Standard Form 424 (as
described in the section on SF424), and should also be included
in the address on the package that is sent to EPA (see the section
on how to apply).
INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION
Studies focused on a particular site may consist of several collaborative proposals, or an omnibus proposal that contains various interdisciplinary components. In either case, a common overview statement of monitoring and research objectives and approach should be prepared, and a brief statement provided describing the role of each component.
Letter of Intent to Apply
A Letter of Intent to Apply of no more than 2 pages should be submitted giving the title and a brief summary of the proposed project with sufficient detail to identify potential reviewers. These letters will not be used for screening applications, but rather for planning the peer review process. Letters should be submitted by February 2, 1998, to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Full Application Submission
The initial application is made through the submission of the materials described below. It is essential that the application contain all the information requested and be submitted in the formats described. If it is not, the application may be rejected on administrative grounds. If an application is considered for award, (i.e., after external peer review and internal review) additional forms and other information will be requested by the Project Officer. The application should not be bound or stapled in any way. The Application contains the following:
A.Standard Form 424: The applicant must complete Standard Form 424 (see attached form and instructions). This form will act as a cover sheet for the application and should be its first page. Instructions for completion of the SF424 are included with the form. Applications should be clearly identified by a project title starting with the acronym "CISNet" and a short title (<50 characters). The form must contain the original signature of an authorized representative of the applying institution. Please note that both the Principal Investigator and an administrative contact should be identified in Section 5 of the SF424.
B.Key Contacts: The applicant must complete the Key Contacts Form (attached) as the second page of the submitted application.
C. Abstract: The abstract is a very important document. Prior to attending the peer review panel meetings, some of the panelists may read only the abstract. Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately describe the research being proposed and convey all the essential elements of the research. Also, in the event of an award, the abstracts will form the basis for an Annual Report of awards made under this program. The abstract should include the following information:
- 1.Sorting Code: 98-NCERQA-R1
- 2.Title: Use the exact title as it appears in the rest of the application.
- 3.Investigators: List the names and affiliations of each investigator who will significantly contribute to the project. Start with the Principal Investigator.
- 4.Project Summary: This should include a brief description of the site, the rationale for the monitoring and research approach, the scientific objectives and/or hypotheses to be tested, and a brief summary of work to be completed.
- 5.Supplemental Keywords: A list of suggested keywords is provided for your use. Do not duplicate terms already used in the text of the abstract.
D. Project Description: This description must not exceed fifteen (15) consecutively numbered (center bottom), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins, inclusive of figures and other visual materials, but exclusive of references. The description must provide the following information:
- 1.Objectives: The proposed project must be completely described, including identification of the site (with justification if it is not on the approved list [see Appendix 1]), scientific objectives, proposed methodology, relevance to the goals of CISNet and its scientific priorities. Include: (i) the monitoring and research objectives for the period of proposed work and their expected significance, (ii) the relation to the present state of knowledge about the site, and relation to previous work and work in progress by the proposing principal investigator(s), and (iii) a discussion of how the proposed project lends value to the CISNet goal. A year-by-year summary of proposed work must be included with intermediate outcomes.
- 2.Approach: Outline the methods, approaches, and techniques that you intend to employ in meeting the objective stated above.
- 3.Expected Results or Benefits: Describe the results you expect to achieve during the project, the benefits of success as they relate to the topic under which the proposal was submitted, and the potential recipients of these benefits. This section should also discuss the utility of the research project proposed for addressing the environmental problems described in the solicitation (one to two pages recommended).
- 4.Milestone chart: Project management should be clearly delineated, with the roles and responsibilities of each investigator described. A year-by-year summary of proposed work must be included with intermediate outcomes and a time line of major tasks covering the duration of the proposed project.
- 5.General Project Information: Discuss other information relevant to the potential success of the project. This should include facilities, personnel, project schedules, proposed management, interactions with other institutions, etc. (one to two pages recommended).
- 6.Important Attachments: Appendices and/or other information may be included but must remain within the 15 page limit. References cited are in addition to the 15 pages.
E.Project Description for Remote Sensing Component (optional); If a remote sensing component is proposed, an additional section (up to 15 pages in length) must be included giving similar details for the remote sensing component. This section should include (i) goals and objectives, (ii) approach to algorithm development and relation to previous work in this field, (iii) description of data to be collected, (iv) relationship and expected benefit to the in-situ monitoring program described in 1 and 2 above.
F.Resumes: The resumes of all principal investigators and important co-workers should be presented. Resumes must not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins for each individual.
G.Current and Pending Support: The applicant must identify any current and pending financial resources that are intended to support research related to that included in the proposal or which would consume the time of principal investigators. This should be done by completing the appropriate form (see attachment) for each investigator and other senior personnel involved in the proposal. Failure to provide this information may delay consideration of your proposal.
H.Budget: The applicant must present a detailed, itemized budget for the entire project. This budget must be in the format provided in the example (see attachment) and not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages with 1-inch margins. A brief statement concerning cost sharing can be added to the budget justification.
- If a remote sensing component is proposed, present a separate budget for the additional funding related to the remote sensing component. Use the same format provided in the example.
I. Budget Justification: This section should describe the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other (including computer) costs identified in the itemized budget and explain the basis for their calculation (special attention should be given to explaining the travel, equipment, and other categories). This should also include an explanation of how the indirect costs were calculated. This justification should not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.
J.Quality Assurance Narrative Statement: Provide a statement on how quality processes or products will be assured. This statement should not exceed two consecutively numbered, 8.5x11 inch pages of single-spaced standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. This is in addition to the 15 pages permitted for the Project Description. The Quality Assurance Narrative Statement should, for each item listed below, either present the required information or provide a justification as to why the item does not apply to the proposed research. For awards that involve environmentally related measurements or data generation, a quality system that complies with the requirements of ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs," must be in place.
1.The activities to be performed or hypothesis to be tested (reference may be made to the specific page and paragraph number in the application where this information may be found); criteria for determining the acceptability of data quality in terms of precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, comparability.
2.The study design including sample type and location requirements and any statistical analyses that were used to estimate the types and numbers of samples required for physical samples or similar information for studies using survey and interview techniques.
3.The procedures for the handling and custody of samples, including sample identification, preservation, transportation, and storage.
4.The methods that will be used to analyze samples or data collected, including a description of the sampling and/or analytical instruments required.
5.The procedures that will be used in the calibration and performance evaluation of the sampling and analytical methods used during the project.
6.The procedures for data reduction and reporting, including a description of statistical analyses to be used and of any computer models to be designed or utilized associated with verification and validation techniques.
7.The intended use of the data as they relate to the study objectives or hypotheses.
8.The quantitative and or qualitative procedures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project.
9.Any plans for peer or other reviews of the study design or analytical methods prior to data collection.
ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs" is available for purchase from the American Society for Quality Control, phone 1-800-248-1946, item T55. Only in exceptional circumstances should it be necessary to consult this document.
K.Postcard: The Applicant must include with the application a self addressed, stamped 3x5-inch post card. This will be used to acknowledge receipt of the application and to transmit other important information to the applicant.
How to Apply
The original and ten (10) copies of the fully developed application and five (5) additional copies of the abstract (15 in all), must be received by NCER no later than 4:00 P.M. EST on the closing date April 1, 1998.
The application should not be bound or stapled in any way. The original and copies of the application should be secured with paper or binder clips. Completed applications should be sent via regular mail to:
For express mail or courier-delivered applications, the following address must be used:
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8703R)
Sorting Code: 98-NCERQA-R1
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 564-6939 (for express mail applications)
Applications received after the deadline and applications that deviate from the format described below will be returned to the sender without review. If you have any questions or require further information, contact one of the agency coordinators listed below.
Application Review And Selection
Review of applications will be handled cooperatively by EPA, NOAA, and NASA. All applications will be reviewed by an appropriate technical peer review group. This review is designed to evaluate each proposal according to its scientific merit. In general, each review group is composed of scientists, engineers, social scientists, and/or economists who are experts in their respective disciplines and are proficient in the technical areas they are reviewing. The reviewers use the following criteria to help them in their reviews:
1.The originality and creativity of the proposed research and monitoring, the appropriateness and adequacy of the methods proposed, and the appropriateness and adequacy of the Quality Assurance Narrative Statement. Is the research approach practical and technically defensible, and can the project be performed within the proposed time period? Will the proposed research and monitoring contribute to the objectives of CISNet? Is the application well-prepared with supportive information that is self-explanatory and understandable?
2.The qualifications of the principal investigator(s) and other key personnel, including research training, demonstrated knowledge of pertinent literature, experience, and publication records. Will all key personnel contribute a significant time commitment to the project?
3.The availability and/or adequacy of the facilities and equipment proposed for the project. Are there any deficiencies that may interfere with the successful completion of the research?
4.The responsiveness of the application to the research and monitoring needs identified for the topic area. Is the proposed effort integrated with ongoing activities at the site, including the provision of matching funds?
5.Although budget information is not used by the reviewers as the basis for their evaluation of scientific merit, the reviewers are asked to provide their view on the appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget and its implications for the potential success of the proposed work. Input on requested equipment is of particular interest.
Applications that receive scores of excellent and very good from the peer reviewers are subjected to a programmatic review within EPA, NOAA, and NASA. Upon conclusion of all reviews, meritorious applications may be recommended for funding by either EPA, NOAA, or NASA, at the agencies' option. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency. A summary statement of the scientific review by the peer panel will be provided to each applicant.
Applications selected for funding will require additional certifications,
possibly a revised budget, and responses to any comments or suggestions
offered by the peer reviewers. Project officers will contact principal
investigators to obtain these materials.
By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants EPA, NOAA, and NASA permission to share the application with technical reviewers both within and outside the Agencies. Applications containing proprietary or other types of confidential information will be returned to the applicant without review.
The funding mechanism for all awards issued under this solicitation
will consist of grants from EPA, NOAA, and NASA and depends on the
availability of funds. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, the
primary purpose of a grant is to accomplish a public purpose of
support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than
acquisition for the direct benefit of the government.
Additional general information on the grants program, forms used for applications, etc., may be obtained by exploring our Web page at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/. EPA does not intend to make mass mailings of this announcement. Information not available on the Internet may be obtained by contacting:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Research
and Quality Assurance (8703R)
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20460
In addition, contact persons listed below can respond to any technical questions related to your application.
Ms. Barbara Levinson
Dr. Andrew Robertson
Phone: 301-713-3032 x162
Dr. Janet Campbell
Coastal Sites included in CISNet
Great Lakes Province
Old Woman Creek, Ohio
South Green Bay, Wisconsin
Lake Michigan/Grand River, Michigan
West Lake Superior, Minnesota
Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
New York/New Jersey Harbor, NY/NJ
Hampton Roads-York River, VA
Choptank River-Severn River, MD
Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts
West Indian Province
Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, Florida
Florida Bay, Florida
Tampa Bay, Florida
Rookery Bay NERR, Florida
Jobos Bay, Puerto Rico
San Pablo Bay, California
Elkhorn Slough NERR, California
Santa Monica Bay, California
Tijuana River Estuary NERR, CA
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
Boston Harbor, Massachusetts
Great Bay, New Hampshire
Wells Bay, Maine
North Inlet/Winyah Bay, SC
Doboy Sound, Georgia
Charleston Harbor, SC
Rachel Carson NERR, NC
Neuse River Estuary, NC
North Indian River Lagoon, FL
Apalachicola Bay, FL
Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana
Pensacola Bay, FL
Galveston Bay, Texas
Barataria Bay, Louisiana
Corpus Christi Bay, Texas
South Slough NERR, Oregon
Columbia River Estuary, OR/WA
Commencement Bay, WA
Padilla Bay, Washington
Point Barrow, Alaska
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