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CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE/Office of Naval Research
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Interagency Announcement of Opportunity for Grants

Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms Project (ECOHAB)

Opening Date: April 7, 1999
Closing Date: June 7, 1999

Docket No. 990203 041-9041-01; I.D. No. 020299B

RIN 0648-ZA60

CONTENT
Summary
Contacts
Supplementary Information
Research Goals and Topical Areas
Part I: Schedule and Proposal Submission
Full Proposals
Required Elements
Proposal Format and Assembly
Part II: Further Supplementary Information

AGENCIES: The Coastal Ocean Program and the National Sea Grant College Program/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Commerce; the National Center for Environmental Research and Quality Assurance/Environmental Protection Agency(EPA); the Directorate for Geosciences, Division of Ocean Sciences/National Science Foundation(NSF); the Office of Naval Research(ONR) /Department of Defense; and the Office of Earth Science/National Aeronautics Space Administration(NASA).

ACTION: Supplemental notification for financial assistance for project grants.

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to advise the public that the NOAA Coastal Ocean Program(COP), the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program, the EPA National Center for Environmental Research and Quality Assurance, the NSF Directorate for Geosciences, Division of Ocean Sciences, the Department of Defense/Office of Naval Research, and the Office of Earth Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration are soliciting research proposals of 1 to 5 years in duration for the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) program. This program provides support for research on all aspects of harmful algal bloom(HAB) ecology and oceanography in U.S. coastal waters. This document details the requirements for applications for research support to address general HAB ecology and oceanography that will be considered by the Federal research partnership consisted of NOAA, NSF, EPA, ONR, and NASA.

DATES: The deadline for proposals is June 7, 1999, by 3:00 PM, EST.

ADDRESSES: Submit the original and two copies of your proposal to Coastal Ocean Program Office (ECOHAB 99), SSMC#3, 9th Floor, Room 9752, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. NOAA Standard Form Applications with instructions are accessible on the following COP Internet Site in a read-only format. Blank Forms may be printed out, but information cannot be saved to the Web site, nor transmitted electronically to NOAA.

http://www.cop.noaa.gov

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Technical Information: Dr. Kevin Sellner, ECOHAB Coordinator, COP Office, 301-713-3338/ext 127, E-mail: ksellner@cop.noaa.gov.

Business Management: Leslie McDonald, COP Grants Office, (301) 713-3338/ext 137, E-mail: Leslie.McDonald@noaa.gov.

If you have Brown Tide Research Initiative (BTRI) related questions, contact Sue Banahan, COP Office, 301-713-3338/ext 115, E-mail: sbanahan@cop.noaa.gov. More information on the BTRI research program is available through the World Wide Web on New York Sea Grant's Web Site (http://www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/pages/btri.htm), or by contacting Cornelia Schlenk of New York Sea Grant (NYSG) at 516-632-6906, E-mail: cschlenk@ccmail.sunysb.edu.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Program Description: For complete Program Description and Other Requirements criteria for the Coastal Ocean Program, see COP's General Grant Administration Terms and Conditions initial notice in the Federal Register (63 FR 44237, August l8, 1998) and at Internet site: http://www.cop.noaa.gov.

Harmful Algal Blooms(HABs) include toxic and noxious phytoplankton (including Pfiesteria-like organisms) and benthic algae. Evidence suggests that, over the last few decades, the frequency and duration of HABs have been increasing nationally and worldwide. Formerly, only a few regions of the U.S. were affected by HABs, but now virtually every coastal state has reported major blooms. In many cases, blooms extend over large geographic areas and are composed of more than one harmful or toxic species. Furthermore, HABs are not unique to the United States and have attracted interest from many countries that have commercial and recreational activities in the coastal ocean. Most recently, a Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission-Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research workshop (GEOHAB, Global Ecology and Oceanography of HABs) in Denmark convened to consider the establishment of an international research program on the increasing problem of HABs in our world's coastal oceans.

In spite of a growing list of affected resources, our understanding of the biological, physical, and chemical processes that regulate HABs is limited. Toxic blooms can potentially impact virtually all compartments of the marine foodweb due to adverse effects on viability, growth, fecundity, and recruitment of marine organisms. Because toxins can move through ecosystems, the impacts can be far reaching. Likewise, dramatic shifts in structure of an ecosystem can accompany plankton blooms and macroalgal overgrowth in benthic systems. In the context of ecological effects, our present knowledge is inadequate to define the scale and complexity of many HAB phenomena.

Impacts of HABs are extensive. Periodic blooms in some coastal areas have caused collapse of ecosystems, with accompanying serious economic impacts. Economic losses in the U.S. from HABs are likely to exceed one billion dollars over several decades. The costs of HABs are included in toxin monitoring programs, closures of shellfish beds, collapse of some fisheries and shellfisheries, mortality of fish and shellfish, disruptions in tourism, threats to public and coastal resource health, publication of watershed, health and seafood advisories, and medical treatments.

HABs are not only economically costly, but they also cause severe human health effects. Human illnesses due to natural algal toxins include ciguatera fish poisoning, paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP), neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, and short-term neurocognitive dysfunction from exposure to Pfiesteria piscicida. Severe cases of PSP and ASP can result in death within 24 hours of consuming the toxic shellfish from respiratory arrest and brain dysfunction. Additionally, ASP can have the devastating side effect of permanent memory loss.

The interagency ECOHAB program addresses the need for long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary research, and is outlined in the report," ECOHAB, the Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms" (Anderson, D.M. 1995. WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, 66 pp.; http://habserv1.whoi.edu/hab/nationplan/ECOHAB/PDF/ECOHABPDF.html). The primary objective of this notice is to solicit proposals for research on the environmental processes that facilitate and regulate HABs in the coastal ocean. Developing an understanding of how physical and biological processes interact to promote bloom development, maintenance, and decline will contribute to the ultimate goal of preventing, managing, controlling, and mitigating the impacts of HABs, outlined in the nation's comprehensive Federal approaches, "Marine Biotoxins and Harmful Algae: A National Plan" (Anderson, D.M., S.B. Galloway, and J.D. Joseph. 1993. WHOI Technical Report 93-02, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 44 pp.; http://www.redtide.whoi.edu/hab/nationplan/s-kplan/s-kcontents.html) and "Harmful Algal Blooms in Coastal Waters: Options for Prevention, Control, and Mitigation" (Boesch, D.F. et al 1997. NOAA COP Decision Analysis Series No.10, NOAA Coastal Ocean Office, Silver Spring, MD 46 pp.).

To address the increased need for research on HABs, NOAA, NSF, EPA, ONR, and NASA combine each agency's unique interests and missions into this coordinated research program. The interests and objectives of each agency are defined in the following paragraphs:

NOAA -- HABs and related biotoxin risk must be managed if we are to build viable and valuable sustainable fisheries, protect threatened and endangered species, and effectively manage coastal activities and resources. NOAA's interest is in developing effective techniques for prevention, control, and mitigation to assist in reducing the impacts of HABs on public health, living marine resources, and coastal habitats. Developing predictive and early warning capabilities for HABs is a specific area of emphasis.

NSF -- Many aspects of species-specific dynamics of plankton, macroalgal populations, and species succession that contribute to bloom formation are poorly understood. NSF's interest is in increasing our understanding of the direct and indirect causes of HABs in our coastal regions and their ecological consequences through research on the physiological and ecological basis for bloom formation, the physical and chemical attributes of coastal oceans that facilitate them, the population attributes of bloom species, and the long-term consequences of ecosystem changes.

EPA -- Research programs support an integrated approach to protect the integrity of ecosystems that are affected by blooms through the development of bioindicators for toxic forms of HABs and through the restoration of degraded ecosystems using a watershed approach. Specific areas of emphasis for ecosystem protection related to Pfiesteria and other HABs include the impact of nutrients from agricultural activities and other non-point sources of pollution with investigations conducted at the regional or watershed scale.

ONR -- Plankton blooms resulting from complex coupled physical/biological processes strongly affect the physical, optical, and acoustic properties of the coastal ocean. ONR's interest is in characterizing and forecasting the physical, bioacoustical, and optical properties of blooms to improve the capability of the fleet to operate effectively within coastal environments worldwide.

NASA -- Algal pigments affect optical properties of the water in well-characterized ways. In the open ocean, it is possible to quantify pigment concentration using remote sensing techniques because phytoplankton are solely responsible for variation in water color. In nearshore, estuarine, and inland waters, suspended sediments and dissolved organic compounds make the optical properties much more complex. The goal of detecting algal blooms in the presence of other colored materials is the subject of ongoing research. NASA is interested in developing remote sensing techniques that could be applied to the detection or tracking of harmful algal blooms in nearshore coastal environments.

Research Goals and Topical Areas:

A. The specific goals of the research solicited by this notice are to:

(1) Understand the causes of blooms;

(2) Determine the sources, fates, and consequences of HABs in foodwebs and fisheries;

(3) Develop an enhanced predictive and early warning capability for the occurrence and impact of HABs; and

(4) Explore means for prevention, mitigation, and control of HABs.

B. To address these needs, ECOHAB will support research on general themes of:

(1) Characterization and detection of HAB cells, life stages, and toxins;

(2) Mechanisms underlying the initiation, distribution, and accumulation of individual bloom-forming species;

(3) Physiological and biochemical bases of the ecological role of toxins in bloom-forming species;

(4) Physical and biological processes that influence the transport, fate, and effects of marine biotoxins and other HAB impacts;

(5) The influence of human and natural factors on the biophysical mechanisms that facilitate and regulate HABs, including detection and tracking of conditions suspected of being conducive to bloom formation and potential methods of control;

(6) Longer term consequences of ecosystem changes brought about by the increasing frequency and persistence of planktonic blooms and community alterations that can accompany macroalgal overgrowth in benthic systems; and

(7) Development of models of the physical, biogeochemical, and ecological processes that can ultimately lead to HAB prediction.

A significant challenge to the implementation of this program is that HAB phenomena are diverse with respect to the causative organisms involved, the hydrographic or environmental regimes in which they occur, the factors regulating bloom dynamics, and the nature and extent of their impacts. Whereas laboratory research helps define factors that could be significant in causing blooms, field research and model development are essential to determine and predict the conditions under which blooms form. Comprehensive multidisciplinary studies are needed to fully understand the complex mechanisms underlying the growth and accumulation of harmful species, the formation, transfer, and fate of toxins, the impacts of HABs and toxins on ecosystems, and the influence of human activities on these processes.

This announcement provides an opportunity for investigators to propose research to address the national problem of HABs. Proposals are sought for individual studies or small interdisciplinary efforts that address gaps in knowledge related to the nature of HAB phenomena. These studies should address fundamental ecological and oceanographic questions related to HABs. For example, individual studies by one or more investigators or by small teams could address such research issues as physical transport and techniques for identifying, detecting, and monitoring biotoxins and HAB species.

Studies of nutrient kinetics, physiological bases of growth and toxin production for harmful species, toxin transfer through the foodweb, and mechanisms for controlling blooms would be of interest. The purpose of the individual studies is to encourage research into key questions on the underlying mechanisms involved with HABs and their control, without necessarily being limited to particular study regions.

Proposals are sought for the following four topical areas:

(1) Ecology and oceanography of HABs, including Pfiesteria,

(2) Long Island brown tides,

(3) Prevention, control, and mitigation of HABs impacting fisheries, aquaculture, and human health, and

(4) Economic assessments of HABs.

The following describe in detail the type of proposals sought for each topical area:

(1) Proposals on the ecology and oceanography of HAB species, including Pfiesteria, are encouraged, with support provided by NOAA, NSF, and EPA. This is a broad category that encourages proposals on all aspects of HABs and Pfiesteria along U.S. coasts. Proposals addressing prevention, control, and mitigation of Pfiesteria will be considered as part of this topical area; proposals addressing mitigation, management, and control of other HAB species are to be submitted to the National Sea Grant College Program topical area three.

(2) Proposals of 1 to 3 years in duration are sought to address the gaps in knowledge of factors leading to the initiation, persistence, and subsidence of brown tide (Aureococcus anophagefferens) in New York's embayments. The NOAA Coastal Ocean Program (COP), in cooperation with New York Sea Grant, established the Brown Tide Research Initiative (BTRI). The goal of this program is to understand and predict the onset of brown tide blooms and to advance strategies for mitigating its environmental impacts.

Proposals applying for BTRI funds should address one or more of ECOHAB goals under Section A.,(1)(3) and/or (4) and research themes under Section B., (2)(5) and/or (7) in the context of the specific scientific objectives of the BTRI. Those objectives are:

(a) Identification of the physical, chemical, and biological factors that initiate and sustain brown tide blooms. Investigations into a range of factors will be considered. Of special interest are laboratory, mesocosm, and field studies in the areas of growth physiology of Aureococcus; nutrient (and other growth factors) budgets in affected areas, including the role of groundwater and its constituents; water column conditioning; benthic-pelagic coupling; dynamics of brown tide blooms and other resident planktonic communities; and the role of allelopathy in brown tide blooms. Retrospective analysis and synthesis of existing data and information that can explain and predict brown tide events will also be considered (e.g., examinations of water quality monitoring data sets and previous studies).

(b) Techniques to isolate and maintain axenic cultures of Aureococcus.

(c) Identification of the factors leading to the cessation of brown tide blooms. This may include investigations on activities of viruses and other pathogens, autolysis, and ecology of the resident grazing community.

Research should be hypothesis-based and focused on understanding the causes of brown tide blooms, with the goal to advance information for developing approaches to avoid or minimize these blooms. Geographically, this effort is focused on New York's affected bays (e.g., the Peconic Bays and the South Shore Estuary). It is expected that information gained in this study will provide insight useful in understanding and managing brown tide occurrences in Rhode Island and New Jersey and will shed light on other harmful algal bloom phenomena. Investigators will be expected to justify proposed research within the context of proposed or on-going work and build upon rather than repeat previous experimental efforts.

(3) NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program solicits proposals that focus on two topical areas. The first of these two are the development of mitigation, management, and potential control strategies to enhance our ability to protect commercially important fisheries, aquaculture, and human health from the impacts of HAB species other than Pfiesteria.

(4) The National Sea Grant College Program is also interested in requests specific to the assessment of the economic impacts of HABs (including Pfiesteria) in order to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of potential management actions.

Part I: Schedule and Proposal Submission

The guidelines for proposal preparation provided here are mandatory. Proposals received after the published deadline or proposals that deviate from the prescribed format will be returned to the sender without further consideration. This announcement and additional background information will be made available on the COP home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.cop.noaa.gov.

ECOHAB will support projects ranging from laboratory studies by individual investigators or by small research teams through coordinated, well-integrated, multidisciplinary field programs. Studies will also be supported to develop predictive models and address gaps in knowledge related to mechanisms that regulate harmful algal species, including Pfiesteria and related taxa. While the agencies will maintain separate funding mechanisms, a common review process will be used to evaluate and select proposals.

Upon conclusion of external peer and panel merit review, meritorious proposals may be recommended for funding by any of the agencies. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency. In addition to the extramural funding, NOAA and other permitted Federal partnering agencies may fund investigators from other Federal laboratories that successfully compete through the ECOHAB Program announcement. To address the increased need for research on HABs, NOAA, NSF, EPA, ONR, and NASA combine each agency's unique interests and missions into this coordinated research program.

Full Proposals

Letters of Intent and/or partial proposals are not requested under this notice. Applications must include the original and two unbound copies of the full proposal. Investigators are not required to submit more than three copies of the proposal; however, the normal review process requires twenty copies. Investigators are encouraged to submit sufficient proposal copies for the full review process if they wish all reviewers to receive color or otherwise unusual materials submitted as part of the proposal. Facsimile transmissions and electronic mail submission of full proposals will not be accepted.

Required Elements

All applicants must closely follow the instructions and guidelines in the Standard NOAA Application Forms and Kit (see Part II) for preparation of the proposal.

Each proposal must include the following eight elements:

(1) Signed summary title page. The title page should be signed by the principal investigator (PI) and the institutional representative. The summary title page identifies the project's title starting with the acronym ECOHAB, a short title (less than 50 characters), and the lead PI's name and affiliation, complete address, phone, FAX and e-mail information.

(2) One-page abstract/project summary. An abstract must be included and should contain an introduction of the problem, rationale, scientific objectives and/or hypotheses to be tested, and a brief summary of work to be completed. The abstract should appear on a separate page, headed with the proposal title, institution(s), investigator's name(s), total proposed cost, and budget period.

(3) Statement of work/project description. The first section of the project description must be a summary of previous relevant research. This section should also include the following: (a) the objective for the period of proposed work and its expected significance; (b) the relation to the present state of knowledge in the field and relation to previous work and work in progress by the proposing principal investigator(s); (c) a discussion of how the proposed project lends value to the program goals; and (d) specific plans for making research products generated in the project, such as environmental data, cultures, genetic sequences, etc., available to the scientific community. NOAA and NSF have specific requirements that environmental data be submitted to the National Oceanographic Data Center; participating agencies may have additional requirements or guidelines for sharing of research materials and data.

Project management should be clearly identified with a description of the management function within a team. It is important to provide a full scientific justification for the research; do not simply reiterate justifications presented in this notice.

The project description section should not exceed 15 pages. Page limits are inclusive of figures and other visual materials, but exclusive of references and milestone chart. The type size must be clear and readily legible, in 12 point size. There must be no more than 6 lines in a vertical space of 2.5 cm, and margins at the top, bottom, and each side of pages should be a minimum of 2.5 cm.

(4) Milestone chart. Time lines of major tasks covering the duration of the proposed project - up to 60 months.

(5) Budget. Applicants must submit the Facesheet, Standard Form 424 (Rev July 1997), "Application for Federal Assistance", to indicate the total amount of funding proposed for the whole project period. Proposals must also include annual budgets that correspond with the descriptions provided in the statement of work. Therefore, applicants are also required to submit the Standard Form 424A (Rev 7-97), "Budget Information - Non-Construction Programs" in order to provide a detailed budget for fiscal year increments.

Include a budget narrative/justification to support all proposed budget object class categories. Note that, for multiyear project periods, the out-year budget estimates are to be included in Section E on Standard Form 424A. These forms are included on the COP Web Site listed under Part II, Application Forms and Kit. The program office shall review the proposed budgets to determine the necessity and adequacy of proposed costs for accomplishing the objectives of the proposed grant.

NSF requests information on ship requirements in order to schedule time on University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) vessels as NSF might fund any of the proposals submitted. Ship requirements and costs do not need to be included on the budget forms SF-424 or SF-424A, but must be separately identified by submitting a NSF-UNOLS Ship Time Request Form (OMB #3145-0058, expiration date September 1999) identifying ship, sea days, ship requirements (berths, labs, wire capabilities, special equipment, etc). Support of ships required for field studies are a significant cost that will be evaluated in any proposals for funding, so the need should be adequately justified within the project description. The funding mechanism for ship time is agency specific.

The NSF form is included as Appendix A, "Instructions for Preparation of Proposals Requesting Support for Oceanographic Facilities", NSF 94-124. The form is also available via the UNOLS Web Site at http://www.gso.uri.edu/unols/ship/shiptime.html. Paper copies may be requested from UNOLS, but the electronic version is strongly preferred for ease of information exchange and processing. The investigator is responsible for sending copies to the UNOLS office and ship operators. If no ship time is required, submit the UNOLS form and indicate that no shiptime is required.

(6) Biographical sketch. All senior personnel must provide two-page summaries that include the following:

(a) A listing of professional and academic essentials and mailing address;

(b) A list of up to five publications most closely related to the proposed project and five other significant publications, within the last five years. Additional lists of publications, lectures, etc., should not be included;

(c) A list of all persons and their organizational affiliation in alphabetical order who have collaborated on a project or publication within the last 48 months, including collaborators on the proposal and persons listed in the publications. If there are no collaborators, this should be so indicated;

(d) A list of persons (including their organizational affiliation), with whom the individual has had an association as thesis advisor or postdoctoral scholar sponsor;

(e) A list of the names and institutions of the individual's own graduate and postgraduate advisors.

The material presented in (c)(d) and (e) is used to assist in identifying potential conflicts or bias in the selection of reviewers.

(7) Current and pending support. NSF requires information on current and pending support of all proposers. Describe all current and pending support for all PIs, including subsequent funding in the case of continuing grants. A model format is available on NSF Form 1239, available at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?99form1239. This form is part of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide and Proposal Forms Kit. Use of this form is optional; however, the categories of information included on the NSF Form 1239 must be provided.

All current support from whatever source (e.g., Federal, state or local government agencies, private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the PI and other senior personnel should be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s). The total award amount for the entire award period covered (including indirect costs) should be shown, as well as the number of person-months per year to be devoted to the project, regardless of source of support.

(8) Appendices. The only material permitted in the Appendix is an EPA quality assurance (QA) statement (QANS, OMB #2080-0033, approved 8/14/97) for proposals for topical area (1), general HAB research (including Pfiesteria) that involve data collection or processing, surveys, environmental measurements, and/or modeling. The statement simply indicates how quality processes or products will be assured. This statement should not exceed two consecutively numbered, 8.5 x 11-inch pages of single-spaced standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.

For topical area (1) projects 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 as follows:

(a) 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, and comparability.

(b) 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

(c) The procedures for the handling and custody of samples, including sample identification, preservation, transportation, and storage.

(d) The methods that will be used to analyze samples or data collected, including a description of the sampling and/or analytical instruments required.

(e) The procedures that will be used in the calibration and performance evaluation of the sampling and analytical methods used during the project.

(f) The procedures for data reduction and reporting, including a description of statistical analyses to be used and any computer models to be designed or utilized associated with verification and validation techniques.

(g) The intended use of the data as they relate to the study objectives or hypotheses.

(h) The quantitative and or qualitative procedures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project.

(i) 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.

Proposal Format and Assembly

Clamp the proposal in the upper left-hand corner, but otherwise leave it unbound. Use 1 inch (2.5 cm) margins at the top, bottom, left, and right of each page. Use clear and easily legible type face in standard size of 12 points. Print on one side of the page only. These guidelines for proposal preparation are mandatory. Proposals that deviate from the prescribed format will be returned to the sender without further consideration.

Part II: Further Supplementary Information

(l) Program Authorities for COP and Sea Grant/NOAA-33,U.S.C. 1121 et. seq. as amended; for EPA-33, U.S.C 1251 et. seq. and 40 CFR parts 30 and 40; for NSF-42, U.S.C. 1861 et. seq.; for ONR-10, U.S.C 2358 as amended and 31 U.S.C 6304; and for NASA-14 CFR part 1260.

(2) Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers. 11.478 for the Coastal Ocean Program; 11.417 for NOAA/Sea Grant; 66.500 for the Environmental Protection Agency; 47.050 for the National Science Foundation, and 12.300 for the Office of Naval Research.

(3) Program Description. See initial COP General Notice (63 FR 44237, August 18, 1998).

(4) Funding Availability. Publication of this notice does not obligate any agency to any specific award or to any part of the entire amount of funds available. Recipients and subrecipients are subject to all Federal laws and agency policies, regulations, and procedures applicable to Federal financial assistance awards.

A total of $2,150,000 is available for general research on HABs, including Pfiesteria, topical area (1). Small individual studies may typically request $80,000-$100,000 per investigator annually; EPA funding will be limited to $150,000 per year for a maximum of 3 years. Requests to support small group or team projects, including those with field components, are expected to be proportionately higher. In any proposal, support should be strongly justified. All projects should budget funds for investigator participation in an ECOHAB meeting in FY 2000.

Funds available for research under the BTRI, topical area (2), are approximately $400,000 in FY 1999, $400,000 in FY 2000, and $300,000 in FY 2001, pending appropriations. Proposed projects may be 1 to 3 years in length. The annual funding level of a typical grant (one to two investigators) may be up to $100,000, although more comprehensive, multidisciplinary proposals may require higher levels of funding. All proposed BTRI projects should budget funds (as necessary) for investigators to participate in the BTRI Symposium held annually on Long Island, NY.

A total of $550,000 is available for the National Sea Grant College Program research topics, prevention, control, and mitigation for fisheries and aquaculture and economic assessment, topical areas (3) and (4). The annual funding level of a typical grant (one to two investigators) is anticipated to be up to $100,000, although more comprehensive, multidisciplinary proposals may require higher levels of funding. Proposed activities may extend for up to 2 years, but funding to cover both project years will be awarded in FY99; an annual report showing satisfactory progress must be submitted at the end of the first year.

Project activities should include identified milestones for each project year. Support in years after FY99 are contingent upon the availability of funds and the requirements of an individual agency supporting the project.

(5) Matching Requirements. For proposals submitted to the National Sea Grant College Program topical areas on (a) prevention, control, and mitigation of HABs for fisheries and aquaculture and (b) economic assessment (see paragraph (4), matching funds equivalent to 50 percent of Federal funds requested must be provided; for the other two topical research areas (general HABs and Pfiesteria, and BTR research), no matching funds are required.

Proposals must include matching funds equivalent to at least 50 percent of Federal funds requested, or at least 33 percent of the total project cost; for example, a request of $100,000 in Federal funds must be accompanied by at least $50,000 in matching funds.

(6) Type of Funding Instrument. Project grants.

(7) Eligibility Criteria. This opportunity is open to all interested, qualified, non-federal, and Federal researchers. Non-federal researchers should comply with their institutional requirements for proposal submission. Non-NOAA Federal applicants will be required to submit certifications or documentation which clearly show that they can receive funds from the Department of Commerce (DOC) for this research. Foreign researchers must subcontract with U.S. proposers. Non-federal researchers affiliated with NOAA-University Joint Institutes should comply with joint institutional requirements. Non-federal awardees will be funded either through grants to their institutions or through their joint institutes. Proposals deemed acceptable from Federal researchers will be funded through NOAA via a mechanism other than a grant or cooperative agreement. DOC requirements will prevail if there is a conflict between DOC requirements and institutional requirements.

(8) Award Period. Full Proposals can cover a project period from 1 to 5 years as listed here: Funds are available for general HABs and Pfiesteria from FY1999 through FY2004; BTRI from FY1999 through FY2001; and for the National Sea Grant College topics from FY1999 through FY2000 - all dependent on continuing appropriations. Multiyear awards may be funded in total or incrementally on an annual basis; the funding period by participating agencies is at the discretion of the individual agency.

(9) Indirect Costs. If indirect costs are proposed, the following statement applies: The total dollar amount of the indirect costs proposed in an application must not exceed the indirect cost rate negotiated and approved by a cognizant Federal agency prior to the proposed effective date of the award.

(l0) Application Forms and Kit. When applying for financial assistance under this announcement, applicants will be able to obtain a copy of the Federal Register announcement and a standard NOAA Application Kit from the COP home page at the following World Wide Web address: http://www.cop.noaa.gov. If you are unable to access this information, you may also call COP at (301) 713-3338, extension 116, to leave a mailing request.

The Standard Forms 424 (Rev July 1997) Application for Federal Assistance; 424A (Rev July 1997); Budget Information - Non-Construction Programs; and 424B (Rev July 1997) Assurances - Non Construction Programs shall be used in applying for financial assistance. In addition, other forms required include the CD-511, Certifications Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; Drug-Free Workplace Requirements and Lobbying (submitted with the application package); the CD-512, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered Transactions and Lobbying (this certification is to remain with the recipient and not to be forwarded to the Grants Officer); and SF-LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (if applicable).

(11) Project Funding Priorities. Priority consideration will be given to those highly ranked proposals that promote balanced coverage of ECOHAB science goals (pp. 7-8, Research Goals and Topical Areas), provide a programmatically balanced approach to missions of each agency, and avoid duplication of completed or on-going work.

(12) Evaluation Criteria. Consideration for financial assistance will be given for proposals that address the following elements:

(a) Scientific Merit (20 percent): Intrinsic scientific value of the proposed work and the likelihood that it will lead to fundamental advancements and new discoveries, or that it will have substantial impact on progress in that field;

(b) Research Performance Competence (20 percent): The capability of the investigator and collaborators to complete the proposed work as evidenced by past research accomplishments, previous cooperative work, timely communication, and sharing of findings, data, and other research products;

(c) Relevance (20 percent): Likelihood that the research will contribute to the goals of ECOHAB and lead to improved management of coastal resources;

(d) Technical Approach (20 percent): Availability of focused science objectives and a complete but efficient strategy for making measurements and observations in support of the objectives. The scientific approach is sound and logically planned throughout the cycle of the proposed work;

(e) Linkages (10 percent): Connections to existing or planned studies, or demonstrated cooperative arrangements to provide or use data or other research results to achieve the goals of ECOHAB and this specific notice;

(f) Costs (10 percent): Adequacy of the proposed resources to accomplish the proposed work, and the appropriateness of the requested proportion of the total available funds.

(13) Selection Procedures. All proposals will be evaluated and ranked individually in accordance with the assigned weights of the above evaluation criteria by (a) independent peer mail review and by (b) independent peer panel review. Both Federal and non-federal experts in the field may be used in this process. The peer mail reviewers will be several individuals with expertise in the subjects addressed by particular proposals. Each mail reviewer will see only certain individual proposals within his or her area of expertise, and rank them individually on a scale of "1" to "5", where scores represent respectively: excellent, very good, good, fair, poor.

The peer panel will consist of 8 to 10 individuals, with each individual having expertise in a separate area, so that the panel as a whole covers a broad range of scientific expertise. The panel will have access to the mail reviews of all proposals, and will use the mail reviews in discussion and evaluation of the entire slate of proposals. Each panel member will rank proposals on the scale of "1" to "5", as stated in the preceding paragraph.

The program officer(s) will not vote as part of the independent peer panel. Those proposals receiving an average panel rank of Fair or Poor will not be given further consideration and will be notified of non-selection. For the proposals rated by the panel as either Excellent, Very Good, or Good, the program managers will first apply the project funding priorities listed earlier in this document under Part 11, Paragraph (11). (However, EPA will consider only Excellent and Very Good proposals for funding). Second, the program managers will select the proposals to be recommended for funding; third, determine the total duration of funding for each proposal; and fourth, determine the amount of funds available for each proposal. Awards may not necessarily be made to the proposals scored the highest by individual panel and/or mail reviews.

When a decision is made (whether an award or declination), verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, and summaries of review panel deliberations, if any, become available to the proposer. No information directly identifying reviewers or other pending or declined proposals will be released.

Dependent on the agency recommending support, investigators may be asked to modify objectives, work plans, or budgets and provide supplemental information required by the agency prior to the award. 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.

(14) Other Requirements. See initial COP Notice (63 FR 44237, August 18, 1998), at the COP Internet Site: http://www.cop.noaa.gov.

This notification involves collections of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The standard NOAA forms have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under control numbers 0348-0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040 and 0348-0046. The EPA-required QA statement was approved in OMB document #2080-0033 (August 14, 1997). The NSF-UNOLS Ship Time Request Form and the NSF Form for Current and Pending Support have been approved by OMB as follows:

The UNOLS form, also titled NSF Form 831 (Rev July 1992) has OMB clearance through September l999 under control number OMB #3145-0058. The form is available via the UNOLS Web Site at the following Web Site: http://www.gso.uri.edu/unols/ship/shiptime.html. Paper copies may also be requested from UNOLS, but the electronic version is strongly preferred for ease of information exchange and processing. The NSF guidelines and ship-time form were included in the then-existing e-mail based Internet electronic dissemination system operated by NSF - Science and Technology Information System). The NSF Form l239 (Oct 1998) for Current and Pending Support is cleared as part of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide and Proposal Forms Kit under OMB# 3145-0058 with an expiration date of September l999.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, unless that collection displays a current valid OMB control number.

Dated: ________

I.D. No.020299B

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