Prepare for Coronavirus, Don’t Panic

Public health experts recommend preparedness over panic when it comes to the coronavirus. Right now, the coronavirus is mainly overseas, but in our interconnected world, experts predict we will see it spread in the U.S.

Here’s what you can do: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people take cautionary steps such as getting a flu vaccine, regularly washing your hands and taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, stockpiling three days’ worth of food and water as you would for any potential disaster, and seeking medical care if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. More information from the CDC about the coronavirus can be found at

Here’s my concern: I don’t think that the President is acting aggressively enough to prepare for the coronavirus. Thankfully, there’s still time for him to take the following steps:

  • Support upwards of $8 billion in immediate emergency funding for the CDC, state public health agencies, and vaccine research;
  • Appoint a scientist or public health professional as the point-person to lead its response;
  • Get functioning and accurate testing kits to Rhode Island and other states; and
  • Reverse his approval of junk health insurance plans that do not cover coronavirus testing and other needed health services.

I am hopeful that the President will work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion on these steps because potential epidemics, like the coronavirus, affect not only public health but also our economic activity with the rest of the world. Now is the time to prepare rather than wait, and you can be assured I will keep up my efforts to respond to this public health threat.

Jack Reed
United States Senator

Senator Whitehouse – Energy, Environment, Oceans News

Funding And Other Opportunities

Please let us know if your RI-based entity submits an application for a federal grant.  If you send us a narrative/summary with grant details, we can submit letters of support. We will continue to send FYIs about grant opportunities as we see them.

Department of Energy

Advanced Vehicle Technologies

The Department of Energy announced up to $133 million in new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research.  Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this funding opportunity supports projects in advanced batteries and electrification in support of the recently announced DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge. This FY 2020 funding opportunity also supports priorities in advanced engine and fuel technologies including technologies for off-road applications, lightweight materials, new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations.  Concept papers for this funding opportunity are due February 21, 2020, and full applications will be due April 14, 2020.  For more information and application requirements, please visit the EERE Exchange website or

Bioenergy R&D

$96 million in funding is available for bioenergy research and development. Topic areas within this FOA will advance DOE’s Bioenergy Technology Office’s objectives of reducing the price of drop-in biofuels, lowering the cost of biopower, and enabling high-value products from biomass or waste resources. The application process will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Concept papers are due on March 5, 2020 and full applications are due on April 30, 2020.

For more information, read the full FOA

Solar Technologies Office

The  Department of Energy announced up to $125.5 million in new funding to advance solar technology research. Through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Solar Energy Technologies Office, DOE continues to advance research and development of solar technologies that reduce the cost of solar, increase the competitiveness of American manufacturing and businesses, and improve the reliability of the grid.  Sign up HERE to learn more about this funding opportunity at an upcoming webinar.

Water Resource Recovery Prize

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a $1 million Water Resource Recovery Prize to accelerate resource recovery from municipal wastewater across the United States. Through this two-phased competition, DOE is accepting proposals for novel, systems-based solutions to stimulate resource recovery at small-to-medium-sized water resource recovery facilities. This effort can help lower the cost of wastewater treatment.

In the first phase of competition, teams will be required to submit an engineering schematic and business case that demonstrate the potential for cost-effectiveness and viability of resource recovery.  DOE anticipates selecting up to 10 winning teams for cash prizes of $50,000 each as part of phase one. Submissions are due no later than 5:00 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.  Teams selected during phase one will move into phase two, in which one to two teams will be selected to receive $250,000 cash prizes. DOE expects to give teams one year from phase one selection to submit final phase two materials. Only small- and medium-sized facilities (those with flows of up to 50 million gallons per day) are eligible to participate. Specific rules governing phase two submissions will be released at the conclusion of phase one in spring 2020.  View the submission instructions and participant eligibility for both phases of the competition HERE.

Environmental Protection Agency

The Climate Resilience & Stormwater Management Workshop Series

Workshop 1 – Preparing for Success: Funding Climate Resilience Initiatives

February 20, 2020 at theStormwater Innovation Center, Roger Williams Park Casino, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, RI 02907

Register here

Pollution Prevention (P2) Grant Program

Pollution Prevention (P2) Grants provide technical assistance to businesses in order to help them develop and adopt source reduction practices (also known as “pollution prevention” or “P2”). P2 means reducing or eliminating pollutants from entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal. In keeping with the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, EPA is encouraging P2 because implementing these approaches can result in reductions in toxic pollutants, the use of water, energy and other raw materials, while also lowering business costs. P2 grants are awarded to States, colleges and universities (recognized as instrumentalities of the state), and federally-recognized tribes and intertribal consortia.  Applications are due March 31, 2020.

EPA anticipates awarding approximately $9.38 million in total federal pollution prevention grant funding over a two-year funding cycle ($4.69 million in FY 2020 funds and approximately $4.69 million in FY 2021 funds). Individual grant awards may potentially be in the range of $40,000-$500,000 for the two-year funding period (or between $20,000 – $250,000 incrementally funded per year).

EPA’s national P2 Program will host two informational webinars for potential applicants and interested stakeholders. The first webinar will be held on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EST. To register, please go to:  This webinar will review information about the P2 Grant program and the application process to help potential applicants submit a high-quality application to EPA for consideration. Time will be provided on the webinar for questions and answers. The second webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EST to review and answer questions on the NEAs for this grant competition cycle. To register, please go to:


On January 2, 2020, EPA announced the availability of its revised document, “‘TSCA New Chemical Determinations: A Working Approach for Making Determinations under TSCA Section 5.’’ The initial version of this document was published in 2017, where EPA also sought public feedback.  In response, EPA intends to clarify and provide additional details on its approaches and practices related to the review of new chemicals under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) in its updates to the document. Comment deadline is February 18, 2020

Read the updated document and submit comments here.


Building Codes

FEMA is accepting comments for the new draft policy regarding Section 1206, “Building Code and Floodplain Management Administration and Enforcement” of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act. Comments must be submitted using the accompanying comments matrix. Comments received during this period will be reviewed and considered for the final version of the guide.  The draft policy and accompanying comments matrix is located on the FEMA website. If you have any questions, contact

National Dam Safety Program

The 2020 Dam Failure Life Loss Consequence Workshop will take place August 19-20 in Washington, DC. The workshop has been developed to provide dam owners, emergency managers, regulators and other relevant stakeholders with a forum to discuss the needs of the industry in better estimating potential life loss consequence from dam failure. Better understanding of the risks from this potential consequence will enable owners to operate more safely; regulators to have confidence in the evolving industry practice; and practitioners to have suitable tools to respond to the needs of the industry.

The workshop will highlight the importance of defining dam failure scenarios and assessing life loss consequences through the presentation of tools and case studies. The full range of social, institutional, and environmental consequences will be addressed during the workshop, including a focus on direct and indirect economic consequences and loss of life estimation. 

Spots are still available. To register for the workshop visit click here!

This course is intended for dam owners, professional staff of dam safety and dam security programs, emergency managers at the federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial levels, and dam safety, dam security, and incident management personnel from the private sector who need to define and estimate consequences of dam failure scenarios.

For additional information on FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program please visit:

Youth Preparedness Council 

FEMA is seeking applicants for its Youth Preparedness Council. The council offers an opportunity for youth leaders to serve on a distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit in Washington, D.C.

The Youth Preparedness Council offers an opportunity for young leaders to complete a youth preparedness project of their choosing while learning about youth disaster preparedness from FEMA leadership and other national organizations. During their two-year term, council members will complete a national-level group project and share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions, and questions with FEMA and other preparedness organizations.

Students in 8th through 11th grade are eligible to apply. Youth interested in applying to the council must submit a completed application form, two letters of recommendation, and their academic records. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, March 8, 2020.  To access the application materials, read about the current council members, and for more general information about the Youth Preparedness Council visit

Federal Transit Administration

Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) Initiative

The USDOT announced its Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative, which supports and advances innovation in the transit industry.  The AIM initiative includes $11 million in challenge grants to help transit agencies experiment with new ways of doing business, such as exploring new service models that provide more efficient and frequent service. 

AIM challenge grants will be detailed in an upcoming FTA Notice of Funding Opportunity. The initiative will establish a national network of transit agencies that will test and share project results and use FTA’s technical assistance centers to promote promising innovations. Also, FTA’s Fiscal Year 2020 competitive grant programs, which will total $615 million, will highlight innovation as part of their selection criteria.

Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of up to $130 million in competitive grant funds through FTA’s Low or No Emission (Low-No) Bus Program. The Low-No Program helps project sponsors purchase or lease low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies for transit revenue operations, including related equipment or facilities.  FTA will award the grants to eligible applicants, which include public transit agencies, state transportation departments, and tribes, on a competitive basis.  Projects will be evaluated by criteria defined in federal law and in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), including the applicant’s demonstration of need, the project’s benefits, project implementation strategy, and capacity for implementing the project.  The NOFO also includes criteria regarding rural challenges and innovation, in accordance with the R.O.U.T.E.S. and Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiatives.  Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website and in GRANTS.GOV (funding opportunity FTA-2020-005-LowNo). Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV “APPLY” function by March 17, 2020.

Passenger Ferry Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for approximately $30 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 competitive grant funding for passenger ferry projects nationwide. The Passenger Ferry Grant Program is authorized by Congress for projects that develop and support ferry service on many of the nation’s waterways, including the purchase, repair, and modernization of ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities that communities depend on.  The NOFO also encourages applicants to demonstrate how their proposed projects are consistent with the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (R.O.U.T.E.S.) and Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiatives.  Projects will be evaluated and selected based on criteria outlined in the NOFO, including the need for improvements, demonstration of benefits to transit service, and integration with local and regional long-term planning. Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m., Eastern time, March 30, 2020.  Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website and GRANTS.GOV (funding opportunity FTA-2020-008-FERRY). Links:
Passenger Ferry Grant Program FY 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity
Passenger Ferry Grant Program Web site


FTA will hold a public meeting of the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2020 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 26, 2020 at the National Highway Institute, 1310 North Courthouse Road, Arlington, Virginia. Anyone wishing to participate by phone or in person should notify FTA at A conference call number will be available on the FTA TRACS website. Written materials may be submitted to at any time.


All funding opportunities here.

NOAA Fisheries

At-Sea Monitoring

NOAA Fisheries announced that for fishing year 2020, the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 40 percent of all groundfish sector trips subject to the at-sea monitoring program. For more information, please read the agency’s letter to the New England Fishery Management Council and the Summary of Analysis Conducted to Determine At-Sea Monitoring Requirements for Multispecies Sectors FY 2020.  Per direction in 2020 appropriations, we have funds allocated for reimbursing industry for its at-sea monitoring costs. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will continue to administer the reimbursement program for 2020 as in prior years.

Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Modifications to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan.  To get all the details on these proposed modifications, read the proposed rule as published in the Federal Register.

The comment deadline is March 6, 2020.  Please submit comments either through the online e-rulemaking portal or by mailing your comments to:

Michael Pentony, Regional Administrator

National Marine Fisheries Service

55 Great Republic Drive

Gloucester, MA, 01930.

Please mark the outside of the envelope, “Comments on the Proposed Rule for Skate Framework 8.”

Sea Grant

Aquaculture: Addressing Economic and Market Needs of the U.S. Aquaculture Industry

Subject to the availability of funding, Sea Grant anticipates approximately $5,000,000 will be available for research projects and programs that will significantly advance the understanding of the economics of aquaculture businesses in the U.S. and address gaps regarding important market information. The overall goal is to advance business management towards development of a sustainable marine and Great Lakes aquaculture industry in the U.S. Successful proposals will address geographic and/or topical needs and will fully integrate research, extension, and education. Proposals that will support broad, non-proprietary research to address critical gaps with respect to aquaculture economics and market needs; make that information available to U.S. aquaculture businesses and management agencies; and build the capacity of Sea Grant and its partners, including Sea Grant aquaculture extension personnel and industry stakeholders, are preferred. These investments are consistent with Sea Grant’s focus area of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture (SFA) and the Sea Grant Network’s 10-year Aquaculture Vision, both which support NOAA and Department of Commerce aquaculture goals. 

All proposals to this competition must be submitted by a Sea Grant program. Other interested entities must submit proposals in partnership with and through a relevant Sea Grant Program.

Read formal announcement on NOAA-OAR-SG-2020-2006331

Webinar slides (PDF)
Question and answer log from webinar discussion (PDF)

Notices of intent to submit due February 26, 2020

Full proposals due April 22, 2020

American Lobster Research Program

This program will support research to address critical gaps in knowledge about how the American Lobster and its fishery is being impacted by environmental change. It is informed by listening sessions with regional fishing industry stakeholders, state and federal fisheries managers, and university, state and federal fisheries researchers.

Read formal Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on

Deadline to apply: March 19, 2020

United States Coast Guard

Port Access Route Study – Offshore Wind Areas – MA and RI

The Federal Register Notice requesting comments on the draft report of the Port Access Route Study: The Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island (MARI PARS) was published.  The comment period will close on March 16th, 2020.  The Federal Register Notice can be accessed at


National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Small Business Innovation Research Program – Phase II

All USDA Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase II projects must have previously completed a successful Phase I project before applying for a Phase II grant. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing along with alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all 2018 SBIR topic areas. SBIR’s flexible research areas ensure innovative projects are consistent with USDA’s vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air, and water. Read the full SBIR request for funding application for more information.

Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research

The Aquaculture Research program supports the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the United States. This program generates new science-based information and innovation to address aquaculture industry constraints. Over the long term, results of these projects may help improve the profitability of the U.S. aquaculture industry, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, increase domestic food security, provide markets for U.S. produced grain products, increase domestic aquaculture business investment opportunities, and provide more jobs for rural and coastal America. For more information, read the full Aquaculture Research program request for applications funding opportunity.  Closing date is Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)


USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is extending the deadline to March 20, 2020, to submit public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). NRCS is asking for public feedback on two additional questions and made several clarifying changes to the rule preamble.  NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through March 20 on the Federal Register. Electronic comments must be submitted through under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0006. All written comments received also will be publicly available on  For more information on how to sign up for ACEP, visit your state website at, or contact your local NRCS field office


NRCS seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which helps partners develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect on publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.  The 2018 Farm Bill made RCPP a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding.  NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through April 13 on the Federal Register.  Electronic comments must be submitted through under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0012. All written comments received will be publicly available on as well.

US Fish & Wildlife

North American Wetland Conservation Act Grant Deadline, 2/21/2020 and 10/15/2020.