Case Study: Narragansett Bay Watershed
Partnering to Secure Grants to Protect the Narragansett Bay (RI) Watershed
Forming partnerships are often crucial to successful grant applications. Combining forces and committing to collaboration (and sharing credit!) make for more attractive funding proposals and a stronger voice for watershed protection and restoration. In this example, the Pew Charitable Trusts funded a proposal submitted by Save The Bay, a 501(c)(3). This nonprofit strengthened its application by demonstrating a strong partnership with the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, a university-based watershed restoration effort. In turn, Narragansett Bay used their partnership with Save the Bay to leverage additional State and federal grant funds.
The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, located within a state university system, and Save The Bay, a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, have similar interests in addressing habitat protection and restoration in Narragansett Bay and its watershed. Recognizing the overlap in their interests, the two organizations looked for opportunities to collaborate. In 1996, Save the Bay and Narragansett Bay Estuary Program embarked on a series of projects to construct an inventory of the State's coastal habitats which would include bringing the data into GIS mapping systems. Both partners took advantage of their organizational structure and staff skills to secure funding and implement habitat restoration projects.
Save The Bay successfully applied to the Pew Charitable Trust for grant funding that was available to partners in the Restore America's Estuaries coalition. Pew Charitable Trusts contributed $200,000 to support habitat assessment and restoration projects in Narragansett Bay undertaken by Save the Bay and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. The two groups used the foundation money as match for State and federal grants, which provided an additional $400,000 for Narragansett Bay habitat restoration efforts. With this money, the two organizations were able to map critical eelgrass beds, salt marsh habitat areas, and coastal features; hire technical staff to identify potential restoration sites, develop restoration plans; and launch an extensive public information campaign. This collaboration also helped form the Rhode Island Habitat Restoration Team - an ad hoc, but highly effective partnership, that has shaped goals, identified projects, and attracted additional funding for coastal habitat restoration including the creation of a dedicated state fund for restoration projects.
For more information on the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program please visit the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program Web site (www.nbep.org).