|: All eligible applicants must currently be an active, authorized participant or researcher in the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Eligible applicants must be:
1) Stranding Agreement (SA) holders or their designee organizations recognized by the applicable NMFS Region; or
2) Holders of researcher authorization letters issued by a NMFS Regional Administrator and/or an MMPA and/or ESA scientific research or enhancement permit (when applicable) including Co-Investigator authorization; or
3) An eligible Federal, state, or local government personnel or tribal personnel (pursuant to Section 109(h) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1379(h)); or
4) Diagnostic or service organizations performing services for the stranding network. Federal agencies in the DOC or Department of the Interior (DOI) are not eligible to receive Federal assistance under this notice.
1. “In Good Standing Criteria”. All eligible applicants must meet the following “in good standing” criteria:
a. If the applicant is a designated Principal Investigator on a MMPA and/or ESA scientific research or enhancement permit or a Co-Investigator on the MMHSRP’s MMPA/ESA scientific research and enhancement permit (permit No. 18786-01), the applicant must have fulfilled all permit requirements. The applicant must not have any pending or outstanding enforcement actions under the MMPA or ESA.
b. The applicant must have complied with the terms and responsibilities of the appropriate SA, MMPA Section 109(h) authorization, or researcher authorization letter. This includes, but is not limited to: 1) completion of all reporting requirements; 2) cooperation with state, local, and federal officials; 3) cooperation with state and local officials in the disposition of stranded marine mammals; and 4) cooperation with stranding network participants.
c. The applicant must have cooperated in a timely manner with NMFS in collecting and submitting Level B and Level C data and samples, when requested.
d. The applicant must not have any current enforcement investigations for the take of marine mammals contrary to MMPA or ESA regulations.
e. The applicant must not have any pending NMFS notice of violation(s) regarding the policies governing the goals and operations of the Stranding Network and SA, if applicable (e.g., probation, suspension, or termination).
2. Category Specific Criteria. Organizations and individuals must meet all of the following eligibility criteria specific to their category of participation in order for a proposal to be considered for funding:
a. SA Holder Participant or SA Designee Participant – SA participants must hold a current, active SA for stranding response and/or rehabilitation from a NMFS Regional Administrator or the Assistant Administrator. SA Designee participants must be holding a current, active letter of designation from a NMFS SA holder authorized by NMFS. Designees cannot request authorization for activities beyond the scope of what is authorized by the SA to the agreement holder.
b. Researcher Participant – Researcher participants must hold a current, active authorizing letter for the proposed award period from the appropriate NMFS Regional Administrator or the Assistant Administrator to salvage stranded marine mammal specimens, parts and samples for the purpose of utilization in scientific research (50 CFR 216.22). Researchers who are authorized under a MMPA/ESA scientific research or enhancement permit must still obtain an authorizing letter from the Regional Stranding Coordinator in order to use parts or specimens from stranded animals. Researcher participants that would not require an authorizing letter from the NMFS Regional Administrator (i.e., they will be working with data only and not possessing samples or specimens) must still provide a letter of eligibility from the Regional Stranding Coordinator (see section III.A.3. of this FFO). Researcher participants must also have designated Co-Investigator(s) that are active NMFS authorized Stranding Network participants in good standing, and provide documentation to this effect.
c. State, Local, Federal Government Employees or Tribal Participants – State and local government officials or employees participating pursuant to Section 109(h) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1379(h)) for marine mammal species not listed under the ESA must fulfill reporting obligations outlined in 50 CFR § 216.22.
d. Diagnostic Laboratories – While diagnostic laboratories performing analyses for Stranding Network members do not need authorization from NMFS to receive and possess samples or specimens from stranded marine mammals (50 CFR § 216.22(c)(8)), diagnostic laboratory applicants must still provide a letter of eligibility from the MMHSRP at NMFS Headquarters (see section IV.B.7.a. of this FFO). When requesting a letter of eligibility, laboratories should submit examples of their diagnostic capabilities, diagnostic services proposed and their testing turn-around time to the MMHSRP (see section VII of this FFO for contact information).
e. Service Organizations – Organizations without an existing SA that are receiving parts from the stranding network to perform analyses that are not diagnostic analyses (see Section VIII for definitions) must have a valid transfer authorization letter issued by the applicable NMFS Region. Organizations working with carcasses or live stranded animals in coordination with a stranding network member may or may not require additional authorization depending upon the service. All service organizations must provide a letter of eligibility from the MMHSRP at NMFS Headquarters (see section IV.B.7.a of this FFO). When requesting a letter of eligibility, service organizations should submit examples of their capabilities, services proposed, and their turn-around time (if applicable) to the MMHSRP (see section VII of this FFO for contact information).
3. Letter of Eligibility. All applicants must submit a letter of eligibility issued by the appropriate NMFS Regional Stranding Coordinator or the MMHSRP at NMFS Headquarters. This letter is required in order to be considered for an award in this funding cycle. The letter of eligibility states that you are: 1) an eligible Stranding Network participant, diagnostic laboratory, service organization, or permitted researcher at the time of the application submission and during the award period; 2) in good standing; 3) have a history of participation in/with the Stranding Network or that your organization is from a local area with no pre-existing stranding response and/or rehabilitation capabilities or your organization provides diagnostic or other services. A copy of your SA or research authorization will not be considered as proof of eligibility. Any proposal that does not provide a letter of eligibility from the NMFS Regional Stranding Coordinator (or NMFS Headquarters) will not be considered eligible and will not be considered for further review. Contact the NMFS Regional Stranding Coordinators (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/coordinators.htm) or the Prescott Grant Program at the address in the Agency Contacts, Section VII of this FFO to request this letter.
Federal agencies in the DOC or DOI are not eligible to receive Federal assistance under this notice. In addition, federal employees shall not provide assistance in writing any application, writing letters of support for any application, or otherwise confer any unfair advantage on a particular application. However, for activities involving collaboration with current NOAA programs, NOAA employees can write a letter verifying that they are collaborating with the project. This collaboration letter cannot support or endorse the applicant or project. MMHSRP staff and other Federal Program Officers can provide guidance on application procedures and proper completion of required forms. Applications encompassing activities conducted under the authority of a MMPA/ESA scientific research or enhancement permit issued to the DOC or DOI should include a copy of the permit and a letter from the Principal Investigator (DOC/DOI employee) verifying that the work is being conducted with their approval. Federal employee travel costs or salaries are not allowable costs under this program. Refer any questions about potential collaboration or support by non-DOC/DOI Federal employees to the official listed in Agency Contacts, Section VII. of this FFO.