Sea Duck Joint Venture FY2022 Competitive Grants

Award Amount
Maximum Amount
Assistance Type
Funding Source
Implementing Entity
Due Date
Where the Opportunity is Offered
All of California
Eligible Applicant
Additional Eligibility Information
No restrictions; all potential applicants are eligible including government agencies, educational institutions, Native American tribal organizations, other non-profit organizations and commercial entities. U.S. non-profit, non-governmental organizations must provide a copy of their Section 501(c)(3) or (4) status determination letter received from the Internal Revenue Service.  
Kate Martin

The Sea Duck Joint Venture (SDJV) is a conservation partnership under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). Its mission is to promote the conservation of North American sea ducks by providing greater scientific knowledge and understanding of sea duck biology and ecology to support effective management. The SDJV is composed of Federal and state/provincial wildlife agencies in Canada and the U.S., as well as non-governmental organizations and other entities committed to sea duck conservation. SDJV projects are accomplished through efficient public/private partnerships and cooperative funding. The SDJV is coordinated and administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Primary funding is provided to the SDJV through U.S. Congressional appropriations; some of this funding is made available through competitive grants to solicit partnerships that can address priority science needs of the SDJV. This funding opportunity is made under the authority of Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956; 16 U.S.C. 742. SDJV funding supports both the USFWS and Department of Interior (DOI) missions, and the DOI Secretary’s priorities related to conservation stewardship and protection. One of the purposes of the SDJV is to prevent further listings of sea duck species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), as two sea duck populations are already listed as threatened in the U.S., and the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in Canada. Funded projects contribute sound science about sea duck populations and habitat needs that contribute to monitoring their status and addressing factors that diminish their abundance. Healthy sea duck populations support traditional harvests of sea ducks that are important for subsistence hunters in rural northern communities, and waterfowl hunting opportunities for hunters in the U.S. and Canada, particularly in coastal areas of the Atlantic, Great Lakes, and Pacific regions. The SDJV has evolved from a broad science program aimed at basic understanding of this least-known group of waterfowl species, to a program focused on specific elements most needed by managers to make informed decisions about sea duck conservation. The SDJV is currently updating its strategic plan, which will focus on the following broad topics: (1) Species of management concern. SDJV considers the following species high priority because of historical or current declines, and concerns about harvest potential or habitat limitations: American Common Eider, Surf Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Harlequin Duck, and Barrow’s Goldeneye. (2) Population assessment. Improve methods that assess and monitor the status and trends of sea duck populations, and estimate population parameters to support development of models for management applications. (3) Harvest management. Improve assessment of fall/winter general hunting and spring/summer subsistence hunting to ensure that effective harvest strategies and regulatory frameworks are in place for sea duck populations. (4) Marine and terrestrial landscape conservation. Objectives in this focal area include: (a) finalize and disseminate the Sea Duck Key Sites Habitat Atlas; (b) assess the impact of potential stressors in key habitats from anthropogenic sources such as oil and gas development, wind energy development, aquaculture, and increased Arctic shipping; and, (c) develop methods to minimize such impacts to sea ducks. (5) Assess potential future stressors. Address data gaps regarding new and emerging issues, such as climate change and the recovery of predator populations, and how they may affect sea duck distribution and habitat use. (6) Human dimensions. Improve sea duck management by increasing integration of biological and social objectives, including the values of Indigenous communities, the public, hunters, birdwatchers, the conservation community, and industry. In FY 2022, the SDJV will accept proposals for the following priority research needs stepped down from our broader focal areas identified above. With this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), there is greater interest on studies that apply at larger scales than on site-specific studies at non-randomly selected locations. SDJV is also interested in projects that include objectives focusing on engagement of Indigenous communities, outreach and communication, student support, and development of new partnerships. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the SDJV Coordinators and JV associates in advance of submitting proposals to ensure that they understand the specific nature of the issues and consider advice on previous scientific work. More information on the SDJV’s previous work, strategies, and priorities is outlined in plans, reports, and products archived at SDJV priority research needs for FY 2022 include: Information on migratory connectivity and habitat use of sea ducks to improve survey design, harvest management, and development of conservation actions. New studies could target geographic gaps from previous satellite telemetry studies or analyze existing datasets. Priorities include, but are not limited to, large-scale projects that provide information on population delineation (Pacific vs. Atlantic) for species where populations overlap, and projects focusing on priority sea duck species. Improve the quality of data and information from aerial surveys by exploring alternative protocols, improved analytical methods, or new technology with a focus on identifying sea ducks to species and reducing observation biases. Desired products include: (a) A review of current efforts, information and technological gaps, and suggestions for future research and efforts. This would require assembling and reviewing the current methods available to automate the counting and speciation of sea ducks in aerial photographs and remotely sensed imagery, and determining the similarities, differences, strength, weaknesses, and most likely paths forward for automated counts of birds. (b) A method to integrate high-definition aerial survey data being collected at offshore wind areas throughout the Atlantic coast with sea duck monitoring priorities. Studies focused on estimating rates of fecundity (e.g., estimating breeding propensity, nesting phenology, clutch size, nest success, and/or fledging success on the breeding areas, or determining fall or winter age and sex ratios to provide an index of annual productivity) and survival (all life stages, and including harvest) of priority sea duck species. Large-scale projects focused on investigating factors that influence these demographic parameters and provide information to inform harvest estimates and population-level management decisions will be prioritized. Projects that test capture methods, occur in new areas, and/or contribute to developing cost-effective, large-scale approaches may also be considered for short-term funding. Identify and characterize ecological attributes of habitat used by priority sea duck species to determine critical dependencies and vulnerabilities to anthropogenic effects and climate change. Large-scale studies, and those focused on areas where increased development/human use is anticipated, will be prioritized. Desired products include, but are not limited to: (a) estimates of energetic demands or time activity budgets for molting or wintering sea ducks to inform future estimates of landscape carrying capacity, and (b) evaluation and prediction of the effects of climate change on sea ducks, including changes in northern breeding areas and coastal habitats, altered phenology of life history patterns, changes in food resources and predator landscapes, and other conditions that degrade or enhance productivity and survival. Improve harvest estimates of North American sea ducks for fall/winter general hunting and spring/summer subsistence hunting to ensure that effective harvest strategies and regulatory frameworks are in place. Desired products include, but are not limited to, estimates of the size and composition of the harvest, an assessment of the derivation and distribution of the harvest, an assessment of the values and concerns of stakeholders, and collection of Indigenous Knowledge regarding historical and current subsistence use of sea ducks. Assess the effect of changing predator communities (e.g., bald eagle, polar bear, mink, fox) on sea duck foraging behavior, breeding success, diurnal and long-term distribution patterns, and the effects of potential distribution shifts on the interpretation of survey data from long-term monitoring studies.

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