National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

NOAA/NWS Tsunami Activities Grants Application Process for Local Governments and Tribes



Public Law 115-25, Tsunami, Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2017 (TWERA), states:

§3204. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program

(c) Program components

The Program conducted under subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1) Technical and financial assistance to coastal States, territories, tribes, and local governments to develop and implement activities under this section.

Financial assistance is provided via NOAA/NWS Financial Assistance for Tsunami Activities to states, territories, and state universities with representatives who serve on the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) Coordinating Committee. In turn, those eligible recipients may provide subawards to local governments and quasi-government agencies.

Tribes (see "Definitions") with land within a tsunami inundation zone are eligible to participate in the NOAA/NWS Financial Assistance for Tsunami Activities Grant Program directly. Instructions are below.



A local government is defined as a county or municipality (borough, city, town, township, or village). Local government status extends to quasi-government entities like a port authority that operates harbor and/or port operations.

A quasi-government entity is defined as a port or harbor authority or park authority that has a coastline within a designated tsunami inundation zone or a harbor with open ocean access and that operates in the public interest.

A tribe is defined for this grant-making process as being on the list published by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs."

Throughout this document, the word "state" will refer to and include any of the eligible states (see "Eligibility") as well as the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The District of Columbia is not included among the 28 states that compose the NTHMP per terms of TWERA.



Financial assistance grants ("grants") are awarded by NOAA and are technically supervised by NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS). As such, these federal government grants are available for award or subaward only to entities within the United States and its territories and that are within the NTHMP designated 28-member zone. (See NTHMP Rules of Procedure, Appendix A.)

Eligible entities:

  • A state (or state agency/state university) or territory that has at least one representative who serves on the NTHMP Coordinating Committee.
  • A state (or state agency/state university) without a representative serving on the NTHMP Coordinating Committee that is willing to be a subawardee of another state.
  • A tribe (defined above) with land within a tsunami inundation zone.
  • A local government (defined above).
  • A quasi-government entity (defined above) that has a coastline that may be affected by tsunami activity, and that operates in the public interest.

Entities not eligible to participate in the grant process:

  • Special taxing districts
  • School districts
  • Fire districts
  • Unincorporated entities
  • Private, for-profit companies
  • Not-for-profit organizations (such as the American Red Cross)
  • Private universities
  • Homeowner, civic, or business associations (e.g., Chamber of Commerce)
  • National parks, national seashores, or any other entity of the federal government

A tribe, local government, or quasi-government authority wishing to apply for financial assistance for tsunami programs must:

  • Be geographically located within one of the 28 states and territories served by the NTHMP and as recognized by Public Law 115-25, Title V, §3204. Great Lakes Region states and provinces of Canada are not included.
  • Have permanently inhabited land areas with residences and/or businesses that may be potentially inundated by tsunami activity from an ocean or tsunami run-up from the mouth of a river;
  • Have a tax identification number (TIN) and a DUNS number and be eligible to apply for and be awarded federal grants;
  • Not be prevented from receiving federal government grants through debarment or other legal restrictions;
  • Be eligible to receive pass-through funds from a state or territory of the United States (this applies to local or quasi-government entities, only*); AND
  • Be eligible to receive federal government grant funds and manage them per terms of federal government grant policies and procedures.

*Grant funds flow through a state or territory to local governments or quasi-government public authorities that are treated as subaward recipients of a U.S. state or territory agency or institution.

For local government or quasi-government entities, the state or territory in which the entity is located must have the capability to grant a subaward, which is the only mechanism by which grant funds may flow to local governments or quasi-government authorities.

Eligible and Ineligible Activities

How Eligible Entities May Apply


To begin the application process, contact the Principle Investigator (Tsunami Grant PI) for the state or territory of your geographic location. Discuss how your entity's idea or project fits within the tsunami-related priorities of the state where you are located. It is always best to coordinate with state tsunami program activities and plans for consistency and to comply with the language of TWERA: §3204 (c)(3), "Coordination with other Federal preparedness and mitigation programs (i.e., grants to states for tsunami activities) to leverage Federal investment, avoid duplication, and maximize effort."

If the coordination process outlined above indicates that your idea or project has merit:

  • Local government/quasi-government authority: You will be asked to prepare a grant proposal package (see below) and send it to your state/territory Tsunami Grant PI for consideration for incorporation into that state/territory's grant application. Local grant proposals may not be submitted to the NWS directly.
  • Tribe: A grant proposal package (see below) can be requested directly from the NWS Tsunami Program. The completed package can be submitted directly to the NWS.

Obtain backup documentation that justifies cost estimates and breakdowns/details, if available (e.g., price quotes from vendors, copies of email dialogue about cost estimates and pricing, etc.)

A grant proposal packages consist of a project narrative, budget narrative, budget explanation, and a copy of the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA), if entity has one. Templates for the project narrative, budget narrative, and budget explanation are available upon request. Letter(s) of support are not required, but can be submitted to demonstrate support and coordination and will be considered during proposal review.

Grant Application Schedule


Note: This schedule is subject to change based on congressional budget appropriations or other unforeseeable factors.

October until as late as December 31:

  • Local government/quasi-government authority: Submit grant proposal packages to the appropriate state, territory, or NTHMP region (Gulf Coast or East Coast) contact as listed on the list of Tsunami Grant PIs.
  • Tribe: Submit grant proposal packages to the NWS Tsunami Program. The NWS Tsunami Program will coordinate the review by corresponding with the appropriate state(s) to comply with TWERA's requirement to avoid duplication as well as to maintain consistency with overall state tsunami priorities. (State representatives have review input, but the NWS has decision authority to consider a tribal grant proposal, not the state.)

November to January: The receiving entity provides feedback to the applicant about the grant proposal. The following criteria are considered:

  • How well the project fits the overall goals, objectives, and priorities for tsunami preparedness, mitigation, mapping, and/or warning coordination for the nation;
  • Targeted consistency with the priorities described in the NTHMP Strategic Plan;
  • Adequacy and sufficiency of information that explains the project and its proposed budget;
  • Reasonableness of the budget, justification of expenses, and broken out costs (where required); and
  • The merits of the project considering multiple competing priorities with limited funding.

State/territory Tsunami Grant PIs may serve or appoint a team for further review and vetting of grant proposals, as long as results of the vetting process are provided to the NWS on or before December 31.

If a local government/quasi-government authority grant proposal merits consideration for inclusion in the NTHMP state partner's full application, that partner will explain further requirements and the process that will follow on the National Grant Schedule.

Pre-Application Process

  • NTHMP state partners and tribes are required to submit their respective grant proposals in the form of a pre-application in two rounds.
  • The first pre-application package is due to the NWS Tsunami Program by the second week of January. The NWS does a quick review to ensure compliance with Department of Commerce Grants Policies, other general federal government grants policies, alignment with the goals and strategies of the NTHMP Strategic Plan, and other administrative considerations.
  • Feedback on the first pre-application is provided by the third week of January. Applicants are given time to review the feedback and coordinate with colleagues during a scheduled in-person NTHMP meeting or teleconference. Meeting notices are posted on the NTHMP website.
  • The second round of grant pre-applications that reflect modifications, adjustments, or changes from the first round, are usually due in late February.
  • The NWS appoints a Federal Grant Review Panel that does a full merit review of all grant pre-applications received. The panel provides recommendations to NWS leadership for entities, projects, and tasks to be included in final grant applications.
  • Upon NWS management approval of the panel's recommendations, applicants are provided the results with instructions on what to include in a final grant application. Final applications are due via the federal government grants portal,, by the end of May. Because this is a closed grants process, eligible applicants will be sent a link and instructions on how to submit a final grant application package via the portal. This grant application will not be publicly visible on
  • Grant applications undergo thorough review by NOAA Grants Management for awards to be offered in August for a period of performance for up to 12 months to begin September 1.

General Notes


The amount of financial assistance available through grants depends on what Congress appropriates to the Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Weather Service.

Financial assistance is awarded as grants to state or territory governmental agencies or to Indian tribal governments that are registered in the NOAA grants system. State and territory governmental agencies may issue subawards to eligible local governments or quasi-governmental entities.

There is no cost sharing or matching required for these grants; however, cash or in-kind match support is important to identify if provided, because activities where there are matching funds available are awarded bonus points on score sheets during the proposal review by the Federal Grant Review Panel.

Local government and quasi-government representatives can get more information from your respective state, territory, or regional representative who serves on the NTHMP Coordinating Committee or from a Tsunami Grant PI.

Representatives from tribes can get more information by contacting a state or regional partner or by sending an email to