The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the release of the 2017 Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program (KWRCP).

The program, which was launched in 2015 with significant support from SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., is dedicated to studying and protecting killer whales in the wild. This year, KWRCP welcomed a new corporate partner, as the program received $250,000 in support from Shell Oil Company.

Environmental stewardship is one-way Shell has continued to share benefits with communities over the past 100 years. Since 1999, Shell has focused our partnerships with many organizations in the U.S. to protect more than 13 million acres of wetlands, clean and remove 600,000 pounds of debris from shoreline, and conserve more than 1.8 million acres of critical habitat.

“Shell Puget Sound Refinery has a long history of partnering with local environmental organizations, such as the Padilla Bay Foundation, the Northwest Straits Initiative, Skagit Land Trust, and Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group to help protect and preserve the communities we live in,” said Shirley Yap, General Manager for the Shell Puget Sound Refinery. “We are excited to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support conservation efforts in the Salish Sea and greater Puget Sound region.”

KKWRCP grant proposals are due July 14, 2017, and the full RFP can be found here​. Awards are anticipated by December, 2017.

KWRCP focuses on three strategies: increasing prey availability, improving habitat quality and strengthening management through crucial research. In the first two years, the program has awarded nine grants totaling more than $1 million. These grants leveraged more than $1.4 million in matching support from grantees, generating a total conservation impact of more than $2.5 million. The grants span all three of the priority strategies for the program and summaries are provided here.

Several of the projects funded by KWRCP were highlighted in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recent release of the Species in the Spotlight Action Plan.

Competitive grants are reviewed by a public-private committee of government and academic experts, and funding decisions are based on the ability of the applicant to implement strategies that achieve the program priorities and result in measurable conservation outcomes.

Major funding for the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program is provided by Shell Oil Company, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional information about the program can be found here.