The Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program was created to promote locally relevant, experiential, environmental learning and the implementation of Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences in the K-12 environment. This competitive grant program has also been used to support teacher trainings that foster stewardship of Bay resources. Since 2002, NOAA has supported this program with an investment of over $50 million, allowing for the completion of more than 600 B-WET projects in California, the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawai’i, New England, and the Pacific Northwest.
The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office (NCBO) has administered the Chesapeake B-WET program since 2002. However, due to cuts in the federal budget, NCBO did not receive an allocation to fund new B-WET applications. The final FY 11 budget for NOAA will enable the Chesapeake B-WET program to continue to fund the programs that were awarded funds in FY09 and FY10 and are continuing into their second or third year, but will not allow new programs to be funded this year.
NCBO will “hold over” high-scoring FY11 B-WET applications for FY12, so applicants do not have to reapply for funding, but is not able to guarantee project funding. All high-scoring applicants have been notified of this decision. At this time, the NCBO does not anticipate holding a competition for new applications in FY12.