Are you involved in a community organization and have an idea for a restoration or education project in Tampa Bay? If you are, then you may be interested to know that the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) is now accepting Bay Mini-Grant project proposals.

The TBEP Bay Mini-Grants are competitive cash awards of up to $5,000 provided to community organizations for projects that address restoration and education priorities in Tampa Bay, empowering participatory science, promoting environmental ethics and stimulating community stewardship.

Projects must address one or more of TBEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) priorities: clean waters and sediments, thriving habitats and abundant wildlife as well as an informed, engaged and responsible community.

Each year, TBEP highlights a specific CCMP action to prioritize for Bay Mini-Grant funding. This year, projects supporting the prevention, eradication and/or management of invasive species in Tampa and its watershed will be prioritized for funding.

Past Bay Mini-Grant projects have included Florida native plantings at local parks, marine educational workshops for Tampa Bay teachers, bird nesting documentaries and citizen science projects researching endocrine disruptors in seagrass meadows.

The application deadline for Bay Mini-Grants is 5 p.m. on Friday, September 16. Schools, neighborhoods and other nonprofit and for-profit organizations from Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties may apply.

On average, 20 projects are funded each year with about $90,000 in grants. A ‘Golden Mangrove Award’ is given every year to the outstanding Bay Mini-Grant project as determined by the TBEP Community Advisory Committee.

All Bay Mini-Grants awarded to community organizations for education and restoration projects are funded by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program Specialty License Plate, or the ‘Tarpon Tag.’ The Tarpon Tag is one of the least expensive specialty plates at just $15 per year, and all of the revenue goes directly towards protecting and restoring Tampa Bay. To obtain a Tarpon Tag and directly support this grant program for years to come, simply visit your local DMV.

Additional Bay Mini-Grant information, including grant eligibility, application review criteria and grant priorities can be found at For questions or assistance with transforming an idea into a competitive proposal, contact Sheila Scolaro, TBEP community programs scientist, at

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