Cooperative Research Units Program

To work in partnership with States and universities to address the information needs of local, State, and Federal fish, wildlife, and natural resource agencies through research, technical assistance, and education.


Examples of Funded Projects

Development and assessment of Adaptive Management methods; lamprey and salmonid migration and survival past dams; grassland birds following Hurricane Katrina; king rail habitat models; risk of fish disease introductions; biomarkers of fish endocrine disruptors; effects of commercial harvest on shovelnose sturgeon; human disturbance effects on warbler behavior; fish and amphibian conservation genetics, invasive species control techniques; use of UAV systems for natural resource management; climate change and water management effects in ridge-slough mosaics; hierarchical soil nutrient mapping for improved ecosystem change detection; endangered/threatened species research; factors effecting spread of CWD; effects of contaminants and toxins on fish; blood fractions as indicators of protein balance in reindeer and caribou; modeling the dynamics of avian influenza in wild birds; assessment of wildlife vulnerability to energy development.

Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2008, 414 Research Work Orders were active at cooperating universities. The number of Research Work Orders active in FY 2009 is expected to be about 414.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Authority is limited to research with an educational component conducted through one of 40 Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units and their host universities.

Awards are limited to information needs related to fish, wildlife, ecology, and natural resources of interest to program cooperators and partners.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Universities hosting Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units established under authority of the Cooperative Research Units Act of 1960.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Federal, State and local governments, industry and public decision makers, research scientists, State institutions of higher education, and the general public will ultimately benefit from the program.


Proposed research application responsive to the instructions issued by the USGS.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Requires each research project to be conducted in collaboration and cooperation with USGS personnel stationed at Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, and cooperating agency representatives.

Discussions to determine interest and appropriateness of research projects for a Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit are required before proposals are submitted.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Application form Standard Form (SF) 424 must be used. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110, or its successor, and the Department of the Interior regulations at 43 CFR Part 401, Subpart C. The application requirements as contained in the announcement package and the above regulations must be used for this program. Applications may be made only through the internet site

Award Procedures

Notification of an award is by a Research Work Order document signed by a contracting officer.


Established annually.


Cooperative Research Units Act, Public Law 86-686, Sec. 1, Sept. 2, 1960, 74 Stat. 733, as amended by the Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act of 1978, Public Law 95-616, Sec. 2, Nov. 8, 1978, 92 Stat. 3110.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Up to 3 months.


Not applicable. The application may be revised and resubmitted.


None. All projects have a limited duration, not to exceed 5 years.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Project duration may not exceed 5 years. Funds are released as required.

Post Assistance Requirements


Specified in the conditions of each award, but typically have annual and final reports as well as other products.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations", nonfederal entities that receive financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 or more in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


All records must be maintained for 3 years after submission of the final financial report.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Research Work Orders funded with reimbursable funds provided by other Federal programs) FY 07 $15,405,511; FY 08 est $16,000,000; and FY 09 est $16,000,000. (NOTE: No funds appropriated to the program are set aside or are separately identifiable for project grants.)

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$5,000 to $615,000; $33,660.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Provided to each of the 40 universities participating in the Cooperative Research Units Program.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Inquiries regarding the Cooperative Research Units program may be addressed to the Cooperative Research Units, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Mail Stop 303, Reston, VA 20192. Point of Contact (POC): Dr. Kevin G. Whalen, Deputy Chief, Telephone: (703)648-4062, FAX: (703)648-4269, E-mail:

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Proposals must address natural resource and environmental issues of concern to federal agencies and be acceptable to local program cooperators and universities hosting Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units. The Unit Leader of each Unit must determine this before the Unit and its host university submits a proposal to USGS. Projects must be for research and have educational components for graduate training.

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