Angeles National Forest – Wildfires Restoration Grant Program

2017 REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Pre-Proposal Due Date:   May 3, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date:   July 6, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Overview 

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in close cooperation with its federal partner, the Angeles National Forest (ANF), is pleased to announce the Angeles National Forest Wildfires Restoration Grant Program for the recovery of lands and watersheds degraded from the influences of past wildfire events. This funding opportunity will address the impact of three wildfires: the Copper (2002), Ranch (2007), and Sayre (2008) fires.

The goals of this competitive grant program are to (1) improve the ANF’s capacity to identify and approach resource management issues through support of projects that address the impacts to the watersheds and ecosystems affected by these fires; (2) provide sustainable and lasting ecological benefits; (3) promote ecological resilience to future wildfire events; and (4) inform efficient post-fire restoration through innovation. In FY 2017, approximately $3 million in restoration funds will be available to implement restoration actions within the watersheds affected by these fires.  Successful proposals will address one or more of the goals and priorities described below. 

Geographic Focus  

This grant program focuses on watersheds and ecosystems affected by the Copper, Ranch, and Sayre fires. Figure 1 below identifies the extent of those fires in the context of the Angeles National Forest, with more detailed maps identifying the specific watersheds that were impacted by each fire provided at the end of this document. Project activities are eligible in the affected watersheds, provided the activity has a direct nexus to a need resulting from, or exacerbated by, the fires.

Figure 1. Regional map of Angeles National Forest with Copper, Ranch, and Sayre fires 

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Grant funding will be awarded to planning and/or implementation projects designed to advance restoration or ecological resilience on the ANF. To be eligible for funding: 

  • Projects must conduct, or inform, the improvement, protection, or rehabilitation of ecosystems and watersheds within National Forest System lands impacted by the designated fire scars.​ 

  • Project descriptions must clearly describe the need for the proposed project as rendered necessary by the impacts of the fire(s) where activities are focused. 

  • Project outcomes and deliverables must provide a direct and practical contribution toward ANF fire recovery program goals.   

Competitive proposals will address at least one of the priority subjects described below. Eligible projects include a wide scope of potential activities, across a variety of strategies and focus. A description of the goals and priorities of this fire recovery program can be found within the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Angeles National Forest Copper, Ranch, and Sayre Fires Restoration Strategy (January 2017), however general strategy descriptions and some examples of projects of interest by the ANF for this funding opportunity are highlighted below.  

Forest/Upland Restoration and Management  

These include projects to: (1) evaluate forest vegetation communities, such as oak woodlands, native grasslands, upland conifer, and chaparral and coastal sage scrub, and develop effective post-fire prioritization and restoration strategies sensitive to climate change vulnerability, (2) identify and implement innovative techniques for invasive species management; (3) harvest native seed, propagate native plants, and/or revegetate landscapes to restore resilient native vegetative communities; and (4) restore age class structure and reduce fuels to minimize risks from future catastrophic wildfire.  

In particular:   

  • Evaluate landscape conditions (through new or existing information) across fire affected areas and develop strategies and recommendations for priority/feasible vegetation community restoration; projects may be geographically focused, e.g. “Comprehensive Vegetation Restoration Options in San Francisquito Creek Watershed”; or species/community focused, e.g. “Exploring Native Grasslands Recovery Options Across the Fire Scars of Interest”
  • Prioritize and implement chaparral and coastal sage scrub restoration within Copper Fire
  • Collect and propagate seed and cuttings for future restoration activities, especially chaparral, oak, and riparian vegetation communities
  • Survey and inventory rare plants and invasive vegetation along critical trail/road pathways, particularly within the Copper Fire (if interested in this activity, contact NFWF program manager for recommendations regarding specific trail/road corridors of focus); invasive species of greatest concern are identified in NFWF’s Angeles National Forest Copper, Ranch, and Sayre Fires Restoration Strategy 2017
  • Research invasive plant control/eradication and native plant restoration techniques to develop more effective and efficient management
  • Develop strategies for addressing disease and insect infestations from threats including, but not limited to, Phytophthora and goldspotted oak borer (agrilus coxalis) 
Stream/Riparian Restoration Management 
These include projects to: (1) improve hydrologic connectivity and aquatic organism passage; (2) remove invasive species threatening aquatic habitat or sensitive species; (3) evaluate and/or restore riparian corridor vegetation; and (4) create, maintain and/or improve existing in-stream, aquatic, or riparian habitat. 
In particular:  
  • Conduct preliminary planning and feasibility studies to improve stream hydrology, hydrologic connectivity, and aquatic organism passage for known barriers in San Francisquito Creek
  • Evaluate presence of plant and aquatic fauna invasive species and implement removal projects; National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Categorical Exclusion for aquatic invasive fauna removal has been completed for San Francisquito Creek and on file with the ANF
  • Assess riparian corridor and wetland conditions in fire affected watersheds, and design and implement appropriate restoration strategies
  • Watersheds of interest include San Francisquito Creek (Copper Fire), Los Angeles River headwaters: Bull Creek and Upper Pacoima Wash (Sayre Fire), and Piru Creek tributaries (Ranch Fire). Maps depicting the watersheds within the affected ANF lands are provided at the end of this document. 
Species Management 
These include projects specifically designed for the benefit of threatened and endangered species, or species of special concern, including, but not limited to, unarmored three-spine stickleback, California red-legged frog, arroyo toad, southwestern willow flycatcher, and California condor. Restoration activities that benefit a suite of species or community are also applicable. Projects may include: (1) evaluate and/or restore or improve habitat specific to species, or suite of species, of interest; (2) increase understanding of species/population needs within fire affected watersheds; and (3) inform and educate the public about the issues concerning these species and actions that can be taken to protect them. 

In particular: 

  •  Microtrash clean-ups in California condor range on lands impacted by fire
  • Water quantity, water quality, and habitat improvements to support unarmored three-spine stickleback, California red-legged frog, and other threatened, endangered, and special concern species in San Francisquito Creek  

Non-natural Features Management 

This strategy includes projects to improve non-natural features on ANF land such as roads, trails, infrastructure routes, or designated fuel breaks. Any projects proposed must be able to illustrate a benefit to watershed restoration and recovery or ecosystem improvement. Projects may include: (1) maintenance to degraded system trails; (2) restoration of lands impacted from past fire management activities; (3) implementation of best management practices to reduce invasive species, and/or pollutant loads (particularly those from sediment/erosion); and (4) decommissioning, restoration, and prevention of non-USFS approved user-created trails. 

In particular: 

  • Evaluation and recovery planning of Forest Service roads and trails
  • Installation of trail barriers that fit the natural Forest setting and prevent unauthorized vehicle access
  • Educational signage for the interpretation of fires and their impact, influence, and relationship to ANF landscapes and ecosystems 
Other Relevant and Beneficial Project Proposals
The above program priorities provide highlighted examples to guide applicants in addressing the immediate needs as identified by ANF staff. However, the program welcomes and encourages all proposals that meet the goals and priorities of fire recovery of the Copper, Ranch, and Sayre fires, particularly those that implement a multi-resource holistic approach to post-fire restoration, and/or provide additional benefits toward long-term effective management at a forest- or region-wide scale. Applicants are encouraged to review NFWF’s Angeles National Forest Copper, Ranch, and Sayre Fires Restoration Strategy or contact NFWF program manager, Jim Bond, to ensure applicability of project proposals with program objectives and current needs on the ANF. 
Multi-year projects are eligible and encouraged to apply to this program in phases; however, this Restoration Program is not an applicable funding source for start-up or research projects that will not provide direct benefits to the ANF upon project completion or within 5 years. Grant recipients will be required to demonstrate the ability to fulfill the Restoration Program’s contractual requirements (as described on page 7 of this RFP) to acquire applicable landowner permissions and to ensure environmental and heritage resource compliance, as well as any regulatory permits or approvals, including National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA*) requirements. Regulatory compliance measures should be included in all budget and timelines as part of submitted proposals. 

*NEPA compliance may require significant time and resources to complete. Projects that propose on-the-ground actions for which NEPA processes have not yet been completed may consider including NEPA tasks within their overall project scope. Projects where NEPA tasks are expected should be discussed with NFWF program manager, Jim Bond, prior to submitting a proposal to evaluate implications to scope, budget, and timelines. 

PROJECT METRICS 

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the ANF Wildfire Restoration Grant Program has a list of predefined selectable metrics in NFWF’s online application platform (Easygrants) for reporting.  Proposals to this grant program will be evaluated in two stages: the Pre-Proposal review and the Full Proposal review. Applicants invited to submit Full Proposals will select only the most relevant metrics from the drop down list provided in the Full Proposal Application (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below). If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Jim Bond to discuss acceptable alternatives.  

 

Project Activity

Recommended Metric

Additional Guidance

Volunteer Participation 

Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Building institutional capacity – # volunteers participating 

Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects 

Outreach/Education

Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Outreach/Education/Technical Assistance - # people reached 

Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities 

Research 

Planning, Research, Monitoring – Research - # studies completed to inform mgmt.

Enter the number of studies completed whose findings are used to adapt mgmt/inform mgmt. decisions

Research 

Planning, Research, Monitoring – Research – Acres assessed for improved management 

Enter the number of acres assessed 

Restoration planning/design/permitting 

Planning, Research, Monitoring – Research - # E&D plans developed 

Enter the number of Engineering and Design plans, and/or compliance documents developed. Generally there will be 1 per project.

​Invasive Removal ​Habitat Restoration - removal of invasives - acres restored ​​Enter acres restored

In-stream Habitat Improvement 

Habitat Restoration – Instream Restoration – miles restored 

Enter miles restored 

Restoration of aquatic connectivity via dam removal, bridge and culvert removal, and/or installation of fish passage structures 

Habitat Restoration -  Fish passage improvements - # passage barriers rectified 

In the notes section of this metric please indicate what type of barrier is being removed (i.e. dam, culvert, etc.) 

Restoration of aquatic connectivity via dam removal, bridge and culvert removal, and/or installation of fish passage structures 

Habitat Restoration – Fish passage improvements - Miles of stream opened 

Enter the number of miles of stream opened to fish passage 

Riparian restoration

Habitat Restoration – Riparian Restoration – Acres restored 

Enter the number of acres restored 

Wetland restoration 

Habitat Restoration - Wetland restoration - Acres restored 

Enter the number of acres restored 

Reforestation and Restoration of Forest Vegetation 

Habitat Restoration – Land restoration – acres restored 

Enter acres restored through practices such as revegetation, thinning, mortality removal, or prescribed burns 

Trail Improvements 

Habitat Management – Green Infrastructure – miles of trails improved 

Enter the number of miles of trails improved 

Road Improvements

Habitat Conservation – BMP Implementation for Road Improvements 

Miles of Road Improved 

Erosion control

Habitat Management – BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction – lbs. of sediment prevented from entering the system annually 

Enter the amount of sediment prevented from entering the system annually 

Trees Planted 

Habitat Management – Green Infrastructure - # trees planted 

Enter the number of trees planted

Plant Cultivation 

Habitat Restoration – Plant Cultivation – Seedlings propagated 

Enter the number of seedlings propagated 

Seed Harvesting 

Habitat Restoration – Seed Harvesting – lbs harvested 

Enter the number of pounds of seeds collected, may be estimated from bushels of cones collected 

Fuel Break Management 

Habitat Management – Improved management practices – Acres of public land under improved management 

Enter the number of fuel break acres under improved management. This may include new fuel break development or maintenance of existing fuel breaks. 

  

ELIGIBILITY 

Eligible and Ineligible Entities 

  • Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions, and businesses.
  • Ineligible applicants include: unincorporated individuals and international organizations.   

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds  

  •  NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.  

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH 

The Angeles National Forest Wildfires Restoration Grant Program will operate from 2017 through the end of fiscal year 2020. The program will award approximately $3 million through this funding opportunity, and expects to provide at least one funding cycle per year. The following are key elements of this funding opportunity: 

  • Grant awards will range in size from $25,000 to $500,000 per project, although more funding could be allocated for projects with large benefits or are multi-year projects that implement annual restoration and/or conservation actions.
  • The ratio of matching contributions offered is considered during the review process, and projects are expected to meet or exceed a 50% match ratio to be competitive. The strongest projects will meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio. Projects not meeting the match expectations will be considered on a limited case-by-case basis. Eligible match can include non-federal cash or in-kind contributions, such as staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, cash or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes. The cost of recent land or water acquisition or easement may also qualify as match for a project involving work at the acquired site.
  • Grants for single projects are typically awarded to projects that can be completed within 18 months. Some larger-scale projects may warrant consecutive multi-year funding requests. These requests will be considered on a year-by-year basis and must describe what will be accomplished during each project phase to qualify for consideration. 
  • NFWF will not provide reimbursement for any project expenditures prior to the grant award project period and will not be liable for such expenditures. However, to help the applicant comply with match requirements, successful grant applicants may be authorized to capture matching contributions directly related to the project proposal for a period up to one year prior to the date of submission of the proposal to NFWF.
  • Donated contractor services can be valued at current market rates, but general volunteer labor must be valued at no more than $23.56/hour. Matching contributions do not need to be fully secured prior to submitting a grant proposal, but should have a demonstrable likelihood of being secured during the project period to assure the project can be completed as proposed.
  • NFWF does not fund political advocacy or litigation of any kind. 

EVALUATION CRITERIA  

All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the criteria below. 

Pre-proposals and Full Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by a Proposal Review Committee made up of representatives from ANF, NFWF, and other experts as needed. Grant awards will be made by NFWF to successful applicants. Organizations are allowed to submit multiple proposals for funding consideration.

Projects will be evaluated by: 

Program Goals and Priorities - The proposal is consistent with the program goals of the Angeles National Forest as described in this RFP and associated Restoration Strategy, and Southern California National Forests Land Management Plan, including - Part 2 Angeles National Forest Strategy, and the project deliverable(s) clearly contribute to a practical advancement toward those goals. 

Consistency with over-arching Federal or State Conservation Initiatives - If applicable, proposals may also address goals, priorities, and recommendations in context with broader regional conservation plans or strategies such as the South-Central/Southern California Coast Steelhead Recovery Management Plan or California Condor Recovery Plan, Third Revision. Proposals should describe specifically how the project aligns with complementary conservation initiatives, and reference appropriate documentation. 

Technical Merit - Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are thoroughly and appropriately designed and executed. The proposal demonstrates relevant field experience, completed projects, published reports, or other materials. 

Transferability - Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities or natural resource management applications, particularly in Southern California Forests, and/or to be integrated into government programs and policies. 

Communication - Project includes a detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences. 

Funding Need - Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding. 

Monitoring and Project Documentation - Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise. In addition, all projects will be expected to document relevant geospatial data associated with each activity or task performed, which will be delivered as part of monitoring and reporting information provided to NFWF and the ANF. Geospatial information will be consistent with established Forest Service geospatial data standards (e.g. data dictionaries, metadata formats) to ensure proper integration with Forest Service corporate databases. 

Long-term Sustainability - Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are archived and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities. 

Past Success - Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results. 

Partnership - An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and the project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant. Identify proposed partners, if known (including potential or contemplated subawards to third party subrecipients of the applicant), the roles they will play in implementing the project, and how this project will build new or enhance existing partnerships. (Note: a project partner is any local community, non-profit organization, tribe, and/or local, state, and federal government agency that contributes to the project in a substantial way and is closely involved in the completion of the project.) 

OTHER 

BudgetCosts are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories. Federally funded projects must be in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance as applicable (OMB Uniform Guidance). 

The project budget must accurately reflect the scope of work including the implementation of the proposed monitoring plan and environmental compliance costs.  

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not necessarily constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively. When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations [including but not limited to 2 CFR 200 (Uniform Guidance)].  Please note that Federal wage provisions (Davis-Bacon or Service Contract Act) are applicable.  Davis-Bacon wage rates apply on all public works contracts in excess of $2,000 and Service Contract Act wage provisions apply to service contracts in excess of $2,500. 

Publicity and Acknowledgment of Support – Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF and the ANF the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF and ANF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications. Recipients may also be asked to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs, geospatial data, and project narratives depicting the project. 

Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable. Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF. A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds. 

Compliance Requirements – Projects selected to receive federal funding may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), National Historic Preservation Act, and other applicable federal laws.  As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with such Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances. 

Quality Assurance – If a project involves significant monitoring, data collection or data use, grantees may be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation (www.epa.gov/quality/qapps.html).  Applicants should budget time and resources to complete this task. 

Permits – Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements. NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct pre-application meetings with the appropriate administering agencies prior to submitting their proposal. In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award. 

Federal Funding – Federally funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant. The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF. 

TIMELINE  

Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information http://www.nfwf.org/angelesfire.

​Applicant Open House I ​April 12, 2017 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Angeles NF Training and Conference Center, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave, Arcadia, CA​ ​
Applicant Open House II ​April 13, 2017 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Santa Clara/Mojave River Ranger District Office, 33708 Crown Valley Road, Acton, CA​ ​​​
Applicant Webinar April 19, 2017
Registration details to be posted on program webpage​ ​
Pre-Poposal Due Date ​May 3, 2017
Invitations for Full Proposals Sent​ May 22, 2017​
Full Proposal Due Date​ ​July 6, 2017
Review Period​ ​July - September
Awards Announced​ ​Late September/Early October 2017

HOW TO APPLY 

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system. 

1.  Go to easygrants.nfwf.org to register in our Easygrants online system.  New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login). Enter your applicant information. Please be sure to disable the pop-up blocker on your internet browser prior to beginning the application process. 

2.  Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options. 

3.  Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application.  Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission. 

APPLICATION ASSISTANCE  

A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded at http://www.nfwf.org/angelesfire .

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded at http://www.nfwf.org/angelesfire.  Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (http://www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx). 

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
Jim Bond
Manager, Southern California Forests 
Jim.Bond@nfwf.org 
415-243-3107

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
Email:  Easygrants@nfwf.org 
Voicemail:  202-595-2497
Hours:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday.
Include:  your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.​​

 

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