Delaware River Restoration Program- Regional Conservation Partnership Program Technical Assistance 2017 Request for Proposals

​ Full Proposal Due Date:   February 6, 2017 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to provide technical assistance for delivery of agriculture conservation programs through the Delaware River Watershed Working Lands Conservation and Protection Partnership - Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  The first of two funding priorities seeks a grantee to develop a planning assessment tool and conduct training for staff of partner organizations. One grant of up to $60,000 will be awarded.  The second seeks an eligible grantee to provide technical assistance for forest management and conservation in the New York State portion of the RCPP for the duration of the RCPP agreement.  One grant of up to $136,000 is available.  Funding for this program comes from the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the US Department of Agriculture (NRCS) and the William Penn Foundation.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

Tool development, partner training and technical assistance must be implemented entirely within the Delaware River Watershed RCPP geography, which includes specific portions of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A detailed map is available here. 

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

  1. Development of Planning Assessment Tool and Partner Training
    • The tool to be developed will accelerate comprehensive conservation planning to assist in implementing conservation practices for the duration of the RCPP agreement. The tool will collect basic information about an agricultural operation, resource conditions and concerns, and conservation options that will serve as the basis for conservation planning and any application for financial assistance through NRCS or other sources. Use of the tool is expected to help increase the effectiveness of conservation activities by producers and landowners, enable a farmer to be a better prepared customer for NRCS programs—specifically EQIP—and enhance delivery of assistance by conservation districts and NRCS staff (e.g. by assembling information necessary to efficiently carry out NRCS’s Nine Step Conservation Planning Process). The successful applicant will 1) lead the development of the planning assessment tool for the Delaware River Watershed RCPP in close consultation with NFWF, NRCS and RCPP partners; 2) propose and administer methods for measuring success, verifying the use of the tool and reporting on lessons learned and transferability.

    • The successful applicant will conduct as many as four partner training sessions. The trainings will be provided in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey to as many as 40 individuals. The training will ensure partner understanding of the tool and the assessment process, provide information on how to use the tool with producers and landowners, and improve coordination with NRCS and conservation district staff. Additionally, training will build partner capacity for agriculture conservation delivery and a broader comprehension of available conservation programs. An additional funding opportunity will be made available in early spring 2017 for partners to utilize the tool.

  2. Technical Assistance in New York. The successful applicant will implement comprehensive technical assistance approaches for forest management and conservation to improve and protect water quality in the Delaware River Watershed RCPP portion of New York State (see map for project boundaries).  Projects should accelerate adoption and implementation of forest management plans and offer sound technical assistance resulting in the implementation of NRCS-approved conservation practices (made available through dedicated RCPP financial assistance via NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program).  Applicants should have the necessary certifications for writing forest management plans and/or have job approval with NRCS to provide technical assistance for practice delivery. If the applicant does not yet have these qualifications, the proposal should clearly describe how the applicant intends to fulfill these requirements before or at the beginning of the period of performance.  Please note that all applicants interested in applying for this opportunity must contact NFWF directly before initiating work on proposal development.

PROJECT METRICS 

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, NFWF has a list of metrics in Easygrants to choose from for reporting. We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below). If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact the program manager listed in this RFP to discuss acceptable alternatives. 
 
​Project Activity ​Recommended Metric Additional Guidance​

Building institutional capacity

# of organizations contributing to the initiative's conservation goals
Technical Assistance # individuals demonstrating a minimum level of knowledge, attitudes, or skills
Technical Assistance # individuals demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change
BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction Acres with BMPs to reduce nutrient or sediments loads
​Improved management practices

​Acres of private land under improved management

Riparian restoration Acres restored
BMP development # management plans into which BMPs were incorporated
Management or Governance Planning # management plan activities being implemented
  

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

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

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.
  • Funds may not be used to purchase equipment, conduct outreach activities, or perform administrative tasks.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH

Award Range:  NFWF will award one grant for tool development and training up to $60,000. NFWF will award up to $136,000 for RCPP technical assistance for forest conservation and management in the New York State RCPP geography.

Match Requirements:  Match is not required, but strongly encouraged, for this program. If applicants have already offered a partner contribution to the RCPP, it may be included here, but applicants should note that it was already counted in the proposal.

Grant Period:  Planning tool development and training must be ready to begin implementation within 1 month of the grant award, and completed within six months of the award date. RCPP Technical Assistance for forest conservation and management in New York State must be ready to begin upon receipt of the award agreement and be completed by the end of the RCPP agreement in 2019.

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 following criteria:

Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals and addresses the resource concern(s) for the RCPP—and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success.

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 all activities are both technically sound and feasible. Applicants have necessary certifications, qualifications and/or job approval (or describe clear plans to obtain them early in the period of performance) to perform work to NRCS standards.

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

PartnershipAn 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 collaborators, 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.)

Transferability – Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities or to be integrated into government programs and policies.

Monitoring – 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.

Past Success- Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results, and has the requisite certifications and qualifications to perform the work.

Letters of Support – Proposal includes letters of support from project partners, stakeholders and/or technical assistance providers; letters should describe any match or contribution offered to the project. 

OTHER

General: Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements.

Federal Funding Requirements: Projects selected to receive Federal funding may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Historic Preservation Act. Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved prior to initiating activities that disturb or alter habitat or other features of the project site(s). Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals. Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant. http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=704835d27377ef5213a51c149de40cab&node=2:1.1.2.2.1&rgn=div5

Technical Assistance: Projects must be technically sound and feasible and carried out by qualified individuals and organizations. Applicants are encouraged to provide documentation of technical assistance either received or committed to by appropriate state and federal agencies, academics and consultants.

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. 

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

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the DRRF Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Full Proposal Due Date                                  February 6, 2017
Review Period                                                 February 7, 2017 – February 24, 2017
Awards Announced                                        Mid-April

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.
  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 as 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 from the here on our website.

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can also be downloaded here

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s "Applicant Information" page.

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:

Rachel Dawson – Senior Manager, Delaware River
(202) 595-2643
rachel.dawson@nfwf.org

Mike Lagua – Coordinator, Delaware River
(202) 595-2612
michael.lagua@nfwf.org

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:

Easygran

ts 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 to which you are applying, and a description of the issue.

 

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