Northern Great Plains Program 2017 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, December 15th 2016 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to conserve and restore grasslands and associated wildlife species in the Northern Great Plains. The goal of the Northern Great Plains Program is, working through partnerships, to maintain and/or improve interconnected grasslands in focal areas to sustain healthy populations of grassland-obligate species while fostering sustainable livelihoods and preserving cultural identities. Particular species of interest include grassland obligate songbirds, black-footed ferret, pronghorn and greater sage-grouse. The Northern Great Plains program anticipates awarding $2 million+ in grants. Major funding partners include the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Margret A. Cargill Foundation.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

The following are the Northern Great Plains focal areas; Dakota Grasslands, Missouri/Milk River Grasslands, Nebraska Sandhill’s and the Powder River/ Thunder Basin Grasslands.

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PROGRAM PRIORITIES

All proposals must specifically address how projects for which funds are requested will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the program priorities as identified in the Northern Great Plains Program Business Plan. Projects that increase organizational capacity, utilize innovative and community based approaches are encouraged.

The Northern Great Plains Program seeks projects that address the following desired outcomes:

Demonstrate successful models for grassland habitat conservation that:

  • Increase grasslands connectivity through permanent conservation efforts that maintain working ranches and restrict sub-division and sod-busting activities (conservation easements, grass banking etc.).
  • Increase grassland connectivity through habitat restoration efforts (e.g. re-seeding, removal of woody invasives, prescribed fire etc.).
  • Improve management at large scales that facilitates persistent long-term behavioral changes that benefit grasslands and focal species.

Improve population levels and related outcomes for grassland species in targeted focal areas including:

  • Projects that help identify and address limiting factors for grassland obligate songbirds specifically; Baird’s sparrow, Sprague’s pipit, chestnut-collared and McCown’s longspur, and lark buntings.
  • Promote black-footed ferret conservation through the distribution of sylvatic plague vaccine in targeted prairie dog colonies.
  • Improve landscape permeability for pronghorn by removing and modifying fence and installing structures to minimize mortality at road crossings and bottleneck sites.
  • Sustain populations of greater sage-grouse through restoration of meadows and removing or marking fence around key leks in Sage Grouse Focal Areas.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Northern Great Plains Program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. NFWF will provide a guidance document for successful applicants to assist them in reporting consistent project metrics. 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 1.). If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Seth Gallagher seth.gallagher@nfwf.org to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity​ Recommended Metric​ Additional Guidance​
​Greater Sage-Grouse population ​# of leks ​Please enter the number of leks at your project site.
​Conservation easements ​Acres protected under easement ​Enter the number of acres protected under long-term easement (permanent or >30-yr).
​Land acquisitions ​Acres acquired in fee ​Enter the number of acres acquired in fee.
​Land restoration ​Acres restored ​Enter the number of acres restored. Please indicate type of restoration and number of acres of each: grassland restoration/ reseeding, wet meadow restoration, invasive weed eradication, etc.
​BMP implementation for fencing improvements ​Miles of fencing improved Enter the number of miles of fencing improved. ​Please indicate whether these improvements are for pronghorn or greater sage-grouse.
​Improved management practices ​Acres under improved management ​Enter the number of acres under improved management. Please indicate the type of management (e.g. prescribed burns, woody vegetation control, etc.).
​Black-footed Ferret - Disease control ​# sites protected ​Please enter the number of sites protected from disease.
​Pronghorn - Improving migration corridors ​# road crossing improvements Enter the number of road crossing improvements. ​Please indicate the number of movement passage installations.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities
  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include businesses and unincorporated individuals.
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 Northern Great Plains Program will award approximately $2 million in grants annually and anticipates one funding round per year awarding 8 -10 grants. Grants may be up to 3 years in length with the typical award ranging $100,000 - $300,000. A minimum match requirement of 1:1 is required.

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 as identified in the Northern Great Plains Business Plan, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities outlined in the Request for Proposal.

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.

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).

Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement projects and leverage additional funds to 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.)

Transferability – Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities 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.

Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy.

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.

Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved 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.

Key Personnel – Please include a brief description of all proposed project personnel and qualifications.

OTHER

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

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.

Environmental 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), and National Historic Preservation Act. 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 will 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. Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers 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.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information (Northern Great Plains Program).

Applicant Webinar ​Tuesday, November 29th 2016, 12:00pm ET / 10:00am MT
Proposal Due Date ​Thursday, December 15th 2016, 11:59pm ET / 9:59pm MT
Review Period ​December 2016 - March 2017
Awards Announced ​March 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.
  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 here.

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can 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:

Seth Gallagher, seth.gallagher@nfwf.org

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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