Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund 2018 Request for Proposals

Pre-Proposal Due Date:   Wednesday, March 14 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date:   Tuesday, May 8 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


The Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund is soliciting proposals to advance conservation of the monarch butterfly and other at-risk native insect pollinators. The majority of funding will support projects that benefit monarch butterfly, but projects that address demonstrated needs for other federally listed or candidate insect pollinator species are also eligible. The most-competitive projects will demonstrate clear benefits to both monarch butterfly and other at-risk native insect pollinators. Grants will be awarded in two primary categories: 1) habitat improvement; and 2) outreach and organization coordination. Up to $1.6 million is expected to be available for grant awards in 2018. Funding is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Shell Oil Company, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Geological Survey. 


Much of the available grant funding will be directed to projects that benefit monarch butterfly and other at-risk pollinators within the monarch butterfly range in the United States. Priority will be given to projects within the monarch butterfly eastern population migratory flyway, which includes the 16 states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. Priority in the West will be given to projects on or adjacent to U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands or important monarch butterfly overwintering sites. 


Grant funding will be awarded in the following two categories:

  • ​Habitat Improvement
  • Outreach and Organizational Coordination

Each applicant will identify the one category that best describes the proposed project. If a project is expected to yield benefits in both categories, an applicant may list the other category as secondary. In general, a project with strong, focused activities and outcomes in a single category will compete better than a less-focused project that spans both categories. If a project is expected to benefit multiple at-risk pollinator species, the applicant should describe the relevant species and how they will benefit. The following sections provide more information on the funding categories. 

Habitat Improvement

Funding in this category will support on-the-ground work to increase the quality, quantity and connectivity of habitat for monarch butterfly and other native insect pollinators. Applicants in this category should define a step-by-step restoration plan, including site preparation, equipment used, planting techniques, size of the project area, and maintenance plan (e.g., prescribed burning, mowing, grazing schedules). If preparing a proposal that includes collecting or propagating native plants, applicants should describe the intended use of the seed or seedlings. 

Funding will primarily support the following three strategies:

  1. ​Restore and enhance habitat, with an emphasis on regionally appropriate milkweed and a diversity of nectar plants. 
  2. Increase native seed and seedling supply, with an emphasis on improving the sustainability and affordability of regionally appropriate, local ecotypes (see definition on page 4).
  3. Protect and improve western monarch butterfly overwintering sites.

Restoration work will be focused on the following lands:

  • ​Federal, state and tribal lands
  • Right-of-way: rail, transmission/pipeline, and roadside
  • Agricultural lands: buffers, rangeland and pastureland, roadsides, field edges, including land enrolled in Farm Bill programs
  • Western lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management or identified as important monarch butterfly overwintering sites

Monarch habitat plantings across the breeding range must include at least one species of regionally appropriate milkweed. Monarch habitat must also include nectar plants with bloom times that coincide with the presence of monarchs in the project site area. To meet the nutritional needs of breeding and migrating adult monarchs, monarch plantings must provide at least three blooming nectar plant species (in addition to milkweed) during each of the following periods: spring (March 20–June 1), summer (June 2–August 15), and fall (August 16–October 30). In addition to enhancing larval and nectar plant sources, projects proposed to benefit other pollinators should specify actions to improve insect nesting sites. 

Outreach and Organizational Coordination

Funding in this category will support efforts to align and expand monarch and pollinator conservation efforts across organizations, states and regions. Competitive projects will improve information exchange, coordinate conservation efforts, and promote implementation of conservation practices. This category seeks to advance innovative and catalytic approaches that ultimately link to on-the-ground projects. 

Funding will primarily support the following three strategies:

  1. ​Establish and promote state and regional consortia focused on monarch and pollinator conservation (should aim to be inclusive, with participation by academia, NGOs, federal, state and local governments, the private sector, and other important stakeholders, such as tribes, landowners and other citizens). 
  2. Support positions and programming that is additive (i.e., new positions and programming as opposed to existing positions and overhead).
  3. Promote the application of best management practices for restoring, enhancing and maintaining monarch and pollinator habitat.  


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund provides grantees a list of metrics in Easygrants for reporting purposes. 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 Todd Hogrefe (612-564-7286; to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
​​Restore or Enhance Monar​ch Butterfly and Pollinator Habitat ​ ​
  • Acres Restored*
​See definition of restore on page 4. Must be 0.5 acres or larger of contiguous habitat.
  • Acres Enhanced*
​See definition of enhance on page 4. Must be 0.5 acres or larger of contiguous habitat.
  • Number of Patches Restored or Enhanced
​Patch is defined by an area less than 0.5 acres in size. Please provide the size of each of the patch(es) in the notes section.
​​Increase Native Milkweed an​d Nectar Plant Resources Supply ​ ​
  • Pounds of Milkweed Seeds Collected
​Only include pounds of clean seed (see definition on page 4) collected. May include fractions. 
  • Number of Milkweed Plugs Propagated
​Number of new milkweed plants successfully established to be transplanted for use in current or future monarch habitat restoration/ enhancement sites.
  • Pounds of Nectar Seeds (Forb Species) Collected
​Only include pounds of clean seed (see definition on page 4) collected. May include fractions. Do not count milkweed species in this metric.
​​​Outreach and Organizat​ional Coordination ​ ​ ​ ​Number of Workshops Hosted
​Number of FTEs Hired
​Number of FTEs Sustained
​Number of Individuals or Partners Engaged​

* For purposes of reporting, each project area should only be reported once as either “restored” or “enhanced” based on the condition of the area relative to monarchs at the beginning of project implementation (see definitions below).


  • ​Local Ecotype: a locally adapted population of a species which has a distinctive limit of tolerance to environmental factors. 
  • Clean Seed: seeds exclusive of inert matter, invasive/weed seeds, and all other seeds.
  • Restore**: Habitat restoration involves the manipulation of an area with the goal of returning natural/historical function(s) and integrity to a site that has lost or degraded native habitat. Examples may include, but are not limited to, planting native plant communities that likely existed previously on the site and burning grass communities heavily invaded by exotic species to reestablish native grass/plant communities. 
  • Enhance**: Habitat enhancement involves the manipulation of an area to change (heighten, intensify or improve) specific ecological function(s) or the vegetative successional stage of the project site to provide additional benefits to monarchs and other pollinators. Habitat enhancement includes implementation or modification of land management practices such as mowing, haying, grazing, prescribed burning, invasive plant species control, forest health management activities, and interseeding existing habitat with milkweeds and forbs.


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, educational institutions, and international organizations.
  • 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. 


Up to $1.6 million is expected to be available for grant awards in 2018. Grants may range in size from $50,000 to $150,000. During previous funding cycles, the application success rate has been 20%.

Grants may be up to two years in length following finalization of a grant agreement. Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent, and all matching funds are spent or applied. The project narrative should include a clear timetable or schedule for project completion. The start date indicated in an application should not precede August 1, 2018.

Matching funds of at least 1:1 in non-U.S. federal funds will be required. Matching contributions must be spent or applied between the start and end dates indicated in the application. Matching contributions may include cash, in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes. The cost of land acquisition or easement may also qualify as leverage for a project involving work at the protected site. In addition, eligible indirect costs (that would not be paid with requested grant funding) may be applied as match. More information about using indirect costs as match can be found by clicking here​.


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. Project selections may also be based on other considerations, such as availability of funding, geographic balance, and balance among project types and grant size.

Conservation Merit and Implementation

  • ​Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals, 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.
  • Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy.
  • 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.
  • Complementarity – Project complements and builds on the work of others rather than duplicating efforts.
  • Timeliness – Project has commenced planning, design and engineering to the extent that on-the-ground implementation can begin shortly after the grant is awarded.
  • 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 technically-sound and feasible.

Project Costs

  • ​Funding Need – Proposal establishes a clear need for the funds being requested and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.
  • Matching contributions – A 1:1 non-federal, U.S. match is required for all awards. Matching contributions are to be spent/applied between the start and end dates specified in the application.
  • Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories. Federally funded projects must comply with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable.  
  • Efficiency – Costs are fitting for the activities proposed.


  • 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. Proposal identifies proposed partners (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.)
  • Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.
  • Letters of Support – Proposal includes letters of support from landowners where the proposed work would occur and from other significant partners, especially those providing match or contributing to the project in a significant way. 

Evaluation and Maintenance

  • ​Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success, adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise, and assure conservation efforts are effective and strategic. 
  • Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. Proposal indicates how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities.


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.

Matching Contributions – Matching Contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and tend to make projects more competitive during application review.

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not 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 Acknowledgment 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.

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 for 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 may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), and National Historic Preservation Act. Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved prior to initiating grant activities. Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals. As applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.

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.

Federal Funding – 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.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund webpage for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinar ​
​February 15, 10:00AM, Eastern Time
​​Pre-Proposal Due Date
​March 14, 11:59PM, Eastern Time
Invitations for Full Proposals Sent
​April 9
Full Proposal Due Date
​May 8, 11:59PM, Eastern Time
Review Period
​Mid-May – Mid-August
Awards Announced


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

  1. ​Go to​ 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 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.


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 NFWF’s Applicant Information page.

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

Todd Hogrefe, NFWF Central Region Director (​; 612-564-7286)

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

Easygrants Helpdesk – Email:; 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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​