2016 Request for Proposals to Provide National Environmental Policy Act Assistance for the Sequoia National Forest – Fuels Management Projects

PROPOSAL DEA​​​​DLINE: December 16, 2016 by 5:00pm Pacific Time

Contact: Sarah Peterson, Program Director; 415-243-3105; Sarah.Peterson@nfwf.org.

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks a qualified contractor to provide National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance services directly to the Sequoia National Forest (SQF) for projects related to the Pacific Southwest Fuels Management Strategic Investments Partnership (Fuels Partnership). The successful offeror will be selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The period of performance will be 18 months from the contract start date.

PROGRAM BACKGROUND

A century of widespread fire exclusion and changes in forest management have resulted in a buildup of surface fuels and the overstocking of California forests with trees and ladder fuels. The resulting forest health problems are widespread and increasing, affecting wildlife habitat, water quality and quantity and long-term soil productivity. The buildup of flammable vegetation due to past management, drought conditions, and insect and disease-related tree mortality have made managing fire riskier, more complex and more costly. With climate and vegetation conditions contributing to longer annual fire seasons, agency capacity and resources for fire suppression to protect communities, natural resources and infrastructure are stretched thin. Properly planned and implemented fuels management treatments can decrease the intensity of future wildland fires and restore a healthier natural fire regime to support biodiverse forest ecosystems. Fuels management projects are designed to improve overall forest health and resilience, improving habitat for fish and wildlife.

The goal of the Fuels Partnership is to identify and fund fuel management projects that reduce the risk of severe wildfire, protect ecological values of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) restoration investments, and reduce the risk of damage to public and private improvements near USFS lands. Funds are derived from USFS appropriations for fuels management.

CONTRACT SCOPE

The purpose of the RFP is to retain a contractor who can provide the requisite survey and analysis, project management and documentation on the projects awarded; and who specializes in providing survey and anlysis services in support of the NEPA process, the formulation of resource reports, and completing legally compliant NEPA supporting documents.

The selected contractor will provide selected survey and data analysis services to support the completion of NEPA for three proposed projects, including performing required document preparation, document distribution, and agency meeting coordination. If necessary, the selected contractor will also provide documentation preparation and assistance with the administrative review process in accordance with 36 CFR 218 for projects documented in an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement. For examples of the types of deliverables that may be included under this opportunity, applicants may review analysis and supporting documents for a comparable project, posted here.

The selected contractor will be required to develop schedules of work with timelines, milestones, and dependencies for each project developed. The selected contractor will track progress on meeting requirements and provide SQF and NFWF staff with progress updates. The selected contractor will submit all documents to the SQF for review and approval at established points throughout the process.

At a minimum, three separate projects requiring surveys and analysis to support development of a NEPA package will be addressed through this program, with specific requirements of the contractor as noted for each:

  • Big Stump Redwood Fuel Restoration Project (approximately 3,170 acres)
    • Surveys: Hydrology, botany, stand exams and fuel loads
    • Analysis/Reports: Hydrology, botany, fuels and silviculture
  • Eshom Ecological Restoration (approximately 11,000 acres)
    • Surveys: Archaeology, hydrology, botany, stand exams and fuel loads
    • Analysis/Reports: Hydrology, archaeology, botany, fuels and silviculture
    • Other Tasks: Unit layout
  • Hume Basin Ecological Restoration (approximately 11,000 acres)
    • Surveys: Hydrology, archaeology, botany, wildlife, stand exams and fuel loads
    • Analysis/Reports: Hydrology, archaeology, botany, fuels and silviculture
    • oOther tasks: Unit layout, tree marking as applicable, sale package preparation as applicable.

ACTIVITIES AND RELATED DELIVERABLES

Specific activities included in the scope of work for this project will include:

  1. DEVELOP A WORK PLAN – Develop and manage a detailed work plan, including specific tasks, when they will be completed and specific personnel that will be involved, preparation time, and review time for each draft by the SQF. The work plan must conform to minimum timelines established in Forest Service Manual 1950 and Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, and regulations at 36 CFR 218 and 36 CFR 220.
  2. COMPLETE RESOURCE ANALYSIS – Coordinate resource specialists to perform the required surveys or on-site field data collection to specifications required for NEPA analysis, and per resource-specific manual direction as applicable.
  3. PREPARE DOCUMENTATION – Organize, write, and edit survey and analysis documents in coordination with SQF Responsible Official(s). Documents must follow the USFS Manual 1950 and Handbook 1909.15 and 36 CFR 220 for NEPA implementation.
  4. MAINTAIN PROJECT RECORDS – Compile and maintain an up-to-date Project Record consisting of all documents relevant to the respective project analysis and decisions to be made. The record must be indexed and maintained in electronic format, with limited exceptions for reference books or certain other documents.
  5. COORDINATION AND APPROVAL – The contractor must receive approval from NFWF and SQF at the following key points before proceeding:
    • Project Work Plan (see item 1 above).
    • Complete Resource Analysis (see item 2 above).

CRITERIA FOR COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS

The evaluation criteria listed below will be used to evaluate proposals for the purpose of ranking them based on how fully each proposal meets the requirements of this RFP. Offerors may be asked to modify objectives, work plans, or budgets prior to final approval of the award.

  1. Understanding of the Scope of Work. A statement demonstrating a thorough understanding of field surveys and data analysis requirements for NEPA, providing technical expertise in completing environmental affects analysis, and drafting NEPA supporting documents for federal agency review and approval. In addition, the proposal must demonstrate a capacity to manage multiple NEPA compliance projects simultaneously in order to maximize schedule and effectively ready restoration projects for implementation. (25%)
  2. Technical Approach. The proposed technical approach for fulfilling the scope of work must demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in understanding the survey and analysis requirements of the NEPA process. (25%)
  3. Qualifications of Proposed Personnel. The proposal should describe relevant professional experience in the following areas: (a) experience dealing with Federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as national and local NGOs involved with NEPA, and experience completing surveys, analysis or other services in support of NEPA compliance for the Forest Service, if any; (b) an understanding of conducting NEPA generally, and preparing NEPA documents, specifically; (c) biographies including resumes and/or vitae of key staff and their role in your proposed work area. (20%)
  4. Contractor’s Past Performance. Preference will be given to those who have specialized in NEPA compliance on U.S. Forest Service lands with experience writing resource reports for California forest ecosystems. In addition, the applicant needs to showcase its experience working cooperatively with the U.S. Forest Service and have examples of NEPA documentation that they have provided the agency. The proposal should include: (a) information on the principal investigator(s)’s past performance related to the NEPA technical expertise you will be offering; (b) list recent (last 2-5 years) accomplishments, events and previous services related to the NEPA technical expertise you will be offering; (c) references including a list of three clients who have received services from your organization that is similar in nature to the proposed work; include names, postal and email addresses, and telephone numbers. (15%)
  5. Cost Proposal. The cost proposal budget should be cost effective and should maximize the value for monies requested in the offeror’s budget. Proposal costs should be presented in a ‘time and materials, not to exceed’ format. Proposal costs should be the minimum necessary to adequately achieve the stated scope of work. Profit/profit margin must be separately itemized in the budget. Offerors must use the 2016 Contractor Budget Template available through NFWF’s Fuels Partnership website, www.nfwf.org/pswfuels. (15%)

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Submission requirements will include three distinct and separate documents: 1) Technical Proposal, 2) Cost Proposal, and 3) Evidence of Corporate Capability.

Interested parties will submit proposals via email to Sarah Peterson (Sarah.Peterson@nfwf.org ) and provide the information as described below:

  1. Technical Proposal (6-page limit for entire Technical Proposal), to include:
    • ​Narrative - Concise (6-page limit) description of the work plan to include the following sections from the Criteria for Competitive Applications: Understanding of the Scope of Work, Technical Approach, Qualifications of Proposed Personnel, and the Contractor’s Past Performance.
    • Contact Information - Primary contact person, company name, address, phone, email, website, and Federal ID#.
  2. Cost Proposal: The Cost Proposal includes the proposal budget and budget justification. The cost proposal must be submitted using the 2016 Contractor Budget Template. The 2016 Contractor Budget Template is available for download on NFWF’s Fuels Partnership website, www.nfwf.org/pswfuels.
  3. Evidence of Corporate Capability. The offeror shall provide proof of financial stability in the form of an income statement and balance sheet.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST / ELIGIBLE AWARDS

Eligible applicants are nonprofits and for-profit organizations. Only one award will be made for this contract. If multiple institutions are involved, they should be handled through sub-awards and sub-contracts.

By submitting a Statement of Qualifications in response to this solicitation, the offeror warrants and represents that it does not currently have any apparent or actual conflict of interest, as described herein. In the event an offeror currently has, will have during the life of the contemplated contract, or becomes aware of an apparent or actual conflict of interest, in the event an award is made, the offeror must notify NFWF in writing in the Statement of Qualifications, or in subsequent correspondence (if the issue becomes known after the submission of the Statement of Qualifications) of such apparent or actual conflicts of interest, including organizational conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest include any relationship or matter which might place the contractor, the contractor’s employees, or the contractor’s subcontractors in a position of conflict, real or apparent, between their responsibilities under the award and any other outside interests, or otherwise. Conflicts of interest may also include, but are not limited to, direct or indirect financial interests, close personal relationships, positions of trust in outside organizations, consideration of future employment arrangements with a different organization, or decision-making affecting the award that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the impartiality of the offeror, the offeror’s employees, or the offeror’s future subcontractors in the matter. Upon receipt of such a notice, the NFWF Contracting Officer will determine if a conflict of interest exists and, if so, if there are any possible actions to be taken by the offeror to reduce or resolve the conflict. Failure to resolve conflicts of interest in a manner that satisfies NFWF may result in the proposal not being selected for award.

By submitting a Proposal in response to this solicitation, the Offeror warrants and represents that it is eligible for award of a Contract resulting from this solicitation and that it is not subject to any of the below circumstances:

  • Has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an Contract with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, where the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or
  • Was convicted (or had an officer or agent of such corporation acting on behalf of the corporation convicted) of a felony criminal violation under any Federal or State law within the preceding 24 months, where the awarding agency is aware of the conviction, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or
  • Is listed on the General Services Administration’s, government-wide System for Award Management Exclusions (SAM Exclusions), in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 C.F.R Part 180 that implement E.O.s 12549 (3 C.F.R., 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 C.F.R., 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension, ” or intends to enter into any subaward, contract or other Contract using funds provided by NFWF with any party listed on the SAM Exclusions in accordance with Executive Orders 12549 and 12689. The SAM Exclusions can be found at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.

QUESTIONS

Applicants should submit questions regarding this RFP via e-mail to Sarah Peterson (Sarah.Peterson@nfwf.org). NFWF will respond to all offerors at the same time and with the same answer. In order to provide equitable responses, all questions must be received by NFWF no later than November 14, 2016 5:00 pm Pacific Time and will be answered via a NFWF Response to Offerors’ Questions document. The Offerors’ Questions document will be available for viewing on December 5, 2016 at NFWF’s Fuels Partnership website, www.nfwf.org/pswfuels.

SUBMISSION DEADLINES

  • November 7, 2016: Request for Proposals (RFP) released. 
  • November 14, 2016: Deadline for Offerors’ Questions to be sent to NFWF. Offerors should submit questions regarding this RFP via email to Sarah Peterson (Sarah.Peterson@nfwf.org). NFWF will respond to all Offerors at the same time ​​​and with the same answers. In order to provide equitable responses, all questions must be received by NFWF no later than 5:00 PM Pacific Time.
  • December 5, 2016: The Offerors’ Questions document will be available for viewing at NFWF’s Sequoia National Forest program website, www.nfwf.org/pswfuels​
  • December 16, 2016: Deadline for responses to RFP. Proposals must be received electronically as per the above stated Submission Requirements to Sarah Peterson (Sarah.Peterson@nfwf.org) by 5:00 PM Pacific Time. Statements must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF.
  • January 13, 2017: All Offerors will be informed of their status. Notice of award to selected contractor.
  • February 10, 2017: Contractor’s approximate start date.
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