Pulling Together Initiative 2018 Request for Proposals

Applicant Webinar: June 13, 2018 at 12 PM Eastern Time
Pre-Proposal Due Date: July 10, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date: August 30, 2018 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The Pulling Together Initiative program is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to promote the conservation of natural habitats by preventing, managing or eradicating invasive and noxious plant species. In 2018, the program will award grants to develop or advance Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs), Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs), and Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISMS) within the sagebrush ecosystem.

Approximately $420,000 is expected to be available for grant awards in 2018. The program is a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S.D.A Forest Service.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

Priority will be given to projects occurring in sagebrush habitat in: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

PTI 2018 RFP Map  

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

The program seeks to fund projects that represent comprehensive approaches to preventing, detecting, and controlling (containment, eradication, etc.) invasive and/or noxious plant species, and restoration of areas impacted by the targeted invasive and/or noxious plant species. It will do so by awarding grants in the following two categories focused on CWMAs, CISMAs, and PRISMs:

  1. ​Establish CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs within the Sagebrush Ecosystem
  2. Increase Capacity of Existing CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs within the Sagebrush Ecosystem

All proposals must specifically address how projects will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program goals. For all applications, please describe the partnership involved, why the project is significant in relation to the broader conservation context, whether the project will involve education, how the project will implement integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, and the long-term management plan.

Proposals should also specifically describe the connection to:

  • Contributing to the management of species of conservation concern within the sagebrush biome;
  • Providing long-term benefits, especially to greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and threatened, endangered, proposed or candidate species, or rare habitats;
  • The use of resilience concepts to manage sagebrush habitat affected by invasive annual grasses and other invasive plants (Reference: USFS General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-326, September 2014).
  • Producing multiple conservation outcomes.

The following sections provide more information on the funding priorities.

  1. Establish CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs within the Sagebrush Ecosystem: The program seeks to fund partnerships that are prepared to formally establish themselves as a CWMA, CISMA, or PRISM and that will provide stability and/or improve the greater sage- grouse population. NFWF will prioritize projects that include partnerships with a wide cross-section of invasive species stakeholders including private landowners, local non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and federal agencies. Proposals should describe the partnership structure and the plan to maintain the partnership for the long term. NFWF will also prioritize projects that specifically address the impacts of invasive species on the greater sage-grouse. A CWMA, CISMA, or PRISM that has recently been formed (~ less than one year) will also be considered under this category.
  2. Increase Capacity of Existing CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs within the Sagebrush Ecosystem: The program seeks to fund CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs that are in a position to significantly accelerate their work or those that plan to undertake a significant project within the range of the greater sage-grouse. The program does not provide continual funding, but is interested in supporting established CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs that are high-performing and positioned to increase their capacity.

LONG-TERM OPERATION, MAINTENANCE AND MONITORING

To help ensure project benefits will be sustained through time, grantees will be required to present or develop plans that address project site operation and management needs for at least five (5) years after project completion. The plan should describe long-term invasive species management and early detection rapid response (EDRR) protocol. The plans should also describe anticipated actions needed (maintenance schedules and tasks to be completed at scheduled intervals), cost estimates, sources of funding to support long-term maintenance plan, long-term partners, parties responsible for implementation and oversight, training needs, and the applicant’s and partners’ capacity for long-term stewardship of the project. A portion of individual grant awards may be used to support plan development, and plans must be completed prior to the end dates specified in individual grant agreements.

Priority will be given to projects that use the proposal narrative to describe a monitoring plan to measure the outcomes and assess the success of the proposed project. At a minimum, the description should: 1) indicate the metrics that will be used to track progress and quantify outcomes; 2) outline the approach for establishing baseline conditions against which post- implementation conditions will be compared; and 3) demonstrate plans and resources for post- implementation monitoring.

Applicants may use grant funding to support monitoring activities associated with the proposed project within the proposed grant period. Applicants are encouraged to direct 5–10 percent of the project budget toward this need.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Pulling Together Initiative has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees 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 lead, Crystal Boyd (crystal.boyd@nfwf.org; 612-564-7253) to discuss acceptable alternatives.

​Project Activity Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
​Building Institutional Capacity ​# of orgs. contributing to goals ​Building Institutional Capacity # of orgs. contributing to goals Enter the number of organizations contributing to the project’s conservation goals.
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​# people reached ​Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities.
​Volunteer Participation ​# volunteers participating ​Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects.
​Habitat Management ​Acres under improved management ​Enter the number of acres of invasive plants or noxious weeds treated using any integrated technique.
​Habitat Restoration ​Acres restored ​Enter the number of acres on which native grasses or forbs were planted post-treatment of invasive plants or noxious weeds.
​​Planning, Research, ​Monitoring ​ ​# management plan activities being implemented ​Enter the number of management plan activities being implemented, e.g. the number of activities in a CWMA, CISMA, or PRISM strategic plan.
​# plans developed ​Enter the number of plans developed that had input from multiple stakeholders, e.g. how many plans were developed as part of the establishment of a CWMA, CISMA, or PRISM.

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, 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 Pulling Together Initiative will award approximately $420,000 in grants in 2018. Grant requests depend on which program priority category the project is addressing.

  • If applying under the first program priority category, Establish CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs within the Sagebrush Ecosystem, grant requests may be up to $75,000.
  • If applying under the second program priority category, Increase Capacity of Existing CWMAs, CISMAs, or PRISMs within the Sagebrush Ecosystem, grants may range in size from $10,000 to $75,000.

Grants may be up to two (2) 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 July 30, 2018.

Matching funds of at least 1:1 in non-federal funds or in-kind contributions will be required. The ratio of matching contributions offered to grant funding requested is only one criterion considered during the review process. Matching contributions must be verifiable from the grantee’s records, not included as contributions for any other award, necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives, allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines, committed directly to the project, and must be used within the period of performance.

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​.

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 has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities.

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.

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. Both treatment efficacy monitoring and restoration monitoring must be incorporated into the plan.

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. Projects requesting NFWF funding for CWMA/CISMA/PRISM staff or other project personnel should describe the plan to maintain those positions for the long-term.

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

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).

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 will be 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 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.

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 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 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. As may be 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.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information: Pulling Together Initiative.

​​Applicant Webi​nar (Register Here​)
​June 13, 2018, 12 p.m. Eastern Time
​Pre-Proposal Due Date
​July 10, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time
Invitations for Full Proposals Sent
​July 23
Full Proposal Due Date
​August 30, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time
Review Period
​Late August – Late September
Awards Announced
​Late December

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 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 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: 

Crystal Boyd, Senior Manager
crystal.boyd@nfwf.org​
612-564-7253

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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