Request for Proposals

Fisheries Innovation Fund: Contract to Measure Conservation Impact, Innovation, and Fishermen Wellbeing

February 16, 2016

Requesting Organization: 
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Contact Information:
Kristen Byler – Manager, Fisheries Conservation
202-595-2445
Kristen.Byler@nfwf.org

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks a qualified Contractor to assist the final development and implementation of an impact evaluation strategy for the Fisheries Innovation Fund. The successful Offeror will be selected through a single stage competitive process. This Request for Proposals (RFP) invites qualified individuals or entities to submit proposals including an assessment of their understanding of the scope of work, technical approach and associated timeline, staff qualifications and relevant experience, and budget.  Only one award will be made for this Contract. The Contract Period of Performance is estimated to be 8-10 months.

BACKGROUND

The Fisheries Innovation Fund (FIF) was developed in 2010 through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Walton Family Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The Fund aims to foster innovation and support effective participation of fishermen and fishing communities in the implementation of sustainable fisheries in the United States. Since its inception, the FIF has awarded grants to 83 projects that have advanced innovations in capacity building, bycatch reduction, seafood marketing, monitoring and evaluation, and recreational fisheries. Attracting highly innovative solutions to many of the most pressing issues in fisheries management today, the FIF has successfully catalyzed over $19.9 million in investments to fisheries throughout the United States[1].

Through these investments, the FIF has fostered myriad innovations that have benefited fishing communities and businesses across the county. An external evaluation[2] conducted in 2014 concluded that the FIF has been highly successful in identifying and supporting projects that are consistent with the revitalization of U.S. fisheries. The report recommended that the FIF begin complementing its current emphasis on innovation with a focus on the dissemination and uptake of grantee innovations. In response, NFWF has developed a preliminary strategy to increase the overall impact of the FIF. The strategy will not only support the large-scale implementation of proven innovations, but will also measure the impact of those investments through a robust evaluation process. The preliminary strategy is described in detail in a supplementary document provided as Appendix 1 of this RFP and henceforth referred to as the ‘FIF Evaluation Framework’.

The FIF Evaluation Framework was developed with the goal of measuring the impact of the program’s investments in fisheries innovations. The Foundation recognizes that there are various ways with which to measure impact in a program as diverse as the Fisheries Innovation Fund. Therefore, the Framework aims to evaluate impact along three independent dimensions: 1) fishery conservation impact, 2) effective development, dissemination, and implementation of innovations, and 3) wellbeing of individual fishermen and fishing communities. In an effort to target the scope of the Framework, it will be applied within four already-identified catch share fisheries, the New England Groundfish fishery, the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish fishery, the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery, and the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish fisheries. Both the commercial participants in the catch share fisheries and members of the recreational sector will be included in this evaluation. NFWF intends to use the data collected from the implementation of the Framework to answer research questions such as:

  1. Fishery Conservation Impact: Is there a difference in the average performance of FIF participants versus the fishery as a whole (considering a range of possible social, economic, and environmental indicators)? Have FIF grantees had a measurable impact on the fishery as a whole?
  2. Innovation: Are FIF innovations successfully diffused and adopted among a sufficient portion of fishermen to increase the likelihood of full adoption within the fishery? What factors contribute to an increased likelihood of an innovative concept being successfully adopted at-scale, and how can NFWF identify and work with grantees to support effective adoption?
  3. Wellbeing: Does participation in FIF projects positively influence the individual wellbeing of fishermen or fishing community members? Do changes in wellbeing influence the rate of adoption of FIF innovations? Do changes in wellbeing impact fishermen’s behavior?

Ultimately, the Foundation aims to use quantitative, analytically robust measurement approaches that will facilitate effective evaluation of program impacts. Therefore, NFWF seeks a cost-competitive contractor who can assist the Foundation in strengthening and applying the preliminary FIF Evaluation Framework. The conceptual approach developed through the preliminary Framework requires refinement, especially with regards to sampling design, statistical analysis, metrics development, and strategies for effective evaluation of innovation. The contractor will work closely with NFWF staff in order finalize the methodological approach and begin implementing the Framework by the end of 2016.

SCOPE OF WORK

Task 1: Conduct and coordinate a literature and peer review process in order to assess and strengthen the preliminary FIF Evaluation Framework.

Description: NFWF developed the preliminary FIF Evaluation Framework as a conceptual approach to enhance the Foundation’s methods for evaluating program impact. The Framework is preliminary and the Foundation recognizes a need to strengthen and improve upon the proposed methodology. Therefore, within the first two months of the contract, the contactor will: 1) become familiar with the Fisheries Innovation Fund and the preliminary Framework, 2) conduct an independent literature review to become familiar with research relevant to the Framework, and 3) coordinate a peer review to solicit comments from experts. The contractor should also consider other organizations collecting data on similar metrics and identify any potential opportunities to create partnerships and collaborations to maximize efficiency.

Deliverable:

  • Deliver a presentation to program stakeholders summarizing the findings from the literature and peer review. The contractor will then facilitate a discussion to obtain agreement on the approach that will be taken moving forward.                   

Task 2: Develop a refined, final version of the FIF Evaluation Framework, to include a robust data collection strategy for each component of the preliminary FIF Evaluation Framework.

Description: Following a thorough literature and peer review, the contractor will consolidate the information gathered through Task 1 in order to generate a final version of the FIF Evaluation Framework. The contractor will build upon the existing conceptual Framework in order to develop a robust data collection strategy for each of the three components of the Framework (i.e., fisheries impact, innovation, and wellbeing). The data collection strategy should include at a minimum: 1) refined metrics/indicators, 2) detailed and statistically rigorous data collection and analysis methods, and 3) final versions of any surveys, sample designs, databases, or other materials associated with the data collection strategy developed. Contractors should build in time and resources to accommodate any pre-testing or validation of proposed methods as appropriate. The methods developed should provide sufficient detail and build a Framework that will allow NFWF staff to continue implementing the Framework after the life of the contract.

Deliverables:

  • Final report detailing refined methods for the FIF Evaluation Framework.
  • To complement the data collection strategy developed, the final report should include supplementary documents and databases in accordance with the preliminary methods described in the draft FIF Evaluation Framework (Appendix 1).
    • Identify appropriate secondary data sources for relevant fishery and community indicators; organize and populate an associated database.
    • Develop a final written survey to be administered to fishermen and fishing community members to assess wellbeing, and any other attributes of interest not already being collected by other data sources. The survey should consider and avoid any potential overlap with existing surveys already being conducted.
    • Develop a final set of refined FIF grantee metrics and complete a final written grantee reporting protocol/survey.

Task 3: Implement the FIF Evaluation Framework by collecting 2016 baseline data.

Description: Once the final sampling design strategy and methods are developed through Task 2, the contractor will begin implementing the Framework in order to collect baseline data for 2016. This task will include data collection from relevant secondary databases, FIF grantees, and/or fishermen and fishing community members. The contractor will then use these data to run any preliminary or dummy analyses to demonstrate the operation and utility of the methods developed and assist in the transition of the Framework’s implementation to NFWF staff beyond the contract period.

Deliverables:

  • Gather and analyze 2016 baseline estimates of fishermen wellbeing, and any other relevant attributes, within the Framework’s four target fisheries.
  • Gather 2016 baseline estimates of FIF project metrics from grantees.
  • Use all available data to generate preliminary results (if possible) and establish a data management and analysis protocol.

SUBMISSION AND EVALUATION CRITERIA

Proposals will be evaluated and scored on the following criteria. Offerors should organize their proposals based on these sections:

A. Understanding of the Scope of Work. A statement of not more than one paragraph demonstrating an understanding of the activities described. Weight: 10%

B. Technical Approach. A description of no more than six (6) pages of a proposed technical approach for conducting the Scope of Work, which must demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in using the various research methods and designs determined to be appropriate for conducting the investigation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the preliminary FIF Evaluation Framework provided in Appendix 1 of this RFP.  The offer must contain an estimated timeline to perform each task identified in the Scope of Work section above. Weight: 25% 

C. Budget. The offer must contain a budget that represents the all-inclusive costs associated with completing the tasks and deliverables of this RFP. Budgets should be completed using the budget template provided (see link). Offerors will be evaluated based on the cost-competitiveness of submissions. Weight: 25%

D. Qualifications of Proposed Personnel. Resumes and/or Vitae of the principal investigator(s) describing relevant professional experience in the following areas: (a) background and familiarity in U.S. fisheries management, (b) evaluation of environmental conservation programs, (c) technical expertise in experimental design, database management, and statistical analysis of both social and environmental data, (d) experience designing and conducting surveys, (e) an understanding of grants administration and program management; and (f) an understanding of conservation projects and outcomes. Weight: 20%

E. Record of Past Performance/References. The proposals should identify at least three past engagements conducting similar work for NFWF or other organizations, identifying the Offeror’s quality of work, timeliness, and cost control. The Statement should include names, postal and email addresses, and telephone numbers of points of contact for the referenced engagements.  If the Offeror anticipates retaining sub-contractors for this task, information should be provided that demonstrates their past performance as well. Weight: 10%

F. Corporate Capacity. The Offeror shall provide proof of financial stability in the form of financial statements or balance sheets. Weight: 10%

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION DEADLINES

February 23, 2016

Deadline to submit questions about the RFP to NFWF
Offerors should submit questions regarding this RFP via email to Kristen Byler (Kristen.Byler@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 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, February 23rd.

March 9, 2016

Proposals Due
Proposals must be submitted electronically as an email attachment to Kristen Byler (Kristen.Byler@nfwf.org) by 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, March 9th. Statements must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF. Budgets should be attached as an Excel worksheet using the template provided (see link). Please include the following email subject with submissions: ‘FIF Evaluation RFP  [name of Offeror]’.

March 2016

Interviews of selected finalists

April 2016

Contract award to selected Offeror

CONTRACTOR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

The Contractor must agree to obtain and maintain adequate insurance against liability for injury to persons or property from any and all activities undertaken by the Contractor and associated with the signed contract in any way and will have NFWF named as an additional insured on all such policies and provide NFWF with appropriate Certificates of Insurance reflecting such additions within 60 days of the contract being fully executed. The insurance must have (1) Statutory worker’s compensation for all employees of Contractor; (2) Commercial General Liability Insurance on an occurrence form for bodily injury and property damage with limits of liability of $1,000,000 combined single limit each occurrence and $2,000,000 annual aggregate; and (3) Business automobile liability coverage owned, hired and non-owned vehicles with limits of $1,000,000 combined single limit each occurrence. The limits listed above may be attained through an umbrella liability policy.

SPECIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

1. Conflicts of Interest

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.

2. Additional Responsibility Matters

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 Administrations, 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/.

[1] Estimates include grantee matching funds and grants funded through the Fisheries Innovation Fund and the Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program, which was launched in 2015 in partnership with NOAA as a separate funding opportunity under the Fisheries Innovation Fund.
[2] Evaluation of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Fisheries Innovation Fund. 2014. Stratus Consulting, Inc. Available online: http://www.nfwf.org/fisheriesfund/Documents/fif-final-evaluation-report.pdf