River Herring Program Fall 2015 Request for Proposal


Pre-Proposal Due Date: June 2, 2015 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Full Proposal Due Date (invitation only): August 6, 2015 11:59 PM Eastern Time


In 2009, NFWF launched a 10-year River Herring Program that focuses on implementing four strategies needed to reverse declines of more than 95% since the mid-1980s and create sustainable populations of this socially, economically and ecologically important anadromous fish. Its goal is to increase river herring  run counts in specific rivers along the eastern U.S. by 300 percent from 2008 levels. This Request for Proposals is one of two that is offered each year to award up to $600,000 in Fish and Wildlife Service and other available funds for river herring conservation.  Available funding will vary from cycle to cycle depending on implementation needs of the business plan and other requirements within the marine and coastal programs conservation portfolio.

Key conservation strategies for this program include:

  • Habitat restoration: Restore access to, and better manage, key spawning and nursery habitats by removing or modifying fish passage barriers in priority habitats;
  • Habitat management: Promote sustainable river herring fisheries in key rivers, which will involve determining appropriate harvest rates and developing sustainability plans;
  • Incentives to reduce bycatch: Reduce river herring bycatch mortality in ocean fisheries by implementing incentives for fishing fleets to avoid river herring hotspots; and
  • Research, monitoring, and evaluation: Implement stock assessments, determine ocean bycatch rates, conduct genetic analysis, and identify high priority watersheds and fish passage barriers.


Proposals under this solicitation should seek to implement one of the program priorities (listed in next section) within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, or the watershed of one of the following NFWF priority rivers:

  • Androscoggin R.
  •  St. Croix R.
  •  Penobscot R.
  •  Cocheco R.
  •  Lamprey R.
  • Oyster R.
  • Monument R.
  • Gilbert-Stuart R.
  • Connecticut R.
  • Santee-Cooper R.


The most competitive projects under the Fall 2015 cycle of the River Herring Program will directly implement projects under the following priority topic areas.  Projects outside of these
priority areas or that indirectly influence these topics are still eligible for funding provided they support the goals and objectives outlined in the River Herring Business Plan.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is soliciting grant proposals for the following river herring research and conservation strategies:
  • Monitoring: Establish run counts in priority waters for river herring in the Mid-Atlantic and the Southeast (per state managers and/or the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission), which lack data and where major conservation investments that benefit river herring are planned (i.e. barrier removal, water quality improvements). Proposals that seek to apply survey methods that have been tested by previous NFWF grantees will be most competitive.
  • Habitat restoration: Restore access to, and better manage, key spawning and nursery habitats.
  • Promote Sustainable River Herring Fisheries:  Proposals that will be considered for this funding opportunity are those which seek to develop sustainable fisheries plans for rivers where actual and/or expected run counts are at least one million fish. Activities may include, but aren’t limited to: determining appropriate harvest rates, estimating reproduction rates in key spawning areas, estimating run counts, constructing counting facilities, and/or fishing plan improvement and/or implementation
Applications outside of these priority areas will be considered for funding provided they can demonstrate the project is designed to address management needs for river herring identified in the Shad and River Herring Fisheries Management Plan of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.  NOTE: Proposals must focus on alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and/or blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis.


Eligible 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, 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.


The River Herring Program will award approximately $600,000 in grants per year across two funding cycles. The majority of awards under this program will fall in the range of $50,000 to $200,000; however, upper or lower limits to award size are not specified. A minimum of a 1:1 match of cash and/or in-kind services is required. Projects may extend from one to two years. Additional year funds are not guaranteed to be available in future years to supplement awards made as a result of this review. Selected projects may be required to submit data funded by this program to regional databases and/or present their results through NFWF-sponsored forum.


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.
Goals and Priorities Project contributes to the Program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals as outlined in the business plan and/or associated documents, 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 to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible.
Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and allow for uptake by the appropriate management authority if applicable. The project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant.
Monitoring Project includes a plan for monitoring progress toward the biological and socioeconomic goals stated in the proposal (i.e. change in habitat/species population number, % behavior change, lbs. sediment reduced, % of predation). Monitoring should occur before, during and after the proposed project activities to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Detailed Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=704835d27377ef5213a51c149de40cab&node=2:
Local Impact and Broader Transferability Project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy with clear steps for uptake and integration by local management authority (if applicable) and/or has the potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities. Preference will be given to applicants that can demonstrate how their data will contribute to the broader conservation community through regional, global, or species databases if applicable.
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 and how this project fits into longer-term investment strategies if applicable.
CommunicationProject includes a detailed and targeted communication plan to specific audiences and cites the appropriate qualifications/expertise in the project implementation team.


General: Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements.
Federal Funding Requirements: Projects selected to receive Federal funding may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, 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. Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=704835d27377ef5213a51c149de40cab&node=2:
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.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information (River Herring Program).
Pre-Proposal Due Date
June 2, 2015 11:59 PM ET
Invites for Full Proposals Sent
Week of June 22, 2015
Full Proposal Due Date
August 6, 2015  11:59 PM ET
Review Period
September 2015
Awards Announced
December  2015


All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation’s Easygrants system.
1.   Go to www.nfwf.org/easygrants 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 as application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.


In order to download a PDF version of the RFP please use the following link:  River Herring Program RFP.
A Tip Sheet containing additional information about the River Herring Program application process is available here. General information concerning the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website under Applicant Information” (http://www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx).
For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
Kristen Byler, Kristen.Byler@nfwf.org
For technical issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
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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