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 Puerto Rico Seagrass Fund - Initial Assessment Request for Proposals

OVERVIEW

The Puerto Rico Seagrass Fund (“Fund”) has been established with funds from the consent decree entered in relation to U.S. v. Authority for the Port of the Americas, Case No. 3:12-cv-02033-JAG (D.P.R.) to implement seagrass conservation projects in Puerto Rico. To assist in defining the scope of the seagrass conservation projects supported by the Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (“Foundation”) seeks one or more project managers to conduct an initial assessment (“Initial Assessment”) of the general condition of seagrass beds in the shallow, nearshore waters between Guánica (Punta Jorobado) and Santa Isabel (Punta Petrona) in Puerto Rico. The Initial Assessment will be restricted to shallow waters less than twelve feet deep and should include offshore cays. The Initial Assessment will focus on identifying seagrass protection and restoration opportunities based on observed anthropogenic impacts to seagrass and recommending priority conservation locations and strategies.

The purpose of the Initial Assessment is to inform conservation priorities for the Fund. After the completion of the Initial Assessment, the Foundation will conduct a second request for proposals through which the Fund will competitively award grants for the most cost-effective seagrass protection and restoration projects in the targeted geography.

The Initial Assessment will be conducted in consultation/coordination with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (“USACE”), the National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office (“USFWS”), who together comprise the Interagency Advisory Team (“IAT”). The IAT will advise the project manager on the assessment scope and methodology.

SCOPE OF WORK

The scope of work (“Scope of Work”) for the Initial Assessment must address the following tasks/requirements:

  • Focus the Initial Assessment on the geographic area (“Geographic Area”) that is defined by shallow (<12 ft deep) nearshore areas between Guánica (Punta Jorobado) and Santa Isabel (Punta Petrona), including offshore cays.

  • Assess the magnitude and type of anthropogenic impacts to seagrass beds, such as in-water construction (e.g., marinas and docks), mechanical impacts from boating, and/or water quality impacts from point source discharges of storm water.

  • Provide a list of recommended seagrass conservation projects (SCPs) directly related to the management, protection, enhancement, restoration, and/or study of sea grasses. The recommendations should include both target locations and key conservation strategies. Examples of types of projects may include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • enhancement and/or restoration of degraded seagrass beds (e.g., small-scale or localized repair of blowouts and/or seagrass transplanting to areas of localized anthropogenic damage if the physical conditions of the site indicate that these actions would likely be successful);

    • removal and/or relocation of sources of mechanical damage to seagrass beds (e.g., abandoned anchors, debris, and/or wrecks);

    • repair and/or enhancement of structures causing shading damage to seagrass beds (e.g., dock repairs/improvements such as replacement of wooden decking with grated decking for light penetration and/or replacement of catwalks);

    • prevention of damages and degradation of seagrass beds from human uses (e.g., installation of navigation aids, special use buoys, and/or mooring buoys; installation of sediment/silt attenuation structures/devices for diminishing sediment transport to near shore waters from point sources of storm water discharge);

    • education and outreach (e.g., development of seminars and workshops for boaters and fishermen; development and distribution of educational materials, such as pamphlets, posters, and stickers for the general public; installation of signs and bulletin boards at shoreline recreational facilities); and

    • research (e.g., grants for research on the ecology and conservation of seagrass, the results of which can be used to guide seagrass management actions in Puerto Rico).

  • Three months after beginning work, present a briefing and progress report summarizing initial findings and potential seagrass conservation projects (aligned with the project recommendations outlined above) to the IAT and the Foundation.

  • Five months after project start date, deliver an Initial Assessment Report detailing assessment findings and listing recommendations for SCPs (aligned with the project recommendations outlined above). Present a briefing on the Initial Assessment Report’s conclusions and recommendations for SCPs to the IAT and the Foundation.

  • Revise the Initial Assessment Report as needed based on IAT and Foundation input and submit the final Initial Assessment Report six months after project start date.

  • Once the Initial Assessment Report is complete, submit a Final Programmatic Report summarizing all project activities, and a Final Financial Report summarizing all project expenses.

FUNDING AVAILABLE

Not to exceed $150,000. 

ELIGIBILITY

Local, Commonwealth, and Federal agencies; private or public organizations; corporations; schools and universities; consultants; and private individuals may respond to this request for proposals.

Selection will be made based on relevant expertise, experience, and qualifications as evidenced in the proposal submitted.

PROPOSAL EVALUATION

 

Proposals will be reviewed, evaluated, and scored as follows:

  • Focus (34%) – Extent to which the project addresses the Scope of Work above.

  • Technical Capacity and Partnership (33%) – Extent to which the applicant has the technical capacity to complete the Scope of Work, and extent to which the applicant engages appropriate partners to implement the project (if necessary).

  • Work Plan and Budget (33%) - Extent to which the project is technically sound and feasible, with a proposal that sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan. Extent to which the budget is cost-effective and reasonable.

TIMELINE

The anticipated timeline for this grant round is as follows:

  • Release Request for Proposals for Initial Assessment – January 13, 2014

  • Proposal Submission Deadline – March 6, 2014

  • Award Announced – No later than April 11, 2014

  • Commence Initial Assessment - As soon as reasonably practicable after notification of selection

  • Progress Report on Initial Findings – July 2014

  • Draft Final Report – September 2014

  • Final Report for Initial Assessment -  October, 2014

HOW TO APPLY

Applicants should log onto the Foundation's website: www.nfwf.org, go to Grant Programs, select the Puerto Rico Seagrass Fund funding opportunity, and use the online process to submit a full proposal. Proposals will be evaluated by NFWF and the IAT. If necessary, the Foundation or the IAT will contact applicants directly to discuss the need for any additional information, changes, or questions/clarifications about their proposal. For more information or questions about the application process, please contact:

Michelle Olson
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
1133 15th Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 595-2437
michelle.olson@nfwf.org