Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration 2017 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date:  Thursday, December 1, by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to restore and protect mountain meadow ecosystems which serve as key habitat for fish and wildlife and provide hydrological benefits for people, such as increased groundwater storage, flow reliability, and reduced sedimentation. The goal of the Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration Program is to restore habitat, validate restoration benefits, and build capacity in key watersheds throughout the Sierra to plan, implement, and monitor meadow restoration. The Program will award approximately $975,000 in grants. Major funding for the Program comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA-Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and NFWF’s Desert Terminal Lakes Program.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

To be eligible for funding, projects must occur within California’s mountain meadow regions, on public or private lands. While a mixed portfolio of projects is possible, preference will be given to projects that will advance recovery of key focal species, specifically, Southwestern willow flycatcher, Yosemite toad, and native trout including Lahontan cutthroat trout and Eagle Lake rainbow trout. In addition, projects located in watersheds with the potential to amplify benefits associated with restoration of fire-scarred areas on California’s national forests or are adjacent to or contiguous with previously restored meadows are of particular interest. All applicants are encouraged to contact the program lead to discuss potential projects for funding.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Competitive proposals for this funding will address the conservation and restoration of wet meadows and benefit the fish and wildlife that depend on this habitat as described in the Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration Business Plan. Strategies must include measurable outcomes and may include projects for:

  1. Implementing meadow restoration using a variety of innovative methods;
  2. Planning, technical design, and permitting to deliver NEPA ready projects;
  3. Monitoring to quantify hydrological benefits through changes in streamflow volume and groundwater storage;
  4. Monitoring and surveys to quantify species benefits including but not limited to increases in population abundance;
  5. Engaging local communities and diverse stakeholders in meadow restoration; and
  6. Improving watershed health through meadow restoration that complements and/or amplifies restoration of fire scars on national forests

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration Program 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 NFWF staff representative to discuss acceptable alternatives.

​​Str​ategy ​Activity ​Metric
​Capacity, Outreach, Incentives ​Outreach/Education/Technical Assistance

​# of people reached

# of people with changed behavior

​Habitat Conservation ​ ​​Land Acquisitions ​​​acres acquired in fee
​Conservation Easements ​acres protected under easement
​Habitat Management ​​Improved Management Practices ​acres under improved management
​Habitat Restoration​ ​Land, Wetland Restoration ​acres restored
​Instream Restoration ​miles restored
​​Restoring Hydrology

​​acres with restored hydrology

miles with restored hydrology

​Planning, Research, Monitoring​ ​Monitoring ​​# of monitoring programs
​Research ​# studies used to inform management
​Prioritization ​% priorization complete
​Restoration planning/design/permitting ​acres restored

ELIGIBILITY

  • Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, Resource Conservation Districts, Indian tribes, businesses, and educational institutions.
    • Ineligible applicants include 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

NFWF intends to award $975,000 to support Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration projects in this funding cycle. The following are key elements of this funding opportunity:

  • Grants will be considered in any amount between $50,000 and $200,000. There is no limit on the number of grants that will be issued.
  • The ratio of matching contributions offered is considered during the review process, and projects are required to meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio to be competitive. Eligible match can include non-federal cash or in-kind contributions, such as staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, cash or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes.
  • NFWF will not provide reimbursement for any project expenditures prior to the grant award project period and will not be liable for such expenditures.
  • Grants for single projects are typically awarded for projects that can be completed within 36 months from the date of award.
  • Projects that demonstrate strong partnerships and that have matching funds from various partners/donors to support project costs are strongly encouraged.
  • Donated contractor services can be valued at current market rates, but general volunteer labor must be valued at no more than $22.14/hour. Matching funds do not need to be fully secured prior to submitting a grant proposal, but should have a demonstrable likelihood of being secured during the project period to assure the project can be completed as proposed.
  • Grant recipients will be required to demonstrate an ability to fulfill the program’s contractual requirements to acquire applicable landowner permissions and to ensure environmental and heritage resource compliance, as well as any regulatory permits or approvals, including National Environmental Policy Act requirements. Regulatory compliance measures should be included in all budget and timelines as part of submitted proposals.
  • Certain funds may not be counted as match for this funding opportunity.
    • Eligible sources of match funding include local or state government agencies, Indian tribes, educational institutions, businesses, unincorporated individuals, non-profit organizations and international organizations.
    • Federal funds are ineligible to count as match.
  • Additional information related to NFWF funding policies, Indirect Costs, Financial documentation requirements can be found on the Applicant Information page.

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 address the goals and priorities of the Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration program. Evaluation criteria include:

Consistency with 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 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.

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).

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.)

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 hydrological and biological conditions before and during project implementation, response following implementation during and after the proposed project period to track project success, document quantified outcomes, and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.

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.

Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.

OTHER

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.

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.

Dissemination of Project Outcomes – Grantees are required to post project Final Reports on the UC-Davis Meadows Clearinghouse. The final 10 percent of the awarded amount will be withheld pending receipt of the Final Report and posting on the Clearinghouse website.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

​Full Proposal Due Date ​Thursday, December 1, 2016 11:59 PM Eastern
​Review Period ​December 2016 – February 2017
​Awards Announced ​March 2017

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.
  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:

Sarah Peterson
Director, Western Forests
Sarah.Peterson@nfwf.org
415-243-3105

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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