ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation and Innovation 2016 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date: September 1, 2016 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation and Innovation program is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to be awarded through the 2016 funding cycle. The program will award grants for habitat restoration, water and biodiversity conservation, and innovative conservation projects. The program is a partnership among ConocoPhillips, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Approximately $1 million is expected to be available for grant awards in 2016.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

Projects focused on water or biodiversity conservation within the United States and Canada must occur in one or more of the eligible states/provinces listed below. Projects located within program focal areas will be highly competitive, see below for the map of program focal areas.

United States: Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, eastern Montana, northwestern/eastern New Mexico, western North Dakota, western/southern Oklahoma, western South Dakota, Texas, eastern Utah, and Wyoming.

Canada: Alberta and northeast British Columbia

cp map 2016.jpg

Projects focused on water innovation are eligible throughout the U.S., Alberta, and British Columbia. Projects located in the program focal areas listed above or have direct transferability to those areas are of special interest.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

In 2016, grant funding will be awarded in two categories:

  • Species and Habitat Conservation
  • Water Innovation

Funding Category 1: Species and Habitat Conservation

This category will support projects within the program focal areas that contribute significantly to the conservation of aquatic or terrestrial species and their habitats with a special emphasis on species of conservation concern, e.g. Species of Greatest Conservation Need as defined in State Wildlife Action Plans. Preference will be given to projects that can quantify the species or habitat benefits designed to improve populations of species of conservation concern. Please describe in your narrative any species that will significantly benefit from the project and the anticipated benefits to the species. 

This category will also support projects within the program focal areas that contribute significantly to the restoration/conservation of water for the benefit of fish and wildlife habitat. Preference will be given to projects that can quantify the fish, wildlife, or habitat benefits/response resulting from the project. Projects that develop or implement innovative approaches within this category are also of interest.

Funding will primarily support the following strategies.

  • Increase populations of Species of Greatest Conservation Need through implementation of priority restoration strategies identified in State Wildlife Action Plans.
  • In-stream flow restoration for aquatic species and/or habitat restoration.
  • Restore or enhance grassland, sage, or riparian habitat for terrestrial and/or aquatic species.

Funding Category 2: Water Innovation

This category will support projects that make significant advancements, through innovation, for water conservation to benefit species or their habitats. Preference will be given to projects that can quantify the benefits to species.

Funding will primarily support the following strategies.

  • Develop and/or field test new innovative water and/or species conservation tools and techniques, specifically:
    • Water conservation, desalinization, recovery and re-use that benefits species
    • In-stream flow restoration for habitat restoration
    • Species and habitat advancements
    • Collaboration tools that bring together water experts across multiple sectors and parties.
  • Through collaboration or other methods, rapidly and/or significantly take to scale innovative tools and techniques for water conservation.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency between the monitoring data provided by multiple grant projects, the SPIRIT of Conservation and Innovation program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. We ask that you select the 1-4 most relevant metrics from this list for your project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below). If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Eric Forward to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity
Recommended Metric
Additional Guidance
Land Restoration
Acres Restored
In the notes section of this metric please indicate what species is benefitting and the dominant habitat type being restored
Wetland Restoration
Acres Restored
In the notes section of this metric please indicate what species is benefitting and the dominant habitat type being restored
Riparian Restoration
Miles Restored
In the notes section of this metric please indicate what species is benefitting and the dominant habitat type being restored
Restoring Hydrology
Volume of water conserved per year
Enter the volume (in gallons per year) of water conserved for conservation purposes
Development of innovative tools, techniques, methods
 
# tools/ techniques developed
 
Enter the # of innovative tools, techniques, methods developed and the purpose of the innovation
 
Field testing or verification of innovative tools, techniques, methods
 
# tools/ techniques tested
Enter the # of innovative tools, techniques, methods field tested/verified and the purpose of the innovation
 
Scalability or implementation of innovative tools, techniques, methods
# tools/ techniques implemented
Enter the # of innovative tools, techniques, methods implemented, the purpose of the innovation, and the location and extent of the implementation
Outreach, Education, Technical Assistance
 
# people with changed behavior
Enter the # of people and/or organizations using the tools, techniques, methods developed through your project
Outreach, Education, Technical Assistance
# people reached
Enter the # of people and/or organizations to whom you disseminated the tools, techniques, methods developed through your project

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations (or their international equivalents); state or federal government agencies; local governments; Indian tribes; and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include:  Private for-profit firms and individuals.

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 ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation and Innovation program will award approximately $1 million in grant awards in 2016. Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $250,000. Past grants have typically ranged from $50,000 to $150,000. Funded projects should be completed within two years following finalization of a grant agreement.

All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services, of which at least 50% should be from non-Federal sources. The ratio of matching funds offered by the applicant is one criterion considered during the review process. Matching funds 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 recent land acquisition or easement may also qualify as match for a project involving work at the acquired site. In addition, indirect costs that would not be paid with requested grant funding may be applied as match by an applicant with a federally approved indirect rate. More information about using indirect costs as match can be found here.

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:

  • raised and dedicated specifically for the project;
  • allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines
  • applied only to the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation and Innovation grant and not to any other matching program(s); and
  • spent/applied within the period of performance

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 criteria below. A panel of ConocoPhillips, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewers will use the criteria as a strong basis for project selections. However, project selections will also be based on other considerations, such as availability of funding, geographic balance, and balance among project types. In addition, selections may be based on how proposed activities would advance goals of established regional, tribal, state and federal conservation plans.

  • Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s conservation priorities, 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).
  • Matching Contributions – Projects that exceed the 1:1 match ratio will be more competitive.
  • Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and will sustain it after the life of the grant.
  • Transferability – Project has the potential and a plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities or organizations.
  • 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.
  • 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 and measurable results.

OTHER

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information http://www.nfwf.org/spirit.

 Full Proposal Due Date: September 1, 2016, 11:59 PM Eastern

 Review Period: September 2 – October 16, 2016

 Awards Announced: November 21, 2016

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:

Eric Forward
612.564.7285

For 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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