Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative 2018 Request for Proposals

Applicant Webinar [Register​ Here]:  Thursday, December 7, 2017
   at 11:00am-12:30pm Eastern / 10:00-11:30am Central / 9:00-10:30am Mountain

Full Proposal Due Date:  Thursday, December 21, 2017
   by 11:59pm Eastern / 10:59pm Central / 9:59pm Mountain

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is announcing a new funding opportunity as part of the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative. NFWF will award grants to restore and sustain healthy rivers, streams and grassland systems that provide important wildlife habitat in the Pecos watershed and adjacent areas of New Mexico and Texas. Up to $1.7 million will be available in 2018. Major funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and six corporate partners, Anadarko Petroleum, Chevron, Noble Energy, Occidental Petroleum, Shell Oil and XTO Energy. 

As the initial Request for Proposals under a new Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative, NFWF is seeking to support conservation projects that align with the initial priorities described below as we continue to refine the focal species, target geographies and conservation strategies that we will employ in this program.

Grants will be awarded in two categories: Habitat Restoration and Species Information. Initial program priorities include habitat restoration strategies, specific river and grassland focal areas, and wildlife species of interest. Projects must address at least one of these priorities to be eligible for consideration. Proposals that address two or more of the priorities will be prioritized. 

​GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

The Initiative will award grants in southeastern New Mexico and west Texas within the area detailed on the map. The map shows the entire Pecos watershed in the bold red line, with additional related watersheds outlined in thin red. Those additional watersheds have been added to address the fact that species of interest may range into those watersheds and specific conservation opportunities may exist in areas outside of the Pecos watershed itself. 

Several specific areas have been identified as priorities for initial conservation work in the region. These include:  

  • Delaware River and Black River watersheds, and other tributary streams that flow from the Guadalupe and Davis mountains
  • Pecos River above Red Bluff Reservoir
  • Pecos River below the confluence with Independence Creek
  • Large grassland areas including the Alpine/Marfa/Marathon, Texas areas, Otero Mesa, and BLM managed rangelands in New Mexico
 
Click here​ for an enlarged view of the map.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Habitat Restoration and Management Grants
Grants will be awarded for projects that improve habitat for one or more of our target species:

  • ​Stream and Riparian Habitat: Create and enhance riparian habitat in the region, particularly along tributaries of the Pecos and adjacent tributaries of the Rio Grande River. This work may include flexible management prescriptions for grazing and restoration of native vegetation. Projects should include long-term maintenance strategies for restored areas including invasive species, water availability and grazing management. Projects that restore the integrity and complexity of riparian areas to provide important edge habitat and wildlife corridors, protect the quality of freshwater systems, and demonstrate the benefits of aquatic connectivity projects to human communities through reduced flooding and other infrastructure failures are encouraged.
  • Grassland Habitat Restoration and Management: Implement outcome based grassland restoration and grazing management projects that use a range of practices and prescriptions to create, sustain or improve large blocks of high quality Chihuahuan desert grasslands. Projects should address habitat quality, connectivity and management for grasslands that provide actual or potential habitat for pronghorn and migratory grassland bird species. Projects that engage landowners with a range of property sizes and interests are strongly encouraged.
  • Outreach and Technical Assistance: Improve the management of public and/or private lands that contain habitat or potential habitat for the wildlife species of interest. Projects may execute innovative outreach and marketing strategies to engage target audiences, especially private agricultural landowners and land managers, in adopting practices that enhance habitat conditions. Projects should attempt to leverage NRCS funding and cost-share programs when possible. 

Species Information Grants
This RFP is seeking proposals that fill information gaps on specific species that inhabit the Pecos watershed. Competitive proposals in this category include those that inform future habitat restoration priorities through improved species distribution maps and better understanding of stressors affecting those species. Proposals must clearly define how the information gathered will be incorporated into future conservation decision making.

Aquatic/Riparian Target Species Grassland/Upland Target Species
​Pecos Pupfish ​Baird’s Sparrow
​Pecos Gambusia ​Chestnut Collared Longspur
​Rio Grande Darter  ​Sprague’s Pipit
​Rio Grande Chub ​Pronghorn
​Silvery Minnow ​Desert Massasuagua
​Chihuahua Catfish ​Wright’s Marsh Thistle
​Texas Hornshell  ​Tharp’s Bluestar
​Salina Mucket
​Rio Grande (Western) Cooter
​Southwest Willow Flycatcher

Additional Species: NFWF will consider proposals for species that are not included on the lists above on a case by case basis. The applicant will be expected to provide justification for additional species by documenting that it is a species of conservation concern where conservation actions are likely to produce favorable outcomes by the end of the grant. 

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative has a list of metrics in Easygrants to choose from for future reporting. We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project.

​Funding Strat​egy Activity Metric Name​
​Habitat Management ​BMP implementation for fencing improvements ​Miles of fencing improved
​Habitat Management ​Improved management practices ​Acres under improved management
​Habitat Management ​Project footprint ​Acreage of project footprint
​Habitat Restoration ​Instream restoration​ ​Miles restored
​Habitat Restoration ​Land restoration ​Acres restored
​Habitat Restoration ​Removal of invasives ​Acres restored
​Habitat Restoration ​Riparian restoration ​Acres restored
​Planning, Research, Monitoring ​Monitoring ​Streams/sites being monitored
​Planning, Research, Monitoring ​Research ​#  studies completed whose findings are reported to management
​Species Outcome ​Population ​miles of habitat occupied by the species

​Species Outcome ​Population ​acres of habitat occupied by the species

​​Capacity, Outreach, Incentives ​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​# individuals demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change
​Capacity, Outreach, Incentives ​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​#  individuals reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities
​Capacity, Outreach, Incentives ​Volunteer participation ​#  volunteers participating in projects​

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, federal natural resource management agencies, Indian tribes and educational institutions. 
  • Ineligible applicants include 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 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 Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative will award up to $1.7 million in the 2018 funding cycle. Grants will range from $50,000 to $250,000 each, with larger grant requests being considered on a case by case basis. NFWF expects to make 5-10 grant awards from this initial Request for Proposals. Projects should begin within six months of the award date and be completed within two years of the agreed start date. These grants require matching contributions (either cash or in-kind) valued at 50% of the total project costs (1:1 ratio).  Matching funds may be federal or non-federal in origin, with that distinction made in the budget section of the application.

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 following criteria.

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.

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.

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.

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, measurable results.

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.)

OTHER  

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.

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.

Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable.  Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.  A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds.

Compliance Requirements – Projects selected may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), 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.  As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.

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.

Federal Funding – The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinar [Register Here]​​​
​Dec. 7 at 11:00am ET/10:00am CT/9:00am MT

Full Proposal Due Date

​Dec. 21 by 11:59pm ET/10:59pm CT/9:59pm MT
Review and Notification Period​
​Dec. 2017 – Feb. 2018
Awards Announced​
​March 2018​
 

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 NFWF’s Applicant Information webpage.

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact: 

Chris West
Director, Rocky Mountain Regional Office
chris.west@nfwf.org
(303) 222-6484

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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