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 AGO Next Generation of Conservationists 2013 Request for Proposals

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in cooperation with its federal partners, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), is soliciting proposals to connect youth to the outdoors by providing financial support for youth conservation job training programs.

Approximately $1.4 million will be available for matching grants nationwide. This funding is provided by BLM and Reclamation and is restricted to habitat and species restoration projects that directly benefit BLM and/or Reclamation facilities, lands, programs, or mission. The program is modeled on existing successful programs to achieve both conservation work and environmental learning goals through hands-on implementation of habitat restoration, assessment, monitoring, and other conservation related projects. It brings together public and private partners to support organizations that are developing innovative conservation job opportunities for youth which expose young people, particularly urban and minority youth, to the natural world and career opportunities in conservation. Competitive projects will deliver measurable conservation outcomes that involve an America's Great Outdoors priority or signature project, a NFWF Keystone Initiative, and/or a direct partnership with BLM and/or Reclamation.

Full Proposals Due: Monday, January 21, 2013 (received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)

Grant Awards Announced: April 2013

Program Overview

The America's Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists Initiative will leverage federal dollars with additional contributions from corporations, foundations and other non-federal sources to provide critical financial support for youth conservation job training programs. The initiative is modeled on existing successful programs, such as Federal Youth Conservation Corps and Public Lands Corps, to achieve both conservation work and environmental learning goals through hands-on implementation of habitat restoration, assessment, monitoring, and other conservation related projects. This new program also addresses an urgent need to put young people, particularly urban and minority youth, back in touch with the natural world which has been shown to be a valuable way to improve academic performance, problem-solving skills, and mental and physical health.

Geographic Focus

Western U.S. with an emphasis on projects located on or directly benefiting the land, facilities, programs, or mission of BLM and/or Reclamation. Up to $250,000 in funding is specifically available for projects in the Walker River Basin of Nevada that complement the efforts of the Walker Basin Restoration Program (see Attachment B).

Funding Goals and Objectives

The goal of the program is to provide financial support for innovative youth employment opportunities in conservation through a competitive grant program to achieve the following objectives:

  • Innovative full-time or part-time conservation job opportunities that include conservation education for young people, particularly urban and minority youth;
  • Hands-on implementation of on-the-ground restoration, stewardship, monitoring, and other conservation related projects to benefit BLM and/or Reclamation lands, facilities, programs, and adjacent areas directly benefiting the agency's mission;
  • Partnership building with diverse entities including state and local agencies, tribes, non-profits, corporations, and foundations to leverage federal dollars awarded with non-federal contributions to the project;
  • Increased mentorship, field internship, and training opportunities for youth with natural resource professionals.

Project Evaluation

Proposals will be evaluated on the following factors:

  • Number of youth being hired (full-time and/or part-time);
  • Quantifiable conservation outcomes (native fish focused stream restoration, species focused landscape restoration, invasive species removal, native plant restoration, wildlife surveys/assessments, implementation of conservation plans, project monitoring, trail restoration, etc);
  • Meaningful conservation education and/or mentoring opportunities built into the program;
  • Hiring of urban and/or minority youth;
  • Plans for long-term sustainability of the project;
  • Diverse partner collaboration and support.
  • The most competitive proposals will also include one or more of the following:
  • A nexus to a NFWF focal area (www.nfwf.org/Keystones) and/or an America's Great Outdoors initiative priority or signature project;
  • Activities benefiting both BLM and Reclamation (projects that can be co-funded by both agencies);
  • Volunteer or community engagement component;
  • Greater than 1:1 match ratio.

Eligible Applicants

Non-profit organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, tribal groups that have coordinated with, and received a letter of support from, a BLM Field Office, District Office, or State Office and/or a Reclamation Field Office, Area Office, or Regional Office. The letter of support must be submitted with the application prior to the RFP deadline in order for the application to be evaluated.

Typical Award Size

Award amounts are anticipated to be in the $40,000 – $100,000 range. There is no limit to the overall grant size when match is included.

Grant Period

Project period is six months to eighteen months from contract award date.

Matching Requirement

A minimum 1:1 match of non-federal cash and/or in-kind contribution is required for projects seeking BLM funds (a 100% non-federal cost-share of the federal funds is required). A minimum 1:0.5 match of non-federal cash and/or in-kind contributions is required for projects seeking Reclamation funds (a 50% non-federal cost-share of the federal funds is required). Projects with higher match ratios and diversity of matching funds will be given priority consideration.

Timeline:

Full Proposals Due: Monday, January 21, 2013 (received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time)

Grant Awards Announced: April 2013

On-line Proposal Application:

Potential applicants can visit www.nfwf.org/Easygrants to register in our Easygrants online system (if you are already a registered user, use your existing login). Enter your applicant information and then select America's Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists from the list of programs and follow the instructions. Once you get started, you may save your application in progress and return another time to complete and submit it.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the NFWF staff representative to discuss potential projects prior to applying. Applicants must collaborate with BLM and/or Reclamation field staff when developing proposals to ensure coordination with existing agency programs and activities and to secure the required letter of support.

Points of Contact:

Claire Thorp
Assistant Director, Southwestern Partnership Office
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(p) 415-243-3104
claire.thorp@nfwf.org

Amy Sjerven
Human Resources Program Management
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
(p) 303-445-2849
asjerven@usbr.gov

Appendix

A. Example Reclamation Youth Projects

B. Walker Basin Restoration Program Summary

APPENDIX A

Example Bureau of Reclamation Youth Projects

Great Plains Region: Bonny Reservoir, Colorado

Restore, enhance, and remove invasive plant species within Bonny Reservoir to benefit fish and wildlife. Bonny Reservoir was drained in 2011 due to orders for releases made by the Colorado State Engineer's authority. This left several acres of flooded lands exposed and open to the expansion and establishment of invasive plant species. The objectives would be to remove, reseed, and manage invasive plant species. Restore floodplain habitat, original river corridor, and riparian habitat for fish and wildlife.

Lower Colorado Region: Various potential locations in NV and AZ

Partner with Reclamation to perform general hatchery maintenance, pond harvesting, and marking native fish for stocking. General hatchery maintenance may include vegetation management throughout the site or in ponds, cleaning of ponds or indoor fish tanks/raceways, repair of fish nets, traps, or other equipment. The fish marking element of the project will include hands-on training of the use of visible implanted tags, which are injected below the skin of the fish. Experienced fisheries biologists will train the workers to perform this technique, along with related measuring and data recording, which will provide an educational introduction into fisheries biology. Activities will be a mixture between typical vegetation and facility management that corps groups are commonly hired to perform, with an opportunity for technical training and skill building related careers in fishery science.

Mid Pacific Region: Central California The New Melones and Lake Berryessa Field Offices have a combined total of approximately 40 miles of existing recreational trails throughout the facilities. Additionally, Central California Area Office plans to expand these recreation resources to meet the growing public demand. Work would include the maintenance of existing trails, as well as the development in new trails throughout New Melones and Lake Berryessa.

Pacific Northwest Region: Oregon Partnership opportunities are available in Catherine Creek and the Upper Grande Ronde in Oregon for projects that provide on-the-ground restoration, stewardship, and/or monitoring to benefit salmon and steelhead. Projects should include conservation education for young people, particularly urban and minority youth and increased mentorship, field internship, and training opportunities for youth with natural resource professionals.

Upper Colorado Region: Near Fruita, Colorado

Reclamation's Western Colorado Area Office needs assistance in revegetation efforts in an area where Reclamation removed tamarisk and Russian olive along the river and constructed a 2-acre wetland to receive return flows. Youth crews could be used to transplant wetland plants from other wetlands in the area to vegetate the constructed wetlands, cut and plant willow and cottonwood poles, and plant other riparian plants purchased as nursery stock.

APPENDIX B

Walker Basin Restoration Program Priorities

The Walker Basin Restoration Program's core purpose is to restore and maintain Walker Lake. The Program seeks to restore Walker Lake's ecological health by developing and implementing a long-term restoration strategy supported by Congressional directives. This strategy relies on voluntary water transactions and water management initiatives; community-based conservation and stewardship; and applied research and demonstration projects. The Program is committed to addressing issues of local concern and to developing creative and lasting solutions to sustain the Basin's agricultural nature.

To accomplish these goals, the Program works with numerous governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations on conservation projects within the Basin. These projects include; water management practices and monitoring, wildlife habitat restoration work, vegetation monitoring, alternative agricultural practices, native plant cultivation, grazing management and many others.

A youth work program would provide employment opportunities for young adults and expose them to the career options available in the conservation field, as well as accomplish desired goals of the Program.

Scope of work

Develop and implement an outdoor seasonal work program for young adults. The program should emphasize work in areas of conservation, wildlife habitat, agriculture, irrigation practices, native plant cultivation and/or restoration, or other closely related fields.

Proposals should have a geographic focus in the Walker River Basin and complement the efforts of the Walker Basin Restoration program.

Season & time of operation should consider adverse weather conditions for working outdoors and student workers enrolled in regular classes.

Proposals should include desired qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities of supervisory staff.