Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists 2017 Request for Proposal

Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, November 17, 2016 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in cooperation with its federal partners, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and Forest Service (USFS) announce an initiative to connect youth to the outdoors by providing financial support for conservation employment programs. The initiative, Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists, brings together public and private partners to support those organizations that are developing innovative conservation job opportunities for youth on public lands. These job opportunities, in turn, expose young people, particularly urban, tribal and minority youth, to the natural world and career opportunities available in conservation.

In 2017, approximately $1.5 million ($1,000,000 BLM, $225,000 Reclamation and $350,000 USFS (subject to appropriations) will be available for matching grants nationwide. The funding is part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) effort to provide meaningful employment opportunities to young Americans to protect, restore, and enhance our nation’s great outdoors. Project work funded through this program is restricted to habitat and species restoration projects that directly benefit BLM, Reclamation and USFS facilities, lands, programs or mission.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

The geographic focus is national, with an emphasis on projects located on or directly benefiting the land, facilities, programs, or mission of BLM, Reclamation and/or USFS.

Reclamation’s funding ($225,000) will be available for projects located within Reclamation’s 17-state area. (See Appendix A for examples of Reclamation Youth projects).

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully achieve the following objectives:

  • Innovative full-time or part-time conservation job opportunities (minimum 80 hours per youth or young veterans*) that include conservation education, particularly urban and minority youth;
  • Hands-on implementation of on-the-ground restoration, stewardship, monitoring, and other conservation related projects to benefit BLM, Reclamation, and/or USFS, adjacent areas, facilities and programs directly benefiting the agency’s mission;
  • Partnership building with diverse entities including state and local agencies, urban organizations, tribes, non-profits, corporations, and foundations to leverage federal dollars awarded with non-federal contributions to the project;
  • Mentorship and training opportunities for youth with natural resource professionals, particularly BLM, Reclamation, and/or USFS

* This program defines “youth” as a person aged 16-25 years old; veterans may be up to age 35.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency among the monitoring data provided by multiple grant projects, the Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists grant program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to select 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 Danny Bowater at daniel.bowater@nfwf.org or 202-595-2434 to discuss acceptable alternatives.
 

Project Activity ​​

Recommended Metric ​ Additional Guidance​
Instream restoration ​ ​Miles restored  ​Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # miles and list each individual type
Land, wetland restoration ​ ​Acres restored  ​Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type
Removal of invasives ​ ​Acres restored  ​Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # acres restored and type of invasives removed
​Removal of invasives  ​Miles restored  ​Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # miles restored and type of invasives removed
Riparian restoration ​ ​Acres restored  ​Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type
Riparian restoration ​ ​Miles restored  ​Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # miles and list each individual type
BMP implementation for fencing improvements ​ ​Miles of corridor reconnected ​Enter the number of miles of migration corridor reconnected - This can include existing fencing repaired or improved to wildlife friendly standards and/or new fencing constructed and/or installed
​BMP implementation for prescribed burns ​Acres ​Enter the number of acres - Provide # acres of landscape to be implemented with prescribed burns
Reforestation and Restoration of Forest Vegetation​ ​ Habitat Restoration
– Land restoration
– acres restored 
​Enter acres restored through practices such as revegetation, thinning or mortality removal
​Fuel Break Management  ​Habitat Management – Improved management practices
– Acres of public land under improved management  
​Enter the number of fuel break acres under improved management. This may include new fuel break development or maintenance of existing fuel breaks
​Green Infrastructure  ​miles trails developed/improved  ​Enter the number of miles of trails developed or improved - This metric refers to trail maintenance and  improvement  (e.g., vegetation management, signage, erosion control, trail construction / expansion). Projects conducting trail maintenance should also address habitat and conservation issues
​Economic benefits  ​# jobs created  ​Enter the number of youth (ages 16-25) hired - This metric refers to total number of youth hired (full or part-time) during the project period as reflected in your budget
 
Economic benefits  ​# veterans hired​ ​Enter the number of veterans hired - This metric refers to the total number of youth hired (full or part-time) who are veterans
​Incentives  ​$ spent on direct compensation  ​Enter the dollar value spent on direct compensation - Please enter the total dollars in budget allocated for compensation exclusive of organization program staff salaries/benefits; include only actual dollars paid for  youth crew and intern stipends, salaries/benefits
Volunteer participation​ ​# volunteers participating  ​Enter the number of  volunteers participating in projects - For this metric, broad volunteer participation includes outreach and education and support services, as well as hands-on restoration activities
​Predator removal/ Fencing nests from predators  ​# sites with goals met ​Enter the number of sites with predation reduction goals met - Examples of predation control methods include predator removal, trapping, or shooting; fencing; and targeted disturbance methods

ELIGIBILITY

  • Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions (eligible for BLM, and USFS funds only), BLM field units (eligible for BLM funds only).
    • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals, 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.
  • Agency Support Requirement
    • All applicants must coordinate with, and receive a letter of support from at least one of the following:
      • Reclamation Field Office, Area Office, or Regional Office
      • BLM Field Office, District Office, or State Office*
      • USFS Forest Supervisor, Line Officer 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 considered.  
    • Applicants who have not submitted a letter of interest in becoming a recognized 21CSC participant are strongly encouraged to do so. More information on how to become a recognized 21CSC participant can be found here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-01/html/2013-15644.htm.
*BLM field units are not required to submit a letter of support

FUNDING AVAILABILITY

In 2017, approximately $1.5 million ($1,000,000 BLM, $225,000 Reclamation, and $350,000 USFS (subject to appropriations) will be available for matching grants nationwide. Due to funding constraints, applicants seeking BLM funds will be limited to no more than $75,000 and applicants seeking Reclamation, or USFS funds will be limited to no more than $50,000. Projects in partnership with multiple federal agencies will be considered at higher levels. This program has one round of applications and awards approximately 40 - 50 grants per year. The average grant size for this program is $50,000.

Project Period

Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be six to eighteen months following finalization of a grant agreement.

Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent and all matching funds are spent or applied.

Matching Contributions

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

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:

  • Verifiable from the grantee’s records
  • Not included as contributions for any other award
  • Necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives
  • Are allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines
  • Committed directly to the project and must be used 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 following criteria.

Required 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 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).

Other Criteria:

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 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.

OTHER

General – Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements.

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.

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

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.

Quality Assurance – If a project involves significant monitoring, data collection or data use, grantees will be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation (www.epa.gov/quality/qapps.html).  Applicants should budget time and resources to complete this task.

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 (Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists).

​Full Proposals ​Open in Easygrants September 7, 2016
​Applicant Webinar
(Click here to register)
​September 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time
​Full Proposal ​Due Date November 17, 2016 by 11:59pm Eastern Time
​Review Period ​December 2016 – March 2017
​Awards Announced ​April 2017

HOW TO APPLY

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.
  1. Go to www.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:

Danny Bowater
Coordinator, Community-Based Conservation
202-595-2434
Daniel.Bowater@nfwf.org
 
Carrie Clingan
Program Director, Community Stewardship and Youth
202-595-2471
Carrie.Clingan@nfwf.org
 
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.
 

 

APPENDIX A

Example Bureau of Reclamation Youth Projects

Great Plains Region: Various project locations in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
Project work will focus on vegetation rehabilitation and maintenance in areas that have sustained a loss of critical habitat from floods, wildland fire events, and other surface disturbance activities.   Native vegetation restoration projects would emphasize riparian communities, native upland plant communities, and restoration projects and fisheries and wildlife habitat improvements.  Project work activities may also focus on sustainable trail maintenance activities to promote access to federal lands and waters, enhance wildlife/waterfowl viewing opportunities and environmental education.  Planning, designing and implementing habitat restoration activities through partnership organizations emphasizes hands-on work efforts that not only focus on skill-building and conservation education in the field, but provides invaluable skill sets and understanding, as student crews work hand-in-hand with staff specialists about erosion control measures, invasive weeds, and considerations for selecting native vegetation plantings suitable for specific habitat types as part of the vegetative restoration work. 

Lower Colorado Region: Various potential locations. 
The Lower Colorado Regional Office will work with partners to reduce invasive species and their associated fuel loads through removal and subsequent revegetation of native species; revegetate impacted sites through seed broadcasting; and closure of illegal cross-country roads through restoration.  Invasive species removal will occur through cutting and chipping while natives will be planted in areas of shallow groundwater to reduce the need for irrigation. Chipped salt cedar will be respread to increase soil moisture and reduce weeds in spring. Native plants will come from local federal nurseries as well as native pole cuttings from mature trees found adjacent to the project area. Restoration in all areas will focus on diverse habitat that seeks to improve biodiversity. This will include planting of species aimed at attracting pollinators.

Mid Pacific Region: Various potential locations. 
Central California Area Office will work with youth crews to treat hazardous fuels from existing shaded fuel breaks to reduce the intensity of a wildland fire. The fuel reduction will prevent fires from reaching tree canopies, and provides the fire departments and other responding emergency agencies with a defensible point to fight wildland fires and protect homes/infrastructure. By reducing wildfire intensity, the potential for habitat destruction and impacts to water quality are greatly reduced.

Pacific Northwest Region: South Fork Boise River
The Snake River Area Office forecasts a need for rehabilitation of priority fire - disturbed areas in the South Fork Boise River corridor 40 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho. The river corridor area has been severely affected from wildfire in 2013 and mudslides that followed. Reclamation management of these lands for quality of critical habitat for endangered species could benefit from strategic riparian and upland vegetation replanting and fencing. The USFS has committed to planting some of the higher elevation locations; however, some of the lower elevation areas need attention. Other government entities have also identified a need to re-plant in this area, but are restricted by limited funds. This work could create an opportunity to engage youth in habitat enhancement and conservation education.

Upper Colorado Region:  Various potential locations
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.​​​​