Alaska Fish and Wildlife Fund 2020 Request for Proposals

Applicant Webinar: Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 12:30 PM Alaska Standard Time 
Full proposal Due Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019 by 7:59 PM Alaska Standard Time

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is requesting proposals to further conservation of speci​​​es and habitats in Alaska. Our conservation strategy for Alaska follows NFWF’s institutional outcome focused approach to species conservation, and includes three primary focal geographies: the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region, Cook Inlet/Matanuska-Susitna watershed, and Alaska North Slope. Projects outside of these geographies that support fishery conservation and involve Alaska Natives on National Forest lands may also be considered on a case by case basis, particularly those projects targeting Pacific salmon protection, enhancement and restoration initiatives through the Alaska Fish Habitat Partnerships and/or partnerships that expand access to recreational fishing and wildlife viewing/interpretation.

Program funds will be allocated to projects that:

  • ​​Achieve or substantially lead to measurable on-the-ground conservation outcomes; 
  • Fill key information gaps through assessments and strategic monitoring that result in or substantially lead to measureable management actions.

Support for this program is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and various other sources. Grants may be awarded using one or more of these sources of funding.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

Three primary focal geographies are being considered for this RFP:

  • Yukon-Kuskokwim Region 
    (including U.S. waters of the
    Yukon River)
  • Cook Inlet/Matanuska-Susitna
    watershed
  • Alaska North Slope

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PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Yukon-Kuskokwim Region
The overall goal of the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) focal geography is to conserve the Pacific salmon and migratory birds sustaining the rich and diverse ecological landscape and the people who live there. Focal species for this geography are Chinook and Chum salmon and breeding shorebirds. NFWF seeks to support conservation actions that find solutions to mitigate threats to resources and improve capacity for sustainable fish and wildlife management. Current funding priorities include projects that:

  • Support the implementation of ongoing long-term monitoring of Pacific flyway shorebirds. Refer to Pacific Flyway Shorebird Plan for more details: https://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/management/PASCS_final_medres_dec2016. pdf​
  • Initiate a comprehensive survey of delta communities on subsistence use and take of shorebirds.
  • Facilitate acquisition of information and data to increase understanding of Y-K Chinook and Chum salmon. For example, projects may:
    • ​Facilitate detection of population level changes in stock characteristics (i.e., age/sex/length/genetic composition).
    • Inform conservation actions and fill information gaps necessary to ensure long term viability of the stock complex, including the status of forage fish populations.
    • Increase understanding of the composition of returning runs to improve effectiveness of management decisions in-season, to develop run re-constructions, and develop outlooks for returns in future years.
    • Support monitoring and escapement projects and improvements in practices, projects and models for the conservation and management of Chinook and Chum salmon.
    • Enhance hydrologic information essential to identify, monitor and conserve key salmon resources.

Cook Inlet
NFWF seeks to support a comprehensive watershed management approach to conserving fish and wildlife in the Cook Inlet geography. Focal species for this geography include Chinook, Sockeye and Coho salmon and migratory shorebirds. Current funding priorities include projects that:

  • Assess threats to shorebird breeding, staging and non-breeding habitat, and projects which lead to the conservation and protection of these habitats.
  • Facilitate acquisition of improved hydrologic and other biological information essential to identify, monitor, and conserve key Pacific salmon and forage fish resources, including projects that result in updates to the National Hydrography dataset, national wetlands inventory (NWI), improve habitat connectivity, acquire in-stream flow reservations, increase miles in the Anadromous Waters Catalog and restore and conserve Pacific salmon habitat.
  • Strengthen monitoring and enhance escapement models and practices/projects for the management and conservation of Pacific salmon.

Alaska North Slope
The primary efforts of the Program in the Alaska North Slope are for the purpose of conducting fish and wildlife population and habitat assessment, monitoring, research and related activities to address ecological process changes occurring in the Arctic environment, on the North Slope, within the State of Alaska. Projects may involve, but are not limited to species such as polar bear, walrus, caribou, seabirds, and Arctic breeding shorebirds. Funding emphasis is on mitigating direct threats to species populations, filling key knowledge gaps that lead to proactive management actions and measurable conservation benefits, as well as evaluating the compatibility of human activities and sustainable fish and wildlife populations, particularly in light of environmental change.

Projects Outside Primary Focal Areas
Pacific salmon protection, enhancement and restoration actions through the Alaska Fish Habitat Partnerships, and/or other watershed-based partnerships with USFWS and USFS, are a priority. In addition, NFWF is partnering with the USFS on salmon restoration projects to engage under-served groups on National Forest lands. Any projects involving salmon restoration, improved access to recreational fishing and wildlife viewing/interpretation that broaden access to under-served groups on National Forest lands in Alaska, will also be considered.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Alaska Fish and Wildlife Fund has a list of metrics in Easygrants for full proposal applicants to choose from for future 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 think an applicable metric has not been provided, please contact Jana Doi (jana.doi@nfwf.org) to discuss acceptable alternatives.

​​Project Activity ​ Recommended Metric  Additional Guidance​
​Fish passage improvements ​# passage barriers rectified ​Enter the number of fish passage barriers rectified
​Fish passage improvements ​Miles of stream opened ​Enter the miles of stream opened for fish passage, including access to spawning habitat
​Building institutional capacity ​# FTE with sufficient training ​Enter the number of staff or full-time equivalents with sufficient training and skills engaged in conservation activities
​Economic benefits ​# jobs created ​Enter the number of jobs created
​Economic benefits ​ # jobs sustained ​Enter the number of jobs sustained. The starting value for this metric should be zero
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​# people with changed behavior ​Enter the number of individuals demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change
​Fishing effort ​Catch per unit effort ​Enter the catch per unit effort
​Monitoring ​# monitoring programs ​Enter the number of monitoring programs established or underway
​Monitoring ​# sites being monitored ​Enter the # sites being monitored
​Research​ ​# studies reported to management ​Enter the number of studies completed whose findings are reported to management
​Tool development for decision-making ​# tools developed ​Enter the number of  tools developed​
  
ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include: local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies (e.g., townships, cities, boroughs), special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts), non-profit 501(c) organizations, schools and universities.
  • Ineligible applicants include: 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.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to cover permanent federal employee salary expenses.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to supplement shortfalls in government agency budgets.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH

Approximately $500,000 in grant funds are available for this cycle. Grant awards generally range in size from $50,000 to $150,000, although grants greater than $150,000 can be considered on a case by case basis.

Projects must have a minimum match of 1:1 non-federal cash or in-kind contributions. While federal contributions cannot be used as match, all potential sources contributions, including federal, should be listed in the application for consideration during the review process.

Additional information on funding policies, including financial documents required from applicants, types of eligible matching contributions, and NFWF’s policy on indirect costs, can be found on NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (http://www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx​).

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.

Cost-Effectiveness – Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds.  Cost-effectiveness evaluation may include, but is not limited to, an assessment of either or both direct and indirect costs in the proposed budget. The federal government has determined that a de minimis 10% indirect rate is an acceptable minimum for organizations without a NICRA, as such NFWF reserves the right to scrutinize ALL proposals with indirect rates above 10% for cost-effectiveness.  

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.

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.

Matching Contributions – Matching Contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive during application review.

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not 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.  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 program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information (Alaska Fish and Wildlife Fund).

Applicant Webinar
​Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 12:30 PM Alaska Standard Time
Full Proposal Due Date
​Thursday, November 21, 2019 by 7:59 PM Alaska Standard Time​​
Review Period
​November 2019 - March 2020
Awards Announced
​March 2020​

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. Please disable the pop-up blocker on your internet browser prior to beginning the application process. 
  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: 

Jana Doi
Manager, Alaska and Hawaii Programs
jana.doi@nfwf.org
(415) 243-3102

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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