Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program 2019 Request for Proposals
Applicant Webinar: Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 1:00-2:30 PM, Eastern Time
The Central Appalachia Habitat Stewardship Program will award grants to restore and sustain healthy forests, rivers and streams that provide habitat for diverse native bird and aquatic populations. Approximately $1.5 million is available this year. Major funding is provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the American Forest Foundation and Shell Oil Company.
The overall goal of the program is to improve the quality and connectivity of forest and freshwater habitat in order to increase the distribution and abundance of fish, birds and other wildlife, as evidenced by a suite of species that collectively are indicators of forest and freshwater habitat condition. The program seeks:
- to improve the management of public and private forestlands in order to create blocks with a mosaic of mixed-aged forests that support a diversity of bird and wildlife species, especially targeting golden-winged warbler, wood thrush and cerulean warbler; and
- to bolster populations of eastern brook trout, eastern hellbender and native freshwater mussels by removing barriers to fish passage, restoring riparian and in-stream habitat, and improving water quality and hydrology.
Applicants are encouraged to deploy a range of strategies to engage public and private landowners in active stewardship through technical and financial assistance, demonstrations, education and outreach and other innovative approaches.
- French Creek – French Creek watershed
- Upper-Middle Allegheny - Upper Allegheny, Middle Allegheny-Tionesta and Clarion watersheds
- Pennsylvania Wilds - Pine, Middle West Branch Susquehanna, Bald Eagle, Sinnemahoning and Upper West Branch Susquehanna watersheds
- Laurel Highlands - Conemaugh and Youghiogheny watersheds
- Monongahela Forest - Cheat, Tygart Valley, Elk, Gauley, Greenbrier, Lower and Middle New watersheds
- Blue Ridge - Maury and Upper James watersheds
- Southwestern Virginia - Upper Clinch and North Fork Holston watersheds
All proposals should strive to implement strategies and contribute to goals detailed in NFWF’s Central Appalachia Business Plan (March 2019). Priority strategies for funding in 2019 are detailed below, and, where relevant, the associated focal geographies for each strategy or group of strategies.
- Restore and Manage Forest Blocks in Focal Geographies
NFWF will invest in the management of forest blocks to enhance age and structural diversity that demonstrates improved forest conditions for golden-winged, wood thrush and cerulean warbler.
- Assessment/Planning: Provide forest management decision support tools that encourage landscape level planning to manage for an appropriate mix of age and structural diversity that also is adaptable to meeting the needs and interests of public and private landowners at the parcel and forest block scale. Focal geographies: Pennsylvania Wilds, Laurel Highlands, Monongahela Forest, and Blue Ridge.
- Forest Block Restoration: Implement forest management projects that use a range of forest management practices and prescriptions to create a diversity of age and structure across contiguous forest blocks of at least 5,000 acres. Projects that engage landowners with a range of property sizes and interests are strongly encouraged. Project success should be measured by occupancy of target species and acres under improved management for each of the targeted forest age classes; early successional, mature and late successional. A monitoring plan will be needed for each forest block to measure bird response to management. Focal geographies: Pennsylvania Wilds, Laurel Highlands, and Monongahela Forest.
- Target Outreach and Assistance to Key Forest Landowners and Practitioners
NFWF will invest in strategies to continue to grow the universe of willing landowners and knowledgeable practitioners in order to lay the groundwork to take the dynamic forest block approach to scale. These strategies may be implemented in any of the focal geographies, as well as the larger central Appalachia program boundary.
- Outreach and Technical Assistance: Execute innovative outreach and marketing strategies to engage target audiences (e.g., family woodland owners, consulting foresters, loggers), in adopting forest management practices that enhance habitat conditions. Proposals should clearly describe how relationships with willing landowners will be managed, and by whom, in order to ensure landowners receive ongoing support for project planning, financing and transition to on-the-ground implementation.
- Landowner Demonstration Projects: Create forest demonstration projects that target key audiences through hands-on learning, field tours, and other strategies to accelerate adoption of management prescriptions. Young forest demonstrations should target management prescriptions for forest stands on lands that lack structural diversity for golden-winged warbler, as well as prairie warbler and American woodcock, all of which utilize young forest habitat during critical stages of their life cycle. Mature and late succession demonstrations should maximize habitat quality for wood thrush and cerulean warbler. This may include prescriptions to manage understory, canopy or create gaps within mature stands. Demonstration projects should include plans for conveying lessons learned to landowners, loggers, consulting foresters and other conservation professionals throughout the region.
- Sustain and Improve High Integrity Habitat for Eastern Brook Trout
NFWF will invest in strategies to improve habitat quality and connectivity within and between eastern brook trout population patches. NFWF prioritizes allopatric populations that have been characterized as resilient or redundant through Trout Unlimited’s eastern brook trout conservation portfolio assessment Conservation Portfolio. Focal geographies: Upper-Middle Allegheny, Pennsylvania Wilds, Monongahela Forest, Blue Ridge and Southwestern Virginia.
- Eastern Brook Trout Patch Assessments: Assess habitat condition and threats in priority brook trout population patches to identify opportunities to improve habitat conditions. Patch assessments should include, but are not limited to, identifying passage barriers, water quality hot spots, streambank erosion, gaps in riparian buffer and livestock exclusion, presence of non-native trout and invasive species.
- Restoration Response Monitoring: Develop a monitoring protocol to measure eastern brook trout population response to habitat restoration. Proposals should work to establish monitoring in at least one small watershed with multiple priority population patches that already have had assessments completed, and where restoration is planned or ongoing. Monitoring proposals should establish a baseline population size using Whiteley et al.’s (2012) genetic approach to estimate the number of breeding adults (a surrogate for population size)1. This baseline should then be used to measure change in the number of breeding adults over time as restoration activities are undertaken. This technique may be paired with other monitoring work that state agencies are performing.
- Restore Aquatic Connectivity within and between Priority Population Patches: Prioritize and remove barriers to fish passage, including replacing culverts and removing under-utilized dams. Project funds can support on-the-ground restoration, engineering design, permit fees, and stream barrier surveys to determine priorities for future connectivity restoration. Projects are encouraged, where possible, to demonstrate the benefits of aquatic connectivity projects to human communities through reduced flooding and other infrastructure failures. The Aquatic Barrier Prioritization Tool http://maps.freshwaternetwork.org/northeast/ is a useful resource in planning projects.
- Restore Riparian Forests: Reforest riparian buffers. Buffers should be sized and placed to maximize benefits to eastern brook trout and wildlife, as well as benefits to water quality2. Projects should include long-term maintenance strategies for new buffers, addressing issues such as deer browse, invasive species and competitive vegetation management, and mortality.
- Improve Conservation on Agricultural Lands: Provide technical and financial assistance to address all conservation concerns on farms that have the greatest impact on eastern brook trout, including water quality, erosion and hydrologic modifications. Projects should implement conservation practices that meet or exceed the performance of related federal and state-approved methods and specifications, unless flexibility is necessary to demonstrate an innovative approach or technology. Outreach should target farms that have conservation, manure management, and/or nutrient management plans in place, as appropriate. Where these plans are not in place, projects should prioritize developing plans prior to implementing conservation practices.
- Reduce Erosion and Sedimentation from Dirt and Gravel Roads: Implement dirt and gravel road best management practices, in partnership with county conservation districts, municipalities and state agencies. Projects should focus on road crossings that will reduce sediment delivery to streams with priority eastern brook trout population patches.
- Restore Eastern Hellbender and Freshwater Mussel Habitat and Increase Occupancy
NFWF will invest in strategies to increase eastern hellbender populations, and the abundance and diversity of native freshwater mussels. Projects targeting mussel and hellbender populations must include appropriate monitoring to measure the population responses to interventions. Focal geographies: French Creek and Southwestern Virginia.
- Re-establish Hellbender Occupancy and Improve Habitat: Deploy hellbender nest boxes where hellbender have recently gained access to high-quality habitat resulting from dam removals or where significant water quality improvement projects have recently been completed. Where localized sedimentation or barriers to movement may limit nesting success, implement restoration to minimize these threats.
- Re-establish Freshwater Mussel Occupancy and Improve Habitat: Re-introduce freshwater mussel species to targeted watersheds, especially those that have had significant dam removals or flow regime changes that would increase potential for reproductive success. Remedy barriers to movement for mussels and their host species, including culverts and dams, as well as stream segments impacted by acid mine drainage or increase temperatures that also can serve as barriers to fish movement.
|Program Priority ||Metric||Guidance|
Restore and Manage Forest Blocks in Focal Geographies
|Assessment/ Planning||Central Apps - Tool development for decision-making - # tools developed||Enter the number of tools developed|
Forest Block Restoration
|Central Apps - Forest Management Planning - # of acres covered by dynamic forest plans||Enter the total acres for each dynamic forest plan (sum if several plans are created under the grant)|
|Central Apps - Golden-Winged Warbler - Improved management practices - Acres under improved management||Enter the acres of forest management implemented to enhance early successional forest habitat for golden-winged warbler. In the NOTES indicate if the acres are part of a dynamic forest plan|
|Central Apps - Wood Thrush - Improved management practices - Acres under improved management||Enter the acres of forest management implemented to enhance mature forest habitat for wood thrush. In the NOTES indicate if the acres are part of a dynamic forest plan|
|Central Apps - Cerulean Warbler - Improved management practices - Acres under improved management||Enter the acres of forest management implemented to enhance late successional forest habitat for cerulean warbler. In the NOTES indicate if the acres are part of a dynamic forest plan|
|Central Apps - Monitoring - Acres being monitored||Enter the total number of acres being monitored. In the NOTES section, indicate the species and habitat being monitored. If you are monitoring eastern brook trout please use the metric specifically provided for eastern brook trout- # sites being monitored|
|Central Apps - Cerulean Warbler - Population - # sites occupied by species||Enter the number of sites occupied by cerulean warbler|
|Central Apps - Wood Thrush - Population - # sites occupied by species||Enter the number of sites occupied by wood thrush|
|Central Apps - Golden-Winged Warbler - Population - # sites occupied by species||Enter the number of sites occupied by goldenwinged warbler|
Target Outreach and Assistance to Key Forest Landowners and Practitioners
Outreach and Technical Assistance
|Central Apps - Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance - # people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities||Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities|
|Central Apps - Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance - # of people demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change||Enter the number of individuals demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change|
| || |
Landowner Demonstration Projects
|Central Apps - Golden-Winged Warbler - Improved management practices - Acres under improved management||Enter the acres managed to create an early successional forest demonstration project. In the NOTES indicate if the acres are part of a dynamic forest plan demonstration|
|Central Apps - Wood Thrush - Improved management practices - Acres under improved management||Enter the acres managed to create a mature forest demonstration project. In the NOTES indicate if the acres are part of a dynamic forest plan |
Enter the acres managed to create a late successional forest demonstration project. In the NOTES indicate if the acres are part of a dynamic forest plan
Enter the number of demonstration sites created.
|Central Apps - Cerulean Warbler - Improved management practices - Acres under improved management|
|Central Apps - Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance - Conservation demonstration sites|
Sustain and Improve High Integrity Habitat for Eastern Brook Trout
|Eastern Brook Trout Patch Assessments |
Restoration Response Monitoring
|Central Apps - Research - # of sites assessed |
Central Apps - Monitoring - # sites being monitored
|Enter the number of eastern brook trout population patches being assessed.|
Enter the # of small watersheds being monitored for eastern brook trout population response to habitat restoration
|Restore Aquatic Connectivity within and between Priority Population Patches ||Central Apps - Fish passage improvements - # passage barriers rectified||Enter the number of fish passage barriers rectified. In the NOTES section indicate what type(s) of barrier(s) are being removed.|
|Central Apps - Fish passage improvements - Miles of stream opened||Enter the number of miles of previously inaccessible stream habitat opened. In the NOTES section list all of the targeted species.|
|Restore Riparian Forests||Central Apps - Riparian restoration - Miles restored||Enter total number of riparian forest miles restored. If you are restoring wetlands use the acres of wetland restored metric.|
|Improve Conservation on Agricultural Lands||Central Apps - BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction - Acres with BMPs to reduce nutrient or sediment loads||Enter the number of acres with Best Management Practices (BMPs) implemented. In the NOTES section indicate the type of BMP(s) (e.g., continuous non-till, enhanced nutrient management)|
|Improve Conservation on Agricultural Lands ||Central Apps - BMP implementation for livestock fencing - Miles of fencing installed||Enter the number of miles of fencing installed.|
|Central Apps - Stream restoration - Miles restored||Enter the total miles of stream restored through habitat structures, erosion control, streambank stabilization, floodplain and/or stream channel modification. Use separate metrics provided for riparian buffers, livestock exclusion, and wetlands.|
|Central Apps - Wetland restoration - Acres restored||Enter the number of acres of wetland restored. If you are restoring riparian forests use the miles of riparian forest restoration metric.|
|Reduce Erosion and Sedimentation from Dirt and Gravel Roads||Central Apps - BMP implementation for road improvements - Miles of road improved||Indicate the number of miles improved by installing BMPs that reduce erosion|
|Eastern Brook Trout Outcome||Central Apps - Habitat Quality - # of habitat units improved||Enter the number of eastern brook trout population patches with improved status|
|Restore Eastern Hellbender and Freshwater ||Re-establish Hellbender Occupancy and Improve Habitat* ||Central Apps - Nesting Sites - # nesting sites installed||Enter the number of hellbender nest boxes installed. |
|Central Apps - Hellbender - Population - Miles of habitat occupied||Enter the number of miles of habitat occupied by eastern hellbender|
|Mussel Habitat and Increase Occupancy||Re-establish Freshwater Mussel Occupancy and Improve Habitat*||Central Apps - Captive breeding/ rearing/ rehab facilities - # individuals released||Enter the number of individual freshwater mussels released or translocated |
|||Central Apps – Conservation easements - Acres protected under long- term easement (permanent or > 30-yr)||Enter the number of acres|
|||Central Apps - Volunteer participation - # volunteers participating in projects ||Enter the number of volunteers participating in habitat restoration activities|
- Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes and educational institutions.
- Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals, and international organizations.
- 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
Grant Workshops (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register)
|May 7, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm EDT|
Bald Eagle State Park, PA
|June 4, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm EDT|