Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund 2018 Request for Proposals

Applicant Webinar  |  Register:  Friday, August 17, 2018 at 1 PM ET
Full Proposal Due Date:  Thursday, September 27, 2018 by 11:59 PM ET

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to conserve and restore fish and wildlife habitat in the Delaware River watershed. In 2018, the NEW Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund (DWCF) will award matching grants of $50,000 to $250,000 each to conserve and restore natural areas, corridors, and waterways on public and private lands to support native migratory and resident wildlife and fish, and native plants; and to contribute to the social health and economic vitality of the communities in the Delaware River watershed. Approximately $4 million in grant funding is available. Major funding for the DWCF is provided by the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service.

NFWF will award Conservation Action Grants to nonprofit organizations; federal, state, interstate and local governments; Indian tribes; and educational institutions to implement on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects that achieve the goals of the Delaware River Basin Restoration Partnership and Program Framework:  sustain and enhance fish and wildlife habitat; improve and maintain water quality for fish, wildlife and people; sustain and enhance water management to benefit fish and wildlife; and improve outdoor recreational opportunities within the Delaware River Watershed. One or more of these Strategies (described below) must be addressed. Projects should also incorporate one or more Cross-Program Activities:  engage and equip the public to support coordinated restoration and protection; facilitate resiliency of natural systems; increase scientific knowledge, monitoring and research needed for successful project implementation; provide technical assistance for restoration and conservation; conserve areas of regional significance in the Delaware River Watershed.

DWCF_RFP_Map_2018.jpg 
 

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

DWCF projects must be implemented entirely within the Delaware River watershed, which includes portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Organizations located outside the watershed may apply if the project will be conducted entirely within the watershed.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

All proposals must specifically address how projects for which funds are requested will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program priorities enumerated below. For additional information on program goals, strategies and activities, please refer to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Delaware River Basin Restoration Program website for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Partnership and Program Framework. Priority will be given to projects that maximize near-term on-the-ground impact. Projects may not include acquisition by the federal government of any interest in land. Proposals should clearly embed one or more of the five Cross-Program Activities into project delivery. For 2018, the DWCF seeks projects that address the following program priorities: 

Conservation Action Grants.  Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that can address as many Strategic Program Areas as possible. Strategic Program Areas were designated separately in the Framework due to the unique focus needed to attain the goals of each; however, Strategic Program Areas are likely to overlap as projects are implemented.  For example, a project that primarily focuses on one Strategy—fish and wildlife habitat restoration—may also have ancillary benefits to water quality, flood resiliency, and recreational opportunities. Priority for Conservation Action Grants will be given to projects that collaboratively address one or more of the following Strategic Program Areas.

  1. Strategic Program Area 1:  Sustain and Enhance Fish and Wildlife Habitat Restoration and Conservation Activities. The basin has diverse habitats that support an array of fish and wildlife, ranging from densely forested headwater streams in the upper basin to the bayshores of the estuary. The program will work to conserve and restore ecological function to the important habitats for which the fish and wildlife resources in the basin depend. Conservation and restoration of these habitats will result in ecological, recreational, and commercial benefits.  Goal: To sustain and restore fish and wildlife populations through conservation and restoration of their associated habitats and promote native ecosystem restoration.  
  2. Strategic Program Area 2:  Improve and Maintain Water Quality to Support Fish and Wildlife, as well as Habitats for Fish and Wildlife and Drinking Water for People. Over 15 million people rely on the water from the Delaware River and tributaries for their drinking water needs. The river also supports a diverse suite of fish and wildlife that depends on high quality water in the river. This program will coordinate with existing regulatory activities but will focus on non-regulatory efforts to provide additional focus on habitat protection and conservation activities with the objective to protect water quality for both drinking water and the health of the fish and wildlife resources that depend on clean water. Goal: To protect and maintain water quality through projects and non-regulatory programs aimed at improving land and watershed management and reduce pollutants that can impair water quality. 
  3. Strategic Program Area 3:  Sustain and Enhance Water Resource Management for Volume and Flood Damage Mitigation Improvements to Benefit Fish and Wildlife Habitat. High demands on water resources in the Delaware River Basin range from municipal and industrial water supply to energy production and agricultural uses. Fish and wildlife also depend on water availability in the habitats where they live. Managing water use to meet drinking water needs and other human uses while still providing water to support fish and wildlife is challenging. This program will coordinate with existing regulatory activities, but will focus on non-regulatory efforts to support the demands on the water resources of the basin and to enhance tolerance of potential drought and flood conditions.  Goal: To provide non-regulatory support to the management of water resources to meet the various human and ecological needs and legal requirements in the basin and restore ecological function to the watershed, river, and tributaries in order to provide enhanced tolerance of potential drought and flood conditions.  
  4. Strategic Program Area 4:  Improve Opportunities for Public Access and Recreation in the Basin Consistent with the Ecological Needs of Fish and Wildlife Habitat. Because of its location within a densely populated part of the country, the basin offers easy access to outdoor recreational opportunities to millions of people. The basin provides high-quality recreational experiences, including boating, hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, birding, and scenic touring, thus providing significant revenue to the basin.  Goal: To maintain and improve recreational opportunities which are compatible with the conservation of natural resources.  

PROJECT METRICS 

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund provides a list of metrics in Easygrants for applicants. We ask applicants to select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Rachel Dawson (rachel.dawson@nfwf.org) or Jessica Lillquist (jessica.lillquist@nfwf.org​) to discuss alternatives.

​Project Activity ​Recommended Metric ​Additional Guidance
​Economic benefits ​#  jobs created Enter the number of jobs created; indicate workforce targeted in NOTES section (e.g. youth, veterans, underserved communities)
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​#  individuals reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities ​Enter the number of people who responded to an offer and inquiry delivered by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities; specify the percentage of individuals reached; indicate type of audience (farmers, landowners, municipalities) in the NOTES section
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​ # individuals demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change ​ Enter the number of individuals demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change; briefly describe method of measurement in NOTES section
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​ # volunteers participating in projects ​ Provide # and describe nature of volunteer engagement.
​Public Access ​# of acres opened to public access ​ Enter the number of acres now open to public access as a result of the project; include any associated river or stream miles also opened to public access as a result of project
​BMP implementation for livestock fencing ​Miles of fencing improved ​ Enter miles of fencing and indicate type of improvements in the NOTES section. 
​BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction ​Acres with BMPs to reduce nutrient or sediments loads (e.g. agriculture conservation BMPs) ​ Enter number of acres; indicate the type of BMP(s) (e.g. manure storage, cover crops) and indicate method of calculating reduction in NOTES section.  Please see the DWCF toolbox on the website for calculation resources.
​BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction ​ Lbs of nitrogen prevented from entering system annually ​Enter the amount of nitrogen prevented from entering system annually and indicate method of calculating reduction in NOTES section
​BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction ​ Lbs of phosphorous prevented from entering system annually ​ Enter the amount of phosphorous prevented from entering system annually and indicate method of calculating reduction in NOTES section
​BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction ​ Lbs of sediment prevented from entering system annually ​Enter the amount of sediment prevented from entering system annually and indicate method of calculating reduction in NOTES section
​Habitat Management -BMP implementation for prescribed burns​ ​Acres burned ​ Enter the number of acres that have been treated by prescribed burning; indicate whether this is private or public land in NOTES section​
BMP implementation for stormwater runoff ​​Acres with BMPs to reduce stormwater runoff (e.g. green stormwater infrastructure)​ ​Enter number of urban/suburban acres treated by stormwater BMP(s); indicate the type of BMP(s) (e.g., rain gardens, constructed wetlands, green roofs, rain barrels) and inches of rainfall that will be stored, infiltrated and/or filtered within a 48-hour rain event in NOTES section; include method of calculation.  Please see the DWCF toolbox on the website for calculation resources.
​BMP implementation for stormwater runoff ​Volume (gallons) of stormwater prevented from entering water body ​Enter the volume (in gallons) of stormwater prevented from entering the system per year; indicate type of BMP(s) in the NOTES section; include method of calculation.  Please see the DWCF toolbox on the website for calculation resources.
​Green Infrastructure ​ Miles of trails developed or improved ​ Enter the number of miles of trails developed or improved
​Improved management practices ​Acres under improved management (e.g. invasives management, logging practices, early successional meadow management) ​Enter the number of acres under improved management, enter type of land (i.e. public or private), and enter specific practice(s) in NOTES section; DO NOT double count with acres of BMPs
​Beach habitat quality improvements ​ Miles restored ​ Enter number of miles of restored or protected beach/shoreline habitat; do not double count with erosion/acres restored
​Erosion control ​Acres restored (e.g. coastal, beach and wetland habitat) ​Enter the number of acres restored; enter specific type of coastal/shoreline habitat and restoration in NOTES section
​Erosion control ​Number of structures installed (e.g. living shorelines) ​ Enter the number of structures installed, replaced, upgraded or repaired to reduce erosion or wetland/marsh lost; enter type of structures in NOTES section
​Fish passage improvements ​ # fish passage barriers rectified ​ Enter the number of fish passage barriers rectified; enter species benefitting in NOTES section; if improving or increasing eastern brook trout patch sizes, specify in NOTES section
​Fish passage improvements ​Miles of stream opened ​Enter the number of miles of stream opened to improve aquatic habitat connectivity; if improving or increasing eastern brook trout patch sizes, specify in NOTES section
​Floodplain restoration ​ Acres restored ​ Enter the number of acres restored
​Instream restoration  ​Miles restored ​ Enter the number of miles restored; briefly indicate the type of restoration in the NOTES section
​Forest Management and Stewardship ​Habitat Management​ – Improved management practices– Acres under improved management  – Early successional forest  ​ Enter the number of acres under improved management; use the NOTES section to indicate full parcel size benefitting from acres under management
​Forest Management and Stewardship ​ Habitat Management – Improved management practices– Acres under improved management – Late successional forest ​Enter the number of acres under improved management; use the NOTES section to indicate full parcel size benefitting from acres under management
​Forest Management and Stewardship ​ Habitat Management – Improved management practices– Acres under improved management  – Mature forest ​Enter the number of acres under improved management; use the NOTES section to indicate full parcel size benefitting from acres under management
​Restoring hydrology ​Miles with restored hydrology ​ Enter the number of miles with restored hydrology; do not double count with acres restored
​Restoring hydrology ​ Gallons of water conserved per year ​ Enter the volume in gallons of water conserved per year; include method of calculation in NOTES section
​Riparian restoration ​Miles restored ​ Enter miles of riparian areas restored; indicate the type of buffer (e.g. forested, vegetated), buffer width, and acres in the NOTES section. DO NOT include instream restoration miles in this measurement. 
​Wetland restoration ​ Acres restored (including coastal impoundment restoration and resiliency enhancement) ​Enter the number of acres restored or enhanced. DO NOT include riparian or instream restoration miles in this measurement; indicate if impoundment
​Management or Governance Planning ​ # management plan activities being implemented ​ Enter number and briefly describe activities, as well as stakeholders involved in NOTES section
​Monitoring ​ # monitoring programs established or underway ​ Enter the number of monitoring programs established or underway; briefly describe what is being monitored in the NOTES section
​Monitoring ​Streams/sites being monitored ​Enter the number of streams/sites being monitored; briefly describe what is being monitored in NOTES section; include miles/acres/area covered by monitoring
​Research ​ Miles assessed  ​Enter the number of stream, river, beach or shoreline miles assessed; briefly describe the assessment aim in the NOTES section
​Tool development for decision-making ​ #  tools developed that are used by decision-makers ​ Enter the number of tools developed that are used by decision-makers; briefly describe the tool in the NOTES​ section

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include:  non-profit 501(c) organizations; federal, state, interstate, local and municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include:  unincorporated individuals, businesses, 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 ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, compensatory mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon baseline legal and permit compliance efforts.  Projects may not include acquisition by the federal government of any interest in land.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH 

NFWF will award approximately $4 million in grants via the DWCF in 2018. Generally grants of less than $100,000 will be awarded for restoration at a single site and/or involving fewer partners. Proposals requesting $100,000 to $250,000 should represent broad-based partnerships engaged in implementing comprehensive approaches that may include multiple sites and multiple strategies.  

Conservation Action Grants will range from $50,000 to $250,000 each. These grants require a minimum matching contribution valued at 50% of total project costs (i.e., 1:1 match); however grants in the higher end of the range are strongly encouraged to exceed 50% match to ensure competitiveness.  Required minimum 1:1 match must be from non-federal sources. Voluntary additional match beyond the 1:1 requirement may be from either federal or non-federal sources. Projects must be ready to begin implementation within six months of the grant award, and completed within two years of award. 

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 Strategies – Reviewers will refer to the Delaware River Basin Restoration Partnership and Program Framework to assess project relevance to Program goals and strategies. Project substantially and expeditiously contributes to on-the-ground habitat restoration and conservation goals outlined above; project addresses one or more of the Strategic Program Areas. Proposal clearly states which strategies the project will address.

Cross-Program Activities – Proposals clearly state how one or more Cross-Program Activities are incorporated into project. Highly competitive proposals will address multiple Cross-Program Activities. Context is provided for need, objectives, expected outcomes and measuring success of Cross-Program Activities.

Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal relies on sound methods relative to a realistic budget to achieve success. Project engages appropriate technical experts (or includes expert staff) throughout project planning, design, and implementation.  Project outcomes are reasonable and measurable.

Project Context – The project is thoughtfully presented within its broader watershed and/or landscape context.  Applicant clearly describes why this project should be implemented in this specific location at this time with these partners.  Proposal clearly addresses the project’s “institutional significance,” i.e. how the project contributes to other local, regional, organizational plans and programs (please refer to the Framework Appendix II for additional information on relevant plans).  Proposal notes any risk factors which may influence expected project outcomes.

In order to optimize connected, resilient, and ecologically high-value conservation and restoration results, applicants are encouraged to utilize U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Nature’s Network tool to inform proposal development. Nature’s Network is a collaborative effort by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (NEAFWA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nongovernmental organizations, and universities to develop a regional conservation design that provides a foundation for unified conservation action from Maine to Virginia by identifying a network of places that should be considered high conservation priority to sustain natural resources and benefits for future generations.

Partnership – Project is supported by, and will be delivered by, a strong partnership that leverages additional skills and resources, and will sustain it after the life of the grant. Proposed partners and roles—including short- and long-term—are clearly identified (including potential or contemplated subawards to third party subrecipients of the applicant). A project partner is any community, non-profit organization, tribe, and/or local, state, interstate and federal government agency that contributes time, effort, and/or funding to support project planning, design and/or implementation. Proposals requesting more than $100,000 should include engagement by a broader, more robust project partnership. 

Letters of Support – Proposal includes letters of support from project partners, stakeholders, contributors and/or technical assistance providers; letters should describe any match or contribution offered to the project.  Proposal includes landowner or site manager support, acknowledgements or permissions (e.g. certifying site access).

Work Plan – The applicant provides a detailed work plan with clear activities, roles (including partner roles), timeline and outcomes associated with the project. The work plan can be used as a way of assessing progress of the project. Work plan also notes if and how project will be maintained in the long-term, and by whom (e.g. includes a plan for invasives management).

Metrics – Proposal includes specific, quantifiable performance metrics selected from the list above (e.g. acres of wetlands enhanced, miles of riparian forest buffer restored, miles of shoreline protected, gallons of stormwater avoided, etc.). Proposal includes requested details in the metrics NOTES section.  Project performance metrics are distinguished from, and contribute to, ecological and social outcomes (e.g. sustainable species population measures, ecological integrity/resilience indices, landscape permeability, community resilience index, outdoor activity participation measures, etc.).

Monitoring and Project Evaluation – Project includes a plan for monitoring project effectiveness at meeting goals and objectives (outcomes) during and after the proposed project period. Applicant includes an approach to adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise during the grant period. Applicant describes how resources will be used to implement the plan, and to continue evaluating project success.

Transferability – Project has potential and a plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities, practitioners or to be integrated into government programs and policies. Proposal notes the demonstration value of the project if relevant.

OTHER

Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects, including those funded via the DWCF must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable (OMB Uniform Guidance).

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.  Federal funding requires a 1:1 non-federal match. Voluntary additional match beyond the 1:1 requirement may be from either federal or non-federal sources.

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.  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.

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 Delaware River Program page​ of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

​​Applicant Webinar  |  Register
August 17, 2018, 1:00pm Eastern Time​
​Full Proposal Due Date
September 27, 2018, 11:59pm Eastern Time
Review Period
September – October 2018
Awards Announced
Late November, 2018

HOW TO APPLY

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

  1. Go to www.nfwf.org/easygrants 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 as 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 also 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:

Rachel Dawson – Program Director, Delaware River
(202) 595-2643
rachel.dawson@nfwf.org

Jessica Lillquist – Coordinator, Delaware River
(202) 595-2612
jessica.lillquist@nfwf.org

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 to which you are applying, and a description of the issue.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​