Algal Biomass Removal Feasibility RFP

Feasibility A​ssessment of Algal Biomass Removal in Upper Klamath Lake

Full Proposal Due Date: July 2, 2019 11:59 PM Pacific time


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to address limiting factors facing anadromous and resident fish populations in the Klamath Basin. NFWF seeks a qualified contractor to develop a feasibility assessment of a​​lgal biomass removal in Upper Klamath Lake. The successful offeror will be selected through a competitive process.  Only one award will be made for this contract.  The contract period of performance is targeted for August 8, 2019 – April 1, 2020.


U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley convened a Klamath Sucker Recovery Summit at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon on November 16, 2018. This event explored actions to ensure the survival the endangered Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) within the Upper Klamath Basin. The Summit included three expert panels to address sucker survival and to propose actions to improve conditions for the suckers. The experts agreed that improved water quality was key to long-term viability of sucker populations in Upper Klamath Lake, including the following summary items:

  • Water-quality conditions in Upper Klamath Lake can be extreme;
  • Various lines of evidence suggest that cyanobacteria in Upper Klamath Lake are associated with sucker mortality by driving poor water quality conditions generated by massive annual blooms and crashes;
  • Management actions to address water-quality should reduce algal biomass rather than target specific parameters; and
  • Management actions to improve water-quality need to be rapidly effective because time is running out to save suckers.

Large blooms of the cyanobacteria Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) occur annually throughout Upper Klamath Lake. Median chlorophyll-a concentrations typically reach approximately 200 µg/L but can exceed 300 µg/L (Morace). Individual measurements have been as high as 1,440 µg/L. Ensuing crashes of these blooms lead to high pH and un-ionized ammonia concentrations, depressed dissolved oxygen, and secondary toxic cyanobacteria (Microcystis aeruginosa) blooms during the summer months.

Excessive phosphorous is the primary driver of the harmful cyanobacteria blooms. Land use within the watershed and management and destruction of lakeside wetlands have substantially increased the input of phosphorus into the lake above the naturally high background levels. External sources contribute approximately 40% of the annual phosphorus load of Upper Klamath Lake (Walker et al.). U.S. Geological Survey research and modeling studies on Upper Klamath Lake indicate that recycling of phosphorus from lake sediments into the water column is an important component of the biostimulatory conditions within Upper Klamath Lake (Simon et al.; Wood et al.; Wherry and Wood). Phosphorous cycling out of lake sediments into the water column comprises the remaining 60% of the annual phosphorus load to the lake (Walker et al.; Boyd et al.).

Reducing annual phosphorous loading is the long-term key to ending the lake’s current hypereutrophic status. The Water Quality Improvement Techniques for the Upper Klamath Basin: A Technical Workshop and Project Conceptual Designs (Stillwater Sciences et al.) evaluated phosphorus reduction techniques for both internal and external sources to the lake. The workshop generally concluded that achieving water quality improvements requires a diverse portfolio of improvement techniques, including internal lake sources. To date, no internal lake algal biomass removal project has been undertaken.

Improvements to conditions in the short-term are essential for the recovery of the two endangered sucker species. The shortnose sucker spawning population has decreased by approximately 80 percent since 2001, and the Lost River sucker has decreased by more than 60 percent over the same time (Hewitt et al.). These declines are the product of unnaturally high mortality of juveniles during their first summer. Only a single cohort (1991) has recruited to the adult population over the last 30 years. Despite the lack of conclusive empirical evidence for a direct link between water quality conditions and the annual juvenile cohort failure, past studies suggest that the pattern is driven by poor water quality associated with AFA crashes.


The project goal is to determine the feasibility of improving water quality conditions through removal of AFA biomass in the short-term (i.e., annual dampening of the bloom-crash cycle) and the long-term (i.e., organic phosphorus capture and extraction). The objectives are to: 1) improve modelling and analysis capabilities through empirical data collection of biomass removal techniques; and 2) provide statistical and/or modelled analysis of the feasibility of reducing water column chlorophyll-a and phosphorus concentrations and subsequent water quality responses.

The scope of the study will require the contractor to perform the following tasks:

  1. ​Provide project management and administration to complete the project successfully. The contracted project team will collaborate with a Project Steering Committee selected by FWS and NFWF to receive input for design and implementation on all aspects of the project and will communicate regular updates on project status to FWS and NFWF.
  2. Collect empirical data from Upper Klamath Lake on techniques to remove (harvest) AFA biomass, including possible subsequent water quality responses. This task is expected to be a small pilot effort with 2-3 control/treatment pairs that implement algal biomass removal in a relatively small area. The contractor will be asked to share preliminary results throughout the course of the study at regular intervals as determined by FWS and NFWF.
  3. Assess the required scope and scale of algal biomass effort needed to have a significant impact on water quality in the short-term (intra-annual) through removal of organic carbon and long-term (10 years) through reduction of phosphorous. Additionally, the contractor will make recommendations on possible next phase actions and needs as a requirement of this task.
  4. Characterize the existing Upper Klamath Lake algal biomass harvest industry and provide an analysis of how the industry could be adapted (i.e., scaled up) to support algal biomass harvest on a scale consistent with removal requirements identified in Task 2. This task will include outreach to industry participants. It also includes identification of possible alternative methods of harvest.
  5. Evaluate and describe the logistics for handling the harvested biomass and options for use of the harvested algal biomass to help offset the cost of the remediation program. The outcome of this task provides the basis for others to use as a reasonable guide to implement post-harvest commercial processing of the harvested algal biomass. At a minimum, the evaluation should include agriculture soil amendments and animal feed stock. This task will include outreach to the local agricultural community, City of Klamath Falls, and others.
  6. Assess the potential impacts of an increased scale of algal biomass harvest activities in Upper Klamath Lake including potential ecological consequences on existing aquatic life and potentially reintroduced salmonids. In addition to evaluating any unintended ecological consequences, the contractor will also contact relevant resource agencies to explore permitting requirements for expanded operations.
  7. Produce a minimum of one interim report as well as a final, comprehensive technical report compiling the results of Tasks 2 through 6.


The following deliverables are required to be completed in association with the scope of work:

  • Task 1:  Steering Committee Meeting Summaries (12)
    • ​Meeting summaries shall include: 1) work undertaken during reporting period; 2) task / deliverable(s) status to date; 3) difficulties encountered and proposed solutions; 4) Steering Committee direction / decision summary; and 5) work to be completed in the next reporting period.

  • ​Task 2: Pilot Project technical memorandum describing at a minimum: 1) technical literature review; 2) design details for pilot algal removal technique; 3) cost data for equipment and information on operating costs; 4) amount / rate of algal biomass removal; 5) water quality data assessment; and 6) water quality data compiled and provided in a digitized format.
  • Task 3: Technical memorandum describing scope and scale of algal biomass removal operations necessary to improve water quality conditions within Upper Klamath Lake.  This assessment will focus on short term reduction of organic carbon and effects on post-bloom dissolved oxygen concentrations and on the long-term potential for the technique to supplement phosphorous reduction strategies for Upper Klamath Lake.
  • Task 4: Documentation of outreach and Technical Memorandum
    • ​Documentation of outreach to non-local representatives (at least 5) of other algal biomass removal industry or university operations.  This can include other phosphorus recovery operations that have the potential to be scaled for lake wide treatments.
    • Technical memorandum on the local industry operations and technology.  Identify any technology issues limiting ability to harvest targets (Task 3), recommend any improvements to existing technologies; and describe alternative methods with positive potential.

  • Task 5: Technical memorandum
  • Task 6: Technical memorandum
  • Task 7: Final report


Proposals will be evaluated and scored on the following criteria.  Offerors should organize their Statement based on these sections:

  1. Understanding of the Scope of Work. The Scope of Work must demonstrate an understanding of the goals of the evaluation and the activities involved. This section should include a description of how you will communicate with NFWF and program stakeholders and report on progress, results, and deliverables. Weight: 25%
  2. Technical Approach.  The proposed technical approach for conducting the evaluation should clearly describe the proposed evaluation methods in detail for each of the research questions. The section must demonstrate that those methods are robust and appropriate for conducting the evaluation and address any areas of complexity or uncertainty associated with answering the research questions. Weight: 25%
  3. Qualifications of Proposed Personnel.  The section should clearly describe which evaluation tasks each member of the team will conduct and how their training and experience provide the requisite experience to do so successfully. Weight: 20%
  4. Contractor’s Past Performance.  The proposal should include information on the primary investigator(s)’s past performance developing monitoring plans with FWS or other organizations.  If sub-contractors are to be used, information should be provided that demonstrates their past performance as well.  Describe how that past performance is applicable to this evaluation. Weight: 15%
  5. Budget. The proposed budget should itemize work in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the entire funding request. You must use attached Contractor Budget Template. You may add columns to the template for additional tasks if needed, but should not make any other changes. Please include the proposed budget for equipment purchase in the proposal separate from the Contractor Budget Template. Weight: 15%


Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial organizations, international organizations, and local, state and Indian tribal governments.

By submitting a proposal in response to this solicitation, the offeror warrants and represents that it does not currently have any apparent or actual conflict of interest, as described herein.  In the event an offeror currently has, will have during the life of the contemplated contract, or becomes aware of an apparent or actual conflict of interest, in the event an award is made, the offeror must notify NFWF in writing in the Statement of Quotations, or in subsequent correspondence (if the issue becomes known after the submission of the Statement of Quotations) of such apparent or actual conflicts of interest, including organizational conflicts of interest.  Conflicts of interest include any relationship or matter which might place the contractor, the contractor’s employees, or the contractor’s subcontractors in a position of conflict, real or apparent, between their responsibilities under the award and any other outside interests, or otherwise.  Conflicts of interest may also include, but are not limited to, direct or indirect financial interests, close personal relationships, positions of trust in outside organizations, consideration of future employment arrangements with a different organization, or decision-making affecting the award that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the impartiality of the offeror, the offeror’s employees, or the offeror’s future subcontractors in the matter.  Upon receipt of such a notice, the NFWF Contracting Officer will determine if a conflict of interest exists and, if so, if there are any possible actions to be taken by the offeror to reduce or resolve the conflict.  Failure to resolve conflicts of interest in a manner that satisfies NFWF may result in the proposal not being selected for award.  

By submitting a proposal in response to this solicitation, the Offeror warrants and represents that it is eligible for award of a Contract resulting from this solicitation and that it is not subject to any of the below circumstances:

Has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an Contract with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, where the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or

Was convicted (or had an officer or agent of such corporation acting on behalf of the corporation convicted) of a felony criminal violation under any Federal or State law within the preceding 24 months, where the awarding agency is aware of the conviction, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or

Is listed on the General Services Administration’s, government-wide System for Award Management Exclusions (SAM Exclusions), in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 C.F.R Part 180 that implement E.O.s 12549 (3 C.F.R., 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 C.F.R., 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension, ” or intends to enter into any subaward, contract or other Contract using funds provided by NFWF with any party listed on the SAM Exclusions in accordance with Executive Orders 12549 and 12689. The SAM Exclusions instructions can be found here:


Proposals must be submitted under the same cover at the same time, in three distinctly labeled and separate documents: 1) Technical Proposal, 2) Budget, and 3) Evidence of Financial Stability.  Interested parties should submit proposals electronically to NFWF (Femke Freiberg, using the requirements below:

  1. ​Technical Proposal
    • ​​​​​​​​​Format: Proposals must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF with a font size no smaller than 11 pt.​
    • Contact information: Primary contact person, company name, address, phone, email, website, DUNS number, and EIN/Taxpayer ID#.
    • Narrative: Concise (5-page limit) description of the work plan and a summary of the applicant’s expertise and experience. List recent (last 2-5 years) accomplishments and previous services related to the technical expertise offered.
    • Biographies: Resumes and/or Vitae of key staff and their role in the proposed work area.
    • ​References: List two clients who have received services from the applicant that is similar in nature to the proposed work; include names, phone numbers, and email address.  
  2. Budget: The budget proposal must be submitted using the following NFWF budget template.
  3. Evidence of Financial Stability: The applicant shall provide with the RFP response, proof of financial stability in the form of financial statements, credit ratings, a line of credit, or other financial arrangements sufficient to demonstrate the applicant’s capability to meet the requirements of this RFP.


A panel of NFWF staff, FWS staff, and external technical experts will review the full proposals. Offerors may be asked to modify objectives, work plans, or budgets prior to final approval of the award.  Only one award will be made for this project.  If multiple institutions are involved, they should be handled through sub-awards and sub-contracts.


​​June 13, 201​9 ​​Deadline for questions about the RFP to NFWF. ​
​​Offerors should submit questions regarding this RFP via email to Femke Freiberg ( NFWF will post all questions so that all offerors have access to them at the same time. In order to provide equitable responses, all questions must be recieved by NFWF no later than 5:00 PM PST on June 13, 2019.
​June 21, 2019 ​​NFWF will post the questions submitted regarding the RFP and responses on the NFWF Klamath Basin Restoration Program website at
​July 2, 2019 ​Deadline for receipt by NFWF of proposals.
Proposals must be received electronically as an email attachment by Femke Freberg (​) by 11:59 PM PST.
​August 8, 2019 ​Contract award to selected Offeror
December 31, 2020 ​Final technical report due to FWS and NFWF


Boyd, M., et al. Upper Klamath Lake Drainage Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and Water Quality Managment Plan (WQMP). Department of Environmental Quality, State of Oregon, 2002.

CH2M. Klamath River Hydroelectric Project Interim Measures Implementation Committee: Interim Measure 11 Link River Algae Removal Demonstration Project: Phase 1 Final Report. 2017.

Hewitt, David A., et al. Status and Trends of Adult Lost River (Delistes Luxatus) and Shortnose (Chasmistes Brevirostris) Sucker Populations in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2017: USGS Open-File Report 2018-1064. U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, doi:10.3133/ofr20171059.

Morace, J. L. Relation between Selected Water-Quality Variables, Climatic Factors, and Lake Levels in Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes, Oregon, 1990-2006: Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5117. U.S. Geological Survey, 2007.

Perkins, David L., et al. The Role of Poor Water Quality and Fish Kills in the Decline of Endangered Lost River and Shortnose Suckers in Upper Klamath Lake. Edited by U S Geological Survey, U.S. Geological Survey, 2000.

Simon, Nancy S., et al. “Phosphorus Fractionation in Sediment Cores Collected in 2005 before and after Onset of an Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquae Bloom in Upper Klamath Lake, OR, USA.” Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, vol. 204, no. 1–4, Springer, 2009, pp. 139–53.

Stillwater Sciences, et al. Water Quality Improvement Techniques for the Upper Klamath Basin: A Technical Workshop and Project Conceptual Designs. 2013.

Walker, W. W., et al. Evaluation of Water and Nutrient Balances for the Upper Klamath Lake Basin in Water Years 1992-2010. Technical Report to the Klamath Tribes Natural Resources Department, Chiloquin, Oregon, 2012.

Wherry, S., and T. Wood. A Metabolism-Based Whole Lake Eutrophication Model to Estimate the Magnitude and Time Scales of the Effects of Restoration in Upper Klamath Lake, South-Central Oregon . Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5042. U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, doi:10.3133/sir20185042.

Wood, Tamara M., et al. Technical Evaluation of a Total Maximum Daily Load Model for Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013-1262. 2013, doi:10.3133/ofr20131262.




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