Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Fund: Request for Pre-Proposals 2023

Pre-Proposal Due Date: April 14, 2023
Full Proposal Due Date: August 28, 2023


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (“NFWF”) requests Pre-Proposals under the Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Fund (“Fund”) for projects that will restore, improve, preserve, and/or conserve greater sage-grouse habitat in Utah. NFWF established and administers the Fund with monies it received as compensatory mitigation for authorized impacts of the Gateway South Transmission Project to greater sage-grouse in Utah, as approved by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) and its Record of Decision for the project.

NFWF, as the administrator of the Fund, will accept Pre-Proposals for projects through Friday, April 14, 2023 at 9:59pm Mountain time. All proposed projects must provide adequate information in accordance with the evaluation criteria outlined below. Pre-Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated as described below. Applicants whose Pre-Proposals are selected for further consideration will be asked to submit a Full Proposal for review. Funding awards will be made by NFWF to selected applicants for projects that best satisfy the evaluation criteria, as verified and approved by BLM. Thereafter, NFWF will execute project funding agreements with awardees that will implement the projects in accordance with the respective Full Proposals, applicable laws, and the terms and conditions of such project funding agreements with monies provided from the Fund. 

The requirements for responding to this Request for Proposals ("RFP") are described in the sections below. The process for responding to this RFP will be conducted using the NFWF Easygrants online application system as described in the How to Apply and Timeline sections at the end of this RFP. 

Geographic Focus

The Fund will fund projects located within the Utah portion of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies ("WAFWA") Sage-grouse Management Zone III. The preferred geographic focus areas for project activities are the Carbon Biological Significant Unit (“BSU”) located in Carbon, Duchesne, Sanpete, and Wasatch Counties; and the Strawberry BSU in Duchesne and Wasatch Counties. Projects in other BSUs in Utah will be considered. A map of Utah BSUs can be found here.

Funding Available

NFWF expects to award up to approximately $6.35 million from the Fund to projects through this RFP. Up to approximately $3.81 million of this amount may be made available for conservation easement / fee title acquisitions; up to approximately $1.9 million of this amount may be made available for sagebrush restoration; and up to approximately $635,000 of this amount may be made available for juniper / conifer removal.

Matching contributions are not required for projects submitted for consideration under this RFP, but may make project proposals more competitive.

Funding Priorities

This RFP seeks projects that will restore, improve, preserve, and/or conserve greater sage-grouse habitat. They may include, but are not necessarily limited to, any or a combination of the following: 

1.     Fee Title and Conservation Easement Acquisitions for Conservation and/or Preservation

Goals: 1) prevent greater sage-grouse habitat destruction or degradation, and 2) reduce fragmentation of shrub-steppe (i.e., sagebrush) habitat.


Fee title and conservation easement acquisitions to secure long-term protection of greater sage-grouse habitat on real properties, thereby removing one or more viable threats to greater sage-grouse populations from one or more specific land uses. Activities may include all aspects of the fee title or conservation easement acquisition process (e.g., due diligence, title review, environmental site assessments, appraisals, biological and/or habitat surveys, and associated costs, including closing and escrow costs).

2.     Sagebrush Restoration and Improvement Activities

Goals: 1) create contiguous patches of shrub-steppe (i.e., sagebrush) habitat with optimal sagebrush cover and height, and 2) increase availability of high-quality nesting, brood-rearing, and winter habitats.

Activities may include seeding, planting seedlings, or transplanting containerized sagebrush plants (one plant per five square meters). Sagebrush restoration activities may also include: 

  • Mesic meadow and riparian improvements within shrub-steppe (i.e., sagebrush) habitat which may include instream structures (e.g., post assisted log structure); 
  • Upland mesic meadow developments using Zeedyk structures (e.g., one rock dam, Zuni bowl, rock structures) or other similar structures such as beaver dam analog (BDA) structures; or 
  • Other similar processes to create mesic meadows/high density forb areas that would promote brood-rearing.

3.     Juniper / Conifer Removal Activities

Goals: 1) reverse juniper/conifer encroachment on shrub-steppe habitat to increase contiguous patches of greater sage-grouse habitat, and 2) increase light penetration to support a forb and grass understory.

Activities may include mechanical removal (lop and scatter, cut-pile-cover, or mastication) of juniper/conifer adjacent to areas with optimal sagebrush cover and height. 

Proposal Requirements and Evaluation

Pre-Proposals and Full Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by NFWF in consultation with the BLM. All proposals will be evaluated according to their ability to meet the evaluation criteria, including the adequacy and clarity of application information, and the provision of required information described in this RFP. 

If funds are being requested for fee title and conservation easement acquisitions, please review the Real Property Acquisition Proposal Requirements.

Applicants invited to submit Full Proposals will be required to complete and upload as part of their Full Proposals a project questionnaire.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Alignment with funding priorities: The project proposal addresses one or more of the funding priorities. 
  • Technical Merit: The project proposal is technically sound and feasible, and sets forth a clear, logical, and achievable work plan and timeline. The proposal clearly demonstrates how the project will support durable restoration, improvement, preservation, and/or conservation of greater sage-grouse habitat. 
  • Conservation Value: The project provides sufficient conservation value for the project cost. 
  • Budget: The project proposal includes a detailed budget and costs are reasonable, appropriate, and justified. Matching funds from external entities may be considered a benefit in the evaluation of a project’s budget.
  • Organization Qualifications: The project proposal engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design, and implementation to ensure activities are technically sound and feasible. The applicant’s experience is relevant to delivery of the project, and/or the applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation projects with specific measurable results.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: The project proposal identifies appropriate monitoring and reporting throughout project planning, design, and implementation, including measurable goals and objectives, to ensure the project goals and objectives are met. Monitoring of the project should be consistent with existing BLM monitoring programs.
  • Applicable Permits and Authorizations: The project has appropriate federal, state, and/or local permits and authorizations.
  • Applicable Law and Policies: The project proposal complies with all relevant laws and policies, which includes compliance with BLM’s mitigation manual and handbook. Specifically, the proposed project will 1) support or add to a landscape-scale benefit; 2) be durable; 3) add benefits to baseline conditions; and 4) achieve resource objectives in appropriate time frames.
  • Adequacy and Clarity of Information: The project proposal is clearly written and includes adequate information in conformity with the applicable Proposal Requirements described above. 


Eligible Entities

Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c)3 organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies and other political subdivisions of the state, local and municipal governments, Tribal governments and organizations, businesses, unincorporated individuals, and educational institutions.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds

Awards under this Fund may not be used to support an applicant’s ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation, and settlement agreements. 

Awards under this Fund may not be used for political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, or litigation. 


The anticipated timeline for this RFP is as follows:

April 14, 2023 (9:59pm Mountain time): Pre-Proposal due date
June 2023: Full Proposals invited
August 28, 2023 (9:59pm Mountain time): Full Proposal due date
November 2023: Awards announced 

How to Apply

All Pre-Proposal applications must be received by Friday, April 14, 2023 at 9:59pm Mountain time. Applicants will be notified of the status of their Pre-Proposals in June 2023. If invited to submit a Full Proposal, the due date for such Full Proposal will be Monday, August 28, 2023 at 9:59pm Mountain time. Applicants are expected to be notified of the status of their Full Proposals in November 2023.

NFWF reserves the right to award or not award funding hereunder to any applicant, and NFWF may withdraw this RFP at any time without notice. During the proposal review process, the review committee may request that applicants revise their proposals or provide additional details on a specific topic. Applicants who do not respond to these requests and do not complete requested revisions may be removed from further consideration for funding.

All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF’s Easygrants system. Please note that while proposals will be accepted in Easygrants until 9:59pm Mountain time on the due dates, application support will only be available until 3:00pm Mountain time.

Go to the Easygrants online system to register. 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. 

Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.

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. 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:

Eliza Braendel
Senior Manager, Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts (IDEA)
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 

Anne Butterfield
Senior Manager, Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts (IDEA)
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation