Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund 2017 Request for Proposals

Pre-Proposal Due Date:   Monday, March 13 by 11:59 PM  Eastern Time

Full Proposal Due Date:  Tuesday, May 9 by 11:59 PM  Eastern Time 


The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund is soliciting proposals to support efforts to increase monarch butterfly population numbers, with the ultimate goal of supporting a resilient population and continuing its migratory phenomenon. In 2017 grants will be awarded within two primary categories, 1) increasing habitat and connectivity for monarch butterflies; and 2) enhancing coordination and capacity of monarch butterfly conservation efforts.
Approximately $3.7 million is available in this year of the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund. Funding is provided by the Monsanto Company, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, as well as private National Fish and Wildlife Foundation funds. 


Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund grants will be awarded to projects that significantly advance monarch butterfly conservation within the monarch range in North America (USA, Mexico, and Canada). Priority will be provided to projects with activities that occur in the eastern population’s migratory flyway. This area includes the 15 priority states of: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. Approximately $1.2 million will be directed specifically to projects in Texas. Projects in the West will be awarded with priority given to proposals with activity on or adjacent to U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, or projects with conservation actions at overwintering sites.  


The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund proposals will award grants in the following two categories: 
  • ​​Increase the Quality, Quantity, and Connectivity of Habitat
  • Enhance Outreach and Organizational Coordination 
​Each applicant will need to identify the one category that best describes the proposed project. If a project is expected to yield benefits in both categories, an applicant may also identify the relevant secondary category. In general, a project with strong, focused activities and outcomes in a single category will tend to compete better than a less-focused project that spans both categories. The following sections provide more information on the funding categories. 

Increase the Quality, Quantity, and Connectivity of Habitat 

The goal is to restore and enhance connected monarch habitat across the species’ range to support its annual life cycles and migration. NFWF will prioritize projects to increase the quantity, quality, and connectivity of monarch butterfly habitat. If preparing a proposal that includes on-the-ground work, please define the step-by-step restoration plan, which should include site preparation, equipment used, planting technique, size of the project area, and maintenance plan (BMPs, prescribed fire, mowing, invasive species removal, grazing, etc.). If preparing a proposal that includes collecting or propagating native plants, please describe the intended use of that seed or seedlings. 

Funding will primarily support the following three strategies: 

  1. Restore, enhance, or maintain habitat important for monarch butterfly breeding and migration, emphasizing the inclusion of regionally appropriate milkweed and a diversity of nectar plants; 
  2. Increase native seed supply to enhance the availability and affordability of regionally appropriate, local ecotype seed and seedlings (see definition for local ecotype on page 4);
  3. Protect and improve overwintering sites in Mexico and California 
​Restoration work will be focused on several categories of land: 
  • ​Federal, state, private, and tribal lands
  • Right-of-way habitat: railroad, transmission/pipeline corridors, and roadsides
  • Habitat within agricultural lands: marginal land, buffers, rangeland and pastureland, roadsides, field edges, including land enrolled in Farm Bill programs to enhance milkweed and forb species diversity in support of monarch habitat;
  • Habitat in the Western U.S.: specifically managed by or adjacent to U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management land; or conservation activities on current and or historic overwintering sites. 
Enhance Outreach and Organizational Coordination 

The goal is to strengthen capacity and coordination so information exchange is maximized, more widely distributed, and promotes on-the-ground action and implementation of conservation practices. NFWF will prioritize projects to increase capacity and coordination between organizations engaged in monarch conservation. This category seeks to advance innovative and catalytic approaches for achieving monarch conservation that ultimately links to on-the-ground projects. 

Funding will primarily support the following three strategies: 

  1. ​Create and foster state and regional monarch conservation consortiums (should include participation by academia, NGOs, federal, state, and local governments, and the private sector); 
  2. Support positions and programming that is additive (i.e., new positions and programming as opposed to existing positions and overhead);
  3. Promote the application of best management practices (BMPs) for restoring, enhancing, and maintaining monarch habitat.  


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for 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 do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Caroline Oswald (612-564-7253; to discuss acceptable alternatives. 

​Project Activity ​Recommended Metric ​Additional Guidance

Restore, Enhance, or ​Maintain Monarch Butterfly Habitat

​ ​
​Acres Restored* See definition of restore on page 4. Must be 0.5 acres or larger of contiguous habitat.​
​Acres Enhanced* ​See definition of enhance on page 4. Must be 0.5 acres or larger of contiguous habitat.
​Number of Patches Restored or Enhanced ​Patch is defined by an area less than 0.5 acres in size. Please provide the size of each of the patch(es) in the notes section.
​Increase Native Milkweed and Nectar Plant Resources Supply​ ​ ​ ​Pounds of Milkweed Seeds Collected ​Only include pounds of clean seed (see definition on page 4) collected. May include fractions. 
​Number of Milkweed Plugs Propagated ​Number of new milkweed plants successfully established to be transplanted for use in current or future monarch habitat restoration/ enhancement sites.
​Pounds of Nectar Seeds (Forb Species) Collected ​Only include pounds of clean seed (see definition on page 4) collected. May include fractions.​ Do not include milkweed species in this metric.


​​​​Outreach and Organizational Coordination ​ ​ ​ ​Number of Workshops Hosted
​Number of FTEs Hired
​Number of FTEs Sustained
​Number of Individuals or Partners Engaged


* For purposes of reporting, each project area should only be reported once as either “restored” or “enhanced” based on the condition of the area relative to monarchs at the beginning of project implementation.


  • Local Ecotype: a locally adapted population of a species which has a distinctive limit of tolerance to environmental factors. 
  • Clean Seed: seeds exclusive of inert matter, invasive/weed seeds, and all other seeds.
  • Restore**: Habitat Restoration involves the manipulation of an area with the goal of returning natural/historical function(s) and integrity to a site that has lost or degraded native habitat. Examples may include, but are not limited to, planting native plant communities that likely existed previously on the site and burning grass communities heavily invaded by exotic species to reestablish native grass/plant communities. 
  • Enhance**: Habitat enhancement involves the manipulation of an area to change (heighten, intensify, or improve) specific function(s) or successional stage of the project site conditions to provide additional benefits for monarchs. Habitat enhancement includes implementation or modification of land management practices such as mowing, haying, grazing, fire, mechanical/chemical treatments, use of pesticides, control of invasive species, forest management activities, and interseeding existing habitat with milkweeds and forbs. 
​** Monarch habitat plantings across the breeding range must include at least one species of regionally appropriate milkweed. Monarch habitat must also include nectar plants whose bloom time coincides with the period when monarchs are present in the project site area. At a minimum, monarch habitat plantings must include at least three nectar plants (in addition to milkweeds) that bloom during the following periods when monarchs are present: Spring (March 20 to June 1), Summer (June 2-August 15), and Fall (August 16-October 30) to meet the nutrition needs of breeding and migrating adult monarchs. 


  • Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions, and international organizations.​
    • Ineligible applicants include businesses and unincorporated individuals.
  • ​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.  


The Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund will award up to approximately $3.7 million in grants in 2017. Grants may range in size from $50,000 to $250,000; however the majority of past grants have typically ranged from $50,000 to $150,000. During the first two cycles of the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, the program has awarded an average of 22 grants per year, representing an application success rate of 21%. 

Grants may be up to two years in length following finalization of a grant agreement. Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent, and all matching funds are spent or applied. The project narrative should include a clear timetable or schedule for project completion. The start date indicated in an application should not precede May 31, 2017. 

Matching funds of at least 1:1 in non-U.S. federal funds will be required. Matching contributions must be spent or applied between the start and end dates indicated in the application. Matching contributions may include cash, in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes. The cost of land acquisition or easement may also qualify as leverage for a project involving work at the protected site. In addition, eligible indirect costs (that would not be paid with requested grant funding) may be applied as match. More information about using indirect costs as match can be found by clicking here


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. Project selections may also be based on other considerations, such as availability of funding, geographic balance, and balance among project types and grant size. 

Conservation Merit and Implementation 

  • 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 outlined in the Request for Proposal.
  • Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy.
  • 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 plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.
  • Complementarity – Project complements and builds on the work of others rather than duplicating efforts.
  • Timeliness – Project has commenced planning, design and engineering to the extent that on-the-ground implementation can begin shortly after the grant is awarded.
  • 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. 
Project Costs 
  • ​Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.
  • Matching Contributions – A 1:1 non-federal, U.S. match is required for all awards. Matching contributions are to be spent/applied between the start and end dates specified in the application.
  • 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 (OMB Uniform Guidance).  
  • Efficiency – Costs are fitting for the activities proposed. 
  • 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.  
  • Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.
  • Letters of Support – Provide letters of support from landowners where the proposed work would occur and from other significant partners, especially those providing match or contributing to the project in a significant way. 
Evaluation and Maintenance 
  • Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success, adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise, and assure conservation efforts are effective and strategic. 
  • 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. 


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 Requirements – Projects selected to receive Federal funding may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, 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.  Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant. 

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not necessarily 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. 


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund​ page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information. 

  • ​Applicant Webinar: February 13th, 12:00PM, Eastern Time
  • Pre-Proposal Due Date: March 13th, 11:59PM, Eastern Time
  • Invitations for Full Proposals Sent: April 10th 
  • Full Proposal Due Date: May 9th, 11:59PM, Eastern Time
  • Review Period: Mid-May – Mid-August
  • Awards Announced: Mid-August 


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

  1. ​Go to​ 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 an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission. 


A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded at the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund webpage. 

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded at the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund.  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:  

Caroline Oswald, Senior Manager (; 612-564-7253).  

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact: 

Easygrants Helpdesk 


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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​