Klamath River Coho Habitat Restoration Program 2019-2020 Request for Proposals

Pre-Proposal Due Date: December 12, 2019 by 8:59 PM Pacific Time
Full Proposal Due Date: March 3, 2020 by 8:59 PM Pacific Time (For invited applicants)


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is pleased to announce the Klamath River Coho Habitat Restoration Program (Grant Program) Request for Proposals (RFP) to enhance the survival and recovery of the Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), a species listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act. Funded by Reclamation, the Grant Program is administered by NFWF with coordination from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The goal of this competitive Grant Program is to support restoration activities that have a direct benefit to SONCC coho salmon and/or design, planning, or monitoring projects that can demonstrate direct benefit for coho salmon. All projects must comply with the 2019 Biological Opinion prepared by NMFS.

Project types that will be given the highest priority include: access improvement and barrier removal projects; projects that improve habitat and access to coldwater refugia; instream habitat enhancement and protection projects; and water conservation projects. Since 2016, the Grant Program has announced awards of over $2.5 million to 21 projects. These projects have leveraged over $2.8 in matching funds and in-kind contributions for a total conservation impact of $5.3M. The Grant Program is expected to award up to $665,000 in 2020.

Geographic Focus

Projects must be located in the mainstem Klamath River Basin and tributaries between Iron Gate Dam (IGD) at River Mile (RM) 190 and the Klamath River mouth. With the exception of the Trinity River, all tributaries between IGD and the Klamath River mouth are eligible for funding through the Grant Program.

Klamath River Basin Map
Figure 1. Klamath River Coho Habitat Restoration Program focal geography (2019 Biological Opinion (BiOp), page 71, Figure 5)

Program Priorities

In order to be eligible for funding, proposed projects must directly benefit SONCC coho salmon and/or be a design, planning or monitoring project that can demonstrate that it will provide a direct benefit to coho salmon. The following project types will be given the highest priority. The examples of potential projects discussed below are not intended to limit types of potential projects being considered, they are simply examples. 

Access improvement and barrier removal projects: 

These include projects to: 

  1. Remove and address existing fish passage barriers including small dams, fords, and culverts to create permanent access to spawning and rearing habitat. 
  2. Maintain and improve access to existing habitat. Examples of projects undertaken to remove existing fish passage barriers, or maintain and improve fish access would include:
    • ​​Barrier removals caused by road crossings (e.g., culverts);
    • Diversion dams, or other permanent or seasonal barriers that impede fish pass;
    • Maintenance or modifications to tributary mouths to ensure access, including removal of swimmer dams, gradient barriers, log jams, and other types of impediments.

Projects that improve habitat and access to coldwater refugia: 

These include projects to: 

  1. ​Improve connectivity and habitat cover and complexity or maintain habitat cover and complexity (if already suitable) at coldwater refugia sites; 
  2. Increase the extent and/or duration of coldwater refugia, and;
  3. Enhance rearing habitat in key rearing sites. Projects to improve or maintain cover and the complexity of cover in refugia can include riparian planting, and placements of boulders, large wood, and brush bundles. Projects to increase the extent and/or duration of refugia sites can include improving connection of flow from tributaries that feed refugia and adding natural structures or deepening refugia sites to increase the duration and extent of the coldwater plume. Projects to enhance rearing sites can include channel re-alignment, alcove or pond deepening, riparian planting, and placements of boulders, large wood, and brush bundles. Examples of projects that improve coldwater refugia include off-channel pond construction and improvement, routine brush bundle placement in existing refugia, and habitat improvements between refugia.

Instream habitat enhancement and protection projects: 

These projects are necessary to provide rearing habitat for both over-summering and over-wintering coho salmon. Connectivity-related projects include in-channel enhancements and improvements to eliminate flow and thermal barriers (e.g., removal or functional upgrades of diversion structures or screens, channel modifications or impediment removal to improve flow and access). Projects to enhance rearing habitat in tributaries include:

  • ​Channel reconstruction; 
  • Floodplain connection; 
  • Off-channel habitat creation and connection to increase available habitats provided by tributary channels, and;
  • Side channels, alcoves, and ponds. 

Projects to protect summer rearing habitat could include:

  • ​Riparian fencing and planting and instream structure placement (e.g., large wood features, beaver dam analogues, post assisted wood structures, etc.), and;
  • Riparian leasing, and conservation easements or acquisitions to protect riparian areas and streambanks along reaches that provide important summer rearing habitat.

Water transactions and conservation projects:

Projects should help prevent seasonal and temporary flow-related fish passage barriers and improve water quality in key rearing and spawning areas. Water transactions projects includes funding of water transactions to provide flow augmentation in reaches used for coho salmon spawning and juvenile rearing in tributaries of the Scott River and Shasta River. For example, funds would be available for temporary leases of water from people with active water rights to keep water instream. 

Water conservation projects types may include instream leasing and irrigation forbearance agreements, permanent transfers of water instream, tailwater reduction projects, water storage tanks and piping of ditches that ensure protection of the enhanced flow using tools such as petitions for instream flow dedications as described in Section 1707 of the California Water Code.


Eligible applicants include: local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies (e.g., townships, cities), special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts), non-profit 501(c) organizations, schools and universities.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds 

  • ​Reclamation funds administered through NFWF and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • Reclamation funds administered through NFWF 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

The Grant Program will award up to $665,000 in 2020. Reclamation and NFWF expect to make five to eight grant awards from this RFP ranging from $10,000 to $500,000. Proposals that provide the largest benefit to SONCC coho salmon will be priorities for available funding. Pre-proposals that are invited back to submit a full proposal must include a quote from a qualified environmental consultant on the potential cost of any/all federal environmental compliance necessary to complete the project’s objectives. After the award date, projects should begin within six months of the complete project description being analyzed under any and all federal environmental compliance laws and policies and be completed within one year. Maximum performance period end date is 6/30/2021. Projects that demonstrate strong partnerships and that have non-federal matching funds from various partners/donors to support a significant portion of cost of the project being submitted are strongly encouraged. Although non-federal matching funds are optional, projects with matching funds will be given higher priority consideration. 

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 Priorities – Project contributes to the Grant 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.

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.

Cost-Effectiveness – Project includes a cost-effective budget that balances performance risk and efficient use of funds.  Cost-effectiveness evaluation may include, but is not limited to, an assessment of either or both direct and indirect costs in the proposed budget. The federal government has determined that a de minimis 10% indirect rate is an acceptable minimum for organizations without a NICRA, as such NFWF reserves the right to scrutinize ALL proposals with indirect rates above 10% for cost-effectiveness.  

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 detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.

Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.

Conservation Plan and Context – Project advances an existing conservation plan or strategy. 

Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise. 

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.

Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.

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.)


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.

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.

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.  No advance of funds will be allowed unless funds are directly related to completing environmental compliance requirements determined by Reclamation.

Compliance Requirements – Projects selected will be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) (state and federal), and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), etc.  Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved by Reclamation prior to initiating project activities.  Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals collecting quotes from qualified consultants.  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 as determined necessary by Reclamation.

Environmental Compliance: Projects that are selected for funding will need to comply with NEPA, NHPA, the ESA and any other environmental law or policy determined by Reclamation prior to project commencement. In the template provided, appropriately answer the following list of questions to provide initial insight into the extent and scope of potential environmental compliance and permitting requirements for your project: 

(1) Will your project impact the surrounding environment (i.e., soil [dust], air, water [quality and quantity], fish and wildlife habitat, etc.)? If so, please explain the impacts and any steps that could be taken to minimize the impacts. 

(2) Are you aware of any ESA listed (i.e., endangered, threatened, listed, or proposed species) in the project area as well as critical habitats they depend on? If so, are there any expected impacts to these species or their critical habitat (explain)? 

(3) Are there wetlands inside or near the project boundaries? If so, please estimate how many acres of wetlands there are, and describe any impact your project will have on the wetlands.  Please estimate the quantity of any dredge and fill activities. 

(4) Describe the extent and timing of in-water work proposed for your project. Will there be removal/fill activities (dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands)? Will the project alter the streambed? 

(5) Describe the extent of ground disturbing activities associated with your project. Will there be trenching, driving equipment off existing roads, etc.? If so, what are the dimensions of the trenching and or other ground disturbance activity? 

The costs associated with compliance with NEPA, ESA, NHPA, and CWA should be included in the overall project budget.

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 U.S. 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.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinar November 26, 2019, 11:00 AM, Pacific Time
Pre-Proposal Due Date ​December 12, 2019, 8:59 PM, Pacific Time
Invitations for Full Proposals Sent ​Early February 2020
Full Proposal Due Date ​March 3, 2020, 8:59 PM, Pacific Time
Review Period ​March – April 2020
​Awards Announced ​Late April 2020 

How To Apply

All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF’s Easygrants system.

  1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org 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. Please disable the pop-up blocker on your internet browser prior to beginning the application process. 
  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.

Application Assistance

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: 

Femke Freiberg
Manager, California Water Programs
Email: femke.freiberg@nfwf.org
Phone: 415-243-3104 (PST)

Kate Morgan
Coordinator, Water Investments
Email: Katherine.morgan@nfwf.org
Phone: 202-595-2469 (EST)

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