Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Spring 2024 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2024, by 11:59pm Eastern Time

 

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal-state Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) partnership, is soliciting proposals through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund to protect and restore water quality and habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams.

Through the Small Watershed Grants (SWG) Program, delivered in partnership with EPA and the CBP partnership, NFWF is soliciting proposals for projects within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that promote voluntary, community-based efforts to protect and restore the diverse and vital habitats of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams. 

NFWF will award funding through two distinct funding opportunities. All SWG Program proposals must directly align with one or more of the SWG PROGRAM PRIORITIES outlined further in this Request for Proposals.

  1. SWG Implementation (SWG-I) grants of $150,000-1,000,000 will be awarded for projects that result in direct, on-the-ground actions to protect and restore water quality, species, and habitats in the Bay watershed.
  2. SWG Planning and Technical Assistance (SWG-PTA) grants up to $150,000 will be awarded for projects that enhance local capacity to implement future on-the-ground actions, consistent with SWG Program priorities, through community-based assessment, planning, design, and other technical assistance-oriented activities.

Further details for each program, including associated PROGRAM PRIORITIES, FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH, and ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA are provided throughout this solicitation. In developing and submitting applications, prospective applicants should select the most appropriate program based on the details of their proposed project and alignment with associated program details. Applicants are encouraged to review the CBSF Quick Reference Guide and Applicant Toolbox for further insight in selecting the appropriate funding opportunity based on their proposed project.

While NFWF does not require consultation prior to application, we strongly encourage interested applicants to contact NFWF staff or its contracted field liaisons (contact information on page 15) to discuss their proposed project to gather constructive feedback in developing a competitive proposal, and to obtain guidance on the most appropriate program and funding opportunity for project consideration. Interested applicants may schedule virtual project consultations with NFWF staff here

Including funds made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, NFWF estimates awarding $20 to $30 million in grants through the SWG Program in 2024, contingent on the availability of funding, through major funding provided by the EPA CBP Office. Other important contributions are provided by Altria Group, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the U.S. Forest Service. 

 

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

All projects must occur wholly within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Priority consideration will be provided to projects located within priority subwatersheds or habitat units based on the unique opportunities to maximize multiple goals and outcomes for water quality, species and habitats, and communities. Applicants are encouraged to consult NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Business Plan mapping portal in informing potential geographic focus. 

 

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Consistent with the CBP partnership’s 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, the SWG Program supports efforts to achieve water quality improvement, restoration, and protection of key Chesapeake Bay species and their habitats, and the fostering of an engaged and diverse citizen and stakeholder presence that will build upon and sustain measurable natural resource improvements. NFWF is soliciting proposals that provide measurable contributions for selected goals and outcomes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement and associated with NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Business Plan and will place priority emphasis on projects that meaningfully and materially contribute to multiple program priorities as outlined below. 

The SWG program will support projects that address one or more of the following priorities through either (1) direct on-the-ground implementation of conservation or restoration actions (SWG-I grants) or (2) assessment, planning, design, and other technical assistance-oriented activities (SWG-PTA grants). SWG-I grants may also include technical assistance-oriented activities necessary to support proposed on-the-ground implementation activities.

In all cases, NFWF will prioritize proposals from applicants that have directly and meaningfully engaged local communities in the identification, prioritization, selection, and implementation of proposed actions. Examples of direct and meaningful engagement include:

  • Co-creating project with community members
  • Empowering community members with knowledge and decision-making authority
  • Ensuring the project team includes community members and leads to collaborative management with the community
  • Including specific, active engagement strategies such as workshops, classroom activities, field trips, and volunteer opportunities
  • Addressing a specific and localized harm such as pollution, flooding, or fires
  • Creating jobs in the target community or performing job training and certification
  • Directly engaging in specific cultural activities with the community

Proposals from applicants or partnerships directly representing or resourcing historically underserved communities will receive priority consideration, especially those that align established interests of local communities with SWG/WILD program priorities. NFWF also explicitly encourages applications from community-based organizations as key project partners, regardless of an environmental or conservation-related mission, in order to ensure that a broad spectrum of community interests are represented and reflected in proposed activities. Furthermore, NFWF encourages more traditional environmental and conservation organizations and entities to use grant funding to enhance their internal capacity to engage with, mentor, and support diverse community partners.

Resources defining key terms related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts under the NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, as well as tools for understanding demographic and socioeconomics of affected communities, are available on NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund website.

In addition, through funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, NFWF is encouraging proposals consistent with the following PROGRAM PRIORITIES that advance implementation of one or more of the following selected natural and nature-based watershed and habitat restoration practices. Critically, these natural and nature-based practices provide multiple watershed restoration and habitat benefits including long-term pollution control, improved habitat, and enhanced climate resilience for human and wildlife communities. These practices include:

  • Riparian forest buffers, including associated livestock exclusion fencing, crossings, and watering systems;
  • Tidal and non-tidal wetland creation, rehabilitation, or enhancement;
  • Floodplain restoration that reconnects incised streams to their floodplains and floodplain wetlands;
  • Shoreline management; and
  • Urban tree planting and maintenance of existing and enhancement of existing urban tree canopy

PRIORITY 1. Managing Agricultural and Urban Runoff

  • Managing Upland Agricultural Runoff through Farm-Scale Conservation Systems and Solutions: Includes efforts to reduce water quality impacts while simultaneously maintaining or increasing profits and farm management benefits of the region’s farms by implementing best management practices that reduce nutrient and sediment pollution at the farm scale.

Generally, applicants should seek first to utilize existing federal, state, and local agricultural cost-share and incentive programs to finance implementation of water quality improvement practices, with NFWF funding used to strategically fill gaps in existing funding programs. Where NFWF funding is sought to cover all or a large portion of costs for practice implementation, describe why other public programs are insufficient or otherwise inappropriate for financing proposed practice implementation.

In 2024, NFWF has additional, dedicated funding from NRCS to support projects working on private, working lands that provide technical assistance to interested farmers and ranchers to develop management plans, design and implement conservation practices, and participate in Farm Bill programs, especially the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). A particular emphasis should be placed on promoting, designing, and implementing climate-smart agriculture and forestry (CSAF) conservation practices that also deliver improved water quality outcomes, and reducing the Farm Bill practice contracting and implementation backlogs. Successful proposals under this special opportunity will also seek to increase conservation program participation and practice adoption among Historically Underserved and Special Emphasis farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners.

Please ensure associated projects are in alignment with NRCS goals and priorities by conferring with the NRCS State Conservationist and their staff in the state in which your project is located. A list of NRCS state contacts can be found here.

  • Managing Upland Urban Runoff through Green Stormwater Infrastructure Improvements (GSI): Includes efforts to reduce stormwater runoff on developed lands by implementing GSI practices that capture, store, filter, and treat stormwater runoff through systems and practices that mimic natural hydrologic processes. 
  • Accelerating Innovation in Watershed Management: Includes in-field application of new technologies and management approaches with the potential to reduce costs, increase nutrient removal efficiencies, and more effectively control emerging nutrient and sediment pollutant sources. 

PRIORITY 2. Improving Water Quality and Stream Health Through Riparian Restoration and Conservation

  • Restoring Riparian and Freshwater Habitats through Forested Buffers, Livestock Exclusion, and Stream Restoration: Includes efforts to mitigate local stream impairments, improve stream health, and maintain or enhance benthic macroinvertebrate populations through establishment of riparian forested buffers (minimum standard of 35 ft. wide), livestock exclusion fencing (including stream crossings and off-stream watering systems where appropriate), and stream restoration and floodplain reconnection.

Proposed stream restoration and floodplain reconnection efforts must be consistent with qualifying conditions and design and crediting protocols established by the CBP partnership for creditable nutrient and sediment load reductions under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (see Recommendations of the Expert Panel to Define Removal Rates for Individual Stream Restoration Projects and the Chesapeake Stormwater Network’s Unified Guide for Crediting Stream and Floodplain Restoration Projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to determine project eligibility). Beyond creditable load reductions, the most competitive projects will be part of a larger watershed restoration effort and be able to demonstrate enhanced stream function and optimize co-benefits for ecosystems and affected communities. NFWF does not advocate for or disallow any commonly used stream restoration methodology over others.

Stream restoration and floodplain reconnection projects are capital-intensive and highly site-specific interventions with potential for significant impacts on existing natural resources. These proposals will accordingly undergo enhanced scrutiny in the proposal review and evaluation process. As a result, applicants considering applying for stream restoration and floodplain reconnection projects are strongly encouraged to contact an appropriate NFWF field liaison to schedule a pre-application site prior to submitting your application (see APPLICATION ASSISTANCE below for field liaison contact information). 

In addition, these proposals must complete and upload the accompanying “Stream Restoration Narrative Supplement” (APPENDIX B) to be submitted with the standard full proposal narrative. This supplemental narrative is intended to provide additional technical information and not to reiterate or copy text from the main proposal narrative.

  • Conserving High-Quality Riparian Corridors: Includes long-term protection and preservation of riparian and floodplain ecosystems by strategically leveraging federal, state, and local land conservation programs through assistance with transaction and due diligence costs, bonus payments for high-value riparian conservation easements and land acquisitions, and incorporation of riparian protection into existing agricultural land preservation programs. 

PRIORITY 3. Enhancing and Protecting Freshwater Habitat for Eastern Brook Trout

  • Increasing Habitat Integrity and Population Viability for Eastern Brook Trout: In conjunction with efforts to manage polluted runoff and restore and conserve riparian and upland forest habitat, includes improving connectivity within and between stronghold eastern brook trout population patches through dam removal, repair and replacement of culverts and other fish passage improvements in order to increase populations and increase occupied habitat, and monitoring of species and population response. In-stream habitat enhancements not otherwise creditable under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL may also be appropriate where instream habitat quality, cover, and structure can be identified as limiting factors to viable local populations. 
  • Conserving Upland and Riparian Forests in Eastern Brook Trout Strongholds: Includes long-term protection and preservation of upland and riparian forest ecosystems in identified Eastern brook trout strongholds by strategically leveraging federal, state, and local land conservation programs through assistance with transaction and due diligence costs, bonus payments for conservation easements and land acquisitions for high-quality upland and riparian forest, and incorporation of forestland protection into existing rural land preservation programs. 

PRIORITY 4. Enhancing and Protecting Tidal and Estuarine Habitat

  • Restoring and Conserving Wetland and Tidal Marsh Habitat for American Black Duck: Includes restoration of degraded tidal and non-tidal wetland habitats and strategic conservation of existing high-quality wintering and nesting habitats for American black duck. To address threats to habitat from sea level rise, NFWF will further support strategies that seek to create corridors for future marsh migration through strategic land protection, restoration, and management. 
  • Managing Shoreline Erosion and Marsh Loss: Includes implementation of nature-based or hybrid living shoreline restoration practices, particularly those that reduce sediment loading to priority oyster reef restoration sites, establish and expand emergent or submerged aquatic vegetation, and/or help to protect adjacent marsh systems documented as important habitat for American black duck.  
  • Restoring Large-Scale Oyster Reefs: Includes assisting efforts to restore and protect large-scale oyster reefs strategically identified by the Maryland, Virginia, and the CBP by leveraging funding from federal and state agencies to support oyster larvae and spat production, development of sustainable reef substrate supplies, and reef construction efforts in established oyster reef restoration tributaries.
  • Restoring River Herring Habitat Connectivity: Includes efforts to increase connectivity and access to spawning habitat along priority migratory corridors for alewife and blueback herring through dam removal, repair and replacement of culverts, and other fish passage improvements. NFWF will prioritize cost-effective connectivity enhancements that provide access to the greatest amount of quality habitat at the lowest cost.

PRIORITY 5. Enhancing Nature-Based Resilience for Human Communities

  • Protecting and Enhancing Natural and Nature-Based Solutions to Improve Community Resilience: Includes efforts to protect and enhance natural and nature-based solutions to help protect coastal and inland communities from the impacts of storms, floods, and other natural hazards and enable them to recover more quickly.

PRIORITY 6. Building Capacity for Landscape-Scale Watershed and Habitat Planning, Design, and Implementation

  • Regional-Scale Partnership Development: Includes activities that scale up restoration outcomes through enhanced partnership and coordination across organizations at broader regional and landscape scales. Interested applicants should consider appropriate models and frameworks for their own partnership efforts. 
  • Improving Delivery of Outreach and Technical Assistance: Includes support for conservation districts, nonprofits, local and state governments, and private sector partners to provide technical assistance necessary to achieve NFWF’s habitat restoration, conservation, and management goals through field positions, development of targeted outreach strategies such as community-based social marketing, and enhanced coordination and partnership among technical assistance providers to improve efficiency and reduce administrative bottlenecks.
  • Assessing Local Watershed and Habitat Restoration Needs and Opportunities: Includes watershed and habitat assessments, watershed implementation planning, and other planning and prioritization efforts to maximize conservation impact. Priority will be placed on efforts to translate Bay pollution reduction goals to local implementation plans, along with efforts to identify habitat restoration opportunities for NFWF’s priority species at a local level. Examples include small watershed restoration plans, property or farm-level conservation and stormwater management plans, patch-level population and habitat assessments for Eastern brook trout, culvert and barrier assessments in priority rivers for river herring, and wetlands restoration and protection assessments to maximize black duck population outcomes.
  • Designing and Permitting Watershed and Habitat Improvements: Includes strategic assistance to local partners for costs associated with design and permitting for high-impact restoration and management actions. NFWF has specific interest in design approaches that integrate multiple species and/or habitat objectives and therefore provide meaningful contributions to multiple programmatic goals and outcomes.
  • Leveraging Social Science to Advance Behavior Change: Includes efforts to conduct applied social science research to understand and apply frameworks to influence behaviors of individual landowners, homeowners, watershed residents, businesses, and institutions in support of watershed restoration and protection outcomes, as well as integration of best practices in social science program evaluation to measure success of engagement and behavior change programs. 


PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund has a list of metrics in Easygrants for proposal applicants to choose from for future reporting. For projects proposing to implement water quality improvements for the purposes of nutrient and sediment load reduction, awardees will be required to report both project-level metrics via Easygrants and more detailed site and practice-level data via FieldDoc (see “Nutrient and Sediment Load Reductions” on page 12 for more information), as applicable. 

We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from the list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table in APPENDIX C). If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Jake Reilly at jake.reilly@nfwf.org or (202) 857-0166, to discuss acceptable alternatives.


ELIGIBILITY


For Planning and Technical Assistance proposals:

  • Non-profit organizations, local and municipal governments, Tribal governments and organizations and K-12 education institutions seeking potential service providers may visit our website for an updated listing of technical service providers operating in the region.
  • State government agencies and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for Planning and Technical Assistance proposals but must document support and/or request for proposed activities by appropriate non-profit organizations, local and municipal governments, Tribal governments and organizations and/or K-12 education institutions.


Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds

  • Equipment: Applicants are encouraged to rent equipment where possible and cost-effective or use matching funds to make those purchases. NFWF acknowledges, however, that some projects may only be completed using NFWF funds to procure equipment. If this applies to your project, please contact the program staff listed in this RFP to discuss options.
  • Federal funds and matching contributions may not be used to procure or obtain equipment, services, or systems (including entering into or renewing a contract) that uses telecommunications equipment or services produced by Huawei Technologies Company or ZTE Corporation (or any subsidiary or affiliate of such entities) as a substantial or essential component, or as critical technology of any system. Refer to Public Law 115-232, section 889 for additional information. 
  • 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.

 
FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH

NFWF estimates awarding $20 to $30 million in grants through the combined SWG Program in 2024. For both the SWG-I and SWG-PTA funding opportunities, non-federal matching funds are encouraged, but not required. All proposed projects must begin on or after September 1, 2024, to facilitate necessary grant contracting, quality assurance, and environmental compliance activities. In order to qualify, match must be expended during the proposed period of performance. 
 


EVALUATION CRITERIA

All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness, and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated uniquely based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria:

Criteria #1 – Conservation Outcomes

  • Implementation: Project will clearly and demonstrably result in meaningful on-the-ground implementation of conservation and/or restoration actions that contribute to one or more of the identified program priorities. Where possible and appropriate, the proposal simultaneously contributes measurable and meaningful implementation actions supporting multiple priority outcomes.
  • PTA: Project will result in the delivery of planning and technical assistance products and services that meaningfully advance potential conservation or restoration implementation efforts that would contribute to one of more of the identified program priorities. In considering who benefits from requested services, there is a demonstrated need for services and a clear commitment to utilize services to support future implementation efforts. 
  • All Funding Opportunities: Project incorporates meaningful engagement of affected communities, furthers established community interests, and incorporates community members and stakeholders in project activities. 
  • All Funding Opportunities: Project supports new and existing partnerships working to advance conservation and restoration actions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. 
  • All Funding Opportunities: Project incorporates plans and approaches to implement, verify and sustain conservation and restoration actions and outcomes beyond the timeframe of the grant.

Criteria #2 – Partnership and Community Impact

  • The applicant organization partners and engages collaboratively with diverse local community members, leaders, community-based organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement the proposed project. This ensures long-term sustainability and success of the project, integration into local programs and policies, and community acceptance of proposed restoration actions. 
  • Non-traditional partners or communities are enlisted to broaden the sustained impact from the project. 
  • Community characteristics of the project area are described, any communities impacted are identified, outreach and community engagement activities are described, as well as how those will be monitored and measured.
  • Proposal uses demographic data to support descriptions and includes letters of support from community partners and/or collaborators demonstrating their commitment to the project and engagement in project activities as proposed.

Criteria #3 – Budget

  • The quality and level of detail in the budget and budget narrative provide a clear and detailed understanding of the proposed funding request. 
  • Proposal demonstrates cost-effectiveness in achieving its proposed outcomes, considering both direct and indirect costs in the proposed budget.
  • Proposed costs are reasonable based on the work plan, local or regional costs for similar activities, and commensurate with project outcomes.
  • Budget clearly indicates the degree of partnership in conducting the proposed work, including funding for project partners, stakeholders, and community members, as appropriate.
  • Proposed funding request is well leveraged by the partners and other contributors through cash-, in-kind, and other match. 
  • The federal government has determined that a de minimis 10% indirect rate is an acceptable minimum for organizations without a negotiated indirect cost rate agreement (NICRA), as such NFWF reserves the right to scrutinize ALL proposals with indirect rates above 10% for cost-effectiveness.  

Criteria #4 – Technical

  • Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical, and achievable work plan, milestones, and timeline. All proposed projects must begin on or after September 1, 2024 to facilitate necessary grant contracting and quality assurance activities. 
  • Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are technically sound and feasible. Proposal demonstrates an understanding of necessary permitting and environmental compliance requirements and the ability to obtain necessary approvals consistent with the proposed work plan and timeline. 
  • Applicant organization has demonstrated an ability to manage and implement similar projects on time and within budget.


OTHER

Partnership and Community Impact – The applicant organization partners and engages collaboratively with diverse local community members, leaders, community-based organizations, and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement the proposed project. This ensures long-term sustainability and success of the project, integration into local programs and policies, and community acceptance of proposed restoration actions. Non-traditional partners or communities are enlisted to broaden the sustained impact from the project. Describe the community characteristics of the project area, identify any communities impacted, describe outreach and community engagement activities and how those will be monitored and measured. Use demographic data to support descriptions and submit letters of support from community partners and/or collaborators demonstrating their commitment to the project and engagement in project activities as proposed.

Quality Assurance – If a project involves monitoring, data collection or data use, grantees will be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation. This includes any data collection activities described in the proposal as provided by match and partner activities. Examples of data collection or use which requires a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP):

  • New data collection.
  • Existing data use (a new use for data collected for a different purpose, whether by the same or different groups).
  • Data collection and analysis associated with development or design of plans and projects e.g. fish passage, watershed or water quality/habitat restoration project plans etc. 
  • Water or other environmental monitoring.
  • Model development or use etc.
  • Citizen or community based scientific data collection, monitoring etc.

Applicants must budget time and resources in their CBSF proposal to complete this task. No data collection or use may begin until a QAPP is approved and on file. Reimbursement for project activities, including non-data collection activities, may be delayed until quality assurance compliance requirements are complete. Plan to submit the draft QAPP to NFWF within three months of award. The timeline for receiving review feedback and comments and subsequent submittal for EPA approval is dependent upon the quality of the draft QAPP submission and may involve several iterations. General assistance will be available to grantees to help with scoping and review of draft QAPPs. For more information, follow the link to EPA QA and CBSF Quality Assurance Project Plan Guidance. Please contact Oleksandr Faryga (oleksandr.faryga@nfwf.org) if you have any questions about whether your project would require a QAPP. Applicants interested in details of NFWF’s quality assurance approach can visit our “Tools for Current Grantees” webpage

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 must 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.

Nutrient and Sediment Load Reductions – All projects proposing to implement water quality improvements for the purposes of nutrient and sediment load reduction must provide credible estimates of associated load reduction outcomes. To assist applicants, NFWF has partnered with the Chesapeake Commons and Maryland Department of Natural Resource to develop FieldDoc, a user-friendly tool that allows consistent planning, tracking, and reporting of water quality improvement activities and associated nutrient and sediment load reductions from proposed grant projects. 

FieldDoc currently includes functionality for a significant share of water quality improvement practices approved by the CBP for the purposes of TMDL crediting. NFWF expects all projects proposing to implement on-the-ground water quality improvements to utilize FieldDoc to calculate estimated load reductions included in their application. When setting up proposed projects in FieldDoc, please be sure to list your application’s 5-digit Easygrants number in the FieldDoc project title.

Upon grant award, NFWF will require all projects submitted under this solicitation to utilize FieldDoc for tracking and reporting of applicable water quality improvement activities during the course of their grant project. For technical support on FieldDoc utilization during the proposal development process, please contact the Commons at support@chesapeakecommons.org. Further help documentation can be found on our website

Practice Specifications – Unless otherwise noted, all water quality improvement practices implemented must conform to established and recognized standards and practice specifications (e.g., NRCS practice standards, state stormwater manuals and retrofit guidance, approved CBP BMP Expert Panel reports). Applicants must note where proposed practices will deviate from established standards and provide reasonable justification for why an alternative is necessary. 

Monitoring – NFWF may implement independent monitoring efforts in the future to measure the environmental outcomes from projects funded under this solicitation. Award recipients may be asked to facilitate granting of access to project sites for NFWF or its designees for future environmental monitoring purposes. Applicant implementing community and/or habitat resilience are encouraged to review NFWF’s broader resilience monitoring approaches, standard metrics and protocols in building their own potential resilience monitoring activities. 

Applicant Demographic Information – In an effort to better understand diversity in our grantmaking, NFWF is collecting basic demographic information on applicants and their organizations via a voluntary survey form (available in Easygrants). This information will not be shared externally or with reviewers and will not be considered when making grant decisions. For more details, please see the tip sheet and the Uploads section of Easygrants.


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.

Environmental Services – NFWF funds projects in pursuit of its mission to sustain, restore and enhance the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. NFWF recognizes that some benefits from projects may be of value with regards to credits on an environmental services market (such as a carbon credit market). NFWF does not participate in, facilitate, or manage an environmental services market nor does NFWF assert any claim on such credits. 

Intellectual Property – Intellectual property created using NFWF awards may be copyrighted or otherwise legally protected by award recipients. NFWF may reserve the right to use, publish, and copy materials created under awards, including posting such material on NFWF’s website and featuring it in publications. NFWF may use project metrics and spatial data from awards to estimate societal benefits that result and to report these results to funding partners. These may include but are not limited to: habitat and species response, species connectivity, water quality, water quantity, risk of detrimental events (e.g., wildfire, floods), carbon accounting (e.g., sequestration, avoided emissions), environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

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.  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.

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 – The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on the level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.


TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change and contingent on the availability of funding. Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information (http://www.nfwf.org/chesapeake).

Applicant Webinar (View Recording) Tuesday, February 13th, 1:00pm, ET
FieldDoc Webinar (Registration) Thursday, February 15th, 10:00am ET
Proposal Due Date Wednesday, April 3rd, 11:59pm ET
Proposal Review Period April – August
Awards Announced September (anticipated)


HOW TO APPLY

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’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 

A Tip Sheet and quick reference guide is available for review while you are working through your application. These documents can be downloaded at http://www.nfwf.org/chesapeake. 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 Jake Reilly (jake.reilly@nfwf.org) or Oleksandr Faryga (oleksandr.faryga@nfwf.org) via e-mail.
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.

NFWF also offers on-demand, field-based project and partnership development support through field liaisons, providing broad geographic coverage across the Bay region for agricultural conservation, urban stormwater management, wetland and watershed science, and habitat experience and expertise relevant to Bay restoration goals. Applicants may also contact these field liaisons using the information below to discuss potential projects:

Liason Contact Email Phone Sector Expertise
Kristen Saacke Blunk kristen@headwaters-llc.org (814) 360-9766 •    All Sectors
Sarah Clark sarah@icl.org  (240) 472-1772  •    Partnerships and Collaborative Leadership
Kristen Hughes Evans kristen@susches.org (804) 554-3403 •    Agricultural Conservation
Liz Feinberg liz.feinberg63@gmail.com (610) 212-2345  •    All Sectors
David Hirschman dave@hirschmanwater.com (434) 409-0993 •    Stormwater/Urban Sector
Katie Ombalski katie@woodswaters.com (814) 574-7281 •    Agricultural Conservation
•    Habitat Restoration