Hawaiʻi Conservation Program (Kuahiwi a Kai and Hawaiian Forest Birds) 2021 Request For Proposals

Applicant Webinar: Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 10:00 AM Hawaiʻi Standard Time
Pre-Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by 5:59 PM Hawaiʻi Standard Time
Full Proposal Due Date: Monday, October 26, 2020 by 5:59 PM Hawaiʻi Standard Time


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to strategically protect and enhance essential habitats in Hawaiʻi, from mauka to makai (mountain to ocean), for sustaining healthy and resilient populations of native species. The Hawaiʻi Conservation Program’s 2021 Request for Proposals (RFP) includes both the Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program and the Hawaiian Forest Bird Program.

Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program
Lāna‘i is home to unique natural and cultural resources, stretching from the island’s mountain to its surrounding ocean. However, the landscape faces threats from sedimentation runoff, invasive plants, uncontrolled ungulate populations and non-native predators. Over the past 150 years, mismanagement of and overgrazing by non-native ungulates, including axis deer, has led to unnatural erosion patterns, burying historic cultural sites near the coast, smothering the island’s coral reefs and white sand beaches with sediment, and destroying terrestrial habitats that are home to native fauna. Invasive plants, such as strawberry guava and fire-tolerant grasses, have changed the hydrology of the watershed, increasing soil compaction and flash flooding, and decreasing water infiltration to the island’s aquifers.

The Kuahiwi a Kai Program was launched in 2019 to protect and enhance Lāna‘i’s coral reefs, native plants and animals, endangered Hawaiian petrel habitat, and sensitive coastal cultural sites, while fostering coordinated connection between Lāna‘i’s community and the land. This is 5-year program that will focus on measurable benefits in the Eligible Project Area including:

  • Increased community conservation ethic, recognizing that natural resources ARE cultural resources, and involvement in landscape protection efforts;
  • Decreased erosion, flooding, and sedimentation;
  • Improved native habitat quality through ungulate population control and fencing of priority watersheds;
  • Management of invasive plants on Lāna‘i Hale to improve endangered Hawaiian petrel nesting habitat;
  • Protection of native wildlife with predator-proof fencing where necessary and appropriate;
  • Improved reef health through improved fish biomass, structure, and improved water quality; and
  • Improved human, cultural, and recreational use of the area through preservation of nearshore resources, beaches, and cultural sites such as fishponds.

The Kuahiwi a Kai Program will award approximately $400,000 in grants in 2021.

Hawaiian Forest Bird Program
Hawaiʻi's avifauna is one of the most endangered on earth. Despite numerous extinctions since the arrival of humans, more than 20 endangered bird species persist across the Hawaiian Islands. Scientists believe that extinction for several of these species is likely unless aggressive conservation actions are taken to address landscape scale threats and to increase the size and distribution of these small populations.

In 2009, NFWF and partners developed the business plan for the conservation of Hawaiian forest birds to mitigate pervasive threats (Hawaiian Forest Birds Business Plan). The Hawaiian Forest Bird Program focused on strategic investments to secure populations of three species - palila, Maui parrotbill, and Nihoa millerbird with an ancillary goal of applying lessons learned through focused recovery of these species to additional threatened Hawaiian forest bird species. Since 2014, NFWF has provided strategic funding for actions targeting additional listed species (ʻalalā, ‘akikiki, ‘akeke‘e, and puaiohi) including support for the reintroduction of ʻalalā to native forests on Hawaiʻi Island. NFWF is currently updating goals and priorities for Hawaiian bird conservation. This RFP represents a transition from the existing business plan to a new Hawaiʻi landscape plan. This RFP will award up to $495,000 in federal funding in support of Hawaiian forest bird conservation efforts.

Major funding for the Hawaiʻi Conservation Program comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Pūlama Lānaʻi.


Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program
To be eligible for funding, projects must occur within the Eligible Project Area depicted in Map 1. This focal geography is an approximately 20,000 acre area comprised of the northeast watersheds on the island of Lāna‘i that is roughly bounded by Keōmoku Road to the north, the eastern coastline of Lāna‘i, Kapoho Gulch to the south, and over the top of the Lānaʻi Hale ridge to the top of the bench areas (encompassing the remaining native mesic forest).

Geographic focus for the Kuahiwi a Kai program
Map 1. Geographic focus (in orange) for the Kuahiwi a Kai program.

Hawaiian Forest Bird Program
The current geographic priorities include Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island. Other geographic locations may be considered on a case by case basis.


Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program
All proposals must specifically address how projects will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of the program goals. In 2021, the Kuahiwi a Kai Program seeks projects in the following program priority areas:

  • Installation of ungulate fence lines: An initial assessment to identify, map, and design potential ungulate fencing alignments within the Eligible Project Area is currently being conducted through a grant awarded through the program’s 2020 RFP. NFWF is seeking projects that will install the fence lines identified through this feasibility study to manage wild ungulate populations for the protection and restoration of sensitive habitats and reduction in sedimentation within the Eligible Project Area.  
  • Near-term sedimentation interventions: Stopgap measures are needed to address the legacy issues of a degraded landscape. NFWF is seeking projects that will initiate mitigation projects, such as check dams and restoration of upland areas by reseeding with native vegetation, in identified sediment runoff hot spots to reduce sedimentation to reefs and accelerate recovery.
  • Herbivorous fish management to protect nearshore reef health: Nearshore reefs have exhibited significant declines around Lāna‘i, transitioning to algal-dominant reefs. The stressors of warmer ocean temperatures and sedimentation have resulted in reefs that are unable to compete with algae for hard substrate. NFWF is seeking projects that will proactively manage reef fish that consume algae to restore reefs further from shore by increasing resilience and ability to recover.
  • Native habitat enhancement strategy: A project is underway to map and prioritize native habitat on Lānaʻi Hale and identify the best quality remaining habitat, the areas that are under greatest threat from habitat-altering invasive species, and areas of greatest importance to native wildlife and rare plants. NFWF is seeking projects that will develop a strategy with near-term actions and metrics for the protection and enhancement of Lānaʻi Hale’s native habitat.
  • Increasing community engagement: Lāna‘i’s human community is a vibrant part of the island’s landscape. NFWF is seeking to fund projects that will integrate the community and its cultural history into conservation activities on the island. Potential project activities may include integration of students and/or community members into educational, hands-on internships focused on water-quality monitoring, community volunteer projects focused on reef monitoring and habitat restoration efforts, and management and coordination of hunters to reduce deer density in the Eligible Project Area in a focused and targeted way. Education and inclusion in conservation stewardship encourages shared responsibility and shared pride for the special landscape and species that Lānaʻi is home to.

Hawaiian Forest Bird Program
All proposals must address how projects will measurably contribute to Hawaiian Bird conservation goals. Please also reference benefits of the proposed work to other Hawaiian taxa and watershed level restoration and conservation benefits. In 2021, the Hawaiian Forest Bird Program seeks projects in the following program priority areas:

  • Kauaʻi Forest Birds:  
    In 2021, NFWF seeks proposals that continue implementation of rodent management actions at critical sites, provide capacity and support monitoring to assess the effectiveness of rodent management. In addition, we seek proposals that advance strategies to secure declining populations of ‘akeke‘e and ‘akikiki including the following actions: fill mosquito and bird distribution gaps; fill species demographic research gaps; continue translocation planning & initiate translocations; support for captive rearing and support for habitat restoration activities will also be considered.
  • Maui Forest Birds:  
    In 2021, NFWF seeks proposals to secure the declining population of Maui parrotbill including: expanding captive propagation; conduct translocation planning (Hawaiʻi Island) and initiate translocations; fill mosquito and parrotbill survey gaps; support for habitat restoration and predator management activities will also be considered as well as projects that initiate planning and/or assessment of potential future ʻakohekohe translocations.
  • Hawaiʻi Island Forest Birds:
    • ʻAlalā: In 2021, NFWF seeks proposals in support of establishing a self-sustaining population of ʻalalā. Specific activities of interest include: reintroduction and reintroduction planning and monitoring survival and breeding behavior of released ʻalalā. 
    • Palila: In 2021, NFWF seeks proposals that continue monitoring population response to management actions and that foster and accelerate palila recovery efforts. Priorities include demographic studies that fill gaps in understanding of current recovery; analysis of palila survey data; habitat restoration and habitat restoration monitoring to evaluate forest condition and recovery; predator management and ungulate fence monitoring and repair. 
    • Hawaiʻi Forest Birds: In 2021, NFWF seeks proposals to fill mosquito and bird distribution gaps; to analyze Hawaiʻi Island forest bird survey data to elucidate potential changes in occupancy, distribution and abundance of endemic species.  


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Hawai'i Conservation Program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for full proposal applicants to choose from for future 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 think an applicable metric has not been provided, please contact Jana Doi (Jana.Doi@nfwf.org) to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity  Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
BMP implementation for livestock fencing Miles of fencing installed Enter the number of miles of new fencing installed to exclude ungulates and/or predators from the management area.
BMP implementation for fencing improvements Miles of fencing improved Enter the number of miles of fencing improved or repaired (i.e. fencing maintained for critical habitat).
Invasive animal or predator removal/ Fencing nests from predators # of ungulates removed Enter the number of pig, sheep, deer or other ungulates removed or controlled.
Invasive animal or predator removal/ Fencing nests from predators Acres with goals met Enter the number of acres with predation reduction goals met. In the metric notes, please define the area and include the number of predators by taxa removed.
Erosion Control Lbs sediment avoided Enter the amount of sediment prevented from entering the system annually. Please indicate in the metric notes section how the amount will be estimated.
Removal of invasives Acres restored Enter the number of acres of invasive plants removed or treated. If acres restored will also be tracked by the number of native plants installed, please use the "Land restoration - Acres restored" metric. In the metric notes section, indicate whether the invasive plant removal and the native plants installed occurred on the same parcel. This metric should not include removal of non-native invasive animals.
Land restoration Acres restored  Enter the number of acres restored with native plants. This metric should not include fencing activities, invasive ungulate removal, or invasive plants removed/treated (for which other metrics are available).
Population # individuals Enter the number of individuals or provide a population estimate. In the metric notes, indicate what species you are providing data on. If the project includes data on more than one species, please provide it in the project narrative.
Translocation # translocated/stocked Enter the number of individuals translocated or released.
Research # sites assessed Enter the number of sites assessed.
Research # studies used to inform management Enter the number of studies completed whose findings are used to adapt management and inform management decisions. In the metric notes, please list research studies by species and context of the work towards project or species goals.
Tool development for decision-making # tools developed Enter the number of tools developed. In the metric notes, please specify the type of tool and its management application.
Monitoring # monitoring programs Enter the number of monitoring programs established or underway. In the metric notes section, please include the number of individual sites being monitored.
Volunteer participation # of volunteer hours Enter the number of volunteer hours completed through the project. Please indicate in the metric notes the events or activities volunteers participated in.
Volunteer participation # volunteers participating Enter the number of volunteers participating in the project. Please indicate in the metric notes the events or activities volunteers participated in.
Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance # people reached Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities. Please include metric notes about the type of outreach and how the outreach contributes to conservation activities. Metric notes should include information as to how people were reached (i.e. community meetings, mailings, social media, news, etc). If using this metric, please also use the "# people with changed behavior" metric.
Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance # people with changed behavior Enter the number of people demonstrating a minimum level of behavior change. This metric should be used to capture people that have been reached and as a result are applying gained knowledge. Examples include implementing a conservation practice or entering into a partnership that will promote conservation efforts. If using this metric, please also use the "# people reached" metric.


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, businesses, and international organizations.
  • Ineligible applicants include 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 Hawaiʻi Conservation Program will award approximately $895,000 in grants. Grants will be awarded in two categories: 

  1. Kuahiwi a Kai Program has approximately $400,000 to award in funding for grants this year. Generally, grants range in size from $50,000 to $200,000, although grants greater than $200,000 may be considered on a case by case basis. Projects must have a minimum match of 1:1 federal cash, non-federal cash, and/or in-kind contributions. Projects may extend from one to two years.
  2. Hawaiian Forest Bird Program has approximately $495,000 to award in funding for grants this year. Generally, grants range in size from $50,000 to $250,000, although grants greater than $250,000 can be considered on a case by case basis. Projects must have a minimum match of 1:1 non-federal cash and/or in-kind contributions. Projects may extend from one to three years.


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 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 – The 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.  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.

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 should 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.

Quality Assurance – If a project involves significant monitoring, data collection or data use, grantees will be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation (www.epa.gov/quality).  Applicants should budget time and resources to complete this task.

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 level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.


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

  Applicant Webinar Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 10:00 AM HST
  Pre-Proposal Due Date Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by 5:59 PM HST
  Invitations for Full Proposals Sent October 2020
  Full Proposal Due Date Monday, October 26, 2020 by 5:59 PM HST
  Review Period November 2020 – March 2021
  Awards Announced March 2021


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.


A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded here

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: 
Jana Doi
Manager, Alaska and Hawaiʻi Programs
(415) 243-3102

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.