Long Island Sound Futures Fund 2021 Request for Proposals
Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, May 27, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) is seeking proposals to restore the health and living resources of Long Island Sound (Sound) with potential funding of $5 million or more for grants in 2021. The program is managed by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Long Island Sound Study (LISS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
All proposed projects must be within the Long Island Sound watershed boundary as depicted in Figure 1. The eligibility of projects within portions of the watershed is further restricted by geography depending on the three types of projects, as described below.
Habitat restoration projects and resilience projects must fall within the LISS Coastal Boundary Map. This boundary includes portions of New York (NY) including: Bronx, Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Westchester Counties, and the coast of Connecticut (CT).
Water quality, education and fish passage projects may be in any portion of the Sound watershed in CT and NY as shown on the LISS National Estuary Program Map.
Nitrogen prevention or reduction planning/design and implementation projects may occur anywhere in the Sound watershed of CT, NY, Massachusetts (MA), New Hampshire (NH), and Vermont (VT) as shown on the LISS Boundary Map.
NOTE: Proposals for habitat restoration, fish passage, public education, and resilience projects in the Long Island Sound watershed upper basin states (MA, NH, VT) are not eligible under the LISFF. Organizations are encouraged to consider applying to the New England Forests and Rivers Fund which seeks to sustain healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse bird populations, as well as freshwater and diadromous fish populations.
Proposals must address and specifically link to Implementation Action(s) (IAs) in the Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan 2020-2024 Update (CCMP Update). The IAs associated with each project metric are provided in the document LISFF Metrics and Implementation Action Tracking Guidance. The CCMP identifies three principles that are important to consider in taking any specific action: resilience to climate change, long-term sustainability and environmental justice. We encourage submissions that incorporate these cross-cutting principles into proposals.
CCMP THEME: Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds – Improve water quality by reducing nitrogen pollution, combined sewer overflows, impervious cover, stormwater runoff, and point and nonpoint source loading into Long Island Sound through:
- Projects that result in quantifiable pollutant prevention or reduction. See Pollution Prevention Calculators.
- Planning and design that set-the-stage for implementation of water quality projects.
Examples of project types and actions:
- Green infrastructure/Low Impact Development (LID), including technical assistance to help local communities build capacity to plan for or to implement green infrastructure/LID.
- Alternatives to current decentralized on-site wastewater treatment systems.
- Innovative wastewater treatment tools or strategies.
- Alternatives to chemical and nitrogen-intensive turf and landscaping fertilizer and pesticide use.
- Marine debris and trash prevention or reduction.
- Wastewater infrastructure asset management programs.
- Watershed planning that addresses eutrophication-related water quality problems and identifies potential projects. Plans should include EPA’s nine elements -- see the Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans.
- Nutrient bioextraction planning or implementation projects that pilot or demonstrate approaches to resolve use conflicts, facilitate permitting and testing, and demonstrate water quality benefits.
- Low-cost retrofits at wastewater treatment facilities.
- Nitrogen prevention or reduction projects.
- Riparian and forested buffer and channel bank vegetation enhancement to slow and intercept polluted surface runoff.
- Stream channel reconnection to historic floodplains and adjacent wetlands to promote nutrient removal and reduce erosion.
- In-stream restoration to increase nutrient processing, and to reduce erosion.
- Replacing or right-sizing culverts or otherwise improving road and stream crossings in order to reduce downstream erosion of nutrients.
- Technical assistance to engage rural landowners and farmers in design and delivery of nitrogen prevention projects.
- Addressing agricultural runoff through farm-scale conservation systems and solutions, including efforts to reduce water quality impacts through best management practices. Examples:
- Accelerate implementation of regenerative agriculture practices on working lands
- Soil health practices and management systems that combine improved tillage and/or pasture management, cover crops, crop and livestock rotations, and other practices to increase soil fertility while improving the capacity of crops and soils to reduce runoff and increase nutrient uptake.
- Precision nutrient management systems that fine-tune the rate, source, method, and timing of nutrient applications to maintain or increase crop yields, minimize nutrient input costs and nutrient losses to surface and groundwater.
- “Whole-farm” conservation systems that reduce pollution from crop and pasture lands, animal production areas, and protect or restore high-value natural resource areas like wetlands and riparian areas and significantly improve the environmental performance of the farm while maximizing public and private financial assistance programs.
CCMP THEME: Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife – Restore coastal habitats to maintain resilience and function and to support populations of fish, birds and wildlife by:
- Restoring habitat within the Important Coastal Habitat Types targeted by LISS. Please review the LISS Habitat Restoration Guidelines to inform development of a proposal.
- Planning or design to set-the-stage for implementation of such projects.
- Fostering diverse, balanced and abundant populations of fish, birds and wildlife.
Examples of project types and actions:
- Quantifiable acres of habitat enhancement or restoration of Important Coastal Habitat Types targeted by LISS.
- Planning for a single site or multiple priority locations that sets-the-stage for implementation of habitat restoration project(s) with quantifiable acres of habitat restored and of benefit to Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are particularly important to restoring ecosystem function in Long Island Sound.
- Non-structural or green/gray hybrid living shoreline restoration to manage shoreline erosion to reduce marsh loss and in lieu of hard armoring.
- Piloting innovative tools such as beneficial use of dredge materials coupled with shoreline softening, tidal wetland enhancement/restoration etc.
- Invasive terrestrial species eradication coupled with long-term management.
- Shellfish (oysters, clams, and mussels) and reef restoration to establish self-sustaining populations; and/or to create or enhance benthic and reef structure for marine species. Restored shellfish and reef areas cannot be harvested for commercial or recreational purposes.
- Resource planning to maintain, protect, and promote the expansion of existing eelgrass meadows.
- Fish passage to reduce barriers and increase access to high quality habitat for Long Island Sound fish such as alewife, blueback herring, American eel and American shad.
- Replace or right-size culverts and/or improve road-stream crossings in order to provide riverine migratory corridors that promote species dispersal.
- Strategies to engage human communities to share the shore and reduce disturbance along shorelines also used by beach nesting species. Strategies are described in the Atlantic Flyway Shorebirds Business Plan.
CCMP THEME: Sustainable and Resilient Communities - Support vibrant, informed, and engaged communities that use, appreciate, and help protect and sustain the Sound; and sustain its ecological balance in a healthy, productive, and resilient state for the benefit of both people and the natural environment through:
• Public engagement, knowledge and stewardship. See LISS Educational Resources.
• Coastal projects that enhance community resilience and sustainability.
• Planning and design that set-the-stage for implementation of resilience projects.
Examples of project types and actions:
Public Engagement, Knowledge and Stewardship:
- Public engagement in stewardship of local natural resources.
- Programs that foster, support, or develop community buy-in and meaningful inclusion in local environmental management projects.
- Programs to increase appreciation of the Sound in underprivileged and underserved communities.
- Environmental Justice initiatives and collaborations that promote equitable access, appreciation and understanding of Long Island Sound. For example, develop tools (including training modules, websites, ordinances, best practices) and conduct regional or local workshops to assist municipal government in developing or incorporating environmental justice in projects that implement CCMP actions. See LISS resources about state and federal Environmental Justice and Diversity Equity and Inclusion.
- Plans or activities to increase public access points and the length of shoreline accessible by the public to the Sound and its rivers with a focus on supporting projects and programs that promote environmentally sustainable recreational activities and protection of the Sound’s environmental and wildlife resources.
- Campaigns to build public awareness aimed at preventing plastic waste (including microplastics), marine debris and litter into waterways.
- Native plant landscaping guidance and training that encourages alternatives to chemical and nutrient intensive landscapes.
- Programs to foster adoption of water quality improvements in residential, commercial and institutional settings.
- Long Island Sound environmental and conservation-related instruction in classrooms. Please note LISFF does not support the development of new curriculum. See LISS Educational Resources for examples of available information and curriculum.
- Local behavior change campaigns, including Community-Based Social Marketing.
NOTE: Public engagement, education and stewardship projects providing a hands-on conservation experience are highly desired.
Coastal Resilience & Sustainability Natural or green/gray hybrid coastal resilience infrastructure (beneficial use of suitable materials to restore tidal marsh, living shorelines etc.) particularly in vulnerable communities that tend to be disproportionally impacted by stressors.
- New or updated municipal, watershed or regional coastal resilience/sustainability/natural hazard mitigation plans that evaluate the vulnerability of infrastructure, riparian and coastal areas and develop strategies for making these features and infrastructure more resilient to hazardous events (sea level rise and/or weather events).
- Technical assistance to help local communities build capacity to plan for or to implement resilience through nature-based infrastructure, such as living shorelines.
CCMP THEME: Sound Science and Inclusive Management – Manage the Sound using science that is inclusive, adaptive, innovative and accountable through:
- Community-based science.
- Data management and integration.
Examples of project types and actions:
- Water quality monitoring to improve identification and source tracking in embayments, harbors, and near-shore areas. Monitoring must: 1) be related to the nature of local impairment designated under the Clean Water Act, Section 303(d) in Connecticut and New York; 2) describe in specific terms how and what entity will use the data collected to address local use impairments (e.g., help local government detect illicit discharges); 3) describe how the project will manage data so it is accessible to citizens and resource managers; and 4) include data input into the Water Quality Exchange.
- Shared tools and/or strategies to help community science monitors improve their data storage, management and visualization at a local and regional scale to enhance the utility, sharing and application of data.
- Support the refinement and application of data on Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are particularly important to restoring ecosystem function in Long Island Sound.
PROJECT METRICS AND CCMP IMPLEMENTATION ACTIONS
To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the LISFF has a list of metrics titled “Activities and Outcomes” in the Easygrants online application. Applicants must select at least one and no more than three of the most relevant metrics for their project (all possible project metrics for this program are shown on the table below). Additionally, in the project narrative section of the LISFF application you must identify the specific CCMP Implementation Action(s) associated with your project metrics. The IAs associated with each project metric is provided in the document LISFF Metrics and Implementation Action Tracking Guidance. If you think an applicable metric or IA has not been provided, please contact Erin Lewis at Erin.Lewis@nfwf.org to discuss alternatives.
|Project Activity||Recommended Metric||Metrics Guidance|
|Pollution reduction/prevention - Remove impervious surface.||Sq. ft. impervious surface removed.||Enter square foot of impervious surface removed or retrofitted. In NOTES section: If retrofit describe type of retrofit e.g., planting, porous pavers etc.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention - Green Infrastructure.||Sq ft of green infrastructure.||Enter the square footage of green infrastructure installed. In NOTES section: describe the type of green infrastructure.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention -Nitrogen.||Lbs. N avoided (annually).||Enter lbs. of nitrogen prevented from entering system annually. In NOTES section: describe calculator or calculation used to establish the amount. See Pollution Prevention Calculators for examples of calculators.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention - Phosphorous.||Lbs. P avoided (annually).||Enter lbs. of phosphorous prevented from entering system annually. In NOTES section: describe calculator or calculation used to establish the amount. See Pollution Prevention Calculators for examples of calculators.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention - Sediment.||Lbs. sediment avoided (annually).||Enter lbs. of sediment prevented from entering system annually. In NOTES section: describe calculator or calculation used to establish the amount. See Pollution Prevention Calculators for examples of calculators.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention - riparian buffer restoration.||Miles restored.||Enter number of miles restored.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention -stormwater runoff.||Volume stormwater prevented.||Enter volume (in gallons) of stormwater prevented from entering the water body annually. In NOTES section: describe the type of practice and the calculator or calculation used to establish the amount.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention -trees planted.||# trees planted.||Enter the number of trees planted. In NOTES section: Provide average diameter of tree planted.|
|Pollution reduction/prevention -litter, floatables and marine debris removed.||# Lbs. of marine debris.||Enter the number of pounds of marine debris that has been removed from the environment and properly disposed of.|
|Monitoring.||# Monitoring programs.||Enter the number of programs established or underway. In NOTES section: describe types of data to be collected.|
|Planning/Campaign/Strategy.||# plans developed.||Enter the number of plans developed that had input from multiple stakeholders. In NOTES section: describe the type of plan, campaign or strategy e.g., 9 element plan, site plan, Community Based Social Marketing campaign, species conservation strategy etc.|
|Planning/Campaign/Strategy.||# of orgs contributing to goals.||Enter the number of of organizations contributing to the initiative's conservation goals.|
|Planning, Research and Monitoring.||# tools used by decision-makers.||Enter the number of tools developed that are used by decision-makers.|
|Land, wetland restoration.||Acres restored.||Enter the number of acres restored. In NOTES section: describe the specific type of habitat restored from the list of Long Island Sound Study Important Coastal Habitats and break metrics down into acreage associated with each habitat type e.g., acres of beach and dune, acres of salt marsh/tidal wetland etc.|
|Barrier removal to restore aquatic connectivity.||Miles of stream opened.||Enter # of miles restored. In NOTES section: enter miles of riverine migratory corridor to be opened (streams, creeks, rivers) and fish species benefitted.|
|Habitat restoration.||Acres of living shoreline restored.||Enter the acres of living shoreline to be restored. In NOTES section: describe the method used e.g., oyster reefs/castles, reef balls etc.|
|Species Conservation.||BMPs to mitigate recreational disturbance.||Enter the number of acres with BMPs. In NOTES section: list the species benefitted.|
|Educate the public or stakeholders.||# of people reached.||Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities. In NOTES section: describe type of participant e.g., public, farmer, students/teachers, environmental justice community|
|Educate the public or stakeholders.||# of people with knowledge.||Enter the number of people demonstrating a minimum level of knowledge, attitudes, or skills. In NOTES section: describe participant e.g., public, farmer, students/teachers, environmental justice community; and how project will gauge knowledge e.g., pledges, surveys etc.|
|Engage volunteers.||# volunteers participating||Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects.|
|Public Access.||Access pts. developed/improved||Enter the number of public access points developed/improved. In NOTES section: Describe the type of public access developed or how improved e.g., site improvement, new signage as part of a larger project or other guidance materials, blueway/greenway/bikeway planning etc.|
Eligible and Ineligible Entities
- Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local government, municipal government, Tribal Governments and Organizations, and educational institutions.
- Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, and unincorporated individuals.
Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
- Research projects. Consider the LISS Research Grant Program.
- Development of new educational curriculum. See LISS Educational Resources for examples of available information and curriculum.
- Support for fellowships and/or tuition support or reimbursement.
- Marketing efforts serving to generally promote the applicant organization and its initiatives.
- Funding for lunches or snacks, t-shirts and promotional items (e.g., key chains, coffee mugs, pens etc.).
- Full fee or easement acquisition.
- 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.
- 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
With possible funding of $5 million or more for grants in 2021, there are four funding categories, each with a different level of support available.
- Implementation Projects: Ranging in value from $50,000 to $1 million awarded to support projects that implement actions described in the CCMP Update and have particularly high environmental community benefit relative to cost, including:
- Large-scale and/or complex water quality improvement, habitat restoration, and coastal resilience projects.
- Projects with the greatest promise to demonstrate, influence, pilot, innovate, and/or provide a proof of concept with the aim of accelerating local and regional water quality improvements, natural resource restoration, coastal resilience, diversity, equity and inclusion and/or community and public outreach and engagement.
- Design/Planning Projects: Ranging in value from $50,000 to $400,000 awarded to support the costs associated with design/planning for:
- Water quality or habitat restoration projects.
- Watershed plans to mitigate eutrophication-related impairments.
- Sustainable behavior education and outreach including community based social marketing campaigns.
- Coastal resiliency/sustainability/natural hazard mitigation plans.
NOTE: NFWF strongly encourages applicants for design grants to conduct a pre-application meeting with relevant agencies prior to submitting proposals.
- Community Science/Water Quality Monitoring: Ranging in value from $50,000 to $100,000 for water quality monitoring.
- Education and Public Participation Grants: Ranging in value from $50,000 to $100,000 awarded to public participation and education projects.
Project Period: Projects must start within six months and be completed within 24 months after notification of grant award. Large-scale complex implementation projects must start within six months and be completed within thirty-six months after notification of grant award. Notification of award is projected to be November 2021. Project start date cannot be before October 1, 2021.
Match Requirements: Applicants must contribute non-federal matching cash funds and/or in-kind services valued at a minimum of 66.6 percent of the “Requested Amount” from the LISFF. For example, if the “Total Cost” in the LISFF proposal budget is $60,000, then $39,960 would be the required minimum match. The required match can be calculated simply by multiplying the “Total Cost” requested from the LISFF by 0.666 ($60,000 x 0.666 = $39,960). 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.
Eligible indirect costs (that would not be paid with requested grant funding) may be applied as match. Please review the NFWF: 1) Indirect Cost Policy for Applicants for specific information about requesting indirect costs; and 2) for information about using indirect costs as match, review
Section E of Frequently Asked Questions on the NFWF website.
All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated equally based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria.
- Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Implementation Actions of the Long Island Sound Study CCMP Update and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more the three CCMP Update cross-cutting principles (resilience to climate change, long-term sustainability and/or environmental justice).
- 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 experts and partners in project planning, design or implementation to ensure activities are technically sound and feasible.
- 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.
- 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.
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 non-federal cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance (project start date cannot be before October 1, 2021). Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged.
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 and the Long Island Sound Study 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. 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 media monitoring.
- Model development or use etc.
- Citizen or community based scientific data collection, monitoring etc.
Applicants must budget time and resources in their LISFF proposal to complete this task. Plan to submit the draft QAPP to NFWF at least three months in advance of starting your data driven activity for review and comment. The timing of review, comment and by NFWF and for EPA approval is dependent upon the quality of the draft QAPP submission and may involve several iterations. General assistance will be available to projects to help with scoping and review of the draft QAPPs. For more information, follow the link to EPA QA and LISFF Quality Assurance Project Plan Guidance. Please contact Erin Lewis if you have any questions about whether your project would require a QAPP.
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 under “Application Information” tab at Long Island Sound Futures Fund webpage.
|Applicant Webinar: CT & NY Applicants (Register)||April 13, 2021, 2:00PM – 3:30PM Eastern|
|Applicant Webinar: MA, NH, VT Applicants (Register)||April 14, 2021, 2:00PM – 3:30PM Eastern|
|Proposal Due Date||May 27, 2021, 11:59PM, Eastern|
|Review Period||Summer 2021|
|Awards Announced||November 2021|
HOW TO APPLY
All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.
- 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.
- Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
- Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application. Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.
Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s Applicant Information page.
For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact: Erin Lewis
For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
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.