California Forests: Targeted Headwater Resilience Implementation and Monitoring 2021 Request for Proposal
Full Proposal Due Date: Thursday, August 5, 2021 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to address a variety of forest health and resilience needs in California. This Request For Proposals (RFP) seeks to support efforts across 5 key areas:
- Large-Scale Reforestation for Wildfire Recovery
- Headwaters Protection and Improvements on the Inyo National Forest
- Transportation Infrastructure and Aquatic Organism Passage Improvements On, or Adjacent To, USFS lands
- Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration to Benefit Desert Terminal Lakes
- Fuels Management Monitoring and Species Response
Details for each of the eligible activities presented in this opportunity are provided in the sections below. Collectively, this funding opportunity continues NFWF’s efforts toward improving Forest Health and Watershed Resilience across California, and complements the goals of many of our public and private partners who are working to protect, restore, and conserve California’s critical forested environments. This funding opportunity seeks to award approximately $3,750,000 in grants. Major funding for this RFP comes from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Arbor Day Foundation, US Forest Service, US Bureau of Land Reclamation, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Eligible projects for this funding opportunity are in part defined by the type of activity and associated funding partner for the 5 targeted project areas described in the overview. To be eligible for funding, projects must occur within the areas defined here and illustrated in the map below.
- Reforestation of Areas Impacted by High Intensity Wildfire
- State-wide; priority on large-scale reforestation and tree planting related-activity
- Headwaters Protection and Improvements on the Inyo National Forest
- Any projects benefiting watershed health and resilience on the Inyo National Forest, with emphasis on headwater protection for LADWP drinking water sources
- Transportation Infrastructure and Aquatic Organism Passage Improvements on USFS lands
- All USFS-system lands are eligible; priority project locations described in the RFP Appendix
- Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration for the benefit of Desert Terminal Lakes
- Headwater meadows in California for the Truckee, Carson, and Walker River basins
- Fuels Management Project Monitoring and Species Response
- State-wide (Northern CA priority); should occur at an appropriate regional scale to link recent and/or planned fuels management with sensitive, threatened and endangered species data (e.g. California spotted owl, pacific fisher)
Proposals submitted to this RFP must respond to the program priorities associated with one of the 5 targeted headwater resilience needs described below. Each project area has its own expectations, guidance and conditions. Proposals must describe how projects for which funds are requested will directly and measurably contribute to those particular program area goals. In addition to the guiding principles and background information contained in each of the sections below, the 2021 RFP Appendix provides specific project descriptions and recommendations that emphasize particular priorities of the participating funding partners. Interested applicants are encouraged to review and consider the Appendix project descriptions and apply as appropriate, however eligible relevant non-appendix projects are encouraged as well.
Large-scale Post-Fire Reforestation and Recovery
The Arbor Day Foundation and NFWF have partnered to provide approximately $1.2 million in funding to assist with post-fire reforestation needs and recovery. Primary focus of these funds is intended to support activities that will directly contribute to large-scale reforestation efforts in areas impacted by high intensity wildfire. On-the-ground planting/reforestation, including plant propagation and/or seedling purchase are desired, however complementary activities that can demonstrate improvements in the pace and scale of reforestation efforts (e.g. nursery capacity building; seed collection/storage; post-fire site clearing/preparation, etc.) may also be considered. The Arbor Day Foundation funding is NOT LIMITED to any particular jurisdictional boundaries or specific wildfire events. Preference will be given to projects that address reforestation at significant scales and clear and quantifiable outcomes (e.g. hundreds of acres, tens of thousands of trees planted) that provide and array of benefits (source-water protection, sensitive species habitat recovery, etc.).
Headwaters Protection and Improvements on the Inyo National Forest
The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADWP), Inyo National Forest (INF), and NFWF are collaborating to provide opportunities to help protect and enhance headwater conditions for the Owens River watershed, a significant source of water for the City of Los Angeles. Through this RFP, $1,000,000 will be available to support a suite of activities on the Inyo National Forest that will provide forest and water resource protection, resilience to high intensity wildfire, carbon capture benefits, and other related shared goals and priorities of the partners.
Priority projects of interest are detailed in the RFP Appendix, and include fuels reduction, prescribed fire activity, invasive vegetation removal to reduce the risk of wildfire and restore a more heterogenous age-class and structure to these headwater forests, to the benefit of fish and wildlife species, and source-water quality and quantity. In addition, project priorities include opportunities to address planning and management of recreational opportunities and associated watershed management concerns. They include:
- Prescribed Fire in Casa Diablo Area
- Bishop and Pine Creek watersheds Fuels Reduction
- June Mountain Ski Area Vegetation Management and June Loop Hazard Fuels Removal
- Buttermilk Area Recreational Use Planning and Improvements
- Forest-wide Invasive Management of Tamarisk
Proposals for Inyo National Forest focused projects should be developed in coordination with INF staff to ensure alignment with INF policies and priorities. Application materials should include letters of support from an INF Line Officer, and reference existing or planned NEPA-compliance and schedule of activity.
Transportation Infrastructure and Aquatic Organism Passage Improvements on USFS Lands
In partnership with the USFS, NFWF has $813,000 in funding to support partner-driven assistance for improvements to USFS-system transportation infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, culverts, and drainage features) and aquatic organism passage. Grant funding will be awarded to transportation infrastructure improvements that can demonstrate aquatic ecosystem recovery and watershed improvement, with particular emphasis to anadromous and native fish, or other aquatic species of concern on USFS lands.
Projects may include:
- Maintenance, replacement, and/or improvement to roads, bridges, culverts, and drainage features;
- Installation of drainage features such as culverts, drainage dips, and other associated BMPs
- Decommissioning transportation infrastructure that has a deleterious impact on watershed health and/or human health and safety;
- Implementing strategic restoration projects in response to, and in anticipation of, extreme weather and storm events, and;
- Maintenance and improvements of existing transportation infrastructure to increase accessibility to fuels reduction and native vegetation projects.
All proposals must describe the ecosystem benefits that are anticipated through implementation of the project. Competitive proposals should address one or more of the following:
- Improve hydrologic connectivity and aquatic organism passage;
- Reduce sediment and other runoff-borne pollutants to streams;
- Restore and/or maintain natural flow and geomorphology, and;
- Protect existing watersheds, meadows, fens, riparian corridors, and instream habitats
- Remove or reduce invasive species threatening aquatic habitat and/or listed species.
Program preference is for shovel-ready implementation projects that have, or are reasonably expected to complete all necessary regulatory compliance (NEPA, etc.) by the time of award, however planning and design projects may be considered. Specific priority transportation infrastructure projects desired for selected National Forests are included in the RFP Appendix.
All bridge and other road structure designs and construction implementation must be communicated to and reviewed and approved by the Forest Service (FS) Regional Office and National Forest before construction can begin. Road structure projects may include bridges, open bottom arches, retaining walls over 6’ in height, and any structure requiring structural engineering on National Forest roads and lands. Application materials should include letters of support from a relevant USFS Line Officers, and reference existing or planned NEPA-compliance and schedule of activity.
Sierra Nevada Meadow Restoration for the benefit of Desert Terminal Lakes
NFWF, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), has close to $464,000 in available grant funding in 2021 for implementation of meadow restoration projects within California Sierra Nevada meadows that drain to Desert Terminal Lakes basins.
The Sierra Nevada headwater meadows program seeks to restore and protect mountain meadow ecosystems that serve as key habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as provide hydrological benefits for people, such as increased groundwater storage, flow reliability, and reduced sedimentation.
To be eligible for funding, projects must occur within California’s Sierra Nevada meadows region and benefit the Desert Terminal Lakes basins (Truckee River/Carson River/Walker River watersheds). Projects on either public or private land are eligible. Preference will be given to projects that contribute to the recovery of regional species of concern, specifically, native trout, including Lahontan cutthroat trout, Yosemite toad, willow flycatcher, and California spotted owl to name a few. Projects that are contiguous with, adjacent to, and/or expand on benefits from other recently restored meadows are desirable. Successful applicants will include components to measure effectiveness and evaluate project outcomes, such as monitoring changes in streamflow volume or groundwater storage, or changes in species composition and abundance.
Fuels Management Project Monitoring and Species Response
For the 2021 round of funding, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and their regional partners have aligned with NFWF to dedicate $270,000 to support monitoring and analysis of fuels treatments in northern California/Sierra Nevada forested environments. While a variety of potential monitoring and analysis project designs are eligible for consideration, preference for this round of funding is for the compilation, synthesis and/or meta-analysis of existing data at regional-scale geographies, rather than individual site-specific or project-level monitoring. The purpose of this round of funding is to understand how to design fuel treatments to maximize benefits to species across the landscape.
Project proposals will need to clearly articulate the key management or conservation questions to be addressed, expected data types and sources to be used, and analysis methods employed. Successful applicants will address questions and develop timelines for outcomes that provide near-term utility that can be applied to developing best management practices for fuel treatments to maintain and protect species from high intensity fires. Ideally, selected research projects would assist land managers in assessing fuels management projects effects on multiple species at the project and landscape-scale.
In addition to the priority described above, NFWF will also consider projects that examine developing consistent and regionally applied monitoring approaches to evaluate pre and post fuels treatment and assess how they benefit fish and wildlife. Project may incorporate actual monitoring of an existing fuels treatment site/s to demonstrate proof-of-concept, however, proposals will need to clearly articulate the rationale and broader regional application for the proposed design, and how the information generated will ultimately be used at-scale to appropriately measure how fuels management projects interact with wildlife to inform land-management decision making. Examples of potential fuels monitoring concepts are included in the RFP Appendix.
To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the 2021 Targeted Headwaters Resilience RFP has a list of metrics in Easygrants for proposal applicants to choose from for future reporting. We ask that applicants select all relevant metrics from this list for their project. Note - the metrics under the headings below are not exclusive to a particular type of project – for example, a Forestry and Fuels Management focused project may utilize metrics from General, Transportation Infrastructure, and Meadows Restoration as well if those metrics are relevant to your project. If you think an applicable metric has not been provided, please contact Jim Bond to discuss acceptable alternatives to include in this list.
Table 1. Program Metrics
|Project Activity||Recommended Metric||Additional Guidance|
|Volunteer Participation||Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Building institutional capacity – # volunteers participating||Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects|
|Outreach/Education||Capacity, Outreach, Incentives – Outreach/Education/Technical Assistance - # people reached||Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities|
|Research||Planning, Research, Monitoring – Research – Acres assessed for improved management||Enter the number of acres assessed|
|Research||Planning, Research Monitoring – Research - # studies completed to inform management||Enter the number of studies and reports with findings that will be produced to adapt and inform management decisions|
|Restoration planning/design/permitting||Planning, Research, Monitoring – Research - # E&D plans developed||Enter the number of Engineering and Design plans, and/or compliance documents (NEPA, CEQA, etc) developed/approved|
|Invasive Vegetation Removal||Habitat Restoration – Removal of Invasives – acres restored||Enter the number of acres restored through invasive flora management|
|Invasive Species Removal||Species-specific strategies – Invasive animal or predator removal – # of individuals removed||Enter the number of individual invasive animals or predators removed|
|Riparian restoration||Habitat Restoration – Riparian Restoration – Acres restored||Enter the number of acres restored through riparian corridor restoration|
|Trail Improvements||Habitat Management – Green Infrastructure – miles of trails improved||Enter the number of miles of trails developed or improved|
|FORESTRY AND FUELS MANAGEMENT|
|Trees Planted||Habitat Management – Green Infrastructure - # trees planted||Enter the number of trees planted|
|Plant Cultivation||Habitat Restoration – Plant Cultivation – Seedlings propagated||Enter the number of seedlings propagated|
|Seed Harvesting||Habitat Restoration – Seed Harvesting – lbs harvested||Enter the number of pounds of seeds collected, may be estimated from bushels of cones collected|
|Reforestation and Restoration of Forest Vegetation||Habitat Restoration – Land restoration – acres restored||Enter acres restored through the re-establishment (planting) of native vegetation. If the project to be undertaken includes Invasive Vegetation Management actions also use “Removal of Invasives – Acres Restored“. If project to be undertaken includes Fuels Reduction actions prior to planting (thinning, limbing, tree removal, etc.) also use “Improved Management Practices – Acres under Improved Management”. If the project is a combination of these actions, use those metrics which apply to each of the activities and then enter the representative acres. For example, a 10 acres project site may include 10 acres of “Removal of Invasives” and 5 acres of planting under “Land Restoration”|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Mechanical/Hand)||Habitat Management: Fuels management treatment (mechanical/hand) - # of acres treated||Enter the number of acres treated with limbing / thinning / removal of vegetation. Treatment of areas that are impacted by disease or insect infestation should be captured under "Removal of infected individuals - Acres restored" instead.|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Mechanical/Hand) – California Spotted Owl||Habitat Management: California Spotted Owl - Fuels management treatment (mechanical/hand) - # of acres treated||Enter the number of acres treated for the primary benefit of California Spotted Owl. Indicate the type of treatment(s), why the area was chosen for fuels management pertaining to California Spotted Owl habitat.|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Mechanical/Hand) – Northern Spotted Owl||Habitat Management: Northern Spotted Owl - Fuels management treatment (mechanical/hand) - # of acres treated||Enter the number of acres treated for the primary benefit of Northern Spotted Owl. Indicate the type of treatment(s), why the area was chosen for fuels management pertaining to Northern Spotted Owl habitat.
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Mechanical/Hand) – Pacific Fisher||Habitat Management: Fisher - Fuels management treatment (mechanical/hand) - # of acres treated||Enter the number of acres treated for the primary benefit of Pacific fisher. Indicate the type of treatment(s), why the area was chosen for fuels management pertaining to Pacific fisher habitat.|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Prescribed Burning)||Habitat Management: BMP implementation for prescribed burns - # of acres||Enter the number of acres where prescribed burning is implemented.|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Prescribed Burning) – California Spotted Owl||Habitat Management: California Spotted Owl - BMP implementation for prescribed burns - # of acres||Enter the number of acres where prescribed burning is implemented for the primary benefit of California Spotted Owl.|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Prescribed Burning) – Northern Spotted Owl||Habitat Management: Northern Spotted Owl - BMP implementation for prescribed burns - # of acres||Enter the number of acres where prescribed burning is implemented for the primary benefit of Northern Spotted Owl.|
|Application of fuels management treatment prescription (Prescribed Burning) – Pacific Fisher||Habitat Management: Fisher - BMP implementation for prescribed burns - # of acres||Enter the number of acres where prescribed burning is implemented for the primary benefit of Pacific Fisher.|
|Treatment or removal of insect or disease-affected trees||Habitat Restoration: Removal of infected individuals - # of acres restored||Enter the number of insect- or disease-affected acres treated with any treatment type (mechanical / hand / prescribed burning).|
|BMP implementation for road improvements||Habitat Management - BMP implementation for road improvements - Miles of road improved, maintained or decommissioned||Enter the number of miles of roads improved, maintained, or decommissioned. In the notes, state the BMP type(s) and expected environmental benefits.|
|Fish passage improvements||Habitat Management - Fish passage improvements - # passage barriers rectified||Enter the number of bridges and or culverts replaced, improved or decommissioned. In the notes, state the number and types of barriers rectified (i.e. bridge, culvert, etc).|
|Fish passage improvements||Habitat Management - Fish passage improvements - Miles of stream opened||Enter the number of miles of stream made accessible to aquatic organism passage.|
|Meadow/wetland restoration||Habitat Restoration - wetland restoration - Acres restored||Enter the number of wetland/meadows acres restored.|
|Instream restoration||Habitat Restoration - instream restoration - # structures installed||Enter the number of habitat structures installed, replaced, upgraded or repaired for ecosystem improvement.|
|Instream restoration||Habitat Restoration - Instream restoration - Miles restored||Enter the number of stream miles restored (habitat/flow) that will see quantifiable instream improvements from the meadow restoration.|
|Eligible and Ineligible Entities|
|Large-scale Reforestation||Inyo NF Headwaters Protection||USFS Transportation Infrastructure||Sierra Meadows - DTL||Fuels Management Monitoring|
|Tribal Gov. & Organizations||OK||OK||OK||OK||OK|
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 SUMMARY|
|Project Area||Available Funding||Award Range||Match Requirements|
|Large-Scale Forest Restoration||$1,200,000||$200,000 - $1,200,000||No Restriction; 1:1 match|
|Inyo National Forest||$1,000,000||$100,000 - $250,000||No Restriction; 1:1 match|
|Transportation Infrastructure||$813,000||$50,000 - $800,000||Non-federal; 50% match|
|Meadow Restoration||$463,893||$50,000 - $460,000||Non-federal; 50% match|
|Fuels Monitoring||$270,000||$50,000 - $270,000||Non-federal; 50% match|
*Project length, typically, will be within 24 months from time of grant agreement execution
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 resource needs and goals associated with the relevant funding source for your desired activity, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the priorities defined in this RFP.
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 may 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 - Northern California Forests and Watersheds
|Applicant Webinar||Thursday, July 8, 2021 at 2:00pm PST|
|Full Proposal Due Date||Thursday, August 5, 2021 by 8:59pm PST|
|Review Period||Late August - October|
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.
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:
Jim Bond, Senior Manager, California Forest Programs
Email: James.Bond@NFWF.org; Phone: 415-243-3107
Jessica Perla, Program Coordinator, Western Regional Office
Email: Jessica.Perla@NFWF.org; Phone: 202-595-2422
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.