Request for Proposals: Contractor to Complete Environmental and Cultural Compliance Documentation for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District’s San Francisco Wasteway Habitat Restoration Project
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks a qualified Contractor to assist us in completing environmental and cultural compliance documentation and securing all necessary permits required prior to construction the San Francisco Wasteway Habitat Restoration Project (Project) in the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) in New Mexico. The Project is funded through the Middle Rio Grande Native Water Leasing Pilot Program, part of NFWF’s Southwest Rivers Program. The Southwest Rivers Program is designed to improve riparian habitat for native species in the Rio Grande and Pecos River watersheds and restore Chihuahuan Desert grasslands to benefit migratory grassland birds. You can obtain a copy of the Program’s Business Plan on NFWF’s website.
While the program includes a variety of goals, the scope of work under this contract is in support of the Pilot Leasing Program described in Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Cooperative Agreement R17AC00119, specifically development of habitat to benefit populations of Rio Grande silvery minnow within the MRGCD. NFWF and the MRGCD are in the process of designing a project that will convert up to 1-mile of an existing linear, channelized irrigation canal into a naturalized channel capable of supporting aquatic habitat for various life-stages of the federally endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Project analysis and design are underway, and construction will occur in fall/winter 2022. NFWF and MRGCD are seeking proposals from environmental consultants with expertise developing environmental and cultural resource compliance documents and obtaining requisite permits from federal and state government regulatory agencies. The project design is in development (anticipated to be completed in early 2022) though initial project information will be available to the selected consultant upon selection.
The Project area encompasses an approximately 18-acre (1-mile long x 150 feet wide) segment of the San Francisco Riverside Drain between the Abeytas Lateral #1 canal and the Rio Puerco in Socorro County, New Mexico. The Project is located on the west side of the Rio Grande approximately 4.5 miles downstream (south) of the New Mexico State Highway 60 bridge crossing over the Rio Grande in Bernardo, NM (Figure 1).
The purpose of the Project is to convert up to one mile of an existing linear, incised irrigation drain canal into a naturalized stream channel capable of supporting aquatic habitat for various life-stages of the federally endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Secondary objectives include creating a functional floodplain along the canal channel planted with native riparian vegetation to provide a variety of physical and biological functions, including shade for in-stream temperature regulation, and potential suitable breeding and/or stop-over habitat for the federally listed Southwestern willow flycatcher and the Yellow-billed cuckoo. Primary activities for habitat construction may include excavation and spoil removal, removal of invasive plants (trees, shrubs and perennial plants), constructing beaver dam analogues (constructed beaver dams), filling in the current canal channel with excavated material and raising the stream bed, and/or planting native grasses, shrubs and trees. This list represents potential activities and may not be all-inclusive, but represents the types of activities that the contractor will analyze as part of developing draft and final compliance documents. Site-specific activities, including eventual monitoring and ongoing maintenance, will be provided to the contractor following a design session slated for later this fall (the NFWF and MRGCD Team is in the process of gathering data and conducting analysis). Though the initial phase of construction may be of a lesser scale, the selected contractor will address activities within the 18-acre project footprint. See Figure 2 for a map of the project area.
The Contractor may additionally be asked by NFWF to contribute to compliance activities at other habitat restoration sites within the MRGCD.
Program goals to be addressed through this contract include:
- Provision of infrastructure improvements within the MRGCD to facilitate water conservation, leased water delivery and riparian habitat enhancement.
- Restoration and enhancement of habitat within the MRGCD to benefit Rio Grande silvery minnow.
SCOPE OF WORK
The contractor will support NFWF and the MRGCD in completing necessary compliance activities in advance of construction of the Project in fall/winter 2022. The selected contractor will expeditiously develop and submit appropriate levels of documentation to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), sections 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), ensuring that pertinent information described in the project description is analyzed for project-level impacts in the EA, and that all content from both the project description and EA is consistent. Endangered Species Act compliance is already provided by the Final Biological and Conference Opinion for Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Non-Federal Water Management and Maintenance Activities on the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dec 2, 2016).
Offerors should include with their proposal a budget that assumes they will supply all labor, materials, transportation, equipment, and expertise necessary to complete NEPA, CWA and NHPA compliance documents and obtain requisite permits to enable Project construction by fall/winter 2022. Offerors should approach the cost estimate assuming the entire 18-acre, 1-mile long project site will impacted by the rehabilitation Project and that all permits (NEPA, CWA and NHPA) will be required, with detail to enable assessing and documenting environmental and cultural resource impacts per NEPA, CWA and NHPA. Cost proposals should provide a level of detail sufficient for amendment (scaling back) if some permits are not required (e.g., CWA sections 404/401).
Specific responsibilities are presented in the list of contract tasks below.
- Task 1: Attend Contract Kick-off Meeting
- Task 2: Review Project Description and Design Documents
- Task 3: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance
- Coordinate with Project Manager and Team
- Prepare Environmental Assessment (EA). Document page limit is targeted at 15 pages, excluding appendices. Document should conform to U.S. DOI and U.S. BOR standards and regulations.
- Submit EA to Reclamation for review and approval.
- Task 4: Address Clean Water Act (CWA) Compliance
- Coordinate with Project Manager and Team
- Gather and compose all information for Section 404 Permit (NWP 27) Application
- Perform wetland delineation
- Submit all documents to the USACE Albuquerque District for review and approval
- Task 5: Complete National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Compliance
- Cultural section of the EA
- Class III survey of the project area and associated report meeting SHPO requirements
NFWF-Provided Information: The following list of documents or references will be provided by NFWF to be used in the performance of this contract.
- San Francisco Wasteway Habitat Restoration Project Description (in development, will be provided at the Contract Kick-off Meeting)
- Final Biological and Conference Opinion for Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Non-Federal Water Management and Maintenance Activities on the Middle Rio Grande, New Mexico, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dec 2, 2016 (https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/NewMexico/BO_MRG.cfm)
- NFWF will also provide examples of recent Reclamation EAs and FONSIs at the Contract Kick-off Meeting, to be used as general templates for EA structure and level of content.
Deliverables: The contractor shall provide the following deliverables according to the designated schedule: draft environmental assessment with a goal of 15 pages, excluding appendices, which will be delivered in MS Word format to the program manager, Kirstin Neff, via email or file transfer service.
|Draft wetland delineation report. Document should conform to USACE and Reclamation standards and regulations. The draft wetland delineation will be delivered in MS Word format to the NFWF program manager via email or file transfer service.||3/1/22|
|Final wetland delineation report. Document should conform to USACE and Reclamation standards and regulations. The final wetland delineation will be delivered in MS Word format to the NFWF program manager via email or file transfer service. The final report will be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (https://www.usbr.gov/main/accessibility.html).||2 weeks after receipt of comments|
|Draft 404 Permit. The draft permit shall include all components required by the USACE and will be delivered in MS Word format to the NFWF program manager via email or file transfer service.||3/1/22|
|Final 404 Permit. The final permit shall include all components required by the USACE and will be delivered in MS Word and Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format to the NFWF program manager via email or file transfer service. This document will be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.||2 weeks after receipt of comments|
|NHPA Compliance. Cultural section of the EA and class III survey of the project area with a report meeting SHPO requirements.||3/1/22|
|Draft Environmental Assessment. Page limit is 15 pages, excluding appendices. The draft EA will be delivered in MS Word format to the NFWF program manager via email or file transfer service.||3/30/22|
|Final Environmental Assessment. The final EA will be delivered in MS Word and Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format to the NFWF program manager via email or file transfer service, including a separate file for documentation of the comment resolution. These documents will be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.||2 weeks after receipt of comments. Note that Reclamation shall have two weeks to review the Draft EA|
|Documentation of Resolution of Comments to EA.||When final EA is submitted|
|Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in MS Word and Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. The draft FONSI will be provided to the project manager in MS Word format via email or DVD. The draft FONSI will be compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.||When final EA is submitted|
Schedule: All tasks should be completed by May 15, 2022, to allow time for construction activities to be planned prior to Project implementation in fall/winter 2022.
REQUIRED EXPERTISE AND PROPOSED STAFF
Required expertise of the team includes development of environmental and cultural compliance documents for in-channel fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects and the processes by which permitting for such projects is completed. Offerors should have experience working in New Mexico’s Rio Grande watershed and with the Bureau of Reclamation, and should have familiarity with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), sections 404 and 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the 2016 Final Biological Opinion for the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow. Offerors should have demonstrated ability in completion of environmental and cultural compliance documentation and receipt of permits for in-channel habitat restoration projects.
CRITERIA FOR COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS
Proposals will be evaluated and scored on the following criteria. Offerors should organize their Proposal Narrative based on these sections:
- Understanding of the Scope of Work. The Scope of Work must demonstrate an understanding of the goals of the activities involved. This section should include a description of how you will communicate with NFWF and program stakeholders and report on progress, results, and deliverables. Weight: 10%
- Technical Approach. The proposed technical approach for conducting the tasks should clearly describe the proposed methods necessary to conduct the project. The section must demonstrate that those methods are robust and appropriate for conducting the project and address any areas of complexity or uncertainty associated with conducting the project. Weight: 20%
- Qualifications of Proposed Personnel. This section should clearly describe which tasks each member of the team will conduct and how their training and experience provide the requisite experience to do so successfully. Weight: 15%
- Contractor’s Past Performance. The proposal should include information on the primary investigator(s)’s past performance experience in the requested field and/or closely related work. List recent (last 2-5 years) accomplishments and previous services related to the technical expertise offered. If subcontractors are to be used, information should be provided that demonstrates their past performance as well. Describe how that past performance is applicable to this evaluation. Weight: 25%
- Budget. The proposed budget should itemize work in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the entire funding request. You must use attached Contractor Budget Template. You may add columns to the template for additional tasks if needed, but should not make any other changes. If applicable, please include the proposed budget for equipment purchase in the proposal separate from the Contractor Budget Template. Weight: 30%
ELIGIBLE OFFERORS & CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT
Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial organizations, international organizations, and local, state and Indian tribal governments.
By submitting a proposal in response to this solicitation, the offeror warrants and represents that it does not currently have any apparent or actual conflict of interest, as described herein. In the event an offeror currently has, will have during the life of the contemplated contract, or becomes aware of an apparent or actual conflict of interest, in the event an award is made, the offeror must notify NFWF in writing in the Statement of Quotations, or in subsequent correspondence (if the issue becomes known after the submission of the Statement of Quotations) of such apparent or actual conflicts of interest, including organizational conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest include any relationship or matter which might place the contractor, the contractor’s employees, or the contractor’s subcontractors in a position of conflict, real or apparent, between their responsibilities under the award and any other outside interests, or otherwise. Conflicts of interest may also include, but are not limited to, direct or indirect financial interests, close personal relationships, positions of trust in outside organizations, consideration of future employment arrangements with a different organization, or decision-making affecting the award that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question the impartiality of the offeror, the offeror’s employees, or the offeror’s future subcontractors in the matter. Upon receipt of such a notice, the NFWF Contracting Officer will determine if a conflict of interest exists and, if so, if there are any possible actions to be taken by the offeror to reduce or resolve the conflict. Failure to resolve conflicts of interest in a manner that satisfies NFWF may result in the proposal not being selected for award.
By submitting a proposal in response to this solicitation, the Offeror warrants and represents that it is eligible for award of a Contract resulting from this solicitation and that it is not subject to any of the below circumstances:
Has any unpaid Federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an Contract with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, where the awarding agency is aware of the unpaid tax liability, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or
Was convicted (or had an officer or agent of such corporation acting on behalf of the corporation convicted) of a felony criminal violation under any Federal or State law within the preceding 24 months, where the awarding agency is aware of the conviction, unless the agency has considered suspension or debarment of the corporation and made a determination that this further action is not necessary to protect the interests of the Government; or
Is listed on the General Services Administration’s, government-wide System for Award Management Exclusions (SAM Exclusions), in accordance with the OMB guidelines at 2 C.F.R Part 180 that implement E.O.s 12549 (3 C.F.R., 1986 Comp., p. 189) and 12689 (3 C.F.R., 1989 Comp., p. 235), “Debarment and Suspension, ” or intends to enter into any subaward, contract or other Contract using funds provided by NFWF with any party listed on the SAM Exclusions in accordance with Executive Orders 12549 and 12689. The SAM Exclusions instructions can be found here: https://www.sam.gov/SAM/
Proposals must be submitted under the same cover at the same time, in three distinctly labeled and separate documents: 1) Technical Proposal, 2) Budget, and 3) Evidence of Financial Stability. Interested parties should submit proposals electronically to Southwest Rivers Program Manager Kirstin Neff (Kirstin.Neff@nfwf.org) using the requirements below:
1. Technical Proposal
- Format: Proposals must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF with a font size no smaller than 11 pt.
- Contact information: Primary contact person, company name, address, phone, email, website, DUNS number, and EIN/Taxpayer ID#.
- Narrative: Concise (6-page limit) description of the work plan and a summary of the applicant’s expertise and experience, organized by the Criteria for Competitive Applications.
- Biographies: Resumes and/or Vitae of key staff and their role in the proposed work area.
- References: List two clients who have received services from the applicant that is similar in nature to the proposed work; include names, phone numbers, and email address.
2. Budget: The budget proposal must be submitted using the following NFWF budget template.
3. Evidence of Financial Stability: The applicant shall provide proof of financial stability in the form of financial statements, credit ratings, a line of credit, or other financial arrangements sufficient to demonstrate the applicant’s capability to meet the requirements of this solicitation.
A panel of NFWF staff, and Bureau of Reclamation staff will review the proposals. Offerors may be asked to modify objectives, work plans, or budgets prior to final approval of the award. Only one award will be made for this project. If multiple institutions are involved, they should be handled through subcontracts.
|November 17, 2021||
Deadline for questions about the solicitation to NFWF.
|November 18, 2021||
NFWF will post the questions submitted regarding the solicitation and responses on the NFWF website at this site.
|December 1, 2021||
Deadline for receipt by NFWF of proposals. Proposals must be sent electronically as an email attachment to Kirstin Neff (Kirstin.Neff@nfwf.org) by 5:00 PM MST on December 1, 2021. Proposals must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF.
Contract award to selected Offeror
|May 15, 2022||