Request for Qualifications: Evaluation of the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund's Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Program

Requesting Organization: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005. 

Contact: Annamarie Lopata, Evaluation Officer, 202-595-2613;


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks a qualified Contractor to evaluate the NFWF Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund’s Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction (INSR) Program. The successful Offeror will be selected through a two stage competitive process. Stage One, Request for Qualifications (RFQ), invites qualified individuals or entities to submit Statements of Qualifications for an assessment of their organizational structure, staffing, understanding of the scope of work, and relevant experience.  Stage Two, Request for Proposals (RFP), will be open only to those Offerors who have responded to the RFQ, and on the basis of their submissions, NFWF regards as being best qualified for further consideration and to be invited to submit more detailed information as part of the RFP process. Only one award will be made for this Contract. This notice constitutes Stage One, Request for Qualifications. The Contract Period of Performance is targeted for October 30, 2015- November 30, 2016


Through the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund’s INSR grant program, NFWF invests in innovative methods and new technologies that hold promise of driving the costs of the Chesapeake Bay recovery effort down, expanding the effectiveness of restoration practices, and accelerating the pace of recovery. The program’s goals are to:

  • Accelerate nutrient and sediment reductions with innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches
  • Actively transfer and disseminate the lessons learned from the awarded projects to the larger Bay region community
  • Work to institutionalize the continued and expanded implementation of innovative nutrient and sediment reduction practices and approaches within the existing and emerging pollutant sectors.

These projects lead to new knowledge from the development, implementation, and transfer of leading-edge, inventive ways of approaching nonpoint source load reductions while also contributing knowledge of cost-effective, and sustainable new ways of doing business. For example, through the INSR, our grantees are helping address two of the biggest remaining water quality issues – manure management and stormwater runoff – through both new technologies to reduce pollution and alternative approaches to engage farmers and other residents in conservation.  NFWF has awarded more than 100 INSR grants since 2008. Grants have ranged in size from $200,000 to $1 million, with an average award size of $450,000.


The evaluation will seek to answer the following questions, although the selected Contractor will be tasked to refine and finalize them, with the consensus of NFWF, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office, and selected partners from the Federal-State Chesapeake Bay Program.

A. How have the practices and approaches developed through INSR grants contributed to 1) modeled reductions in sediment and nutrient pollution and 2) monitored improvements in water quality? Which practices and approaches have been most effective at reducing nutrient and sediment pollution? Which practices and approaches have been most innovative?

B. How has information about the practices and approaches developed through INSR grants been shared with the broader Chesapeake Bay community and to what extent have those practices and approaches been adopted by others in the Chesapeake Bay watershed?

C. Has clustering projects in targeted sub-watersheds resulted in greater water quality improvements and increased adoption of innovative practices than distributing projects more broadly throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed? 

NFWF and EPA will provide the selected contractor with the following information:

  • Records of grant awards and grantee information;
  • Grant-award project reports;
  • Water quality data, with analytical support from the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program staff;
  • Other INSR and Chesapeake Bay Program technical reports.

The final contract deliverables will include a draft report, a final report, and up to 5 presentations and/or webinars to a variety of audiences. 


Statements of Qualifications will be evaluated and scored on the following criteria.  Offerors should organize their Statement based on these sections:

A. Understanding of the Scope of Work. A statement of not more than one paragraph demonstrating an understanding of the activities involved in Chesapeake Bay Recovery efforts and fostering innovation in conservation and environmental approaches.

B. Technical Approach. A description of no more than three pages  of a proposed technical approach for conducting the evaluation, which  must demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in using the various research methods and designs determined to be appropriate for conducting the investigation. For instance, this might include a description of methods for collecting and analyzing primary data from databases, reports, interviews, surveys, or site visits.

C. Qualifications of Proposed Personnel. Resumes and/or Vitae of the principal investigator(s)  describing relevant professional experience in the following areas:  (a) evaluation study design and implementation; (b) experience working with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, national and local NGOs involved with conservation, as well as the agricultural community; (c) an understanding of nutrient and sediment pollution reduction methods sufficient to be able to ground truth reported outcomes of a sample of grant projects; and (d) conducting and disseminating research involving humans as subjects.

D. Record of Past Performance/References. The Statement of Qualifications should identify at least three past engagements conducting similar evaluations for NFWF or other organizations, identifying  the Offeror’s quality of work, timeliness, and cost control. The statement should also include communications experience writing reports, conducting webinars and delivering presentations to different types of audiences. Attach a copy of a previously conducted evaluation final report, if available. The Statement should include names, postal and email addresses, and telephone numbers of points of contact for the referenced engagements. If the Offeror anticipates retaining sub-contractors  for this task, information should be provided that demonstrates their past performance as well.

E. Corporate Capability. The Offeror shall provide proof of financial stability in the form of financial statements or balance sheet.  


Eligible applicants are individuals, institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial organizations, international organizations, and local, state and Indian tribal governments.  If multiple institutions are involved, they should be handled through sub-awards and sub-contracts.

Offerors must notify NFWF in writing with this submission of any apparent or actual conflicts of interest, including organizational conflicts of interest, that are known at the time of this submission or that may arise during the life of this award, in the event an award is made.  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 Statement of Qualifications 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 can be found at


July 17, 2015

​Deadline for questions about the RFQ to NFWF
Offerors should submit questions regarding this RFQ via email to Annamarie Lopata ( NFWF will respond to all Offerors at the same time and with the same answers. In order to provide equitable responses, all questions must be received by NFWF no later than 5:00 PM EDT on July 17, 2015.

July 29, 2015

​Statements of Qualifications must be received electronically as an email attachment by Annamarie Lopata ( by 11:00 PM EDT.
Statements must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF.

Aug. 12, 2015

​NFWF will notify all RFQ Offerors of their status and successful Offerors will be issued a Request for Proposal (RFP)

Sept. 11, 2015

​Deadline for receipt by NFWF of invited RFP’s


​Interviews of selected finalists

Oct. 30, 2015

​Contract award to selected Offeror




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