Request for Quotations for a Review of Walker Basin Water Rights Valuation Model

November 21, 2018

Requesting Organization National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), 90 New Montgomery Street, Suite 1010, San Francisco, CA 94105.  Contact: Femke Freiberg, California Water Programs Manager, 415-243-3104; femke.freiberg@nfwf.org​.

​OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation seeks a qualified contractor to provide a third-party review of a water rights valuation model, including assumptions and the supplemental information used to inform the costs of proposed water acquisitions under the Walker Basin Restoration Program. The review should assess whether the water right purchase prices estimated by the Walker Basin valuation model are reasonable and justifiable.

PROGRAM BACKGROUND

The Walker Basin Restoration Program (Program) was established by Congress in October 2009. The Program's primary purpose is to restore and maintain Walker Lake, and to protect agricultural, environmental and habitat interests in the Walker River Basin. Walker Lake is a natural desert lake in Nevada at the terminus of the Walker River Basin.  The watershed for the Walker River Basin includes lands that drain from both California and Nevada.

Walker Lake is critical to the recovery of the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout.  It is also an important stopover for common loons and other migratory birds that travel along the Pacific Flyway. Decades of depleted freshwater inflows have resulted in declines of lake elevation and increases in lake salinity which today threaten the ecological balance important for these fish and wildlife species.

To reverse Walker Lake's decline and promote its long-term recovery, the program seeks to increase flows in the Walker River to Walker Lake through a comprehensive basin-wide strategy that includes voluntary water transactions. NFWF grants federal funds to the Walker Basin Conservancy through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to support acquisition of surface water and groundwater rights from willing sellers. Negotiations for these acquisitions have been ongoing throughout the Program’s history. Currently, the primary negotiator for these acquisitions and agreements with landowners is the Walker Basin Conservancy.  Over time, the Program has developed a water rights valuation model upon which it relies for determining reasonable and justifiable purchase and sale agreements. 

SCOPE OF WORK

The selected Contractor will be asked to complete the following primary tasks:

  1. ​Review the water rights valuation model used under the Walker Basin Restoration Program, including all supporting analyses and market research that has informed the model. Conduct interviews with developers of the model as needed.
  2. Gather a minimum of two (2) comparable land/water acquisition models in other water basins/markets. Compare these models to the methodology and protocols used in the Walker Basin to determine if the Walker Basin model has produced reasonable and justifiable recommended costs for potential water acquisitions.
  3. Review a slate of five (5) proposed acquisitions under the Walker Basin Restoration Program to determine if the purchase prices are reasonable and justifiable.

NFWF will provide the selected contractor with all of the supporting documentation and analyses used to inform the water rights valuation model, including a summary of the Walker Basin water rights market. Additionally, NFWF will provide summaries of all past and pending water acquisitions under the Program.

Deliverables:

  1. ​Draft written report for comment by NFWF staff.
  2. Final written report with conclusions about whether the purchase prices estimated by the Walker Basin water rights valuation model are reasonable and justifiable.
  3. Presentation to NFWF staff regarding process and conclusions.

CRITERIA FOR COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS

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

  1. ​Qualifications of Proposed Personnel.  The section should clearly describe which review tasks each member of the team will conduct and how their training and experience provide the requisite experience to do so successfully. The Statement should also describe relevant professional experience with land acquisitions, water law, water markets, and working with federal agencies.
  2. Contractor’s Past Performance.  The Statement should include information on the primary investigator(s)’s past performance conducting reviews or similar work for other organizations, including federal agencies.  If sub-contractors are to be used, information should be provided that demonstrates their past performance as well.  Describe how that past performance is applicable to this work.
  3. 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. 
  4. Schedule.  The Contract Period of Performance is targeted for Jan. 18, 2019 – March 8, 2019 (preliminary). In order to avoid schedule over-runs we are asking Offerors to propose a project schedule that is appropriate to complete the tasks outlined in the RFQ.  The schedule should delineate work on key tasks and identify draft and final deliverable dates.  

COMMUNICATIONS EXPECTATIONS

A successful review of the Walker Basin water rights valuation model will require ongoing communication with NFWF. The contractor can expect bi-weekly or monthly meetings with NFWF staff to provide updates on the review’s progress. NFWF will also review and provide feedback on the draft report and presentations prior to the review’s completion.  

ELIGIBLE OFFERORS

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 can be found at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/​.

SELECTION PROCEDURE  

A panel of NFWF staff will review the quotations. Interviews will be conducted with selected finalists. 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 sub-awards and sub-contracts.

REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS SUBMISSION DEADLINES

​​Dec. 7, 2018​
​Deadline for questions about the RFQ to NFWF. 
Offerors should submit questions regarding this RFQ via email to Femke Freiberg (femke.freiberg@nfwf.org). NFWF will post all the questions and responses to all questions so that all offerors have access to them at the same time. In order to provide equitable responses, all questions must be received by NFWF no later than 5:00 PM PST on December 7, 2018
Dec. 12, 2018​
​NFWF will post the questions submitted regarding the RFQ and responses on the NFWF Walker Basin Restoration Program website at https://www.nfwf.org/walkerbasin/Pages/home.aspx
Dec. 21, 2018
​Deadline for receipt by NFWF of quotations. 
Quotations must be received electronically as an email attachment by Femke Freiberg (femke.freiberg@nfwf.org) by 11:59 PM PST. 
Quotations must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF.
Jan. 2-11, 2019
​Interviews of selected finalists
Jan. 18, 2019  
​Contract award to selected Offeror 
​March 8, 2019
​Final deliverable due to NFWF