Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund 2019 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date:   Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by 8:59 PM PST​


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to expand monitoring and accounting of flow restoration projects in priority California stream reaches in order to improve the efficacy of voluntary water transactions for enhancing streamflow. The goal of the Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund is to develop technical capacity and provide monitoring support for organizations, agencies and funders to effectively account for the impacts of flow enhancement projects on stream discharge, habitat, water quality and survival of native fish and wildlife. The Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund will award approximately $230,000 in 2019. Major funding for the Fund comes from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.


Grants will be awarded in August 2019 to partnership-based projects that significantly advance flow restoration objectives within priority stream reaches in the following watersheds:
  • Klamath River Basin
  • Upper Sacramento River
  • Northern California Coastal Watersheds 
  • Central and Southern California Coastal Watersheds
  • Pecos River 
  • Rio Grande Headwaters
  • Upper Missouri River Basin (including Henry’s Fork and Teton River)
  • Colorado River Basin


All proposals must specifically address how projects for which funds are requested, will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program goals. The Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund seeks projects to achieve the following program priorities: 
  1. Strengthen flow monitoring and accounting programs so that flow augmentation projects targeting Endangered Species Act listed aquatic species and critical ecosystems include:
    • ​​​​​​Compliance monitoring for water transaction projects;
    • Flow gaging of transferred water instream.
  2. ​Contribute to a shared, standardized and centralized database system to facilitate tracking, trend analysis, assessment and comparison of regional flow monitoring and restoration efforts. 
  3. ​​Participate in field efforts to improve flow monitoring technologies and incorporate new technologies into existing programs. 
  4. Conduct outreach efforts to strengthen and expand flow monitoring and accounting programs to ensure consistency in defining conservation objectives for priority stream reaches.
  5. ​Activities referenced in a NFWF business plan or a well-developed, comprehensive conservation strategy targeting these geographies/species will be most competitive. 


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Femke Freiberg ( to discuss acceptable alternatives.

​Project Activity ​Recommended Metric Additional Guidance
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​# workshops, webinars, meetings ​Enter the number of workshops, webinars, and meetings held to address project activity
​Building institutional capacity ​# of orgs contributing to goals ​Enter the number of organizations contributing to the fund's conservation goals
​Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance ​# people reached ​Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities
​Water acquisitions or leases ​CFS of water added to base flow ​Enter the cubic feet per second of cold water added to base flow
​Improved management practices ​Acres under improved management ​For this metric, “improved management” can refer to new or maintained acres in irrigation efficiency or dryland management.
​Water acquisitions or leases ​Additional acre-feet ​This metric refers to the additional acre-feet of water added annually to base flow in targeted river system.
​Conservation easements ​Miles under long-term easement ​Enter the number of miles under long-term easement (permanent or >30yr)
​Conservation easements ​Acres protected under easement ​Enter the number of acres protected under long-term easement (permanent or >30-yr)
​Improved irrigation practices ​Acre-feet of water conserved ​This metric is intended to capture water savings from conservation projects that do not result in legally protected water.
​Improved irrigation practices ​CFS of water added in stream ​Enter the cubic feet per second of cold water added to stream
​Improved irrigation practices ​Additional acre-feet ​Enter the number of additional acre-feet of water
​Improved irrigation practices ​# of points of diversion moved ​Enter the number of points of diversion moved from springs or high quality habitats.
​Monitoring ​Miles being monitored ​Enter the number of miles being monitored
​Monitoring ​Acres being monitored ​Enter the number of acres being monitored
​Monitoring ​# streams/sites being monitored ​Enter the number of streams/sites being monitored
​Monitoring ​# monitoring programs ​Enter the number of monitoring programs established or underway
​Research ​# studies used to inform mgmt ​Enter the number of studies completed whose findings are used to adapt management/ inform mgmt decisions
​Management or Governance Planning ​# plans developed ​Enter the number of plans developed that had input from multiple stakeholders


Eligible Entities
  • Eligible applicants include: local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies (e.g., townships, cities, boroughs), special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts), non-profit 501(c) organizations, schools and universities.
Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
  • 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.
  • Funds from this program cannot support fee title land acquisition projects. However, funds may cover certain transaction costs associated with an acquisition (appraisals, title searches, surveys). Also, funds can be used to put in place conservation easements.


The Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund will award approximately $230,000 in 2019. Matching funds for either monitoring or flow augmentation project implementation are strongly encouraged.


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 Program’s overall habitat, water quality and species conservation goals, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities outlined in the Request for Proposal.

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.

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 (OMB Uniform Guidance).

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.  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 (  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.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinar​ [Register Here​]
​March 21, 2019; 11:00 AM PST
Full Proposal Due Date
​May 8, 2019; 8:59 PM PST
Review Period
​May 9, 2019 - August 7, 2019
Awards Announced
​Mid-August 2019
​Maximum Performance Period
​March 12, 2019 - September 30, 2020


All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation’s Easygrants system.
  1. Go to​ 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. 
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. 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.  

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (

NFWF staff will be hosting a webinar to discuss the Request for Proposals for the Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund. The webinar will be led by the Program Manager and Coordinator who will be able to answer any questions you may have. We will discuss the RFP, goals and strategies, metrics, and NFWF guidance.

Please register for the Freshwater Flow Restoration Accounting Fund Applicant Webinar on Mar 21, 2019 11:00 AM PST at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact: 

Femke Freiberg
Manager, California Water Programs
Phone: (415) 243-3104

Kate Morgan
Coordinator, Water Investments
Phone: (202) 595-2469

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:

Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail:  202-595-2497
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.​​​​​​​​​​​​