Analysis of Irrigation Efficiency Priorities for Instream Flows in California - Request for Quotations

August 1, 2019

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;


The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks a qualified contractor to identify and prioritize project opportunities where: 1) agricultural producers can improve the efficiency of irrigation water use through the adoption of modern technologies and management techniques that are consistent with practices funded under the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and 2) water conserved by irrigation efficiency improvements will be dedicated to provide quantifiable, protectable and ecologically meaningful improvements to instream flows to benefit fish and wildlife. 


Throughout American West, an intense demand for water—for agriculture and other human uses—jeopardizes the health of rivers, streams, and lakes. Fish and wildlife communities that depend on these water sources are increasingly stressed as consumptive demands rise and water year patterns become more unpredictable. NFWF has a history of working with willing landowners to pursue voluntary measures to maintain and restore critical freshwater habitat, while addressing the needs of farmers and ranchers and the communities in which they live. 

One such voluntary measure is enhanced irrigation efficiency in California’s agricultural sector. Agricultural research institutions have found that technologies that aid growers and irrigation districts by providing real time information on the crop irrigation needs can reduce water and energy use by 10-20% while increasing crop production1. However, research has also uncovered the possibility of a rebound effect, where irrigation efficiency can actually contribute to increased overall consumptive water demand within a basin2.  NFWF is seeking innovative partnerships with landowners to increase irrigation efficiency while allocating saved water toward improving water availability for aquatic species of concern.


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

  1. Identify NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) eligible landowners who could benefit from adopting real time irrigation efficiency technologies and water management practices in one or more of the following geographies: Upper Sacramento River Watershed, Lower Klamath Basin.
  2. Develop a list of candidate projects for potential implementation under of NRCS’s conservation programs.
  3. ​Track implementation of Irrigation Water Management projects for successful EQIP participants to capture producer benefits for use in future outreach efforts. 

NFWF will provide the selected contractor with partial background research on relevant topics as well as introductions to key stakeholders, however, the selected contractor will be expected to conduct an additional literature review as needed. Selected contractor will also be expected to utilize professional experience and local contacts within the priority geography. 


  1. Draft written report for comment by NFWF staff.
  2. Final written report with project recommendations and conclusions about viability and expected impact of adoption of irrigation efficiency technologies on both instream flows and on-farm operations.
  3. Presentation to NFWF, NOAA, and NRCS staff regarding process and conclusions.


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 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 California’s agricultural community and/or major water users in the state.
  2. Contractor’s Past Performance.  The Statement should include information on the primary investigator(s)’s past performance conducting 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. Matching funds equal to total budget request are preferred.
  4. Schedule.  The Contract Period of Performance is targeted for October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2021 (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.  


The contractor can expect monthly meetings with NFWF staff to provide progress updates. NFWF will also review and provide feedback on the draft report and presentations prior to the project’s completion.  


Eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial 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​.


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.


Aug. 22, 2019 ​Deadline for questions about the RFQ to NFWF. 
Offerors should submit questions regarding this RFQ via email to Femke Freiberg ( NFWF will post all the questions and responses to all questions so that all off​​erors 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 August 22, 2019.
​Aug. 30, 2019 ​NFWF will post the questions submitted regarding the RFQ and responses on the NFWF Western Water Program website at
​Sept. 6, 2019 ​Deadline for receipt by NFWF of quotations.
Quotations must be received electronically as an email attachment by Femke Freiberg ( by 5:00 PM PST.
Quotations must be provided in Word format or searchable PDF.
​Sept. 16-20, 2019 ​Interviews of selected finalists
​Sept. 27, 2019  ​Contract award to selected Offeror 
​Sept. 30, 2021 ​Final deliverable due to NFWF

1“Fresno State University finds that realtime irrigation management technology helps farmers become more drought resistant.”
2Berbel, J., Gutiérrez-Martín, C., Rodríguez-Díaz, J.A., Camacho, E. and Montesinos, P. (2015). Literature review on rebound effect of water saving measures and analysis of a Spanish case study. Water Resources Management 29(3):663-678